The Swiss conductor, Matthias Bamert, studied music in his native Switzerland, as well as in Darmstadt and Paris, falling in with the likes of Pierre Boulez and Stockhausen; these associations can be detected in his own compositions from the 1970s. He spent from 1965 to 1969 as principal oboist with the Salzburg Mozart Orchestra, but then switched to conducting.
Matthias Bamertís conducting career began in North America as an apprentice to George Szell and later as Assistant Conductor to Leopold Stokowski, and Resident Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. This legacy lives on in his hugely popular recordings for Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic of Stokowskiís arrangements of Bach, Wagner and Mussorgsky. He was music director of the Swiss Radio Orchestra from 1977 to 1983, then began making a wider reputation across Europe.
Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra and Director of the Glasgow contemporary music festival Musica Nova from 1985 to 1990, Matthias Bamert became known for his innovative programming and has conducted the world premieres of works by many composers such as Takemitsu, Casken, Macmillan and Rihm. Since 1987 he has been resident in London. His gift for imaginative programming came to the fore during his tenure as Director of the Lucerne Festival from 1992 to 1998, when he was also responsible for the opening of a new concert hall, instituted a new Easter Festival, a piano festival, expanded the programme and increased the festivalís activities several times over.
Music Director of the London Mozart Players from 1993 to 2000, Matthias Bamert has masterminded a hugely successful series of recordings of works by "Contemporaries of Mozart" which has already exceeded 50 symphonies. In 1999, the orchestraís 50th anniversary year, he conducted them at the BBC Proms, in Vienna and at the Lucerne Festival and returned with them to Japan in January 2000. He has worked frequently in the concert hall and studio with such orchestras as the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra, appears regularly at the London Proms, and often appears with orchestras outside London such as the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 2000, he became principal guest conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Matthias Bamert is Associate Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he conducts subscription concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London as well as tours in the UK and abroad, most recently in Spain in November 2003 and previously in France, at the Lucerne Festival and the contemporary music festival in Basel, the 2001 Europäischer Musikmonat, of which Bamert was Intendant.
Matthias Bamert has one of the busiest international touring schedules of any conductor. He spends several weeks of every season in North America, where recent engagements include the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. In 2004-2005 he returns to the Cleveland Orchestra and conducts the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a regular guest in the Far East and Australasia including concerts in Japan (NHK Symphony), Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia (including Sydney and Melbourne); in 2004 he starts his second season as Principal Conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth, and makes his first appearances with the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur.
Matthias Bamert guest-conducts extensively in Europe with such orchestras as the Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Nederlands Kamerorkest, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Berliner Symphoniker, Helsinki Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Madrid RTVE, Orquesta Nacional de Espana and Barcelona Opera Liceu, amongst others.
Although Matthias Bamert has a solid reputation as a conductor of the standard repertory, he is best known for his work on behalf of new music, obscure 18th century music, and neglected music from all eras. He is known to be a quick study, able to master new scores in very little time, and bring off highly effective premieres in concert and on CD. A prolific recording artist, he has made over 60 discs, many of which have won international prizes, and he continues to record extensively with Chandos Records, in a wide repertoire - Mozartís contemporaries with the London Mozart Players, Parry (the complete symphonies) and Frank Martin (5 discs) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphonies of Roberto Gerhard with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dutch composers with the Residentie Orkest Den Haag, a series devoted to Leopold Stokowskiís arrangements, concert music by Korngold and Dohnanyi with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as symphonies of Gossecki. He is also known for his participation in provocative classical music videos directed by Adrian