Conductor Georg Alexander Albrecht has Died, Aged 86
He was the former music director of Germany’s Deutschen Nationaltheaters Weimar and Staatskapelle Weimar theater company
“We mourn our former music director and chief director George Alexander Albrecht, who from 1996 to 2002, significantly shaped the artistic profile of our music theater,” Deutschen Nationaltheaters Weimar and Staatskapelle Weimar (DNT) said in a statement.
Albrecht was born in 1935 near Bremen, Germany, and is remembered for his close connection to audiences and his love for storytelling. Albrecht has been honorary conductor of the Staatskapelle Weimar since 2002.
At the age of 29, Albrecht was the youngest general music director in Germany after being appointed by the Hannover Opera House in 1965. He remained with the company for 28 years before leaving in 1993 to focus on guest conducting.
Albrecht was also a composer and had already written over 100 works by the age of 22. In 2015, he wrote the opera "Die Schneekönigin." Afterward, his first symphony, "Sinfonia di due Mondi" for mezzo-soprano and large orchestra — based on texts by Ulla Hahn — premiered in 2019 under the direction of his son Marc Albrecht.
“The basis of my work is my love for the human voice,” George Albrecht said of composing. “Vocalism is the ideal of my instrumental compositions, which I particularly complete in the orchestral sound.”
His extensive repertoire included “legendary” Mahler interpretations and symphonies by Wilhelm Furtwängler.
“As an honorary conductor, composer, attentive observer and friend, [Albrecht] continued to remain close to us after [his tenure] and gave us, among other things, the magical fairy tale opera Die Schneekönigin,” DNT wrote. “Our thoughts are with his loved ones!”
In 1985, Albrecht was awarded Vienna’s Gustav Mahler Gold Medal of the International Mahler Society. In 1998, he received Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit and in 2001, was awarded the Wilhelm Furtwängler Prize of the Baden-Baden Music Festival.
He also received the 2005 Conductors Award in the opera category from the Australian critic’s Green Room Award for the new production of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman at Opera Australia.
“With sorrow, great admiration and appreciation we remember George Alexander Albrecht. [He] was a fantastic musician, an internationally recognized conductor and wonderful composer,” the Gropius Quartet posted on Facebook.
“His heartfelt string quartet 'Von Angst und Trauer erlöst durch die Liebe,' written for us, reflects his warmth and empathy as a human being,” they continued. “We are so honored to have known [him] and are grateful for the time we shared.”
According to DNT, George Albrecht spent the last months of his life with his wife Liese Klahn, and his children.
Our condolences to Mr. Albrecht’s family, friends, students, and colleagues.