Martin Gester

A partir d’une formation à la fois littéraire et musicale, instrumentale et vocale, passionné par l’histoire et attentif aux traditions orales, à l’art de la danse et du théâtre, Martin Gester s’efforce de retisser les liens que les usages séparent, renouant, à sa manière, avec l’idéal du musicien baroque: ouvert, multiple et humaniste.

Après des études littéraires et musicales au Conservatoire et à l’Université de Strasbourg, il fonde, en 1990, le Parlement de Musique  un ensemble inventif, découvreur, modulable et exigeant, à la croisée des styles baroque et classique, du concert et de la scène, aussi préoccupé de détecter de nouveaux talents que de collaborer avec les artistes reconnus.

Martin Gester a pratiqué de nombreux répertoires répartis sur quatre siècles. Actuellement, il dirige aussi volontiers les Vêpres de Monteverdi que les symphonies classique - et parfois au-delà - préoccupé de souligner ce que la musique de l’âge classique et du premier romantisme doivent au langage baroque. 

Il a dirigé le Parlement de Musique sur une quarantaine d’enregistrements discographiques illustrant un répertoire de deux siècles de musique, de T.L. de Victoria à J. Haydn, et s’est produit dans des salles prestigieuses sur quatre continents. Il a aussi dirigé d’autres ensembles et orchestres. Une collaboration toute particulière s’est établie depuis 1998 avec Arte dei Suonatori, orchestre baroque polonais - l’enregistrement récent des 12 Concerti grossi op. 6 de Haendel chez BIS (Suède), a rencontré un accueil international enthousiaste, comme étant l’une des «versions de référence» dans une discographie déjà prestigieuse. Récemment, les Suites pittoresques et Concerts Polonois de G.F. Telemann (BIS, janvier 2013) et « Vivaldi et Venise entre Noël et Carnaval » ont suivi le même chemin.

Parallèlement, Martin Gester poursuit ses activités d’interprète : organiste en récital ou soliste de concertos, ou partenaire de musique de chambre au clavecin et au pianoforte, notamment en duo avec Aline Zylberajch (ils viennent d’enregistrer l’oeuvre de Mozart à 4 mains au pianoforte), mais aussi seul : son enregistrement des 6 Partitas pour clavecin de Bach paru chez Ligia, illustre sa recherche des relations entre la musique la plus élaborée et la danse. Suivent : Portraits et Caractères : autour de Jacques Duphly. Et, bientôt, des œuvres de Johann Schobert, toujours chez le même éditeur. 

 Un goût très prononcé pour le travail avec des chanteurs choisis lui fait explorer l’univers du chant lyrique – cantate, motet ou lied – de Monteverdi jusqu’à Schubert. 

Il enseigne l'interprétation aux chanteurs et instrumentistes (orgue, pianoforte, musique de chambre et orchestre baroque) à l’Académie Supérieure de Musique et au Conservatoire de Strasbourg et donne régulièrement des masterclasses sur plusieurs continents.

Martin Gester a été nommé Chevalier des Arts et Lettres et élevé à l’Ordre du Mérite par les Ministères de la Culture respectivement français et polonais.



Martin Gester  (english)

