Martin Haselböck

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Founder & Artistic Director: Wiener Akademie Orchestra
Artistic Director: Musica Angelica Baroque orchestra
Conductor-in-Residence: residence Liszt-Festival Raiding

The Austrian conductor Martin Haselböck hails from a famous family of musicians. Following studies in Vienna and Paris, receiving numerous prizes and fellowships, he first gained international attention as an organ soloist, performing with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, LorinMaazel, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Riccardo Muti. Major composers of our time dedicated their work to him, including Friedrich Cerha, Ernst Krenek, Alfred Schnittke, Cristobal Halffter and Amy Gilbert Amy.

Hisoran recordings earnedoutstanding reviews and awards, including the DeutscherSchallplattenpreis, the Diapason d'Or and the Hungarian Liszt Prize. He has more than 50 organ CDs, including a much-acclaimed complete works for organ of Franz Liszt on the NCA label. He has advised on the construction of important concert organs including that of Vienna Musikverein’s Golden Hall, which he helped inaugurate at a gala concert in March 2011. Later that year on the same instrument, he performed Hindemith’s Organ Concerto with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi. 

In his role as Court Organist of Vienna, Martin Haselböck’s immersion in the great repertoire of classical church music inspired him to establish the period-instrument ensemble, the Wiener AkademieOrchestra in 1985. He now conducts them in an annual series of concerts in Vienna’s Musikverein. Theyare regular guests and resident artists in concert halls and opera productions around the world and in the 2014-15 season will appear at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Prague Spring Festival, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw and the Hong Kong Festival. That season Martin Haselbök inaugurates a project to present all the Beethoven symphonies in the Viennese halls where they were first performed. He has conductor more than 80 recordings of the Wiener Akademie Orchestra, in wide-ranging repertoire, including recipients of the Diapason d'Or and the DeutscherSchallplattenpreis. 

As Conductor in Residence of the Raiding Liszt Festival, MartinHaselböck is currently completing a major project with the Wiener AkademieOrchestra to perform and record the complete orchestral works of Franz Liszt. The first six CDs in the series, The Sound of Weimar, have been released to outstanding critical praise and awards including the Jun-Tokusen Award and two Grands Prix du Disques from the Liszt Society.

Martin Haselböckenjoys a busy career as a guest conductor with the world’s leading orchestras. He has conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, DeutschesSymphonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic, the Staatskappele Weimar, Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi Milano, the National Philharmonic Orchestras of Russia, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, the Marinski Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra among many others. In 2014-15 he makes debuts with the RTVE-Orchestra in Madrid, the HR Philharmonic in Frankfurt, and the Warsaw Philharmonic. In North America his conducting engagements have included concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Detroit, Vancouver and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 2004 Martin Haselbøock was named Artistic Director of the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra in Los Angeles, conducting a regular concert series in California and tours throughout North American and abroad. 

Martin Haselböck has enjoyed a distinguished career as an opera conductor since making his debut at the Göttingen Handel Festival. He was the first to stage new productions of the great Mozart operas performed on period instruments in Germany. His production of Don Giovanni was awarded the Mozart Prize by the City of Prague. He has conducted new operaproductions at the festivals of Salzburg, Schwetzingen, and Vienna and in the opera houses of Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne and Halle. As Artistic Director of the Reinsberg Festival he conducted acclaimed productions of Der Freischütz, Fidelio, Hänsel und Gretel and Acis& Galatea. He will conduct Handel’s Radamisto at the Palacio de Belles Artes in Mexico in November 2014.

Martin Hasleböck has enjoyed a compelling series of collaborations with the American actor John Malkovich and Austrian director Michael Sturminger, developing the music / theatre dramas The Infernal Comedy and The Giacomo Variations. By fall 2013 these productions had seen nearly 150 performances in 72 cities including Budapest, London, Paris, Prague, Warsaw, Moscow, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, Toronto, Chicago, New York. The Casanova Variations with John Malkovich and Martin Haselböck was filmed byAlfama Films for 2014 release.In 2012 Haselböck collaborated with directors Frank Hoffmann and Virgil Widrich on a music / theater work, The Black Cat for tenor, dancers and orchestra, which premiered in Luxembourg. Another music/theatre work, Death of a Diva with Widrich is in preparation to premiere at the Ruhr Festival in June 2015.

