Eugen-Jochum-Prize 2019  -  Neeme-Järvi-Prize 2016 

Swiftly emerging as one of the most exciting talents of the younger generation, French-Swiss conductor Joseph Bastian is widely celebrated for his “total precision, and calm and masterful manner”, and renowned for the remarkable and tangible sense of partnership he creates with orchestral musicians.

The former Principal Bass Trombonist of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (‘BRSO’) (2004-2017), Bastian burst into the international spotlight in February 2016, when he stepped in at the last moment to conduct the orchestra in three subscription concerts – replacing an indisposed Robin Ticciati – with the blessing of his Chief Conductor and conducting supporter, Mariss Jansons. Embracing a demanding programme of Brahms, Berg, and Elgar, Bastian “took over in a very sovereign way as a conductor, transforming this unexpected debut into an artistic triumph” (Abendzeitung München). The event was widely heralded as a “sensational debut” – and Bastian was immediately re-invited. Bastian’s recent projects with the BRSO have included conducting the finals of the ARD International Music Competition (2018), and a contemporary programme of Boulez and Reich.  During the performance of the latter, Bastian was awarded the prestigious Eugen-Jochum-Preis for Conducting (2019).

Highlights of the 2020/2021 season include work with a number of leading orchestras, including the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Orchestre Dijon-BourgogneOrchestre National d’Île de FranceOrquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, Göttinger Symphonieorchester, Orchestre de Chambre du Luxembourg and the SWR Symphonieorchester, as well as the academies of the WDR Köln and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

This builds upon the success of the last two seasons, which have seen Bastian making an impressive number of major debuts across Europe and Asia in relatively short time.  These have included, amongst others, the Bamberger SymphonikerBremer PhilharmonikerDresdner Philharmoniker, Düsseldorfer Symphonikerhr-SinfonieorchesterNürnberger SymphonikerOrchestre Philharmonique Royal de LiègeOrchestre symphonique et lyrique de NancyOrquesta Ciudad de Granada, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra

 

Amongst those performances requiring postponement due to the 2020 COVID19 pandemic were his debut with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, returns to the DRP Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern and the Asian Youth Orchestra, as well as a Zürich Opera House production of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna with the Zürich International Opera Studio and Die Bernauerin at the Carl Orff Festival. 

Born in France to a French-Swiss family, Bastian began his musical journey by studying the cello, trombone, and composition. After studies in trombone at the University of Music Saar, he performed as a member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and Pierre Boulez, and the Orchestra of the Academy of the Munich Philharmonic, before taking up his position as Principal Bass Trombonist with the BRSO.

During his tenure with the orchestra (a period which afforded him first-hand observation of the rehearsal techniques and performance styles of many of the world’s leading conductors), Bastian was helped and supported in his own conducting studies by Mariss Jansons, with whom he worked closely as an Assistant Conductor. He also worked as an Assistant to Daniel Harding and Vladimir Jurowski (London Philharmonic Orchestra), whilst receiving masterclasses and support from such artists as Bernard Haitink (Festival Strings Lucerne), Jorma Panula (Noord Nederlands Orkest), and David Zinman (Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich). Bastian further honed his skills as Chief Conductor of the Abaco-Orchestra of the University of Munich (2011-2018), touring the orchestra to such major European venues as Musikverein Wien. He was awarded the prestigious Neeme Järvi Prize at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy (2016), and went on to take the Gstaad Festival Orchestra on international tour during the 2016/2017 season. In spring 2018, Bastian took the decision to resign his position as Principal Bass Trombone, in order to dedicate himself fully to developing his rapidly expanding career on the conducting podium.

In addition to his planned 2020 work with the Zürich Opera Studio, Bastian’s operatic experience includes productions with BRSO, Bourgas State Opera, and Kammeroper München. Alongside the major symphonic repertoire, coupled with a dedication to the championing of contemporary works (including the recent world premieres of Fredrik Högberg’s Violin Concerto, and Aziza Sadikova’s Percussion Concerto), Bastian also has a keen interest in historically informedperformance practice. During his earlier career as an orchestral musician, his expert knowledge of instruments such as the sackbut, serpent, and ophicleide saw him perform not only with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, but also with other such world-class ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

© 2020 Joseph Bastian - Photos : Astrid Ackermann, Tianjin Grand Theater