Sessional Lecturer, Harpsichord
Alexander Weimann is one of the most sought-after ensemble directors, soloists, and chamber music partners of his generation. After traveling the world with ensembles like Tragicomedia, and as frequent guest with Cantus Köln, the Freiburger Barockorchester, Gesualdo Consort and Tafelmusik, he now focuses on his activities as conductor of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra Vancouver, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques, Le Nouvel Opéra and Tempo Rubato. Of special note is his recent appointment as Artistic Director of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, only the second person to hold this position since the orchestra was founded in 1994. His coming season includes appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia, Portland Baroque, Mercury Baroque in Houston, Vancouver Early Music, Arion Baroque in Montreal and the Boston Early Music Festival as well as concerts with Seattle Baroque.
Recently, he conducted the Montreal based baroque orchestra Ensemble Arion, Les Violons du Roy, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra Oregon; both the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra have regularly invited him as their featured soloist. In the last years, he has explored new shores by repeatedly conducting the Victoria Symphony (f.i. with pieces by and around the adolescent Mozart, including his piano concerto Jeunehomme) and also Symphony Nova Scotia, most recently with Handel’s “Messiah”.
After working as an assistant conductor at the Amsterdam, Basel, and Hamburg opera houses, he has directed productions of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona with the Freiburger Barockorchester; Pepusch’s Beggar’s Opera at the Castle Theatre in Gotha, Handel’s Orlando Furioso and Stradella’s Moro per Amore at the Teamtheater in Munich; Telemann’s Passion oratorio Seliges Erwägen at the Europäische Wochen festival at Passau; Caldara’s Clodoveo and the multipart opera event Mozart à Milano, both of which were Canadian-German co-productions mounted at festivals in Montreal and Vancouver, and at the Sanssouci Palace Theatre in Potsdam; and, for the Vancouver Early Music Festival, Handel’s Resurrezione, Rameau’s Pygmalion, Purcell’s Fairy Queen and King Arthur, the celebrated 2010 performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers, and 2012′s Orlando by Handel.
Weimann can be heard on some 100 CDs and, frequently, on the radio in many countries. He made his North American recording debut with the ensemble Tragicomedia on the CD Capritio (Harmonia Mundi USA), and won worldwide acclaim from both the public and critics for the release of Handel’s Gloria (on the Canadian label Atma Classique). Volume 1 of his recordings of the complete keyboard works by Alessandro Scarlatti appeared in May 2005. Critics around the world unanimously praised it, and in the following year it was nominated for an Opus prize as the best Canadian early-music recording. In 2007, his recording of Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu with the Montreal-based ensemble Les Voix Baroques won an Opus prize, and was nominated for a Juno Classic Award. The same year, he recorded Caldara’s oratorio Clodoveo (also nominated for the Juno), and both conducted and performed as fortepiano soloist with the German ensemble Echo du Danube in the first recording of concertos by Wagenseil. In 2008 he added to his solo outings by recording Bach’s Clavierübung II, and revisiting his first love, the organ, with the release of Alessandro Scarlatti’s keyboard works, Volume 2. (The last volume 3, harpsichord again, to be published soon.) Recently, he also released an Opus award winning CD of Handel oratorio arias with superstar soprano Karina Gauvin and his Montreal based ensemble Tempo Rubato, a recording of Bach’s St. John’s Passion, various albums with Les Voix Baroques on Buxtehude, Carissimi and Purcell, all of the above with raving reviews; his latest album with Karina Gauvin and Arion Baroque Orchestra (“Prima donna”) won the Juno 2013; a complete recording of Handel’s Orlando was released in the summer of 2013, with an exciting group of international star soloists and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra performing.
Weimann was born in 1965 in Munich, where he studied the organ, church music, musicology (with a summa con laude thesis on Bach’s secco recitatives), theatre, medieval Latin, and jazz piano, supported by a variety of federal scholarships for the highly talented. In addition to his studies, he has attended numerous master classes in harpsichord and historical performance. To ground himself further in the roots of western music, he became intensively involved, over the course of several years, with Gregorian chant. In 1997, his group Le Nuove Musiche won first prize at the Premio Bonporti music competition in Rovereto, Italy.
From 1990 to 1995, Weimann taught music theory, improvisation, and Jazz at the Munich Musikhochschule. Since 1998, he has been giving master classes in harpsichord and historical performance practice at institutions such as Lunds University in Malmö and the Bremen Musikhochschule, and also at North American universities such as Berkeley (University of California), Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, McGill in Montreal, and Mount Allison in New Brunswick. Since 2007 he has conducted several acclaimed opera productions at the Amherst Early Music Festival. For half a decade, he has been teaching early music performance practice to voice and instrumental students at the Université de Montréal, as well as conducting the Baroque opera programme, for example, in the celebrated Monteverdi’s Poppea. Singers of note, such as those with the Atélier Lyrique de Montréal and other opera studios, seek his services as a vocal coach and he was in charge of harpsichord instruction at McGill University in 2013-2014.
Alexander Weimann lives with his wife, three children and pets in Vancouver, and tries to spend as much time as possible in his garden and kitchen.