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Rene Giessen

Rene Giessen
Composer, Harmonica Virtuoso

René Giessen is a conductor, composer and harmonica virtuoso, what makes him a true phenomenon and “out of the box” artist.


René believes, that music is an primordial experience – he sets musicians and listeners into vibration, swinging together on one big wave of energy. That’s why under his conducting, popular music is received deeply touching, while classical works may “rock” the audience. A passionate ambassador of his art, René often comes as conductor and presenter in unison.


His biography is quite extraordinary: at the tender age of eleven he astonished audiences as child prodigy on the harmonica. With his affinity to Beethoven and Mozart, he academically developed into a “solo clarinettist” and then into an arranger, conductor and composer of modern classical music. For the classical genre he was discovered by the legendary Rafael Kubelik, after playing for him Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with harmonica at age 15, who encouraged him to seek for an orchestral career. He entered the Munich State Conservatory from where he received degrees in clarinet, composing and conducting. Thanks to the harmonica, René always stayed true to his roots, that lie in movie scores and popular music. Until today, he is asked to perform melodies like “Once upon a Time in the West” or “Winnetou”.


René understands music as the peak of human civilization and feels deeply grateful each time conducting a world-class orchestra. Acknowledged as a big player in both classical and popular genre, he holds friendly relationships with professional ensembles worldwide as well with youngsters and amateurs. This enables him to realize extraordinary artistic dreams. In 2017 for example, he staged the concert event “Burn on, Homo Sapiens”, bringing together an African choir, a traditional German brass band, the Berlin brass quintet “Costum Tomaculum”, opera singers and a rock band. (Excerpts can be seen on Youtube.)


“But this was only the beginning…” says René, the visionary and crossover specialist. His next work will talk about humanity again and reach an even higher level of spontaneous interaction: The audience will be listener, player and main character in the symphonic project “The Swarm”. (World premiere planned for spring 2020, in the High-Rope Park of the Wollmarshöhe Clinic on Lake Constance.)


Among the orchestras he conducted and/or played with as soloist are; Leipzig Symphony / Louisiana Philharmonic/ St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic/ Ostwesfälische Philharmonie/ NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Nürnberger Symphoniker/ Haydn Orchestra/ Berlin Philharmonic/ Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana/ Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn …. to name a few. Rene Giessen is a specialist in film music. His interpretation of Ennio Morricone’s music is considered authentic all over the world and has a storm of applause from the audience. The sound is particularly special when he plays “Once upon a time in the west” on his harmonica!


He can moderate his concerts in five languages.


From the Press:


Big soundtracks! Funny and interactive concert for kids..


The “Star Wars” ouverture at 9am, played by a symphonic orchestra live … sounds like a dream? But it was real! On Feb. 6 and 7, René Giessen and the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra gave four concerts featuring great movie soundtracks at the Gewandhaus Leipzig. The audience were youngsters from highschools of the region, who could be overheard eagerly whispering „I know that!“ again and again during the performance. The program of great scores, played live by strings, brass, harp, timpani and glockenspiel turned out to be fun and impressive.


As conductor and master of ceremony, René Giessen provided a high level of participation and interactivity: Before it all started, he showed up as technician and instructed the kids, how to greet the orchestra with thunderous applause … Afterwards, we learned, how classical music influenced famous soundtracks: composer John Williams, for example, drew inspiration from the romantic style of Richard Wagner, when composing the galactic „Star Wars” saga. Other composers got inspired from each other, which is why „Once upon a Time in the West ” became the American answer of the successful „Winnetou”-movies produced in Germany. And we also learned: The „Mission Impossible” theme evokes the image of dramatic car chases due to its hectic five-quarter time …


The kids were asked to take part in two pieces in particular: In Dmitri Shostakovich’s Waltz No. 2, they were expressly encouraged to float along by waving their arms – what they full heartedly enjoyed. For the „Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis, René Giessen asked for a hissing sound of the sea – the result was impressively interactive. The highly anticipated final was „Pirates of the Caribbean” by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt – a favourite of many. It came along with a little fencing scene by the concert master and his conductor … An unforgettably funny concert with top-class music!


Rosemarie Frühauf

René Giessen Main work directory

1990 Freiburg Konzerthaus „Iron John“ to Rober Bly Syphonic poem for orchestra
1993 Gießen Stadttheater „Engeltrilogie“ for winds
1995 Trossingen Hohner Konzerthaus „Mandragora“ Rhapsody for Harmonica and String Quartet
1999 Izmir „Ilahi“ to Yunus Emre Izmir State Symphony Orchestra
2000 Izmir (Turkey) Concert for three clarinets and orchestra Izmir State Symphony Orchestra
2002 Antalya „Antalya my love“ Soloist: Canan Güncer (vocal) Antalya State Symphony Orchestra
2004 Schleswig – Holstein Musikfestival „Mandragora“ Rumba Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra Soloist: Andy Miles SHFO Orchestra
2005 Concert for Violine and Orchestra „Yenisey concerto“ dedicated to the people of Turkey Soloist Attila Aldemir Frankfurt Symphony

2008 Ankara (Turkey) West East University Concert Hall „Knulpscher Gesang“ nach Hermann Hesse Lyriks Stefanie Kemper European premiere Konzerthaus Berlin (Gendarmenmarkt) The Score / Lyrics and Conducting stick will be deposited 2021 in Deutsche Nationalbibliothek as Treasure capsule against forgetting. Cultural heritage.
2010 Flute Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (not yet performed)
2020 Hermann Hesse Zyklus „Klein und Wagner / Siddharta / Knulpscher Gesang“ for Mezzosoprano and Piano 3 + 4 November Refectorio Izny Allgäu (Germany) Caroline Schnitzer Mezzo. Bangin Jung Piano
2021 Hesse Zyklus Orchestral version Caroline Schnitzer Leipziger Symphonieorchester Gewandhaus Leipzig Date: N.N.

René Giessen und die Kammerphilharmonie St. Petersburg 2018