Cello

Johannes Moser

“…one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists…”

Gramophone Magazine

© Sarah Wijzenbeek

Introduction

German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser has performed with the world’s leading orchestras and works regularly with conductors of the highest level.

Johannes recently won his third ECHO Klassik Award as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year 2017’ for his Russian Recital disk on the label PENTATONE, for whom he records exclusively. He will return to the studio in late 2017 to record the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux concertos.

In the 2017/18 season Johannes performs widely in the USA and Europe, including an extensive tour of his newly formed piano with Yevgeny Sudbin and Vadim Gluzman.

Renowned for his efforts to expand the reach of the classical genre as well as his passionate focus on new music, Johannes has recently been heavily involved in commissioning works by Julia Wolfe, Ellen Reid, Thomas Agerfeld Olesen, Johannes Kalitzke, Jelena Firsowa and Andrew Norman. He will take part in the European Premiere of Gubaidulina’s Triple Concerto with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra in October 2017.

Throughout his career, Johannes has been committed to reaching out to all audiences, from kindergarten to college and beyond. He combines most of his concert engagements with masterclasses, school visits and preconcert lectures.

Johannes Moser plays on an Andrea Guarneri Cello from 1694 from a private collection.


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Discography

  • 10 Feb 17 JS BACH Cello Suite No. 4
    Laguna Beach Music Festival
    More info  

    ”He satisfied all the usual interpretive challenges of the work, clearly delineating the separate voices implied in the score and giving thoughtful shape to repeated motives. He adroitly conveyed the large-scale design underlying each of the work’s six dance-based movements.”
    Paul Hodgins, The Orange County Register, 11 February 2017 

  • 02 Feb 17 Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Jun Mark
    Atlanta Symphony Hall
    More info  

    ”When Moser played his cello, it had the common, quasi-astringent sound of tightly wound strings, but this edge was softened by a rich, sonorous depth. These characteristics extended to the upper high notes — Moser made routine use of harmonics to extend the instrument’s normal range — and spanned all the way to the depths of the instrument. Moser’s playing was profound when his fingers skipped around the fingerboard at a quick clip, but his most magical musicianship occurred at slower tempos and softer dynamics.”
    Jon Ross, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3 February 2017 

  • 01 Feb 17 Elgar & Tchaikovsky Andrew Manze, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande
    Recording - Pentatone
    More info  

    Gramophone Editor’s Choice
    ”A most unusual account of the Elgar Concerto, one that’s both musically gripping and recorded at relatively close quarters. The first minutes command immediate attention, Johannes Moser’s handling of the opening chords confident and tonally full-bodied, the ascending solo scales that lead to the principal melody haltingly tiered, the melody itself tenderness personified, slowing subtly before the strings take the lead and Moser rises boldly to the crest of the phrase. The full orchestra’s response is both heroic and uplifting. The second subject finds Moser and the desks of the Suisse Romande playing into each other’s hands, with flexibility to spare (more so than on the majority of Moser’s rivals), the main body of the Allegro molto second movement, taken very briskly, pure quicksilver, again with keen inter-instrumental dialogue much in evidence. The Adagio positively aches, Moser achieving his affect by varying vibrato from an intense, pulsing glow to a cooler, tremor-free line. The finale is extremely dramatic, whether in the heavily weighted fugato-style music from 4’39” (great brass here) or the melancholic episodes at the heart of the movement (starting from around 6’21”), where Moser, although playing from the heart, never sentimentalises the music, and Manze is obviously of a like mind. The rapt return of the Adagio (9’12”) and the defiant restatement of the concerto’s opening chords that follow will likely take your breath away.”
    Rob Cowan, Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

    ”Moser plays the composer’s original version, and sets off at a brisk trot – rococo is not going to be a byword for prissy. But the lightness is balanced by a gently yearning lyricism, and he shapes the minor-key variation into one long, seamless line. The playful exchanges between cello and orchestra in the next variation are beautifully handled…”
    ★ ★ ★ Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 23 March 2017

    ”[An] irresistible new release from Pentatone played with consummate virtuosity by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser…”
    John Brunning, Classic FM

    Johannes Moser spielt wunderbar geschmeidig durch alle Lagen, er hat einen schlackenlosen, kantablen Celloton ohne knarzende, rumplige Nebengeräusche, wie man sie bei manch anderen Cellisten vernehmen kann.

    Mit geschmackvoller Phrasierung überzeugt Johannes Moser bei Tschaikowskys Rokoko-Variationen. Er versteht sich auf die Kunst, mit leichten Ritardandi oder einer zwischenzeitlichen Rücknahme der Dynamik feine Nuancen zu setzen. Aber nie überzieht er, nie wird er schmalzig.

