Festival Guest Composer 2020
Gotthard Odermatt was born in Lucerne and grew up in Zurich. As a child and during his teens he was a member of the Zurich Boys Choir (Zürcher Sängerknaben), during which time he sang in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Salzburg Festival with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan in addition to the Tonhalle Zurich, Zurich Opera House, the Stadtcasino Basel and the Bern City Theatre.
At the age of twelve, Gotthard Odermatt began learning the oboe and later graduated from the School of Music in Zurich under Simon Fuchs with a performance diploma. He has worked in the Zurich Opera House, the Musikkollegium Winterthur and the Symphony Orchestra of St. Gallen.
As a composer, Gotthard Odermatt first gained public recognition in 2004 with his "Wind Octet in D major, op. 15", which was performed a year later by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Later compositions include his "Wind Quintet in E major, op. 16", "Time and the Hour, op. 17", for mixed choir and harp. In 2010, DECCA label released his "Three images for oboe and orchestra op. 18" performed by Albrecht Mayer, principal oboist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In 2012, further premieres followed: in the Tonhalle Zurich, the "Concertino for Oboe d'amore and strings, op. 19", also with Albrecht Mayer as soloist, and, in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic, the "Five Miniatures, op. 20" for solo bassoon, with Stefan Schweigert, principal bassoonist of the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 2013, Berlin Philarmonic commissioned Odermatt his "Constellations Suite, op. 21" for 14 flutes, which was performed by the 14 Berlin Philharmonic flautists. With this concert, the composer also made his conducting debut in Berlin. The work has been performed around the world, both in the original version for 14 flutes and in several arrangements for different instruments, made by the composer. The world premiere of the version for flute and harp took place in 2015 at the Lucerne Harp Festival. Sarah Rumer, solo flautist of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, was accompanied by Anne Bassand, teacher of the harp at the Lucerne School of Music The world premiere of the version for mixed ensemble took place in Switzerland in 2016 and was performed by Odermatt's very own "Krommer-Bläserensemble".
Also in 2016, the Hitzacker Music Festival formed the backdrop to the world premiere of the oboe concerto "the colours of water, op. 22b", an orchestral version of the eponymous oboe sonata first performed in 2014. Oboist Albrecht Mayer was accompanied by the Kammerakademie Potsdam. In 2017 additional premieres took place in Switzerland with Duo Praxedis and in Tokyo with Rie Koyama and Frédéric Lagarde. Various other instrumentalists, such as Andreas Blau, Pamela Stahel, Shanna Gutierrez, Michel Bellavance, Matthias Ziegler, Alexander Schmalcz, Markus Becker and Gàbor Boldoczki have previously performed works by Odermatt in different countries.