Cello Concerto No. 1,
Symphony No. 9 in E-Flat Major
Cello Concerto No. 1,
Symphony No. 9 in E-Flat Major
“Giving space to music” runs like a thread through Nabil Shehata's life, both literally and figuratively. As a nine-year-old, the double bass opens the door to, in his words, “the most beautiful repertoire there is” – namely that of classical music. As a young person, he feels the growing desire to be involved in this music as a conductor. Shehata follows this impulse, gives up his position as principal bass player of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and has since successfully embarked on a career as a conductor. A critic recently wrote that he conducts with “authority full of ease” an observation that corresponds precisely with what Shehata is aiming for. “It is about resonating with each other. This is what creates music. This is what I want to achieve with orchestras”. Shehata has developed a conducting style that is closely related to chamber music making, because he is convinced that “this is how music is created that can achieve what audiences, orchestras, and conductors alike desire: unforgettable concert experiences!”.
Nabil Shehata's career began as principal bass player with the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Berlin Philharmonic. As a conductor, he has been mentored and taught by Christian Thielemann, Rolf Reuter, and Lawrence Forster, among others. Since 2019, he has been chief conductor of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen and has recently conducted as a guest, among other ensembles, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Robert Schumann Philharmonic, and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. Not long ago, he made his conducting debut with great success at the sold-out Elbphilharmonie. Prior to his current position, he was the chief conductor at the Munich Chamber Opera, and broadened his experience at the Berlin State Opera as an assistant to Daniel Barenboim. As a professor of double bass in Munich and Berlin as well as a member of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, he has passed on his experience to younger musicians for many years. In his hometown of Verden, Shehata founded the “Maiklänge” chamber music festival, which is a heartfelt project for him to organize high-quality concerts where he grew up.
Written music is potential energy that a performer must unleash. Audiences can tell if a musician really feels that energy, or if their expression is second-hand. When Julian plays, he is sharing something fragile and alive.
“As an interpreter, I’ve started trusting my inner life more and letting the audience in,” he says. “It’s a kind of vulnerability that makes you stronger.” His first child was born at the end of 2018. Since then, his conviction has grown, his sense for metaphor expanded.
He knows that making music for an audience occasionally involves tipping the scales too far one way or another. But he is aware of his responsibility toward what is often called the “intentions of the composer.” He dives deep into scores, investigating the organic connections that give a work its unity. “If you know one room in an apartment, but not that the apartment has seven other rooms, you won’t even understand the room you’re in,” he says. When Julian plays, the music is in safe hands. You listen for his discoveries; what the music, through him, is trying to tell you.
Every life is a series of experiences, encounters, memories, places. Sometimes it’s possible to understand the contours of a musician’s ability through a list of these moments. Julian’s solo career was launched after he won the prestigious ARD Musikwettbewerb in 2010. Since then, he has soloed with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He’s worked with the conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Roger Norrington, Valery Gergiev, Jakub Hrůša, Mario Venzago, Fabien Gabel, John Storgårds, Lahav Shani, Antony Hermus, Christian Zacharias and Michael Sanderling. His chamber music partners include Janine Jansen, Christian Tetzlaff, Karen Gomyo, Antje Weithaas, Renaud Capuçon, Veronika Eberle, Vilde Frang, Antoine Tamestit, Lars Vogt, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Paul Rivinius, Denis Kozhukhin, the Modigliani, Armida and Ébène quartets.
For Julian, these experiences and encounters are the result of organic growth, not external pressure. It’s a development that tends to happen when a musician of his ability goes through life with an open mind.
His playing is effortless, unhindered by technical boundaries. He derives energy from appearing not to try. It’s a quality that many look for and few find. He sees his talent and his musical upbringing as a gift. His mentors are responsible for the rest.
“My very first teacher considered lightness and simplicity to be at the core of cello playing,” Julian says. “Listen to yourself, plan what you’re doing, get it right the first time. I owe everything to these insights.” He studied with Ulrich Voss, Gustav Rivinius, Boris Pergamenschikow, Heinrich Schiff and Antje Weithaas. Now he is a teacher too, at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.
In the last season, Julian Steckel appeared with the Residentie Orchestra, the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra, the dogma chamber orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málagadie Amsterdam Sinfonetta, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra - for example at Suntory Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
2024 Julian Steckel will open the Dvorak Festival Prag together with Bamberg Symphony under Jakob Hrusa. Other concerts will bring him to Croatia and New Zealand.
In addition, chamber music remains a source of inspiration and communicative breeding ground for him: concerts are planned with Antje Weithaas, Tobias Feldmann, Lise Berthaud and William Youn.
Orchestra del Teatro Goldoni di Livorno
The Teatro Goldoni Orchestra established in 2020 from the main reference staff of the opera and symphonic seasons of the Theater has, over time, assumed connotations of stability, refinement and search for sonorities.
It represents a national and international point of reference for its Symphony Season and its productions such as Sheherazade by Rismky Korsakov performed for the first time in Livorno in November 2022 or Tchaikovsky's Symphony VI repeated 90 years after the first Italian performance conducted by Pietro Mascagni.
The artistic specificities of the orchestra are to be found in the Mascagnano, Pucciniano and Verdian opera repertoire. He actively participates every year in the Mascagni Festival in Livorno, giving new life to works by the composer from Livorno par excellence.
The conductors and soloists with whom the orchestra has collaborated have appreciated its dynamism and availability. The artists who have been able to appreciate it over time are: Anderson Dean, De Lorenzo Giancarlo, Fratta Gianna, Madaras Gergely, NG Wilson, Raskin Daniel, Smbatyan Sergey, Warner John, Blaumane Kristīna – Cellist, Brovtsyn Boris – Violinist, Cafaro Nicolò – Pianist, Chiacchiaretta Cesare – Bandoneonist, de Niese Danielle – Soprano, De Palma Dino – Violinist and Violist, Furia Fabio – Bandoneonist, Itamar Zorman – Violinist, Meloni Fabrizio – Clarinetist. Pellegrino Ettore – Violinist, Quaranta Salvatore – Violinist, Ruggiero Salvatore – Oboist, Semchuk Olexander – Violinist, Taverna Alessandro – Pianist, Yeol Eum Son – Pianist, Zhou Nancy – Violinist.
The Principal Conductor of the Orchestra is Maestro Eric Lederhandler, the Associate Conductor is Gianluca J. Greco.
In 2022, the Orchestra performed 82 concerts, 60% of which at the Teatro Goldoni in Livorno, and the remainder at important theaters such as the Ariston Theater in Sanremo, the Teatro Sociale in Camogli, the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome and made co-productions with important symphonic institutions such as the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra, the Abruzzese Symphony Orchestra, the Bari Symphony Orchestra and the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra. He took part in the staging of 6 operas and strengthened institutional connections through the EU-funded project “Accordi Musicali”.
The YOM 2022 Competition saw the participation of 287 young instrumentalists for scholarships of €10,000.