The celebrated young British tenor Benjamin Hulett was a soloist at the Hamburg State Opera from 2005 to 2009 and has achieved great success in lyric roles from Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) and Ferrando (Cosi fan Tutte) to Steuermann (Die Fliegende Holländer) and Novice (Billy Budd). He made his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich in Händel’s Alcina, at Theater an der Wien in the world premiere of Johannes Kalitzke‘s Die Besessennen and has returned to Hamburg as Tamino and Narroboth (Salome). Plans include debuts at the Salzburg Festival (Elektra), Opera North (The Turn of the Screw) and Berliner Staatsoper unter den Linden (Phaedra).
As a concert performer he has worked with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Phillippe Herreweghe, Christopher Hogwood, Markus Stenz, Ivor Bolton, Jeffrey Tate, Simone Young, Frans Brüggen, Jaap van Zweden and Fabio Biondi amongst others at many of the world’s leading venues and festivals.
His growing discography includes Visions Fugitives (Les Illuminations live from the Gergiev Festival), Messiah (Carus), Israel in Egypt (Maulbronn), The NMC Songbook (winner of Gramophone Award 2009) and the role of Paris in The Judgement of Paris (Chandos). Future releases include songs by Richard Rodney Bennett (NMC) and Britten songs with pianist Malcolm Martineau (Onyx).
Ben studied Music as a choral scholar at New College, Oxford and Opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
The British pianist and conductor Alexander Soddy has quickly established himself at the forefront of young musicians.
Born in 1982, he studied as a chorister at Magdalen College, Oxford and conducting and piano at the Junior Royal Academy of Music. He was subsequently awarded a choral scholarship, studying Musicology at Selwyn College, Cambridge University. A position as a repetiteur followed at the National Opera Studio in London where he was supported by the Friends of Covent Garden and the Scottish Opera Endowment Trust.
Alex has worked as a repetiteur for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and as an accompanist at many venues and festivals around the world including Wigmore Hall, performing with many prominent artists including the tenor Michael Schade and prize-winning bassoonist Christian Kunert.
Since 2005 Alexander has been engaged at the Hamburg State Opera, first as a repetiteur and then as musical assistant to Simone Young. Quickly promoted to Kapellmeister, Alexander regularly conducts the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hamburg State Opera where he has worked with singers such as Deborah Polaski, Falk Struckmann, Placido Domingo, Lisa Gasteen, John Treleaven, Franz Grundheber, Wolfgang Koch and Michael Schade. His repertoire at Hamburg includes Die Zauberflöte, L’elisir d’amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Hansel und Gretel, Das Gehege, Oscar Strasnoy’s new opera Le Bal as well as directing the International Opera Studio in productions of Cavalli´s La Calisto, contemporary operas by Christian Jost and John Tavener and Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes.
The frequency of A, the pure note to which we tune our instruments, signifying quality as well as a solid foundation for our shared experience of classical music. That is what the musicians of 440Hz, made up of members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic string section, represent. Performing music in a smaller formation leads to better ensemble play. In the absence of a conductor, our individual voices become essential, with each musician contributing to our shared responsibility for the artistic process and its outcome. Our repertoire spans the baroque period up to present-day compositions – invariably high-quality works, sometimes unjustly forgotten or little known among listeners. 440Hz is an orchestra that is close to the audience, both literally and figuratively. Traditional (concert) conventions are shed, naturally bringing the repertoire within the scope of a broader audience.
Publicity photo Benjamin Hulett and 44oHz: Hans Lebbe/HLP Images