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News > Arts & Culture > Music > OT Christopher Ward (WW 94-98) is making Huge Strides in the Music World

OT Christopher Ward (WW 94-98) is making Huge Strides in the Music World

Christopher is now 'Generalmusikdirektor' of Theatre Aachen in Germany, the Aachen Symphony Orchestra and has brought out two CDs
10 Dec 2021
Written by Lucy Tipler


Music Network

Born in 1980, Christopher Ward studied at Tonbridge School followed by Oxford University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. During this time he worked with Oxford University Philharmonia and Chorus, Oxford Bach Choir and New Chamber Opera. In 2003, he was awarded the position of Répétiteur Fellow at Scottish Opera and the RSAMD, Glasgow.

He moved to Germany in 2005, and in 2006 he assisted Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic; in 2009 became conductor and assistant to Kent Nagano at the Bavarian State Opera.

From 2014 he worked as conductor at the Saarländisches Staatstheater, and he has since made guest appearances at the Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Komische Oper Berlin, National Theatre Prague, and the Bregenz Festival.

More recently, he conducted at short notice the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon for an indisposed Daniel Barenboim at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin.

In 2018 he was appointed Generalmusikdirektor of Theater Aachen and Sinfonieorchester Aachen, and the appointment of an English musician to such a revered position created headlines in the German press.

Christopher used his time during lockdown to bring out two CDs - one of them Elgar and Bridge Cello concertos; the other is called “Aachener Walzer“, both released in October.

A recent reivew of the Elgar and Bridge Cello Concertos describes them as "hugely impressive and refreshlingly straightforward". The rave review can be read in the Guardian

Christopher remembers Tonbridge fondly, he writes:

“My days at Tonbridge School seem far away, but I will always be incredibly grateful for the time spent there, and the fantastic education and opportunities that I received. In fact, during this time, it became clear to me that I wanted to become a conductor, and I was given my first fledgling chances to try that out.

Almost 25 years later, it was a huge thrill to record some English music and muse on my musical roots! I asked myself, for example, what a characteristic English sound really is, and tried to communicate that to the players in Vienna, ending up talking a lot about the English landscape.

Much of the time from Tonbridge until now has been spent on the German opera house “Ochsentour” - the “slow, hard road to the top”. And having had a wealth of experience from beginning as a pianist and working my way up the hierarchy.

 I now thankfully find myself as a “Generalmusikdirektor”, in charge of an opera house and orchestra, and able to shape an institution as well as plan such projects as the “Aachener Walzer” CD.

Tchaikovsky stayed in Aachen in 1887 for six weeks, and finished his “Mozartiana” Suite here. He also penned a 16-bar walz theme in his notebook, which I asked the contemporary Russian composer André Parfenov to use to write a full length piece. And with several other of his works in a more contemporary style, we used our lockdown time in February 2021 - stranded without theatre or concerts - to record this CD.

My warmest wishes to everyone at the School, and to anyone who might remember me from that time! Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity before long to return to conduct on home soil!”

Watch Christopher conducting as well as an interview about Hans Rott (1858-1884) Complete Orchestral Works here


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