Martin Haselböck has received numerous honors and awards, including the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, the Prague Mozart Prize, the Hungarian Liszt Prize and most recently, the Grand Decoration of Honor for Service to the Republic of Austria.


Recording of Mozart Church Sonatas, Capriccio Records:

“Playing music on period instruments, the Weiner Akademie under Martin Haselboeck’s direction, the works are refreshing, lively and smart, not trying to be sanctimonious. Most of all, the strings play with a pleasant drive and Haselboeck shines on the silver- bright organ of the Vienna Hofburg Chapel with effortless ease.”

- – May 8, 2014

Recording: Liszt Organ Arrangements, CPO Records: 

“One may feel that, in their orchestral and orchestra/organ garb, one is hearing these works for the first time. Martin Haselböck, himself an organist of exceptional prowess, who has performed the originals many times and recorded them at least twice, leads with a sweep alert to detail and, in the Ad nos … Fantasy and Fugue, manages the organ/orchestra dialogue with potent eloquence. The orchestral works come across in immediate, transparent, often walloping sound. Enthusiastically recommended.” 

- Fanfare – April 27, 2014

“Martin Haselböck marshals his forces into a thrilling and rewarding experience. These are impressive performances. A super disc.”

- Gramophone Magazine – March 2014

Recording: Liszt: 6 Hungarian Rhapsodies,CPO Records:

“As with Martin Haselböck’s fascinating period-instrument series of Liszt tone-poems, his set of the six Hungarian Rhapsodies employs a somewhat smaller orchestra than we’re accustomed to in this music, the sort that Liszt himself would have known in Weimar. The musical upshot of this option is added transparency, with comparatively soft textures and a correspondingly reduced level of visceral impact. The litmus test for this music is surely the indelible Second Rhapsody, which is given a genial, finely detailed reading with the odd cadenza-like passage, and interesting solo interjections. Remembering that the material this music is based upon was popular in the cafés of the day, that’s precisely how the music sounds here, fresh and ‘jolly’. Martin Haselböck’s approach brings with it varieties of tonal colouring that anyone interested in this perennially delightful music will appreciate hearing.” 

- Gramophone Magazine – December 2013

“Grand sweep, intense and overdone emotion, and a certain sprawl beyond the limits of formal structure are generally considered characteristics of the Romantic repertoire. However, the notion that Romantic music is somehow unsubtle, inevitably wearing its heart on its sleeve, is an overstatement that is often unfair to composers of the time. These are thoughts engendered by Martin Haselböck’s poised, elegant and very musicianly performances of the six orchestrated Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt. These are among Liszt’s flashiest orchestral works, and they have considerable surface-level charm that is often the only impression they leave behind after a performance. Not so here. Orchester Wiener Akademie performs the pieces on original 19 th-century instruments and this is one reason the Hungarian Rhapsodies here have a more-mellow sound then in modern-instrument performances. But Haselböck’s way with the music is an even bigger reason. He takes these pieces seriously, studiously avoiding the ebullience that is so much in evidence in most performances and tending to select tempos, even in the friss sections, that are slower and more stately than usual. The result is that, for example, the ‘Carnival in Pest’ is celebratory without being raucous, while ‘Héroïdeélégiaque’ does have heroic as well as elegiac moments. Haselböck clearly believes that the Hungarian Rhapsodies are serious music, not light-musical throwaways intended for pop concerts; and in that he is clearly correct, based on Liszt’s own intentions for these works. When the surface-level brightness of many other readings starts to fade, this one will remain front-and-center and even, indeed, gain considerable stature.”

- - September 12, 2013

“Martin Haselböck remains a fine organist and musician generally, and his belief in Liszt is both honest and musically persuasive. This ongoing ‘Sound of Weimar’ Liszt series has been largely impressive because the Orchestra of the Vienna Academy plays well, and because the interpretations ask us to take Liszt as seriously as the conductor does. Haselböck paces this music very well. The First Rhapsody doesn't really get going until it's almost half over, but Haselböck finds a flowing tempo from the outset that makes those introductory gestures sound, well, rhapsodic. Textures are clean and clear. Toss in excellent engineering from the Liszt Concert Hall in his home town of Raiding, and the result is a very enjoyable experience that just might be more musically substantial than you thought possible.” 

