Thomas Wilbrandt

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Thomas Wilbrandt (born 1952 in Bielefeld) is a German composer and conductor.

Bielefeld Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Bielefeld is a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 341,730, it is also the most populous city in the Regierungsbezirk Detmold.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.


He studied with Franco Ferrara, Hans Swarowsky and Bruno Maderna in Rome, Vienna and Salzburg and was Assistant to Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic for three years in Berlin and Salzburg.

Franco Ferrara was an Italian conductor.

Hans Swarowsky was an Austrian conductor of Hungarian birth.

Bruno Maderna Italian/German conductor and composer

Bruno Maderna was an Italian conductor and composer.

In 1980 he founded the Berlin Chamber Academy (Berliner Kammer-Akademie), a forty-piece orchestra originally formed from players of the Berlin Philharmonic, with whom he recorded a Mozart Series for RCA/Victor. The Berlin Chamber Academy received positive reviews for varying reasons.

Orchestra large instrumental ensemble

An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which mixes instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as violin, viola, cello, and double bass, as well as brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.

Berlin Philharmonic orchestra based in Berlin, Germany

The Berlin Philharmonic is a German orchestra based in Berlin.

Next to international conducting activities and cooperations with major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Wilbrandt became more involved in his own projects and recordings, concentrating on his work as a composer, especially in the field of Avant-garde and electronic music. This led to developed experimentation regarding multimedia content and expression and to the constant exploration of new forms of music presentation. Wilbrandt's ongoing issue and ambition was to transform and merge sound and vision into a stimulating new dimension.

Philharmonia Orchestra British Orchestra based in London

The Philharmonia Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It was founded in 1945 by Walter Legge, a classical music record producer for EMI. Among the conductors who worked with the orchestra in its early years were Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Arturo Toscanini; of the Philharmonia's younger conductors, the most important to its development was Herbert von Karajan, who though never formally chief conductor was closely associated with the orchestra in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Philharmonia became widely regarded as the finest of London's five symphony orchestras in its first two decades.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Avant-garde works that are experimental or innovative

The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.

One of his first major projects was the creation of a new kind of fusion between acoustic orchestral playing and digital and electronic instruments and sounds, entitled THE ELECTRIC V. , a then unheard approach to Vivaldi's famous concert cycle The Four Seasons . The musical style he developed after the formula was a combination of tradition and innovation. The first edition of THE ELECTRIC V. was released in 1984 in twenty countries and rapidly became a worldwide bestseller that was selected by critics as being one of the best available productions on CD in terms both of musical quality and audio technology. Wilbrandt wrote, directed, and produced THE ELECTRIC V. film between 1987 and 1990. Using the most modern state-of-the-art post-production techniques, it was the first realisation of an audio-visual project on such a large scale.

The Four Seasons (Vivaldi) set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons is a group of four concerti grossi by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, each of which gives musical expression to a season of the year. They were written around 1721 and were published in 1725 in Amsterdam, together with eight additional concerti grossi, as Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione.

Wilbrandt has composed and advised music for several films and documentaries; amongst others, for the AOS project he contributed music to the highly acclaimed soundtrack of Oliver Stone's film Natural Born Killers .

Oliver Stone American film director, screenwriter, and producer

William Oliver Stone is an American writer, filmmaker and conspiracy theorist. Stone won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as writer of Midnight Express (1978). He also wrote the acclaimed gangster movie Scarface (1983). Stone achieved prominence as director/writer of the war drama Platoon (1986), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and the film received Best Picture. Platoon was the first in a trilogy of films based on the Vietnam War, in which Stone served as an infantry soldier. He continued the series with Born on the Fourth of July (1989)—for which Stone won his second Best Director Oscar—and Heaven & Earth (1993). Stone's other notable works include the Salvadoran Civil War-based drama Salvador (1986); the financial drama Wall Street (1987) and its 2010 sequel Money Never Sleeps; the Jim Morrison biographical film The Doors (1991); the satirical black comedy crime film Natural Born Killers (1994); and a trilogy of films based on the American Presidency—JFK (1991), Nixon (1995) and W. (2008). His latest film is Snowden (2016).

<i>Natural Born Killers</i> 1994 film by Oliver Stone

Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American satirical black comedy crime film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones. The film tells the story of two victims of traumatic childhoods who became lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

Ballets with Wilbrandt's music are performed worldwide.

2011 saw the launch of FENNster, a Berlin-based Foundation for Contemporary Art and Multimedia Innovation, initiated by Thomas Wilbrandt. The objective of the foundation was to foster new impulses, combining innovative potential and creative forms of expression as well supporting young artists with studio and working spaces and to develop their creative potential and abilities.


"What is extraordinary about Thomas is the breadth of his abilities. I have been continuously impressed by the range of his talents and interests. As a composer, conductor and, he is always looking for new and interesting ways to approach his work. Thomas is very much a Renaissance man." Peter Gabriel

"... But this is nothing compared to Thomas Wilbrandt's two-CD reinvention of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's a sort of strung out version, with fragments of themes, synthesised sounds of nature, and hallucinatory expansions of the accompaniments into long, hazy days and nights. Computers play along with the Philarmonia Orchestra and solo-violinist Christopher Warren-Green. There is even a real conductor. The piece is very good and sexy, it must be great for making love to ..." LA Weekly

"an amazing hitherto unheard blend of classical and electronics. If you want to hear what the music of the year 2000 could sound like, you will be fascinated by this double album – the music of the future is already here." Cosmopolitan

"... an acoustic delicatessen: melting string echoes, fat bass notes from the organ, saturated sound – from the whispered pianissimos to the raging thunderstorm. A Venetian gondola has been turned into a stream-lined musical steamer on a journey to fantasy land." Stern

"Thomas Wilbrandt has the unique ability to visualise the orchestra as one single complex contemporary instrument. His attitude has already displayed an uncanny parallel between the Synclavier/Fairlight sound-building concepts of synthesis – and his own moulding and texturing the wholly organic infrastructure of a living orchestra. Aided by people like Thomas, the orchestra can be thrown, alive and kicking, into the 21st Century." Rupert Hine

Works and releases (selection)


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