Andrew Manze

Andrew Manze

Conductor • Violin

• Born 1965

Biography

Andrew Manze has had dual careers, one in early music as a violinist, the other as a conductor in mainstream symphonic repertory. As a presenter on BBC radio, Manze has also been a key communicator between classical musicians and the general British public.

Manze was born on April 14, 1965, in Beckenham, near London. His education began at Cambridge, where he studied Classics. He then moved on to music studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, studying with both Simon Standage and Marie Leonhardt. Manze then joined the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, remaining there until 1993. The following year, he began collaborating with harpsichordist Richard Egarr. One of their major releases presented a 1712 collection of violin sonatas by composer Jean-Féry Rebel. Meanwhile, Manze formed the group Romanesca with harpsichordist John Toll and lutenist Nigel North; the trio specialized in music of the 17th century. In 1996, Manze was appointed the associate director and concertmaster of the Baroque group The Academy of Ancient Music. From 2003-2007, he was the music director of The English Concert.

He became a popular presenter on BBC Radio and made his debut with the BBC Proms concerts in 1998. That concert was televised nationally, with Manze playing concertos by Pergolesi, Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart, and introducing the public to the enthusiasm and directness of the new ways of performing Baroque and Classical music. He is known for his freedom of ornamentation, bringing an improvisatory excitement to his concerts. Manze was long a busy soloist on the international concert scene, appearing in one season with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the early music group Tafelmusik, and the Berlin Philharmonic.

As Manze's career progressed, he shifted mostly to conducting. Increasingly often in the 2000s and 2010s, Manze turned to mainstream Romantic and contemporary repertory, leading traditional symphony orchestras rather than early music ensembles. From 2006 to 2014, he was the chief conductor of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. After a sequence of guest appearances with top German, English, and American orchestras, he was appointed chief conductor of the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Hannover, Germany, in 2014, and his contract there has been extended through 2023. He has taken up residence in Germany.

Recording for the Harmonia Mundi label, Manze won Gramophone, Edison, and Cannes Classical awards for his recording with Romanesca of Biber's flashy and mystical violin sonatas. His playing of Vivaldi's newly discovered "Manchester" sonatas won the Premio Internazionale del Disco Vivaldi Antica Italiana. His album Phantasticus won the Cannes Classical Award and a Diapason d'Or. He continued to record Baroque music, issuing his second version of Vivaldi's Four Seasons in 2010, but he has increasingly been active as a conductor on recordings. The year 2016 saw the beginning of a Manze-led cycle of Ralph Vaughan Williams' symphonies with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2018, he issued no fewer than nine recordings as a conductor and slowed only slightly in 2019 and 2020, when he led the NDR Radiophilharmonie in a recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, and Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.

In addition to conducting, Manze has been active as a teacher, writer, and editor. He was honored in 2011 with Sweden's Rudolf Schock Prize, previously bestowed upon such luminaries as Gidon Kremer, György Ligeti, and Kaija Saariaho. Manze is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

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