"Whenever I shed a tear at the end of Der Rosenkavalier I know the conductor's got it right. On this one I ran out of hankies"
Mark Valenica, Whatsonstage, September 2016
Whatsonstage, Mark Valencia
following on from very successful positions as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (2009-2015), and Chief Conductor of the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck (2005-2008).
His appointment at Opera North comes after an intensive period of collaboration with the company including conducting this season’s production of Janacek’s Jenufa as well as several concert appearances with the Orchestra of Opera North with repertoire ranging from Mozart through Schumann, Wagner, and Strauss. He opened Opera North’s 2016/17 season conducting a production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and will conduct concert performances of Puccini’s Turandot during April and May 2017. The 17/18 season will open with productions of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges, and Janáček’s Osud as part of Opera North’s The Little Greats series.
Orchestral appearances have included very successful debuts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, RTE Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Munich Radio Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, and a return to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He has also made debuts with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Malmö Symphony, and returned to the Qatar Philharmonic and the Brno Philharmonic for concerts both in Brno and at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
During his time with the Brno Philharmonic, and in addition to their annual season, he took the orchestra to Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, the Palace of Arts Budapest, Brucknerhaus Linz, the Queen Elisabeth Hall Antwerp, Reduta Hall Bratislava, Passau’s European Weeks festival, and on an extensive tour of Japan. In the autumn of 2014 they performed an all-Wagner programme in Stefaniensaal, Graz, for opening of the Musikverein für Steiermark’s 200th anniversary celebrations.
Aleksandar Markovic also enjoys close collaborations with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Croatian HRT and Prague Radio symphony orchestras, the Slovenian Philharmonic and the Slovak Philharmonic, with whom he recorded the CD Sinful Women for Czech national label Supraphon. He enjoyed successful debuts with the Wuppertal Opera and Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Symphony Orchestra of Teatro Verdi Trieste, Bremen Philharmonic, Lübeck Philharmonic and Mannheim Chamber Orchestra.
He celebrated the 2013 “Wagner Year” with a new production of Der fliegende Holländer at the Slovenian National Theatre Ljubljana, and a concert performance of Rienzi in Munich’s Philharmonie am Gasteig. Other guest conducting appearances include the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Halle, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, DSO Berlin, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Concertverein, Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of St. Gallen, State Orchestra Braunschweig, Belgrade Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic and Kremerata Baltica.
As Chief Conductor of the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck he conducted highly acclaimed productions of Salome, Der fliegende Holländer, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Cavalleria Rusticana/ I Pagliacci, Le nozze di Figaro, Romeo et Juliette, Traviata, Nabucco, Norma, and Swan Lake, as well as many innovative
symphonic programmes. He also conducted a new production of La forza del Destino at the National Theatre Belgrade, and appeared at the National Theatre Prague and the Landestheater Salzburg.
Aleksandar Markovic commands a wide range of symphonic and operatic repertoire, ranging from Classic and Romantic to contemporary styles. His keen interest in 20th-century and avant- garde music has led to performances of works by the likes of Hartmann, Schiske, Istvan, Rozsa, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Glass, D’Ase, Pintscher, Larcher, Tüür, Yusupov and Salonen.
Born in Belgrade, and a graduate of Leopold Hager’s conducting class at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, Aleksandar Markovic also attended masterclasses at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, where he was awarded a Diploma d’onore. He gained a scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation Berlin, and won First Prize at the 7th “Gregorz Fitelberg” International Conducting Competition in Katowice, Poland.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 19:30
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Iwona Sibotkwa, soprano
David Butt Philip, tenor
Bellini: Norma overture
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 19:30
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Hisako Kawamura, piano
Janacek: Taras Bulba
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major
Schumann: Symphony No 2 in C, Op 61
The Guardian, Alfred Hickling
“…it marks the in-post debut of Opera North’s newly-installed music director Aleksandar Markovic. Most conductors are capable of rising to the great Straussian moments; what’s remarkable is the attentive detail with which Markovic invests the incidental passages where inspiration often flags. The pathos he infuses into the wordless passage in which the Marschallin prepares morning coffee reminds you that it is the last time she and her young lover will ever rise together from the same bed. On this evidence I can’t wait to hear what he does with Mozart.”
