«Magic of Stradivarius - Chopin Project»

Camille Thomas, cello \ Kammerphilharmonie Metamorphosen Berlin \ Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, conductor


Franco-Belgian cellist Camille Thomas presents The Chopin Project: Trilogy recorded with Deutsche grammophon. Through the sound of the cello, the artist makes us discover the life and work of one of the greatest composers of classical music in a different way.

This work is presented in three chapters: chamber music, cello arrangements and the legacy of Franchomme (a close friend of Chopin who arranged most of his cello works).

The CD was released at 9. June 2023.

As a promotion of the album Camille Thomas presents program «Magic of Stradivarius - Cello Gala» together with Kammerphilharmonie Metamorphosen Berlin (conductor - Wolfgang Emmanuel Schmidt).

This program was successfully presented already in Berlin Philharmonie Chamber Music Hall and Elbphilharmonie.

Concerts program:

Janacek - Suite
Chopin - Nocturne cis-moll (arr. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt)
Chopin - Franchomme Regentropfen-Prelude
Vivaldi - Doppelkonzert für 2 Celli ***
Suk - Serenade Franchomme - Deuxième Air russe varié op.32

Solists - Camille Thomas, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt

Camille Thomas

Optimism, vitality and joyful exuberance are elements of Camille Thomas’s rich and compelling personality. The young Franco-Belgian cellist, who signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon in April 2017, understands art’s power to bring people together, to unite individuals from diverse cultures, countries and backgrounds. Her charismatic artistry is driven by a passion for life and a desire to inspire others to open their hearts to the wonder and emotion of classical music. “I strongly believe that music has the power to enlarge the heart, to make you feel everything with more intensity,” she says. “Music gives hope for the beauty and greatness of the human soul.”

Voice of Hope, her second DG album, was set for international release on June 6, 2020. At its heart is the world premiere recording of Fazil Say’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra ‘Never Give Up’, the composer’s response to terrorist attacks on Paris and Istanbul, written expressly for Thomas, who gave its world premiere performance in Paris in April 2018. It is the first classical album recorded in partnership with UNICEF, reflecting the cellist’s desire to help others through her music.

Camille Thomas was born in 1988 in Paris. She began playing cello at the age of four and made such rapid progress that she was soon taking lessons with Marcel Bardon. She moved to Berlin in 2006 to study with Stephan Forck and Frans Helmerson at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik, and continued her training in the form of postgraduate lessons with Wolfgang-Emanuel Schmidt at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar.

Camille is conquering the world stage at a staggering pace. She has already worked with such conductors as Paavo Järvi, Mikko Franck, Marc Soustrot, Darrell Ang, Kent Nagano, Stéphane Denève and with orchestras such as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Academia Santa Cecilia, the Sinfonia Varsovia, Staatsorchester Hamburg in the Elbphilharmonie, the Lucerne Festival Strings in the Herkulessaal in Munich, the Orchestre National de Bordeaux, and Brussels Philharmonic.

Camille Thomas plays the famous ‘Feuermann’ Stradivarius 1730 as a loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Kammerphilharmonie Metamorphosen Berlin

Indira Koch and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt founded Metamorphosen Berlin in 2010. The musicians of the orchestra are members of leading orchestras in Berlin, reputed chamber musicians or winners of international competitions such as the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the International Lutoslawski Competition Warsaw, the International ARD Music Competition Munich, the Tonali competition Hamburg or German Music Competition.

Since its foundation the Kammerphilharmonie Metamorphosen Berlin has performed in Germany, Spain and Switzerland with famous soloists, such as Johannes Moser, Camille Thomas, Alban Gerhardt, Gary Hoffman, Jens Peter Maintz, Frans Helmerson, Julius Berger and Ivan Martin. The Berlin composer Helmut Abel composed a special piece “Concertino” for the ensemble performed by the soloists Indira Koch (violin) and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt (cello). Metamorphosen Berlin also performed the world premiere of “Lumière” by Sören Nils Eichberg for two celli, led by the soloists Frans Helmerson and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt on November 16th 2017 on the occasion of the 10th death anniversary of Mstislav Rostropovitsch in the Konzerthaus Berlin. Enjott Schneider was the first Composer in Residence in 2022 - 5 of his compositions were dedicated and premiered by Metamorphosen Berlin in Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Konzerthaus Berlin.

Sony Classical released the Metamorphosen Berlin first CD, “Inspiration”, in 2015 with works by Dvorak, Suk and Victor Herbert. In April 2017 the second CD, dedicated to works for strings by Peter Tchaikovsky, received high acclaim internationally and was awarded the Melomano de Oro in Spain.

In 2021 Sony Classical released a third album, „Very British“ - with works by Elgar, Britten and Warlock.

