Conductors of the future: Clara Maria Bauer

CLARA MARIA BAUER is a Viennese conductor. At 13, she got in touch with Fabio Luisi, who let her conduct the Wiener Symphoniker with the beginning of Beethoven’s Eroica. After this key experience, Bauer was sure about her future as a conductor. In 2021, Clara Maria Bauer put a long-held dream into action: to found a virtuoso chamber orchestra, that brings new concert settings and programs with a focus on 20th and 21st century music to its audiences. In 2019/20, she won the audition for the conducting fellow of the Bergische Symphoniker in Germany. In this capacity, she conducted youth concerts, symphonic concerts and family concerts. In addition, she showed her talent in simultaneously presenting and conducting interactive concerts. Recent invitations include the Lead Academy of the Fiskars Festival in Finland, the Conducting Competition of the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic and the masterclass of the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra. She conducted the Manchester Camerata, the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, the Alma Mahler Philharmonie, the Webern Ensemble for New Music, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, the Vokalforum Graz and several mixed, male and youth choirs (etc.). For the 2022/23 season, the Austrian federal ministry supports her work with the Startstipendium für Musik. One of her upcoming projects is a recording of orchestral music by Eric Zeisl.

Dear Clara, hello and thank you for accepting our invitation for this issue’s Conductors of the future interview! We are thrilled to have the chance to get to know you better and to talk with you about your path & the beautiful world of opera. Your musical training is exquisite and we are very curious to find out how everything started for you on this beautiful journey of music.

It has started before I was born. When my mother sang her graduation concert at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, she was already pregnant with me. Music has been an important part of my life since I was little. Singing, dancing, playing chamber music, composing and then discovering my great love for conducting…

Also, do you remember how it felt your first time stepping on the podium? And what about now? Yes, I do remember my first time conducting a great orchestra. I came home and told my family this is my dream job. It is an exceptionally thrilling feeling to form sound with my hands. Even now, after some years of conducting, I am totally in love with the profession. It is not about stepping on the podium for me. It is about feeling the atmosphere when different people make music together. I am in the center of this. I am the person who creates space for so many people to play, sing and act together. I can feel the excitement and the emotions of the musicians and our audience – that is what makes conducting and doing orchestral music and music theatre so special.

First of all, do you think there is a difference between the choir conductor and the orchestra conductor?

Every single situation in conducting is different and you have to act and react in milliseconds to what you hear and what you expect to hear and want to hear. I don’t see choir and orchestra conducting as separated fields. I love both and I think that it makes me a better conductor to be able to do both, and to adapt my technique to every situation. A well-trained conductor communicates his or her musical ideas and forms one single sounding body out of every group of singers or instrumental players making music with him or her. I personally enjoy it very much to make music with different groups: contemporary ensembles, radio choirs, chamber orchestras, vocal ensembles, opera ensembles and symphony orchestras. We are planning two concerts with my Alma Mahler Philharmonie and Matthias Schoberwalter’s chorus alea in Vienna for November 2023 and I am very much looking forward to this choir-orchestra-project.

Read the entire interview here, in the 8th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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