The Guardian, Alfred Hickling
“Most importantly of all, the company's new music director delivers an elegant and intelligently shaped account of the score. A peremptory overture aside, Aleksander Markovic in his first appearance since succeeding Richard Farnes never puts a foot wrong. His reading is both idiomatic and refreshingly individual, as when he lets raw portamento slides roughen the swoops of the famous waltz. Whenever I shed a tear at the end of Der Rosenkavalier I know the conductor's got it right. On this one I ran out of hankies.”
Whatsonstage, Mark Valencia
"Under Aleksander Marcović, the NSO’s programme includes the somewhat austere Symphony of Psalms, but with the Philharmonic unfailingly assured, and the more emboldened Symphony in Three Movements. The latter finds the orchestra responding to Maestro Marcović’s precise direction with bristling aplomb."
Pat O'Kelly, Irish Independent, 8.02.2016
"Markovic, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra during the period 2009/15, certainly impressed with the baton. Markovic conducted with a calm assurance and the Liverpool Phil responded with a brilliant all round performance that felt eminently spontaneous...This remarkable Prokofiev score certainly inspired majestic playing from the Liverpool Phil controlled so superbly by Markovic."
Michael Cookson, Seen and Heard International, 22.11.2015
"Serbian Aleksandar Markovic - standing in for indisposed Chinese conductor Long Yu - had plenty of sentiment of his own to extract from the concerto’s bipolar challenge as the triumph of free spirit over national dictat."
Laura Davis-Le, The Liverpool Echo, 20.11.15
"Under Serbian conductor Aleksandar Markovič the Orchestra of Opera North captures every fleck of its flamboyance and febrile impetus...This Jenůfa from Opera North captures all the punching brilliance of a wonderful opera and deserves to find big new audiences as it heads off on tour from its Leeds launch pad. Don't even think of missing it."
Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, 29.10.2015
"[A] coruscating account of the orchestra score from Markovic and the orchestra...The orchestra was very much part of the drama, and they made a strong part of the intensity of the evening."
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 22.10.2015
"The Orchestra of Opera North are brilliantly savage in conductor’s Aleksandar Marković’s penetrating reading."
Tom Tollett, The Reviews Hub, 26.10.15
"Leos Janacek’s harrowing opera, Jenufa, makes for an uncomfortable evening in the theatre, but...with inspired conducting from Aleksandar Markovic...it can be a thrilling experience, too. Making his debut in an opera for the company, Aleksandar Markovic... conducts as idiomatically as you would expect from the ex-music director of Brno Philharmonic and obtains stunning playing from the orchestra."
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 23.10.2015
"Nothing could have prepared us for such a viscerally exciting, emotionally-draining performance of Janáček’s most accessible opera, delivered at fever pitch by an outstanding cast under the idiomatic baton of Aleksandar Marković...every member of the ON orchestra played out of their skins for Marković, setting the seal on an extraordinary evening of music drama."
Keith McDonnell, MusicOMH, 25.10.2015
"Serbian Aleksandar Marković was appointed principal conductor of the Brno Philharmonic in 2008...where Janáček wrote Jenufa and the town in which it was premiered, so it is tempting to think this music has entered his bloodstream. It certainly seems the case. He kept things really moving in the pit...above all he brought out the composer’s acerbic and sometimes eccentric orchestral textures."
John Leeman, Seen and Heard International, 24.10.2015
"It was precise, controlled, full of dynamic and thematic contrasts, but essentially integrated, so that the final contentment spread by the return of the solo violin’s love theme seemed a true response to the boisterous caricature, the storms of war and the hero’s recurring angst...Markovic presided over a well-judged performance, with the mighty brass effects never allowed to dominate the noble themes...On the evidence of this latest concert, Markovic should become a familiar figure at Opera North."
Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub, 17 September 2015
“The program, with which Markovic on friday evening guest-conducted the Konzerthaus Orchestra offered plenty of opportunity for everyone to make a clear picture of versatility of the young conductor, who achieves a relaxed Haydn-attitude without being boring, on the other side temperamentally letting the sparks fly in an early Ligeti-work. Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique sounded full of fascinating details, never losing an impressive, clear vision of the whole."
Berliner Zeitung, 24 April 2009
"With masterly prepared musical menu, Aleksandar Markovic triggered a great exaltation in full Beethoven Hall... With clear gestures he brought the orchestral colors to luminous expression (Ravel, Rapsodie espagnole)... Markovic emphasized the clarity and audibility of finest instrumental ramifications. Thus, the sound cosmos of "Les parfumes de la nuit" could unfold it's magic effect (Debussy, Iberia)."
Bernhard Hartmann, General- Anzeiger Bonn, 1.9.2014
- Kronen-Zeitung, 1 October 2008
"Aleksandar Markovic, the young principal conductor of the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra, is responsible for the formidable musical quality of the performance. Under his direction, the orchestra generates a compact sonic experience and substantial, though never primitive, drama; always with close attention to the singers – an extraordinary evening!"
Das Opernglas, May 2006
“The well-received premiere owed much to its spirited conductor, Aleksandar Markovic, who led the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck with great élan, yet also with a feel for Verdi’s sensitive lyric valeur, resulting in high spirits in a sold-out opera house.”
Der Standard, 6 February 2007
“The Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck under the direction of Aleksandar Markovic is better than it has almost ever been in the past. They demonstrate beauty in slowness and a feeling for the grand moments of the piece.”
Kronen-Zeitung, 5 February 2007
“Aleksandar Markovic is a full-blooded musician on the conductor’s stand. It’s truly a pleasure observing how he interacts with the singers and becomes completely absorbed in the music. He conducts a sensitive Puccini with much emotion and the requisite dramatic feel.”
Der Neue Merker, March 2008
“A festival for both ears and eyes! Aleksandar Markovic was a Godsend, conjuring with the sensitive performance of the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck a splendid, unsentimental interpretation of Puccini’s most misinterpreted score, supporting the singers with a transparent tapestry of sound.”
Der Neue Merker, December 2005
“Conductor Aleksandar Markovic is largely responsible for this sovereign musical achievement, accentuating the drama in synergy with the orchestra.”
Kurier, 14 November 2005
“Under the guidance of Aleksandar Markovic, the orchestra marvelously imparts the musical expression of Japan whilst never neglecting the atmospheric charm of the typically Italian. Markovic’s conducting convinces with its attention to detail and subtle nuances, allowing a multifaceted sonic tapestry to arise, which draws its strength from the many tender melodies of the piece.”
Kronen-Zeitung, 14 November 2005
“Another under-thirty wunderkind, music director Aleksandar Markovic led a magnificently paced performance, prefaced by an expansive overture that slowly mounted to a thrilling climax, apparently hypnotizing the Tiroler Symphonieorchester into thinking it was the Wiener Philharmoniker.”
Opera News, Larry L. Lash 23.6.2007
“Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, expeditiously directed with dynamic acumen and suspense [...] by Aleksandar Markovic [...] becomes an uninterrupted ballad intensifying to the point of exhaustion – a triumph of obsession.”
Der Standard, 26 June 2007
“Right from the overture, conductor Aleksandar Markovic unleashes the fiery drama that inescapably signals the coming storm. With fast-paced tempi and intensive dynamics, he holds the singers and orchestra at ceaselessly high tension throughout the evening.”
Kronen-Zeitung – Jutta Höpfel, 25 June 2007
“Conductor Aleksandar Markovic guides the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra through the piece with a downright narrative dramaturgy of tempo and dynamics. The orchestra is decisive, yet sophisticated.”
