The Hamburger Abendblatt reported a “breathtaking sensation” and “perhaps the most exciting contribution to the Hamburg Mahler Anniversary celebrations”. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung devoted a whole page to Yoel Gamzou headed: “Unshakeable, radical, uncompromising – portrait of a possessed genius”.
Born to an artistic family, Yoel Gamzou grew up in New York, London and Tel Aviv and started playing the cello at the age of four. It was the discovery of Mahler’s music when he was seven that led him to eventually dedicate himself to conducting when he was 12.
Gamzou’s teachers included Winston Dan Vogel and Piero Bellugi. He later travelled to Italy in order to meet his greatest idol: after numerous attempts, he was granted five minutes with Carlo Maria Giulini, with whom he ended up working intensively for two years until the Maestro’s death, as his last student.
In 2006 Gamzou founded the International Mahler Orchestra (IMO), becoming its artistic director and principal conductor. The IMO explores a different approach to orchestral playing and aims to create a new platform for truly relevant, new music, embracing a broad spectrum of contemporary influences.
A year later, Gamzou (19 years old at the time) was awarded the Special Prize of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra’s International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition. He declined all resulting guest conducting invitations in order to give himself time for further development and evolution. In February 2012, Gamzou won the Berenberg Culture Prize (Hamburg) and in March 2013 he was honoured with the prestigious “Princess Margriet Award” of the European Cultural Foundation.
In 2010 Yoel Gamzou achieved international recognition when his completion of Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony (realisation and elaboration of the sketches) was published by Schott Music. The premiere in Berlin as well as the concert tour which followed in 2011, with Gamzou conducting his IMO, was highly acclaimed by Mahler experts, the press and the audiences. A live-recording of the final concert of that tour (Berlin Philharmonie) was recently released by the label WERGO in Germany.
In 2011, he stepped in at short notice to conduct Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Kassel State Orchestra. This greatly acclaimed debut led to an immediate reinvitation as well as the appointment as Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra. Soon afterwards Gamzou was appointed 1st Kapellmeister and Deputy Music Director of the Kassel State Theatre, a position he held until summer 2015. During those years he developed a very special relationship with the audience and conducted numerous acclaimed opera productions including Fidelio, Tosca, Rigoletto and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In his many symphony concert programs, he conducted a wide array of rarely played repertoire as well as new music he feels passionate about.
Yoel Gamzou has worked as guest-conductor with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the German Radio Philharmonic, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Jena Philharmonie and many others. He regularly works with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he enjoys a very close connection.
In the season 2016/17 he will conduct his debuts with the Sinfoniorchester St. Gallen, the Sinfonieorchester Aachen, the Sinfonieorchester Luzern (at the Luzern Opera), as well as the production “Carmen” at the festival “jOpera Jennersdorf Festivalsommer” in Austria.
In the season 2017/18, Yoel Gamzou will conduct the opening production at the Bremen Opera House (Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) as well as two further productions at the Luzern Opera. Furthermore, a debut concert with the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra and a return to the Stuttgart Philharmonic are planned.