- Classics Today - September 3, 2013

“These performances by Liszt authority Martin Haselböck and the Wiener AkademieOrchester have considerable verve and appeal, and their infectious melodies carry them all the way. Haselböck has been active in re-creating the sound of the orchestras Liszt knew in Weimar, and it achieves similar results to recordings on NCA of Liszt’s symphonic poems. The sound is smaller and more intimate than that of a modern symphony orchestra, and the textures are leaner, but Haselböck and his players are convincing in their re-creation of a 19th century Hungarian orchestra.”

- - September 2, 2013

“Last weekend the Wiener Akademie, on period instruments, under their founder and conductor Martin Haselböck performed with immense precision,a personal touch and with great enthusiasm for the music. It was asy to hear, not only from their precision, but their fiery energy, that they have been playing together for over 25 years. Haselböck is a ‘Liszt-maniac’ who even during the time of the GDR unearthed music in Weimar of the great master from Raiding.” 

- SalzburgerNachrichten - March 26, 2012

“Under the energetic leadership of the conductor the performance was always thrilling and rich in colourful dynamics.” 

- Kurier - March 26, 2012

Recording: Liszt The Sound of Weimar, Vols. 1-5, NCA Records:

“Of the many interesting factors that strike home after listening to these fascinating CDs, the close proximity, sound-wise, between Liszt and Berlioz is of particular significance. Part of the reason lies with Martin Haselböck's period-instrument Vienna Academy Orchestra, which takes us away from the mountainous spectre of Wagner and presents each of these highly original canvases in a fresh light. So, at the transition from dark minor to bright major in Tasso, we note Liszt's acute sensitivity to orchestral color. The Berlioz parallel is apparent at around 9'18", with simultaneously growling low brass and shimmering high violins, and thereafter Haselböck points some of Listz's more delicate writing with a craftman's hand.Haselböck also offers us The Funeral Triumph of Tasso, an epiloque that Liszt appended during his Rome years and which incorporates the most beautiful chromatic melody, leading some scholars to place the work on a higher plane than its companion. Haselböck's sense of musical line helps confirm that impression. Die Ideale provides a good example of Haselböck's favoured approach to orchestral string-playing, with sparing use of vibrato and a subtle employment of portamento . Nothing subtle though, about the gusty attack from the strings in Prometheus - just what's needed - while the work's fugal centrepiece is tautly argued.Much of Festklänge ('Festive Sounds') swirls away in joyous abandon and, like Prometheusenjoys one of the most compelling performances in the series. Hamlet is another work fraught with inner conflict, which Haselböck releases without compromise, much as he does in the last tone-poem, From the Cradle to the Grave, where the central 'struggle' isn't rushed but rather builds inexorably to fever pitch and, in doing so, makes the mysterious writing that frames it all the more ethereal.These are important recordings. Time and again Haselböck's approach reveals aspects of Liszt's scoring that would otherwise go unnoticed; and even if, after learning these performances by heart, you return to Masur, Haitink, Solti or the maverick Golovanov, Haselböck will have taught you how to 'listen trough' as well as merely 'listening to'. You will have known Liszt's sound world as he knew it, more or less. That in itself is a very worthwhile learing curve.”

- Gramophone - November 2012

“Period performances of real interest: Liszt's scoring sounds more focused than on modern instruments. “From the Cradle to the Grave sounds hauntingly beautiful”

- BBC Music Magazine - October 2012

“The Magnificat finale is ethereal. With good recording, this is such a fine start to the series that it gave me high hopes for the next two volumes. I certainly would turn to Haselböck now in preference to Noseda or Conlon. The NCA sound is more open than the rivals – whether that’s due to the use of 19th-century instruments, Haselböck’s experience as an interpreter of Liszt’s organ music, or the recording quality, I couldn’t say. In Orpheus and Cequ’onentend I find a great deal to enjoy. Mazeppa also has its exciting moments and Haselböck certainly brings out the colourful elements of both scores.” 

