Conductor, composer and pianist Sergey Neller recently captured the attention of the classical music world as the 2nd Prize Winner of the prestigious 2016 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition hosted by the Bamberg Symphony.
Called “enormously talented” by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Neller’s dramatic style and deep musical knowledge help him stand out from his peers. Having led such renowned ensembles as the Bamberg, Berlin and Brandenburg Symphony Orchestras, the Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Argovia Philharmonic, the Orchestre Régional de Cannes, and the Brandenburg State Orchestra of Frankfurt among others, Neller’s career is following a rapid upward trajectory. He counts among his mentors such luminary figures as John Carewe, Neeme Järvi, Valdimir Jurowski, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jorma Panula, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Sir Simon Rattle and David Zinman, with whom he worked in orchestral masterclasses with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich. Born in Russia, Neller studied composition and piano at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He studied conducting at the Universität der Künste Berlin where he was a fellow of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Recent highlights include his debut with the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, and he participated as one of four selected conductors in masterclasses with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, under the direction of Daniele Gatti. Other debuts have included dates with the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, and Nürnberger Symphoniker, where Neller directed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 from the piano, and conducted works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. He also conducted a studio recording session of Shostakovich’s 12th Symphony with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra for Bayerischer Rundfunk, and returned to the orchestra at the end of 2017 for a series of educational concerts.
In the current season and beyond, Neller will make his debut with the Oulu Sinfonia, the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra of Ostrava, and the Jacksonville Symphony, where Neller once again directs from the piano, this time in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21.
As a gifted composer, from 2002 to 2006 Neller was the recipient of the renowned Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation Award, during which period he composed his first opera, ‘Tintagiles’ and premiered it at the Helikon Opera in Moscow. Composed to an original libretto based on Maurice Maeterlinck’s play ‘The Death of Tintagiles’, the work attracted the attention of the international press and resonated strongly with Russian audiences. In 2010, Neller completed his second opera, ‘Phaedra’, composed to a libretto by the contemporary Russian poet and playwright Alexey Parin. Neller has also enjoyed considerable success as a pianist, having won international competitions in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy and the United States, and given concerts throughout Europe, North America and Australia. He has also made several recordings of works by Chopin, Medtner, Oborin and Scriabin.
“Neller has the sort of charisma given only to few conductors. […] the Widmann was a riot, despatched with crisp panache, and Neller has a sense of humour. Best of all was the Mahler. This was taken at a genuine Adagio and fully sustained. It was truly impressive with that rare sense of time suspended. […] the Mahler was profoundly impressive. Neller clearly commands the grand manner of some older maestros and he can also get playing of real inwardness and spirituality.”Douglas Cooksey
“The young Sergey Neller pushes the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra to peak performance”
“An excellent craftsman who shines with superior understanding and yet shows a modesty. He has done something very beautiful!”Michael Sikora