Tiroler Tageszeitung, 25 June 2007
“Aleksandar Markovic drew taught, unsentimental, theatrically compelling performances from the Tiroler Sinfonieorchester while keeping tight watch over his singers, as when one long arm jumped above the pit to hold off an early entrance. Just past thirty, he is a conductor to watch.”
Opera News, April 2008
“A cultivated orchestra under the leadership of the spirited conductor, Aleksandar Markovic: simply delectable.”
Der Neue Merker, April 2008
“Conductor Aleksandar Markovic directed and inspired the currently superb Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra to deliver incendiary climaxes and beautiful lyricism.”
Kronen-Zeitung, 24 September 2007
“At the helm of the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra, Aleksandar Markovic seemed to savor each and every note. The orchestra was in top form.”
Stadtblatt Innsbruck, 26 September 2007
“Conductor Aleksandar Markovic and the Tyrol Symphony Orchestra exude the music with both delicacy and a firm grasp of the material.”
Die Furche, 19 June 2008
“In all, what sounded from the orchestra pit was destined to have the evening end in jubilant applause.”
Wiener Zeitung, 17 June 2008
“At this premiere, Aleksandar Markovic kept a tight rein on the proceedings, elicited entrancing soli from the Tyrol Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck, and applied himself with delicacy to the wonderful lyricism of the score.”
Tiroler Tageszeitung, 17 June 2008
“Conductor Aleksandar Markovic is, most certainly, the key figure of an extraordinary level of interpretation of the National Theater Opera. The orchestra sections, "polished" beyond recognition, and chorus (usually reliable), but this time, even more assured, sounded unison in perfection. Indeed, we can not recollect when, the last time, we heard such a high quality of music performance of the National Theater ensemble. Markovic's authority and undeniable competence (proof of which is the extremely impressive biography for his young age), inspired these artists to reach the enviable level, quite in accordance to standards expected from a European capital opera house.”
NIN, July 7 2009
“Excellent, experienced Brno Philharmonic Orchestra presented itself in best- form. Together with extremely precise and clearly understandable singing of Czech Philharmonic Choir from Brno, Aleksandar Markovic succeeded in invoking a rousing interpretation.”
Das Opernglas, June 2013
“Aleksandar Markovic impressed with sovereign, individual interpretation. The colorful sound- painting was marked by precision, finely balanced details and constant flowing of music, compelling through interesting tempos and balance between different orchestra groups, rich in contrast.”
Weser Kurier, 21.5.2014
"Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of Spring" demands a great deal of intensive orchestral playing, biting sharpness, rhythmical conciseness and sound- orgies, all of this topped by an excessive amount of virtuosity. Aleksandar Markovic offered an impressive, sovereign and profiled interpretation rich with contrasts, subtle expressions and heart- felt lyricism."
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 13.1.2011
"..Igor Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of Spring", with it's unprecedented rhythmical elemental force and dynamical outbursts, represents a measure of capability for every young conductor. Markovic's suggestive conducting skills drove the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra to deliver an aroused, incredibly precise interpretation, which turned the performance into an event."
Neues Volksblatt, 13.1.2011
(…) “Aleksandar Markovic once again proved to be a conductor who can retain a sovereign overview of monumental works and execute them with great confidence. Two years previous, he had celebrated his debut at the Grazer Musikverein with Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8, and now he was initiating its programmatic focus on Gustav Mahler’s 150th anniversary with the latter’s Third Symphony. Leading the Brno Philharmonic, who appointed him their principal conductor last year, he delivered the six movements of this sonorous spectacle in a grand dramaturgy. Orchestra achieved Mahler’s extolled “polyphony of life” with remarkable precision. “
Kleine Zeitung, 20.1.2010
“Aleksandar Markovic is only 33 years old, which means for a conductor still quite young, but radiates, smiling widely from the podium, such confidence and persuasive power, founded not only on his abilities, but also on already rich experience. (...) The program, with which Markovic on friday evening guest-conducted the Konzerthaus Orchestra offered plenty of opportunity for everyone to make a clear picture of versatility of the young conductor, who achieves a relaxed Haydn-attitude without being boring, on the other side temperamentally letting the sparks fly in an early Ligeti-work. Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique sounded full of fascinating details, never losing an impressive, clear vision of the whole.”