- - April 12, 2012

“The second installment of Martin Haselböck's Liszt series moves the cursor across three contrasting tone-poems, with sound perspectives that are quite unlike the norm.Orpheus is played with the greatest purity but what most struck me about Haselböck's interpretation was its acknowledgement of the music's deep-rooted ambiguity, which is most striking in the quietly shuddering aftermath of the resplendent central climax. Haselböck and his players do well by the music's inherent drama.Vol. 3 of the series is in some respects the best so far, principally on account of Haselböck's compelling performance of the rarely heard Hungaria, a hommage to the Hungarian fatherland where local rhythms and inflections are tellingly underlined, and Hunnenschlacht, which Haselböck paces with canny judgment, never rushing fences but allowing the mightscatalysm at the work's center - where proudly triumphant forces draw to a sudden halt and allow for a quiet chorale - to make this full effect. Haselböck's liberated textures open new listening horizons that all lovers of this fine but still underrated music should investigate. I anticipate more revelations further along the way.” 

- Gramophone - January 2012

“With an orchestra playing authentic instruments and approximating the size of the ensemble Liszt knew in Weimar, the sound of these performances is quite exposed, distinctive, and fresh. Thanks to his years of experience in playing Liszt's organ music, Haselböck is authoritative in his direction, and his scholarship undoubtedly reinforces the authenticity of the performances.”

- - September 30, 2011

“There can be little doubt Martin Haselböck hears his Liszt from the organ loft. His five-CD set of organ works attests to both musical perception and scholarship, and I’m fairly certain that his approach to the complete orchestral works, of which this is the first volume, will find him a thoughtful and imaginative proponent of Liszt’s revolutionary language.An auspicious start, then, to what should prove an important new series, a valid overview and an interesting alternative to the more weighted, modern-instrument options provided by likes of Masur, Haitink, Karajan and the unstintingly passionate Nikolai Golovanov - though none of the aforementioned offers as comprehensive an overview as that Haselböck is planning for us.”

- Gramophone - August 2011

“With an orchestra playing authentic instruments approximating the size Liszt would have had available in Weimar, the sound of these performances is quite direct and at times startling in its originality. Haselböck is authoritative in his direction, and his ensemble plays with acute clarity and drama, as befits this music.”

- - June 1, 2011

"Wow! The Liszt Dante Symphony is a revelation: the rugged textures, the transparency, the earthiness that contrasts with the spiritual elements at the end. It blew me away!"

- Rob Cowan, BBC Radio 3 – March 7, 2011

The Infernal Comedy with John Malkovich:

“The music doesn't take a back seat to the actor. From the fiery traversal of Gluck's ciacona ‘L'enfer,’ from Don Juan, which opens the piece, to the vibrant accompaniment of the singers, the Orchester Wiener Akademie under Haselböck lends compelling energy to the action. This is perhaps the only operatic creation you are likely to see that could possibly feature John Malkovich. And it strangely works.” 

- Opera News - October 10, 2010

“Twenty-six members of the orchestra tackled Haydn's ‘Mercury Symphony while extra woodwinds swelled the number to 30 for Mozart Symphony No. 40. It's a particular thrill to hear musicians from the city that is at the centre of this music, where these pieces have a long and glorious living history. The Wiener Akademie performs on period instruments and, for much of its 25-year history, has called the famous Musikverein its home. The Viennese did very nicely. Conductor Martin Haselböck tended to push the dynamic envelope in the outer movements, making the Mozart, especially, sound raucous as members of the orchestra pushed their instruments to the limit. The slower, quieter movements of both the Haydn and Mozart were lovely, gossamer things that floated gracefully inside the acoustically warm space.” 

- Toronto Star – June 12, 2010

Recording: Handel Acis and Galatea:

“This superb recording captures the dramatic essence of this brilliant score. Both soloists and instrumentalists succeed in communicating its pastoral loveliness whilst never losing sight of its deeply emotional heart. Their elegant performances feature a regal simplicity and directness that always conveys the elusive plaintiveness that Handel went to such great pains to create. This exemplary performance is a splendid realization of Handel's wondrous ‘little opera’. This multichannel SACD has a stunning lifelike sound with rich immediacy and presence. Both the instruments and the voices fill the deep soundstage with a close approximation of a live performance. Close your eyes and you feel like you're there.”