Press about Metamorphosen Berlin:

„Auf der Suche nach dem britischen Streicherklang bietet das Ensemble Metamorphosen Berlin transparente und hingebungsvolle Klangkultur vom Allerfeinsten. Dass Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt als international gefragter Cellist auch den Taktstock ergriffen hat und Metamorphosen Berlin immer wieder zu höchsten Streicherkunst herausfordert, das ist ein Glücksfall für unsere Musiklandschaft - und „Very „British“ einmal mehr der Beweis dafür. HR2 Adelheid Kleine

„Klangkunst und Schönklang: hier kann man sie jetzt exemplarisch hören. Der in Freiburg geborene Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt kredenzt mit dem von ihm gegründeten Kammerorchester Metamorphosen Berlin Klangkultur pur! Man vernimmt, dass hervorragende Streicher im Einsatz sind. Der Klang des von Konzertmeisterin Indira Koch angeführten Ensembles ist sehr sinnlich, warm und edel. Dabei immer expressiv und äußerst akkurat. Mit Streicher Schmelz.Metamorphosen Chefdirigent Schmidt zeigt (wie einst Herbert von Karajan), dass der Klang auch ihm ein hohes Gut ist….“ Johannes Adam / Badische Zeitung

„On matters of interpretation the ebullient account of Britten’s Simple Symphony should tickle everyone’s ears. Launched with a dashingly fast „Boisterous Bourree“, given ballast by a deeply felt „Sentimental Sarabande“, this is the kind of performance that should stop anyone talking Britten’s buoyant youthful creation for granted… Schmidt’s burnished, throbbing tone could probably melt an iceberg. … All in all, with its full-bodied playing and open emotions, this is an album that should redefine what it means to be „very British“. Geoff Brown / BBC Music Magazine„


Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt

A small treasure still has a special place in Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt’s photo album: A lock of his hair which Mstislav Rostropovich stroked when he was only eight years old. The master's words at the time were to prove true: “One day you will become a great cellist.”

In fact, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt was already able to attract attention at numerous competitions during his studies with David Geringas and Aldo Parisot. He was a prize-winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and winner of the German Music Competition. At the Rostropovich International Competition, the jury chaired by Mstislav Rostropovich awarded him the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris and also the Contemporary Music Prize.

Ever since Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has conquered the world’s concert stages as a soloist, playing with renowned orchestras in Europe, Russia and the United States such as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonieorchester, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Prague under renowned conductors such as Marek Janowski, Charles Dutoit, Sir Donald Runnicles, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jiri Belohlavek and Gabriel Feltz, Michael Sanderling, Nicholas Milton, Markus Poschner and many others. In addition, he is a welcome guest at festivals like the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, the Rheingau Musik Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, where he has performed with Christoph Eschenbach.

In addition to his solo activities as a cellist, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt is an enthusiastic chamber musician. He was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center in New York and forms the successful cello duo “Cello Duello” with Jens Peter Maintz – and has done so for around 30 years. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt also devotes himself to contemporary music with great passion. He has premiered works by Eva-Pekka Salonen, Alfred Schnittke, Christian Jost, Fabrice Bollon and Sören Nils Eichberg, among others.

For the past few years Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has increasingly focused his activities on conducting, a devotion towards what was already part of his studies at the Juilliard School in New York.

He has received invitations to the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, ​Robert Schumann Philharmonic Chemnitz, State Orchestra Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz, Hofer Symphoniker, the Göttinger Symphonieorchester, the Kammerorchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Württembergische Philharmonie, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester and the Staatskapelle St. Petersburg, the INSO Lviv, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Baltic Neopolis Orchestra. Guest conductorships have taken him to Switzerland, Poland and Spain.

As principal conductor of the chamber orchestra Metamorphosen Berlin which he also founded, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has led the ensemble in numerous concerts in Germany, Spain and Switzerland as well as in concerts at the Elbphilharmonie, the Philharmonie Berlin as well as the Konzerthaus Berlin, where the orchestra has also found its artistic homes with its own concert series.

During the past few years the orchestra has recorded three critically acclaimed CD's with works by Dvorak, Suk, Tchaikowsky, Elgar, Britten and Warlock for Sony Classical. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt’s recordings of various cello concertos were also released by Sony Classical, and his recording of Ernest Bloch’s “Voice in the wilderness” appeared on the Capriccio label. In 2013 he was awarded the German Record Critics' Prize and the Diapason d'Or for his recording of Carl Maria von Weber's Piano Quartet with Isabelle Faust, Boris Faust and Alexander Melnikov.

In addition to his performances as a conductor, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt also regularly appears in a dual capacity as soloist and conductor simultaneously.

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt teaches as a professor at the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” Weimar and the Kronberg Academy.