Soprano Alexandra Coku has enjoyed international acclaim as an opera and concert singer
for three decades. Best known for her stunning Mozart interpretations, she has sung Pamina at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Frankfurt Opera, Cologne Opera, Düsseldorf Opera, Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera, Contessa Almaviva in Dresden’s Semperoper, Opéra de Marseille, Théâtre du Capitôle Toulouse, Fiordiligi in Düsseldorf, Théâtre de Champs-Élysées Paris, and at the Wiener Staatsoper, Donna Elvira in Zurich Opera and Opéra du Rhôn Strasbourg and Elettra in Paris (Champs-Élysées), Düsseldorf and Chicago. Also a well-known Händel singer, Ms. Coku has sung Agrippina at Zurich Opera under Mark Minkowski, Teatro Sao Carlos and Glimmerglass Festival Opera, and Rosmene in Handel’s Imeneo at the Händel Festival Halle. At Houston Grand Opera, Ms. Coku made her acclaimed debut, alongside Susan Graham, as Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante. Among her other notable roles are Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes, Antonia and Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, with which she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a production of the Komische Oper Berlin, under the direction of Harry Kupfer.
Alexandra Coku has been a regular guest of many European and American orchestras, including the Concertgebouw, the Berliner Konzerthaus and the Boston Symphony. She was a regular guest of the Netherlands Philharmonisch Orkest for almost two decades and was also a frequent guest of Het Residentie Orkest, Den Haag, and the Nederlands Kammerorkest. Her recordings include Schumann’s “Das Paradies und die Peri” under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner for Deutsche Grammaphone, Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Netherlands Philharmonisch Orkest under the direction of Hartmut Haenchen, Mendelssohn’s Elias with the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra under the direction of Sylvain Cambreling, Dvorak Stabat Mater (world debut recording of the original version) with Accentus, conducted by Laurence Equilbey, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Aachen Sinfonie Orchester, Marcus Bosch conducting, and a world premiere recording of Eduard Marsxen Lieder with Anthony Spiri. Her recording of Beethoven concert arias with Jermie Rhorer and the Cercle de l’Harmonie: Beethoven – Birth of a Master received widespread critical acclaim.
Alexandra Coku is a Professor of Voice at the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Stanford University and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, where she studied with Professor Margaret Harshaw.
Anthony Spiri is one of the most versatile and highly-regarded among today’s lied accompanists, chamber music pianists and solists. Born in the USA, he studied in Cleveland and Boston until a grant enabled him to continue his training in Europe. He obtained his diploma with special distinction from the “Mozarteum” in Salzburg. Among his teachers, Erika Frieser, Hans Leygraf, Rudolf Firkusny, Erik Werba and Nikaolaus Harnoncourt were the most influential.
Anthony Spiri’s repertoire extends from the17th the 21st century and includes many unusual and lesser-known compositions. Spiri has given world premieres of compositions by Sofia Gubaidulina, Rainer Bishof, York Höller, Wolfgang Rihm, and other prominent composers of our time.
He has performed with many of today’s most prominent singers and instrumentalists. Among his regular Lied partners have been Bernarda Fink, Edith Mathis, Peter Schreier, Marjana Lipovsek, and Angelika Kirchschlager. His chamber music partners include some of today’s most prominent instrumentalists and ensembles (the Ensemble Wien-Berlin, Gidon Kremer, and the Hagen Quartet for example). As soloist he has appeared with the Chamber of Orchestra of Europe, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Camerata Academica Salzburg, the Basel Chamber Orchestra and many other orchestras.
His extensive recording catalogue spans numerous labels: harmonia mundi, cpo, Orfeo, OehmsClassics, BMG and Camerata Tokyo among others. Notable is the continuing series of CDs with works by Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, in which his many years of experience with historical instruments – harpsichord, fortepiano and organ – show to best advantage. Alfredo Casella’s piano concerto “Scarlattiana”, piano works by Eduard Marxsen, Gabriel Fauré and J. S. Bach, songs of Schumann, Schubert, Strauss and Joseph Marx.
In addition to publications concerning Alessandro Scarlatti and the sons of J. S. Bach, he is also engaged in researching the nature of Ancient Roman music and the performance practice of Gregorian chant. From 1988 to 1993 he acted as teaching assistant to Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Since 2001 has been professor of piano chamber music at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. He gives master classes and lectures worldwide.
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Mozart & Beethoven