    Johannes Moser plays wonderfully smoothly through all layers, he has a slack-free, cantabile cello tone, without squeaking or rumbling minor noises, as can be heard with many other cellists.

    Johannes Moser satisfies with a tasteful phrasing in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. He understands the art of setting subtle nuances with light ritardandi or an interim regression of dynamics. But never does it overpower or becomes mushy. [ Translation]
    Susanne Stähr, SWR2, 14 February 2017

  • 17 Nov 16 Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations National Symphony Orchestra / Krzysztof Urbanski
    The Kennedy Center
    More info  

    ”Moser has a big, warm, generous sound, and he played with evident enjoyment and a bit of showmanship. The piece is a particular calling card for him […] and he made it very much his own, with the unfamiliar order of the variations (including an eighth variation) giving freshness to a piece known well to NSO audiences.”
    Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 17 November 2016

    ”From the opening variation, beautifully intoned, the cello was indeed in masterly hands. Johannes Moser was all that was most assured and sophisticated and he coaxed every shading out of the work. Particularly attractive was the intimacy of his relationship with the orchestra, especially the strings. There were some lovely antiphonal moments which made one think “this is what making music is all about: this is the definition of a creative working relationship.”
    Hilary Stroh, Bachtrack.com, 18 November 2016 

  • 11 Nov 16 Dvořák Los Angeles Philharmonic / Santtu-Matias Rouvali
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    More info  

    ”Moser, a sophisticated and sensitive cellist, here demonstrated a rare, raw passion”
    Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 13 Novermber 2016

  • 01 Nov 16 Rachmaninov & Prokofiev Cello Sonatas Andrei Korobeinikov
    Recording - Pentatone
    More info  

    ”Johannes Moser triumphs in Prokofiev and Rachmaninov.”
    ★ ★ ★ ★  Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine, March 2017

     

    ‘’… But the newest addition to Pentatone is to my taste unsurpassed when it comes to the smallest details in the comprehensive and, at the same time, spontaneous interplay between Moser and Korobeinikov. It is a duplexity that you rarely hear … so passionately lived and played here as a breathtaking adventure. I really know no more impressive a performance of the Andante from the Rachmaninov sonata than this.’’ [TRANSLATION]
    Art van der Wal, Opus Klassiek, November 2016

    ‘’… the savagery of the pizzicati and – when needed – bowing, the precision of the rising and falling semiquaver sixths, dynamic range, variety of tone and attack are exceptional and Moser thankfully isn’t afraid to swoop and swoon in the grander, more sweeping passages, while the finale has wit and power.’’
    Audiophile Audition

    ‘’The close cooperation between Moser and Korobeinikov really pays off in this recording: the duo is apparently fully aware of the problems of this work. The result therefore sounds natural and spontaneous. No trace of force or effort. … I enjoyed every second of this wonderful CD.’’ [TRANSLATION]
    Emelie Stoffels, Luister Magazine, February 2017

  • 28 Oct 16 Enrico Chapela, Magnetar Calgary Philharmonic/Roberto Minczuk
    Jack Singer Concert Hall
    More info  

    ”Johannes  Moser is a popular performer in Calgary, largely through his boundless energy, obvious joy in performing, and virtuosic, expressive playing. The work that he played, Enrico Chapela’s Magnetar: Concerto for Electric Cello and Orchestra, gave Moser ample opportunity to wow the audience, and this he certainly did. […] Both Moser and Minczuk seemed to relish this music and the ending was greeted with a standing ovation and extended applause.”
    Calgary Herald, Kenneth Delong, 30 October 2016 

  • 09 Aug 16 Dutilleux BBC Proms Debut
    BBC Philharmonic / Juanjo Mena, Royal Albert Hall
    More info  

    ”The Prom audience was gratefully quiet and attentive, hanging on every whisper or throb from Johannes Moser’s mobile cello”
    Geoff Brown, The Times, 11 August 2016

    ”…Moser’s delivery was delicately yearning rather than brashly assertive. There was no shortage of lyricism, but within a quiet, impassioned conversation between soloist and orchestra […] the way Moser’s playing dissolved into the final silence was exquisite.”
    Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 10 August 2016 

    ”Moser’s feathering-in of the music’s disembodied contours, the muscularity of his control, a haunting purity of tone and time-suspending quiet playing, and an innate connection with Dutilleux’s spectral expression all thrived in his complete rapport with the orchestra…”
    Peter Reed, Classical Source, 9 August 2016 

