Karel Mark Chichon


Chief Conductor: Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern.

British Conductor Karel Mark Chichon continues to thrill international audiences with his temperament, passion and musicianship. In recognition to his services to music, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England made Chichon an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 2012.

His previous positions include Chief Conductor & Artistic Director of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (2009-2012) and Chief Conductor of the Graz Symphony Orchestra (2006-2009).

In addition to his post in Saarbrücken, Chichon regularly conducts at the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerisches Staatsoper Munich, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and has worked with orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Wiener Symphoniker, English Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Russian National Orchestra in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Turin, Bologna, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Madrid and Valencia.

Future debuts include Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera, New York and La Boheme at Teatro alla Scala Milan.

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  • Meditation - Album trailer

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'Intermezzo' by Jerónimo Gimenéz
with Latvian National Opera Orchestra

Rimsky Kosakov 'Capriccio Espagnol'
with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in 2008

Darzins: 'Melancholic Waltz'
with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in 2008

Concertgebouw Orchestra - Debut Concert:
Verdi 'La Forza del Destino' Overture & Tchaikovsky 'Violin Concerto'

Schumann 'Piano Concerto'
with Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Halle & Yuki Matsuzawa (piano)

  1. Movement I (Allegro affettuoso)
  2. Movement II (Intermezzo. Andantino grazioso)
  3. Movement III (Allegro Vivace)

'L'Arlesienne-Suite No.2' by Bizet
with Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

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DVOŘÁK: Complete Symphonies 1

Deutsche Radio Philharmonie; Karel Mark Chichon

"I have been greatly impressed by this disc in every respect. Much of the credit for this has to go to Karel Mark Chichon who allows the music to speak so freshly and spontaneously…..big-boned, open-hearted music played with sensitivity, brilliance and panache."

Dvorak Symphony No 1:

(comparing it with Kubelik and the Berlin Philharmonic and Rowicki and the London Symphony)
"...its own right, this recording is very fine indeed……..Karel Mark Chichon scores significantly over several esteemed rivals precisely because he allows the music to flow…….as a well-played freshly affectionate performance well-recorded it certainly deserves to be heard……..Chichon is extremely good at picking ideally fluent tempi which reinforcing the genial, open-hearted youthful nature of the work…….the first movement has a very positive expressive drive……the playing of the DRP is similarly poised and refined. Not that they lack punch or bite if required – Chichon is very good at observing the detail of the score whilst also allowing the players to unleash real drama…..the slow movement introduction leads to a very beautiful extended oboe melody – absolutely delightfully played here and again at an ideally chosen steady tempo but one which allows the music to slowly unfurl. Again real care has been taken to allow the subtly balanced dynamic layers to register…..Chichon finds a perkily insouciant feel for the third movement that again seems wholly appropriate. This is delightfully alert playing beautifully caught by the by the Hanssler engineers…….…….the engineering of this Hanssler disc is unfussily fine. In fact this would seem to be a good old-fashoned high audio studio recording. Balances across the orchestra are realistic and effective and the dynamic range is again natural but also expands excitingly to the big climaxes..."
Rhapsody Op 14 

(comparing with all other recordings of this work) "...this new version is far better in every regard. Better played, more tautly conceived and compellingly exciting..." 

Music Web International

For more reviews, please see: 

Klassik Heute

Lark Reviews

"Karel Mark Chichon has much sympathy for this work, both its invention and detail, and secures a performance that is thrilling and beguiling...The recording, naturally balanced and dynamic, supports fully the performers’ dedication." Classical Ear

Grieg & Dvorak

Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin

Philharmonie Berlin (with Alice Sara Ott, piano)


Symphony No. 2

Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Congresshalle Saarbrücken

"Die Spielzeit der Deutschen Radio Philharmonie ist noch nicht zu Ende, doch mit einer überragenden Interpretation von Mahlers Sinfonie Nr. 2 („Auferstehungssinfonie“) krönte Chefdirigent Karel Mark Chichon nun die Saison." Saarbruecker Zeitung

Debut Concerts - December 2010

Concertgebouw Orchestra

"The conductor Antonio Pappano, to whom the disgruntled audience had been eagerly waiting to see, was replaced by Karel Mark Chichon. But their annoyance  disappeared instantly at the start of the Overture: there were bold tempo changes, a fine characterization of the pathos in the strings and poignant lines in clarinet and oboe. This man knows what he wants. The Second symphony of Borodin showed that (Chichon) had established an intimate contact with the orchestra in this first encounter."
(Volkstraat ****)
"The extreme contrasts within the overture were dramatic. What is clear: Chichon is a conductor who does not bore the listeners! The beautiful playing  of the orchestra's dialogue with Kavakos was astonishing..."
(Telegraaf ****)
"(Chichon's) talent for musical drama was plain to see in the Verdi Overture; he kept the suspense perfectly..."  
"In the Borodin, high romantic drama from fairytale Russia, he kept the lines tight...the slow movement was really allowed to sing yet sizzle." 
(URC ****)


Season Opening Concert - October 2010

Latvian National Symphony Orchestra


"One of the greatest 20th century composers - Gustav Mahler said, "I mean, write a symphony with all available means of musical expression to build a new world!" His second Symphony is a monumental and programmatic work of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Concert with Eric Ešenvalds Fanfare Karel Mark Chichon led the orchestra musicians were hand-built in the new world, which thrilled his whole heart to their uniqueness.

