Chief Conductor of the WDR Funkhausorchester
Artistic Director of the Europäische Filmphilharmonie
A conductor whose international reputation is built on repertoire of unusual stylistic diversity, Frank Strobel has long been recognised as a leading figure in the space where film meet music. In particular, he has played a crucial role in bringing film concerts into leading opera houses and concert halls.
At the start of the 2021/22 season he will assume the role of Chief Conductor of Cologne’s WDR Funkhausorchester.
Frank Strobel grew up in his parents’ cinema in Munich. As a 16-year-old he obtained a piano score of the original music for Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece METROPOLIS. He arranged it for two pianos and then played it to accompany the film, with such success that many more such screenings followed. In 2008 an original copy of METROPOLIS was discovered in Buenos Aires; two years later a fully restored version of the film was premiered at the Berlinale, with Frank Strobel conducting the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.
In 2006 at Dresden’s Semperoper he conducted the Staatskapelle Dresden to accompany a reconstruction of the film of DER ROSENKAVALIER with Richard Strauss’s original music. Having reconstructed Sergei Prokofiev’s music for Eisenstein’s films ALEXANDER NEVSKY and IVAN THE TERRIBLE, Strobel conducted the first performances of his realisations at the Musikfest Berlin. Further performances followed at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2017.
Another important collaboration with the Musikfest Berlin came to fruition in 2019 in both Berlin and Lyon: Abel Gance’s seven-hour silent epic LA ROUE, with a score specially assembled from 117 works written by French composers between 1880 and 1920. In 2014 at the Salle Pleyel in Paris Strobel had already conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in the premiere of Philippe Schoeller’s score for Abel Gance’s film J’ACCUSE.
Beyond the world of film music, Frank Strobel has achieved international recognition for his first performances and revivals of works by Franz Schreker, Alexander von Zemlinsky und Siegfried Wagner. The great Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) found Frank Strobel congenial, considering him an ideal interpreter of his works. Strobel now retains the adaptation rights for Schnittke’s music.
In 2002 Frank Strobel and Beate Warkentien established the Europäische FilmPhilharmonie, an institution dedicated to the artistic development of music and film in the concert hall. This has given rise to such ambitious projects as MATRIX LIVE at London’s Royal Albert Hall and recently to the first performance of a Chaplin-themed concert WITH A SMILE; this took place at the Philharmonie Paris with the Orchestre de Paris.
Of special significance in this context is Strobel’s role as an adviser to the TV station ZDF/ARTE on its programming of silent films and this has resulted in notable performances of silent films to the accompaniment of legendary musical works. Frank Strobel enjoys close artistic links with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, London Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hannover und Leipzig, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Cologne Philharmonie, Paris Philharmonie and Vienna Konzerthaus.
2020/2021 This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless ex- pressly authorised by artist management.
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