Martin Gester’s artistic personality has been fashioned through his constant acute curiosity and exposure to a great number of neglected masterpieces. That personality infuses his profoundly original approach to mainstream repertoire, whether at the head of his ensemble, as a guest conductor, or a soloist in chamber music.
Using his own personal style, he revives the ideal of the Baroque artist: open-minded, multifaceted and humanist. To this end, he draws on his dual literary and musical training (instrumental, organ and harpsichord, and vocal); his passion for history and attentiveness to oral traditions; his fondness for dance and theatre; and his special interest in restoring the links between cultures and disciplines which are customarily separated. In 1990, he founded Le Parlement de Musique in Strasbourg. It is a flexibly-sized ensemble created to suit his tastes, and is both a place for experimentation and a dissemination tool. At that time, Martin Gester had already had years of literary and musical studies behind him. By turns singer in polyphonic groups, performer and improviser (aside from the organ, he studied the piano and harpsichord), choirmaster, musicologist and teacher (of both Classics and music), he has played many repertoires ranging over four centuries. His early passion for Renaissance polyphony certainly played its role in subsequently refocusing his activity on the art of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, but he also admits to a marked penchant for Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Weber, and bel canto opera from Paisiello to Donizetti.
He had his first experience of the art of conducting orchestras when heading Le Parlement de Musique; then as a guest conductor with groups of various sizes. Nowadays, he is as at home conducting the Monteverdi Vespers as the vocal works of Scarlatti, Handel, Gluck and Mozart, or the classical symphonies, readily surmounting the extremely narrow traditional barriers between the so-called ‘early’ and ‘modern’ schools.
He has been the conductor on some forty recordings at the head of Le Parlement de Musique (Opus 111, Naïve, Accord-Universal, Assai, Calliope and Tempéraments-Radio France), most of these being revelations of little-known music from varied repertoires, receiving awards from the international press. These embrace motets by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Sébastien de Brossard, Michel-Richard de Lalande, François Couperin, Jacques-Antoine Denoyé and Samuel Capricornus; oratorios, including the anonymous Uppsala Passion (one of the most highly-awarded CDs of all time) and works by Reinhard Keiser, Johann Sebastian Bach, Giovanni Battista Bassani, Alessandro Scarlatti, Giacomo Carissimi, and Antonio Caldara; and organ concertos by Johann Sebastian and Johann Christian Bach, Giovanni Battista Sammartini, Antonio Vivaldi and Joseph Haydn. He has conducted on four continents in such prestigious venues as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Théâtre du Châtelet, the Royal Opera at Versailles Palace, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Toruń and Poznań Philharmonic Halls, and festivals at Ambronay, Saint-Michel-en-Thiérache, La Chaise-Dieu, Strasbourg, Sans-Souci (Potsdam), Schleswig-Holstein, Halle and Wrocław. He has also appeared as a guest conductor of other ensembles, including the New York Collegium, Collegium Vocale Gent, La Chapelle Royale, Les Chantres de la Chapelle de Versailles, the Nederlandse Bachvereniging Utrecht, Musica Aeterna Bratislava, the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique du Rhin-Mulhouse, the Orchestra du Pays de Savoie, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Málaga, the Sächsisches Sinfonieorchester Chemnitz, Camerata antigua de Curitiba, and so on.
He pursues a parallel career as a solo organist and harpsichordist whilst also playing harpsichord and fortepiano in chamber music groups. In 2013, he recorded the Clavierübung 1 (6 Partitas) by J.S. Bach on the harpsichord; and, with Aline Zylberajch on pianoforte, the four-hand works by W.A. Mozart.
In 1998, he began a particularly fruitful collaboration with the Polish Baroque orchestra, Arte dei Suonatori. Their regular work on Baroque concertos over a period of several years led to the recording in 2007 of Handel’s twelve Concerti Grossi Opus 6 for the Swedish label, BIS. This release attracted great attention from international specialist critics (BBC Music Magazine, Classic FM, Fono Forum, Alte Musik Aktuell, Tokkata, Diapason, Le Monde de la Musique, Orfeo, etc.). In 2012, Picturesque Overtures and Concertos Polonois followed, serving as the prelude to other projects, including Handel’s Concertos op.3 released on the same label.
Martin Gester teaches the art of performing to singeras and instrumentalists - especially on on the organ, on the harpsichord and the fortepiano -, chamber music and baroque orchestral performing, at the Académie Supérieure de Musique and the Conservatoire de Musique in Strasbourg, and frequently gives masterclasses. 

In keeping with his natural inclination for combining research, performance and pedagogy, he founded a Opera workshop called Génération Baroque to complement Le Parlement de Musique. It is an organisation which aims to ease professional integration, train musicians and give them exposure. Its annual sessions are devoted to Baroque and Classical oratorio and opera, Haydn: L’Infedeltà delusa (2008) - Une Soirée chez Mozart: un Voyage dans ses Opéras (An Evening with Mozart: a Journey through His Operas) with the Ambronay Academy (2009) – Handel: Alcina – at Suscinio Castle and the Palais des Arts in Vannes (2009) – Porpora’s Venetian Vespers (2010) – Acis & Galatea by Handel (2011) at the Poznan Baroque Festival - Orpheus by Telemann (2013) - Matthäuspassion by Valentin Meder (2014) - L’Italiana in Londra by Cimarosa (2015) -Alceste by Lully (concert version). 
Martin Gester was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Art and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture for his direction of Le Parlement de Musique, and awarded the Order of Merit by the Polish Minister of Culture for his work with Arte dei Suonatori.