  • 23 Jan 16 Dvořák Boston Symphony / Ludovic Morlot
    Boston Symphony Hall
    More info  

    ”…His playing unites a sleekly streamlined technique with an alert and in-the-moment musicality, and on this occasion his brisk forward-leaning tempos in the third movement in particular had the hall on the edge of its collective seat. The crowd wasted no time in rewarding him with a robust ovation…”
    Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe 22 January 2016 

    ”From Moser’s initial entrance, a swooping, arm’s-length-circular placing of the bow on the A-string, drama was assured; the beauty was that the music never took a back seat to the visual effects. He emphasized the ways Dvořák’s writing stretched the then-perceived limits of the cello, and did so in a musically sensitive way, showing a fabulous technique harnessed to a keen musical mind. Throughout there was rhythmic precision, and the music was phrased so the lines had room to breathe. Impassioned and playful, Moser’s rendition encompassed a full palette of timbres and colors. His bowing was a compendium of articulations, smartly chosen. Moser employed rubato as judiciously as I have ever heard in this concerto. At times, these well-known phrases took a decidedly classical turn, offering new perspectives. Overall, the exuberance, testified to the confidence of a skilled musician in prime form having fun on the concert stage. For all that, Moser executed this virtuosic workout with the interplay of voices and lines which mark memorable chamber music; the orchestra engaged fully.”
    Cashman Kerr Prince, The Boston Musical Intelligencer 22 January 2016 

    ”…one of those solo performances that pulls an entire orchestra along with it […] Moser took up the themes with a quiet authority backed by an effortlessly big, clear tone, and the piece was on its way…”
    David Wright, Boston Classical Review, 22 January 2016

  • 09 Jan 16 Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1 Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott
    Chiago Symphony Center
    More info  

    “…Moser’s deft, wonderfully spontaneous account of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C. The cellist’s tonal warmth and wide dynamic palette, the grace of his phrasing and the elegance and accuracy with which he dispatched Haydn’s spirited finale (at top speed) were much to be admired, as was the crisp intimacy of Nott’s chamber-orchestra accompaniment. We really need to hear more of Moser at the CSO.”

    John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune 8 January 2016 

    ”Moser is one of those rare musicians who seems incapable of playing a single bar in a dull or dutiful way. The cellist brought buckets of personality to this music, overlaying Haydn’s graceful themes with an edgy aggressive bravura that made for exhilarating results. Time and again he enlivened the score with a quick accelerando burst, hairpin dynamic turn and nervy virtuosity that brought a modern bite to the music.

    Playing Wen-Sinn Yang’s clever cadenzas, Moser plumbed surprising emotional depth in the Adagio, and was off to the races in the finale. Even with its Allegro molto marking, it’s unlikely one will ever hear the closing movement played as fast as this, Moser managing somehow to maintain clean articulation and accurate intonation at lightning speed, making for exhilarating results.”
    Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review 8 January 2016 

    ”…Moser’s interpretation brought together everything one could hope for in a performance of this work: finessed melodic lines, adroit finger work, arresting yet unpretentious virtuosity, and a dash of cheeky wit. Interacting with the orchestra through grins and glances, the magnetic 36-year-old united the hypersensitivity of a chamber musician with the flair of a virtuoso soloist. A first movement of perfect Haydnian charm was followed by an achingly gorgeous second movement, all topped by a nimble third-movement Allegro which showcased Moser’s sheer technical facility…”
    Hannah Edgar, The Chicago Maroon 11 January 2016

  • 14 Nov 15 Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 Cleveland Orchestra / Giancarlo Guerrero
    Adrienne Arsht Center
    More info  

    ”Moser spun the mournful lament of the second movement in long, arching phrases. Melodic fragments were subtly shaded with minute variations of dynamics and tonal color. Moser deliberately paced the long cadenza, assaying the difficult leaps of register with total accuracy while allowing the music to speak directly in an unforced manner.”

