Albrecht Mayer may be best known as the principal oboist for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but he is celebrated across the world as a soloist and chamber musician on the oboe, as well as the English horn and oboe d'amore.
Mayer was born in Erlangen, Germany, on June 3, 1965. After studying piano, recorder, and voice at a young age, Mayer took up the oboe at age ten. Mayer studied oboe under Gerhard Scheuer, Georg Meerwein, Maurice Bourgue, and Ingo Goritzki. An early orchestral position for Mayer was with the European Community Youth Orchestra. His career as a professional oboist began in 1990 when he was named principal oboist of his hometown Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. In 1992, Mayer left the Bamberg Symphony and joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as its principal oboist. Along with the orchestra, Mayer also performs with the Philharmonic's wind ensembles.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Mayer has performed much of the existing repertoire for his instruments while also looking for ways to expand it further through arrangements and transcriptions. With an affinity for the human voice, Mayer has transcribed several vocal works, as can be found on his 2003 album Johann Sebastian Bach: Lieder ohne Worte, as well as his 2006 album New Seasons, which features Mayer performing the vocal lines of Handel's music on oboe, oboe d'amore, or English horn. Other composers he's arranged or transcribed include Vivaldi, Ravel, and Debussy. Mayer is also enthusiastic about expanding the repertoire with new music, as can be heard on Martin Grubinger's album Drums 'n' Chant. As a chamber musician, Mayer's collaborators include Hélène Grimaud, Thomas Quasthoff, and Leif Ove Andsnes. He has appeared as a soloist with Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Nigel Kennedy, among others.
Mayer has earned several awards as a recording artist, including the Echo Klassik "Instrumentalist of the Year" award twice. He's mainly recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels. In 2019, he was joined by conductor Jakub Hrusa and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra for the album Longing for Paradise, on Deutsche Grammophon.