Albrecht Mayer’s first encounter with music was as a member of the Cathedral Choir in his home city of Bamberg, an early experience which is perhaps partly responsible for the warm, singing quality of his oboe-playing. His artistry invites superlatives: people talk of a “divine spark” and how he has elevated the “miraculous oboe” to become an “instrument of seduction”.
He began his professional career in 1990 as principal oboist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Since 1992 he has occupied the same position with the Berliner Philharmoniker, despite his growing renown as a concert soloist. Among the most sought-after oboists of our time, he has appeared as soloist with such eminent conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2007 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Awarded Bamberg’s ETA-Hoffmann Prize in December 2006, Mayer has also been honoured with the ECHO-Klassik prize three times, twice as Instrumentalist of the Year. In 2013 he was inducted into the Gramophone “Hall of Fame” and awarded the Bavarian Culture Prize.
February 2015 saw the release of Lost and Found, a collection of four little-known Classical concertos for oboe and English horn in which Mayer is both soloist and conductor of the Kammerakademie Potsdam. Issued in November 2017, meanwhile, Tesori d’Italia featured performances by Mayer and I Musici of long-lost concertos by Giuseppe Sammartini, Domenico Elmi and Giovanni Alberto Ristori alongside Vivaldi’s much-loved Oboe Concerto in C major RV 450.
Mayer’s latest recording, made with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hrůša and scheduled for international release in May 2019, features music for oboe and orchestra by Elgar, Strauss, Ravel (a new orchestral arrangement of Le Tombeau de Couperin) and Goossens. The four works are linked by their composers’ experiences of loss and warfare – whether past, present or impending – and by a longing for beauty in the face of tragedy.
Despite the pressures of his schedule, he has also found time to establish the Albrecht Mayer Foundation, a project that raises funds to save eyesight. “To me as a musician, hearing is of paramount importance in my life,” he said. “For the very reason that our senses are of unique significance to human beings, I can hardly imagine to be obliged to live with fading eyesight or even without any eyesight at all.”
Albrecht Mayer plays an oboe and oboe d’amore by German maker Gebrüder Mönnig
We have published some events where he is the protagonist in our agenda of the oboist.