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/performing-arts/article44995449.html#storylink=c

    Lawrence Budman, South Florida Classical Review 15 November 2015

    ”In the hands of Johannes Moser, the piece soared in all its splendor and intensity”
    Daniel Fernández, El Nuevo Herald 16 November 2015 

    ”Johannes Moser performance was simply flawless. The German Cellist showed not only a perfect tuning and fingering, he delivered beyond technic virtuosity, he transmitted passion and depth a hard thing to do in this kind of concert from every single point of view: showcasing a multifaceted and heightened intensity. A memorable piece, Moser without doubt gave us an incredible performance making him one of the most outstanding instrumentalists of modern days.”
    Sebastian Spreng, Miami Clasica 17 November 2015 

  • 17 Oct 15 Elgar Cello Concerto Philadelphia Orchestra/Donald Runnicles
    Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
    More info  

    ”Cellist Johannes Moser and the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Donald Runnicles conjured that marvelous sense of time suspension in the second movement of the Elgar on Friday night at Verizon Hall. Orchestra and soloist grew almost absurdly quiet and still, and it was the high point of the concert. And doesn’t it seem like a miracle when calm can be the high point of something in this noisy world?”
    Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, 20 October 2015 

  • 08 Oct 15 Elgar Cello Concerto National Arts Centre Orchestra/Alexander Shelley
    National Arts Centre, Ottawa
    More info  

    ”German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser gave a passionate performance of stupendous virtuosity. His sinewy, intense, aggressive playing conveyed the bone-tired bitterness behind Elgar’s deceptively simple themes. The range of Moser’s sound is almost operatic, from deep, husky growls to floating, white pianissimos stripped of vibrato. With more sentimental musicians, the adagio movement can veer into schmaltz, but Moser and Shelley gave it the serene, full-moon cast of a Chopin nocturne.”
    Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen 10 October 2015 

  • 02 Sep 15 Dvořák & Lalo
    Recording - Pentatone
    More info  
    Pizzicato Magazine Luxembourg SUPERSONIC Award

    ”The Lalo Concerto is certainly presented here  in a very good recording, yet the major asset is the superlative performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto by Johannes Moser. Since Karajan and Rostropovich nobody recorded this work so well. The result is sheer delight.” [TRANSLATION]
    Remy Frank, Pizzicato Magazine 13 August 2015

    ”Impossible to say, what is more impressive: The precise, astonishing technique, the burning, forceful tone or the unruly enjoyment of playing. This is how superlative recordings sound!” [TRANSLATION]
    Martin Hoffmeister, MDR Radio Figaro 27 July 2015 

    ”With his new CD on a new label, the young german-canadian master cellist opens a new chapter in his career” [TRANSLATION]
    Guido Fischer, Rondo Magazine P22, 23 April 2015 

    ”Johannes Moser, the young German-Canadian cellist, offers playing that readily enchants: he performs as if thinking aloud, his beautiful tone never overstated, flowing from idea to idea as if it is the easiest thing in the world. Humanity, understanding and a large dose of charm add up to a very satisfying performance.”
    Jessica Duchen, Sinfini Music 4 November 2015

    ”As remarkable as the Dvorak is, what Moser does for the Lalo is a near miracle. It is an electric performance in which he has seemingly examined every nook and cranny of the music…and emerged with music of such magnificent glory that it puts the Saint-Saens concerto, its only rival among French cello concertos before Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain way into the background.”
    Laurence Vittes, Strings Magazine 9th November 2015 

    Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice Review Award

    ”…The Dvořák Concerto enjoys a symphonically conceived account of the orchestral part. Moser’s first entry is strong and confident, and when he goes racing off into the main body of the movement, his playing is lively but without signs of either undue haste or excessive pressure. It’s all so incredibly natural, the second subject as tender as anyone could wish for. Skilfully bowed arpeggios later on really glisten, and that elegiac passage at the first movement’s centre (at 9’19”) truly touches the heart. So does the Adagio (with beautifully balanced woodwinds at the outset), while in the finale, which sets out as a bracing jog-trot, Moser makes light of the various technical challenges that Dvořák poses him…”
    Rob Cowan, Gramophone Magazine 

  • 15 Aug 15 Elgar Cello Concerto Philadelphia Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey
    Saratoga Performing Arts Center, New York
    More info  

    ”Johannes Moser thrilled the crowd with Elgar’s nostalgic Concerto in E minor (1919). Moser is the kind of performer who gives it all he’s got and he did not disappoint here. He played with a passionate intensity, deeply sung melodies, a clear and precise technique and an almost swashbuckling showmanship.”
    Geraldine Freedman, Schenectady Daily Gazette

  • 09 Jul 15 Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 Colombian Youth Phil/Orozco-Estrada
    Meyerson Symphony Center
    More info  

    ”The superb German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser joined for a white-hot performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 — so intense, in fact, that he popped a string in the second movement. With a quick exchange of instruments with the orchestra’s principal cellist, he hardly missed a beat. The piece’s most energetic music needn’t sound quite so desperate, but Moser and the orchestra made a gripping case for the interpretation.”
    Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News 9 Jul 2015 

