Adrian Brendel


Born in London in 1976, Adrian studied cello with William Pleeth and soon shared his teacher’s profound attachment to chamber music. He later received lessons from Alexander Baillie and Frans Helmerson in London and Cologne, and participated in masterclasses with Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, members of the Alban Berg Quartet and with his father, Alfred Brendel. A critically acclaimed recording of Beethoven’s cello sonatas with his father is available on Philips. 

One of the most versatile and original cellists of his generation, Adrian Brendel has travelled the world as soloist, collaborator and teacher. His early immersion in the core classical repertoire inspired an enduring fascination that has led to encounters with many fine musicians at the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls. His discovery of contemporary music through the works of Kurtag, Kagel and Ligeti in his teenage years opened a new and vital avenue that he continues to explore with huge enthusiasm alongside his passion for jazz and world music. In 2014 he became a member of the Nash Ensemble of London.

Projects with contemporary composers and conductors such as Kurtag, Thomas Adès and Peter Eötvös among others inspired him to cultivate new music in his concert programmes wherever possible. A three-year project with Sir Harrison Birtwistle led to premieres of his song cycle Bogenstrich and a piano trio released on the ECM label. He also premiered York Hoeller’s cello concerto Mouvements with NDR Hamburg alongside Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Canto di Speranza.

Adrian’s presence on the international stage is closely bound to his work as a recitalist and chamber musician. His duo partners include Aleksandar Madžar, Imogen Cooper, Till Fellner, Tim Horton, Kit Armstrongand Christian Ihle Hadland, while he also performs regularly with, among others, Henning Kraggerud, Lisa Batiashvili, Lars-Anders Tomter, Andrej Bielow, Katharine Gowers and Alasdair Beatson. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and many orchestras throughout Germany and Eastern Europe.

His annual visit to the International Musicians’ Seminar in Prussia Cove, founded by Sándor Végh as a perfect environment for music-making, holds great personal and artistic importance. Until 2017 Adrian was artistic director of the Plush Festival held every summer since 1995 in Dorset. Its programme is devoted to classical and contemporary chamber music, lieder recitals, modern jazz, folk and world music concerts and has featured over 100 contemporary works and 200 leading artists and emerging musicians from around the world. Artists who have performed at Plush include Radu Lupu, Mark Padmore, Paul Lewis, Louis Lortie, Miklos Perenyi, Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power.


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