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Alan Hacker (Conductor, Clarinet)

Born: September 30, 1938 - Dorking, Surrey, England
Died: April 16, 2012 - London, England

The English clarinettist and conductor, Alan Hacker, was the son of Kenneth and Sybil Hacker. After attending Dulwich College (from 1950 to 1955), he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Dove Prize and the Boise Travelling Scholarship which he used to study in Paris, Bayreuth and Vienna.

In 1958 Alan Hacker joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He became a professor of the Royal Academy of Music in 1960 and went on to found the Pierrot Players in 1965 along with Stephen Pruslin and Harrison Birtwistle which in 1972 became the Fires of London. In 1971 he founded his own group, Matrix. He was also appointed chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Music section and of the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He was one of those credited with reviving the basset clarinet and in 1967 he restored the original text of W.A. Mozart's Concerto and Quintet. He played them on an instrument modelled on that for whom W.A. Mozart originally wrote them, the Stadler's extended basset clarinet. Alan kackerwasa most important name among UK Clarinettists. During a long career he played all over the world. He championed not only works of W.A. Mozart, but new music.

In 1972 Alan Hacker founded the Music Party, an organisation set up for the authentic performance of classical music. The Music Party gained itself an international reputation in concert and on record. Their versions of Haydn's Nocturnes, Hummel's Clarinet Quintet and Weber's Clarinet Quintet have since been reissued by Polygram. Later, in York, as Senior Lecturer he founded the Classical Orchestra (and the Early Music Festival) which under his direction gave 'first performances' of the classics on original instruments. Many of his former students play in today's Baroque and Classical Orchestra's. He established University studies in Community Music and more recently with his wife Margaret, Music Courses at their home in Yorkshire, conducted in an 'House Party' atmosphere. In the 1972-1973 academic year he became the Sir Robert Mayer lecturer at Leeds University. In 1976 he was appointed lecturer in music at the University of York and went on to hold a post of senior lecturer between 1984 and 1987.

In the 1980's Alan Hacker's work as a conductor developed with work within the Orchestra of La Fenice in Venice, (six staged performances of J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) in the J.S. Bach/George Frideric Handel Centennial Year complemented with performances of G.F. Handel's Brockes Passion, HWV 48) the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble at the Schwetzingen Festival, further work in Sweden, the UK, including his acclaimed British performance of W.A. Mozart's La Finta Guardiniera. In W.A. Mozart's Centennial Year besides performances of the Quintet and the Concerto on Classical - and modern - instruments he conducted four W.A. Mozart operatic productions. Cosi fan tutte in Stuttgart, taken over at short notice, was described as the best for many years. Don Giovanni performances were followed by Monteverdi's Ulisse and Purcell's King Arthur (his own version); in both he played as well as conducted.

In the 1990's, Alan Hacker continued with great strength and passion. Besides more operatic work in Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Cologne he gave wide ranging concerts with leading Continental Orchestras five concerts in 1996 alone with the Ochestre National de Lille of L.v. Beethoven, Rossini and a new work, including his own performance of the W.A. Mozart Concerto. In the 1998 CD catalogue his recordings of W.A. Mozart, Weber, Hummel, and Finzi are given the highest of recommendations. A later CD 'Sun Moon and Stars'wasa collaboration wit the great jazz player Tony Coe. Some of his pioneer authentic recordings with Richard Burnett are still available including the Johannes Brahms Sonatas and Trio. He worked for a number of years teaching playing and conducting at the Arts Centre in Banff in the Rockies. He was a member of the first British Orchestra to tour Australia, was a visiting lecturer/artiste at the University of Perth, and more recently toured New Zealand.

On into the new Millennium Alan Hacker continued work with the Komische Oper, Berlin, a stage production of G.F. Handel's Saul - and his Alcina (Stuttgart) with which he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000. The late William Mann, in one of his many Times' reviews concluded " to everything, even a Frescobaldi Canzona arranged for clarinet and piano, in defiance of the Authenticity Movement for which Hacker has elsewhere laboured valuably (in The Music Party, for instance), he has something uncommon, fresh, and very musical to bring. He is without doubt our clarinet player `hors concours' - a musician to be treasured in our midst."

In 1959 Alan Hacker married Anna Maria Sroka with whom he had two daughters and a son. In addition to the many activities mentioned here, Alan and Margaret made time to found a publishing venture under the banner CLARIONET, with orchestrations for small clarinet groups arranged by Alan. Alan Hacker was awarded the OBE for his services to music.

Source: Reeds Australia Website; Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2008, April 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Alan Hacker


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34

Links to other Sites

Alan Hacker (Reeds Australia)

Alan Ray Hacker (Wikipedia)

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