Berliner Zeitung, 24 April 2009
“A true wonder of a concert, and based on a truly wonderful program, resplendently conveyed by Aleksandar Markovic and the brilliant Konzerthausorchester. […] The first piece, Ligeti’s Cocert Romanesc, was already greeted with jubilant cheers. […] Yet Haydn too has suddenly become popular with the young generation. His resilient elegance, his power of sustenance turned into music […] found their agile interpreter in Markovic. As a clincher, he summoned the five – still stunning – episodes of Berlioz’s delightfully narrative Fantastic Symphony.”
Berliner Morgenpost, 28 April 2009
“Markovic’s fervent interpretational temperament saw him stride through Haydn’s symphony (N°103) with earnestness and expressive purpose, capturing the broad spectrum between rusticity and sublimity. His approach to Brahms' Haydn- Variations was rich in significance.”
Fränkische Landeszeitung, 17 March 2009
“Markovic accentuates strong contrasts, and shapes the individual movements as cohesive characters, which results in many moments of beauty, particularly with Brahms’s Variations. He also exorcises Haydn’s Symphony of any trace of antiquated complacency.”
Stuttgarter Zeitung, 18 March 2009
“Aleksandar Markovic is a conducting Supertalent, and by temperament more a podium star than a kapellmeister. With great confidence and determination, he led the outstanding musicians of the Slovak Philharmonic through Anton Bruckner’s Eighth. Markovic’s effect-conscious, gutsy approach interprets Bruckner not as solemn, quasi-religious confessional music, but as a pace-laden, orchestral showpiece.”
Kronen-Zeitung, 1 October 2008
“Aleksandar Markovic (33), who opened the orchestral concert cycle of the Steirischer Musikverein at the helm of the Slovak Philharmonic with Anton Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, does not view this monumental opus as a “profound mystery”. His approach to Bruckner’s last finished symphony is soberly objective and strictly eschews any trace of nebulosity. Instead, he storms through the unwieldy score in its final 1890 version with youthful élan.”
Kleine Zeitung, 1 October 2008
“Markovic's debut with the SCO on its central Scotland tour was quietly impressive. Directing a programme of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, the orchestra's bread-and- butter repertoire, Markovic displayed great confidence and the right amount of exuberance to make for vital, engaging performances of Haydn's Symphony No 96 and Beethoven's Eighth, while eschewing unnecessary theatrics. (...) It is rare to hear such clarity in the finale of Beethoven's Eighth as was achieved here, Markovic taking the movement a shade slower than usual in a way that allowed the detail of the intricate string writing to come through without sacrificing any of the energy.”
The Guardian, 8.9.2008
"Conductor Aleksandar Markovic and Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra provide much more then routine accompaniments, and his orchestral interludes are notably dynamic and fresh."
Michael Scott Rohan, BBC Music Magazine
The provocative name of Dagmar Pecková’s new album conceals an interesting dramaturgical idea of William Didden and Dagmar Pecková herself. All the characters from the arias played by the successful mezzosopranist have a common characteristic – sin.
All the arias are arias of women–sinners. Each of these women has wronged someone and themselves. “My new record is about sin and forgiveness. I believe the stories of sinners, music and singing that this album brings will be an impulse for a deeper reflection. Forgiveness itself is a healing phenomenon. Both human relationships and souls need it to be healthy,” Dagmar Pecková ponders and adds: "If you look at the opera characters in the field of mezzo-soprano, almost each of them can be described as a sinner. Perhaps it is caused because of the darker color of the voice. "