    ”Moser is a phenomenal virtuoso and he was particularly animated during last night’s performance, playing so vigorously at one point that he snapped a string on his cello. He jumped up and swapped instruments with the orchestra’s principal cellist. It was interesting to watch Moser in the midst of a ”make it work” moment as he adjusted quickly to the new instrument….his technique, even on an unfamiliar instrument, is astounding.”
    Catherine Womack, D Magazine 10 Jul 2015 

  • 02 Jun 15 Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin,
    Carnegie Hall
    More info  

    “Then there were the bravura flourishes of the strapping and exuberant German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser…who threw himself bodily into a performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1… Mr. Moser’s (performance) fought everyone on equal terms, and he brought the house down.”
    James R Oestreich, New York Times 23 Feb 2014  

    “Moser played Shostakovich’s motivic train wreck as a nervous breakdown so massive that this excellent cellist seemed to have his own nanosecond collapse. The perhaps-unintended gaps in sound felt so emotionally bereft as to be beyond music. Moser’s recent recording of the concerto was no preparation for his fearlessly manic intensity on Thursday. He maintained much control, to judge from his smartly varied vibrato, but tossed aside typical coloristic effects for the most visceral expression possible. Nézet-Séguin urged him on and, during bows, showed his gratitude by going down on bended knee. ”
    David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, 23 Feb 2014  

  • 11 May 15 Dvořák Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra/Roberto Minczek
    Jack Singer Concert Hall
    More info  

    “…The program opened with a splendid performance of Dvorak’s ever-popular Cello Concerto, one of his most appealing works. On hand to perform the solo part was German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser, who was the star of the evening. Embracing the solo part in a big-boned fashion, Moser was dramatic and lyrical by turn, tossing off the virtuoso elements with freedom and drama, and always alive to the poetry of the concerto as well.

     

    The opening movement was taken more quickly that I have often heard it, but to no loss of majestic or its epic qualities — the marketing tag for the concert. The passion and drama of this movement were forcefully projected, the cello tone rich and deep, and with the lyrical themes exquisitely shaped.  Roberto Minczek and the CPO provided a solid accompaniment, with powerful, impressive tutti passages, yet not covering the soloist.

     

    The dreamy slow movement was equally fine, and demonstrated the maturity of Moser as an interpretive musician: the nuances of his tone beautifully expressed the inner emotions of the music. The bumptious finale, with its ebullient main theme, brought the concerto to an impressive conclusion, and also brought the audience to it feet.  A sarabande movement from the cellos suites of Bach made the perfect encore, as inward in its expression as the concerto was extroverted.”
    Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald, 9 May 2015 

  • 03 Mar 15 John Williams & Tchaikovsky Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra/Sanderling
    Kravis Center, Florida
    More info  

    “…Moser, a young and already internationally acclaimed cellist, was soloist in scores by John Williams and Tchaikovsky on the concert’s first half […] Moser is an aristocrat of the cello. He carries a musical line on a thin thread of tone, always phrasing with grace and sensitivity. Moser can also play rapid passages with accuracy and near perfect intonation. In a previous South Florida appearance, he gave an outstanding performance of Dvorák’s Cello Concerto with the New World Symphony under Manfred Honeck in 2011 […]

     

    Tchaikovsky’s original score was rediscovered in the 1940′s and a few cellists have played and recorded it. Moser has been playing the original version and his performance was a revelation […] This version deserves to be heard more often and it would be hard to imagine a better performance than Moser offered. He shaped the principal melody with restraint and the melancholy variation was understated and subtle. In the rapid-fire finale, he exhibited superb control in the instrument’s highest register…”

    Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review 3  Mar 2015 

  • 03 Mar 14 Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester/Tugan Sokhiev
    Philharmonie, Berlin
    More info  

    “Johannes Moser tore the audience apart as soloist in the first cello concerto by Saint-Saens… Moser attacked the piece with flaming elegance. He has a bravura technique, lush sound, but also natural temperament.”
    Jan Brachmann, Berliner Zeitung 3 Mar 2014

  • 23 Nov 13 Britten Bournemouth Symphony/Kirill Karabits
    Colston Hall, Bristol
    More info  

    “His tone was big and warm where needed, and he proved himself capable of some Rostropovich-like wild abandon…he was consistently eloquent.”
    John Allison, The Telegraph 23 Nov 2013

  • 17 Jul 13 Elgar Cello Concerto Los Angeles Philharmonic/Bramwell Tovey
    Hollywood Bowl
    More info  

    “Moser’s tone is beautiful, and he was richly expressive in the sublimely sad slow movement”
    Mark Swed, LA Times 17 Jul 2013