Martijn Dendievel is named Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker. His initial four-year tenure will begin from the 2024/25 season. The young Belgian conductor, who has received multiple awards, has already been a guest conductor with the orchestra on several occasions. His appointment by artistic director Cora Bethke and financial director Oliver Geipel met with broad approval from the musicians. The position of Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker had remained vacant for over 20 years.
As early as next year, the designated chief conductor will conduct a concert of works by Nordic and Baltic composers, which is to be recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur. In this concert, the Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman will perform the violin concerto Distant Light by Pēteris Vasks. The concert at the end of the 2023/24 symphony season, featuring the young violinist Liya Petrova, will include The Planets by Gustav Holst.
Dendievel will open his first season as Chief Conductor with Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony. Further highlights of the 2024/25 season include Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5 and the German premiere of British composer Doreen Carwithen’s Piano Concerto, featuring Alexandra Dariescu as the soloist. Bach’s Mass in B minor will also be performed at one of the symphony concerts. Furthermore, Dendievel will be increasingly involved in the field of education, expanding his commitment in this area.
Martijn Dendievel said: “I am extremely happy to, in the near future, be able to deepen my relationship with the Hofer Symphoniker and I am looking forward to the concert experiences we will have together. As so often in life, various things just come together – coincidentally or not: I attended my first conducting masterclass in 2012 at the Brussels Conservatory with Daniel Klajner, then Principal Guest Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker. In 2018, I conducted my first public concert with a professional German orchestra – the Hofer Symphoniker. They were later the first orchestra to invite me as a guest conductor. Since 2021, there has been a regular collaboration, so when asked if I would like to establish a closer partnership with the orchestra as its Chief Conductor, there was only one answer that I didn’t have to think about for long
“It is a great fortune to work with musicians whose daily lives are characterised by great diversity – whether on the concert stage, in the opera, where a special sensitivity for tempo and dynamic changes is required that allows me greater artistic freedom, or when teaching. These different skills create a unique ensemble, which I feel honoured to be able to lead from the 2024/25 season. I also can’t wait to, in addition to conducting the symphony concerts, get involved in music education for young and old in cooperation with the Hofer Symphoniker’s very own music school. I am truly grateful to the management and the orchestra for the trust they have placed in me at the start of my career.”
Hofer Symphoniker Artist Director Cora Bethke said: “I am delighted that we were able to finalise a contract with Martijn Dendievel as Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker. It was a great pleasure for me when the orchestra approached Mr. Geipel and myself with the proposal to appoint him as Chief Conductor, as he was also my preferred candidate. Martijn has conducted impressive concerts with our orchestra in recent seasons. Whether it is a Haydn symphony or John Adams’ saxophone concerto, he has consistently demonstrated complete stylistic and conducting sovereignty. With him, the programmatic approach of the Hofer Symphoniker, which combines core repertoire with bold new discoveries and revivals, will be further developed for a perspective for the future. The Hofer Symphoniker, being firmly established in the region, creates programmes for all the people who live here. At the same time, we have a musical aspiration that aims to attract attention and have an impact beyond our region. Both artistically and personally, I am looking forward to the intense collaboration with Martijn Dendievel, and I know that the Hofer Symphoniker are in excellent hands with him.”
Oliver Geipel, the Orchestra’s Financial Director, said: “It fills us with pride that we were able to secure the internationally sought-after Belgian Martijn Dendievel as Chief Conductor for the Hofer Symphoniker. After so many years, it is a milestone for our orchestra to fill this leading position again. For the development of any ensemble, continuous work with one person at the conductor’s podium is indispensable. This forms the foundation for additional inspiring impulses from various guest conductors. Having a Chief Conductor is a standard for any renowned orchestra, and it also allows us to increase the attractiveness of the Hofer Symphoniker as an employer. As the orchestra’s management, it was of utmost importance to Cora Bethke and me to find a candidate who fits well with our musicians and is eager to contribute to the diverse range of tasks. We have achieved this with Martijn Dendievel, and we look forward to wonderful concerts and exciting projects with him in the coming years.”
Belgian conductor Martijn Dendievel is the winner of the 2021 German Conducting Award and currently Associate Conductor with the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen. He won the first Conductors’ Academy of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, was a finalist in the Donatella Flick Competition of the London Symphony Orchestra and a prizewinner of the first International Conducting Competition Rotterdam in June 2022. From 2016 to 2020, he served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Academic Orchestra Halle. Since 2021, he is a fellow in the Forum Dirigieren of the German Music Council, which supports him as a ‘Maestro von Morgen’. He regularly appears with the Philharmonie Zuidnederland and at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Recently he has conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Staatskapelle Weimar, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic
In July 2022 he completed his studies in orchestral conducting with Prof. Nicolás Pasquet and Prof. Ekhart Wycik at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar. He has also received further impulses through masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, Christian Thielemann, Paavo Järvi, Iván Fischer and Simone Young.
Photo: © Thomas Beyerlein