- Audiophile Audition - February 15, 2010

“Under the direction of conductor Martin Haselbock, the Sydney Symphony's account of The Creation was one of its finest performances of the year: fresh, vigorous, joyful and life-affirming. Haselbock took scrupulous care, illuminating delicate vocal and instrumental lines without diluting the work's imposing impact. Whatever the mood, Haselbock and his performers found the means to achieve it. This outstanding performance was an inspiring tribute to this great master.” 

- The Australian - December 11, 2009

“First Choice” Gramophone survey of all recordings: Haydn Symphonies Nos. 6, 7 and 8:

“The recording is marked by lovely characterisation of the solo parts with a rich tonal palette lending grandeur especially to midi’s introduction. In the final reckoning it’s the flexibility and colorfulness of the Wiener Akademie that just about swing it for me. The stars (among many) are a pair of horns that really make their presence felt and a tenebrous double bass in the trios that can't help but bring a smile to the face.”

- Gramophone - June 2009

Mozart Idomeneo, Hanover Opera:

“Martin Haselböck interacted sensitively with the musical artists of the State Orchestra, putting forth a moving, hovering melancholy, interpreting Mozart’s ‘sentiment’ with intense empathy, conveying the existential suffering with singular related sounds.” 

- - March 3, 2009

“Haselböck’s Mozart sounds impeccable, eloquent and refined. All the phrasings are distinct and decisive. No wonder almost no mistakes happen in the orchestra with such a perfect concept: rarely has Mozart been heard here in such perfection.” 

- HannoverscheAllgemeineZeitung - February 5, 2009

“It is a good thing that opera houses secure the services of early music experts. Martin Haselböck made it clear during this special evening that Mozart's supremely serious Idomeneo can be done without consecration from the Philharmonic. His tempi are sometimes faster than Harnoncourt would have dared take them. Faster, yes, but much more articulate. From the very beginning of the overture one was eager to hear the rest. This was a performance wonderful enough to make you fall on your knees.” 

- Neue Press - January 2, 2009

Purcell The Fairy Queen,Musica Angelica:

“The music is, from start to finish, delicious. Led by Martin Haselböck, Musica Angelica captured some of the grandness of the score. This ensemble has become one of America’s best early music groups in recent years. In his sincere presentation and emphasis on musical structure, Haselböck put across the music lovingly well.” 

- Los Angeles Times - February 16, 2009

“Ardent and thrilling music making” 
“At the concert of the Wiener Akademie under the baton of it’s music director Martin Haselböck, music with much fire was to be heard on Wednesday at the Musikverein. Right from the beginning with the Allegro con brio from Mozart’s symphony KV 183 up to the final Allegro set you on fire. The highlight of the concert: the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 4th symphony performed with breathtaking tempi…yet always precisely and clearly presented. The evening ended captivatingly and buoyantly.” 

- Der Kurier - October 10, 2008

“One thinks inevitably of good green politics: Old contents with impudent freshness, with pungent bite and nevertheless founded - a virtue, which goes off in the political cash transaction, but lived in music, such as by the Viennese academy under its founder and musical leader Martin Haselböck.”

- Wiener ZeitungDonnerstag - October 9, 2008

Handel’s Acis& Galatea, Theater an der Wien, Vienna: 

“Martin Haselböck, elegantly slender in his characteristic conducting style, produces maximum effect, as he leads the Wiener Akademie.” 

- Der NeueMerker - July 9, 2008

Handel Festival, Halle, Germany:

“Martin Haselböck makes the music shine with an ensemble that is disposed to perfection. Musically the production equaled Berlin.”

- Frankfurter Rundschau - June 8, 2008

“The Handel Festival Orchestra under Martin Haselböck surpasses Rene Jacobs’ Academy of Ancient Music with its precision and unanimity.” 

- Neues Deutschland - June 8, 2008

“Triumph for the Orchestra” 
“The orchestra received a triumphal response from the audience, thanks to Martin Haselböck and his clear coordination between stage and pit. He finds the full dramaturgical power in the score, carries the singers in his palm and motivates the musicians.” 

- MitteldeutscheZeitung - June 8, 2008