Born in South Africa, Gérard Korsten began his career as a violinist after studying with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute and with Sándor Végh in Salzburg. Following his studies in the US and Europe he became Concertmaster and Assistant Music Director of the Camerata Salzburg and later Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from 1987 to 1996 when he left the COE to concentrate on conducting. In September 2010 he started his three-year term as Music Director of the London Mozart Players.
Here is a min-biography from Gérard himself:
"I was born in South Africa, the son of one of that country’s most famous tenors – Gé Korsten who was renowned as both an opera singer and a popular singer – a cross between Pavarotti and Sinatra! I started playing the violin when I was 9 and was initially told to give up as I had no talent! This made me want to work even harder and I persevered. I played in youth orchestras and chamber groups, and I discovered the pure joy of making music with other people. After a few years I started conducting as well, whilst at the same time studying the violin, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. On a trip to America I heard a recording of Maria Callas singing the famous aria ‘Casta Diva’ and I was mesmerised by her voice. Her heart and soul were in her singing and for me those are the most important things about music. It isn’t about how much you know about Mozart or that you know all about the instruments in an orchestra. Enjoyment of music is much more important and that’s what I love about conducting the London Mozart Players. Every time I work with them it feels a bit like a family. The orchestra has been going strong for over 60 years and many musicians have changed, but ‘something’ has stayed from the very beginning. Not only are they great musicians, but they clearly enjoy making music and this is something that shines through in the concerts. I am sure we will build on this in the years to come."
Korsten comes to the LMP after holding positions as Principal Conductor of the State Theatre in Pretoria, South Africa and Music Director of the Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Italy. He is currently Principal Conductor of the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg Bregenz, Austria.
This season, Gérard is conducting four concerts this season, inlcuding works by Beethoven, Schubert, Britten and, of course, Mozart.