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A lover of gentle nuance: trumpeter Simon Höfele

The schedule and projects of the trumpeter Simon Höfele in the 2017/2018 season // “BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist” since September 2017

He is just 23 years old, and the music world is positively scrambling to get hold of him: Simon Höfele has won numerous prizes and is the recipient of almost as many scholarships. Since 2016 he has been German cultural broadcaster SWR 2’s “New Talent” and is also the only German to be accepted this year into the “BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Scheme” for the encouragement of young musicians, an honour that is much-coveted throughout Europe (start: September 2017). Simon Höfele can boast a highly successful, or indeed meteoric career, but he modestly gives the hype surrounding him a wide berth: “Success is a curse and a blessing at the same time,” he said in an interview with German broadcaster SWR. “It gives me wonderful opportunities, but also creates great pressure.” But anyone listening to this young trumpeter in concert or on his recordings will not detect any trace of this pressure – all he demonstrates there is an impressive talent that manifests itself above all in his “disconcertingly beautiful” (SWR) soft sounds, and an unquenchable interest in whatever he is interpreting.

Everything started with a trumpet decoration that hung on the wall in his parents’ home. As a child, he couldn’t tear his curious gaze from it, and finally played his first notes on it. “From the day I took my first trumpet out of its case, I didn’t want to be anything but a trumpeter,” Höfele told SWR. Having grown up in a musical family, of woodwind players in particular – his father plays bassoon, his mother flute – Höfele was influenced by the warm, shimmering and often gentle sound of these instruments. While doing his homework, he heard, emanating from the next room, both the lyrical bassoon concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and high piccolo passages from the Shostakovich works that his mother practised. As a result, his playing is rarely loud – “although that is fun, too,” Höfele told the SWR. Indeed, quite on the contrary: when he performs, the “spearhead of the orchestra”, as he calls the trumpet, sounds mostly filigree, whispering, tender, as if it were calmly telling a story. The sounds “at the other end of the trumpet spectrum” are the ones he wants to discover. “A beautiful second movement in a concerto is what tends to be special for me. That is where I try to shine.”

During this season, Höfele is unusually in demand for a musician of his age, with a travelling schedule to match. For example, in the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles (BOZAR, Brussels, 24 September), he will play George Enescu’s “Légende”, Theo Charlier’s “Premier solo de concours” and “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin in an arrangement for trumpet and piano – something special to him: “The coming season will be a special year for me as far as chamber music is concerned,” he says. The débuts in the BOZAR, the Konzerthaus in Berlin or at the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Music Festival are “a central part of my schedule”.

On 31 October, he will give his dĂ©but concert with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, playing Alexander Arutjunjan’s “Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra”, while on 31 May 2018 he will make his dĂ©but in the Philharmonie in Berlin with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Simon Höfele will give further concerts on 11 November 2017 with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, on 24 and 26 January 2018 with the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart in Stuttgart’s Liederhalle, and on 17 March in the Konzerthaus in Berlin once more, this time with a programme of chamber music. A work that Höfele would especially like to draw attention to is the concerto “Nobody Knows de Trouble I See” by Bernd Alois Zimmermann. “This concerto’s very individual style, with the distinctive character of Zimmermann’s works and its extreme virtuosity, makes it one of the best in the trumpet repertoire.” Höfele will perform it with three orchestras: on tour with the Baden-WĂĽrttemberg Youth Orchestra (3-8 November 2017), the Aachen Symphony Orchestra (22 and 23 April 2018) and the Nuremberg Philharmonic State Orchestra (18 and 25 May 2018).

> detailed press information on his 2017/18 season

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