As the name of the opus, the concert was opened with a fanfare Eric Ešenvalds new works - very fresh, colorful music, footage of a compact (about six minutes), but pleasantly rounded whole in which The Latvian sound code in the world breath precursory framework, while touching something outside spacetime form, common to all mankind. Ešenvalds music I have always found speaks directly to the listener with its simple beauty, which felt a sincere humility and praise the Most High, no less pathos - easy and light, filling the heart and soul with positive energy throughout. Also fanfare is no exception. Ešenvalds Welcomed Orchestra new season with a score in a short time reveals a wide variety of orchestral colors and options, from a saturated string in unison through a small and playful solo wind instrument to gently lyrical melodic which penetrated up the wonderful percussion score, while easy and attractive with its wild- continuous pulse of the musical fabric reinforcements. Ešenvalds with its characteristic reverence and entering into fanfare had placed a message on the band as a whole, which is formed from the vivid personalities and are masters of their instrument playing. Chichon orchestrated fanfare, creating expressive, yet harmonious paintings with bright accents and feel the nuances.

Mahler's Resurrection Symphony in turn (this is the second symphony the other name) was a monumental wealth.  To conduct  Mahler is an experience, a peculiar initiation, approaching musical maturity and self-consciousness. Mahler himself calls for many literal and specific instructions within a wide range of emotions, where weaker nerves may even be harmful. Karel Mark Chichon in the person of emotionality and temperament are intertwined with the passionate nuances of search and rational, but also with the pragmatic power distribution and the energy to bring this magnificent symphony through to its culmination in the finale. It seems every major form Chichon constructs with great care, leads the orchestra musicians carefully luster of his party and then of those clean shiny bricks in the construction of a new version of its composer-generated world. Both strings and wood and brass, and percussion sounded magnificent balanced. Special mood and contrasts gave the so-called offstage brass and percussion ensembles, which the author meticulously called for, travelled very successfully from on stage to back stage. Surprisingly, given that the concert was held without a break, and Mahler's symphony is about one and half hours long, the time went by almost unnoticed, as did the attention of musical dynamics to relax for a moment, and keeping your eyes open were like keeping your eyes closed in the beautiful interwoven orchestral textures in display. In the third movement the sympathetic lightness and dynamic pace pleasantly reminded the conductor's exquisite treatment of the waltz / landler, never allowing a three-four measureto  become banal. While the vocal side of the second Symphony added beautiful Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Batoukova’s rendition of Mahler's song of the 4th movement. Her deep maternal warmth and expressivity added colored orchestral performances, bright contrast to the following French horn fanfare, leading into the symphony finale. The other soloist - the American soprano Karen Slack - sparkled with a rounded, clear, but at the same time fill the sound of a voice, a genuine enjoyment of the ears giving final ensemble with Batoukova (it seems, this time very successfully managed to harmonize the singers voice deepening tonal colors) and the Latvian National Opera Chorus, the final culmination of the spoken resurrection of the idea.  I found myself at the thought of comparing this performance with the one a few years ago in Riga under Andris Nelsons’ artistic leadership  - at that time Nelsons’ interpretation led critics and public to question the conductor emotional resources (on the border of being burnt out) which reached a definitive interpretation of contrasts, but the performance of Karel Mark Chichon, a deep and mature emotion intertwined with strictly rational direction of directing towards to the peak of the work, allows us to see Mahler's genius in the directly programmatic symphony of construction and does not tire the listener with neverending  emotional excess. With Chichon’s interpretation the listener was allowed to breath repeatedly and at the end of the symphony after the magnificent final chords the conductor himself took an extensive pause of more than two minutes of silence to allow Mahler’s world to disappear into the sea of applause."
Neatkriga Daily Newspaper, Lauma Mellena, 29/10/2010

Concert 23 September 2010

Tonhalle Dusseldorf Germany

“……An dem großen Erfolg dieses Abends hatte der Dirigent Karel Mark Chichon, einen gebührenden Anteil.
Unter Chichon, der das Lettische Nationale Sinfonieorchester mit Verve zu fein ziselierter Klangarbeit motivierte und die Sängerin sensibel begleitete, verteilte er klug lyrische, dramatische und temperamentvolle Akzente.
Chichon, ein Magier am Pult, leitete das blendend disponierte Orchester mit Sicherheit, Temperament und Geschmack. Ihm und dem Orchester kann man nicht genug danken, dass der Abend mit solcher Virtuosität, musikalischer Intelligenz und Hingabe begleitet wurde. Mit hochgepeitschter Dramatik und viel Temperament servierten sie dieses umfassende Programm.
Wie Chichon die Tempi voneinander absetzte und immer den richtigen Ton traf, ist bewunderungswürdig. Er riss das Orchester ständig mit und erreichte so ein Optimum an Differenziertheit und Klangfülle. Schmissige Tempi und kraftvolle Ausbüche gaben der Musik den richtigen volkstümlich-spanischen Klang. Man spürte die Liebe des Dirigenten für diese Musik. Sein Dirigat war eine einzige gelungene Pirouette, bei der man andauernd Beifall klatschen möchte, ein reines sinnliches Musikvergnügen. Alles war Bewegung, er wurde niemals derb, blieb immer elegant und natürlich. Er gestaltete dieses Konzert mit minimaler, aber überaus präziser Zeichengebung zu einem beglückenden Erlebnis.
Sie erntete heftigen Jubel. Ein hervorragendes Konzert. Wir empfehlen Jedem den Besuch der Habanera Tour.”

ioco Kultur im Netz, 25/09/2010
“… Ganrancas Landsleute vom Lettischen Nationalen Orchester gaben unter der Leitung von Karel Mark Chichon ihr Äußerstes. Er forderte heftige Tempi und großes Klangvolumen. Keine Spur von Tournee-Langeweile. Stehende Ovationen am Schluss”.

Rheinische Post, Norbert Laufer, 25/09/2010)