TrumpetHåkan Hardenberger
Håkan Hardenberger © Marco BorggreveArtist

„the best trumpet player in the galaxy“

The Times
9 / 31


Håkan Hardenberger is one of the world’s leading soloists, consistently recognized for his phenomenal performances and tireless innovation. Alongside his performances of the classical repertory, he is also renowned as a pioneer of significant and virtuosic new trumpet works.

Hardenberger performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Wiener Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and London Symphony Orchestra. Conductors he regularly collaborates with include Martyn Brabbins, Péter Eötvös, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Ingo Metzmacher, Andris Nelsons, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and John Storgårds.  

The works written for and championed by Hardenberger stand as key highlights in the repertory and include those by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Brett Dean, Hans Werner Henze, Steven Mackey, Olga Neuwirth, Arvo Pärt, Toru Takemitsu, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Rolf Wallin and HK Gruber’s concerto Aerial, which has received its 70th performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2015.

In summer 2017, Hardenberger returns to the Tanglewood Music Festival, this time for an educational focus featuring collaborations with Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians and Tanglewood Music Centre Fellows. He is the celebrity Resident Artist of the new Klosters Summer Music Festival in Switzerland. In 2017/2018 he continues his residency with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which showcases him as soloist and a conductor. In January 2018 he leads HK Gruber’s 75th birthday festivities at the Konzerthaus Vienna, performing his first trumpet concerto Aerial. He returns to Vienna for a performance at the Musikverein celebrating B.A.Zimmermann’s centenary. He also works with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio and Danish National Symphony Orchestra as well as Helsinki and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestras.

Conducting is an integral part of Hardenberger’s music making. He conducts orchestras such as BBC Philharmonic, Saint Paul and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, Dresden Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony Dublin, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi and Malmö Symphony Orchestra. Duo partnerships include pianist Roland Pöntinen and percussionist Colin Currie, with whom he performs a new duo work by Brett Dean this season in Malmö, Aldeburgh, Wimbledon and Bergen. He is Artistic Director of the Malmö Chamber Music Festival.

His extensive discography on the Philips, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon and BIS labels includes his latest recording with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/ John Storgårds of Brett Dean’s and Luca Francesconi’s trumpet concertos. His catalogue features the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with arrangements of popular melodies, a Gruber and Schwertsik CD with Swedish Chamber Orchestra (BIS) and a Wallin recording with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Ondine).

Hardenberger was born in Malmö, Sweden. He began studying the trumpet at the age of eight with Bo Nilsson in Malmö and continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire, with Pierre Thibaud, and in Los Angeles with Thomas Stevens. He is a professor at the Malmö Conservatoire.

SEASON 2017/2018


“Hardenberger’s molten trumpet tone lent warmth and also supplied bluesy accents.”

The Telegraph, John Allsion, 04.11.2017

“Håkan Hardenberger [...] soar above the forces or integrate himself into the ensemble as the score demanded, culminating in a thrilling cadenza”

Bachtrack, Richard Ely, 14.01.17

“Even now I can still taste the zing of the trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger’s virtuosity as he tore into the myriad shouts, flutterings and high-flying cries required for Staffan Storm’s Three Autumns, a 32-minute colossus written for this week’s first edition of Hardenberger’s Malmo Chamber Music festival.”

The Times, Geoff Brown, 21.09.16

“To watch him play those quicksilver runs of notes, at a mere fraction above the breath level where the instrument stops making a sound at all, was an awesome experience.”

Bachtrack, David Karlin, 29.01.16

“Unmissable is the angst and moral outrage [in Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s trumpet concerto Nobody Knows de Trouble I See], delivered compellingly in Hakan Hardenberger’s virtuoso performance.”

London Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 07.12.15

“Hakan Hardenberger, flawless as ever.”

London Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 23.08.15

“Hardenberger’s performance was essentially beyond criticism. Technically faultless, his tone was brilliant when required, but there was also little of the supple breathiness one might expect from a jazz soloist, which brought warmth and vulnerability. The tremendously demanding solo part required, at times, frighteningly fast wide leaps, intensely chromatic scurrying, and the most delicate, flute-like high melodies. All challenges were met with scarcely believable aplomb.”

The Australian, Paul Hopwood, 11.05.15

“In HK Gruber’s Aerial you can experience a completely unleashed Hardenberger, an ultrasound virtuoso that travels incondictionally with his audience. So overwhelmingly versatile and adventurous, Håkan Hardenberger's sound whirls through the Berliner Philharmonie.”

Berliner Morgenpost, Felix Stephan, 25.04.15

“Aerial, Gruber’s concerto for trumpet and orchestra, was written for and played by Håkan Hardenberger. Beneath its crazy gestures and virtuosity is a heady mix of irony, dance and spiritual exaltation. (...) Hardenberger’s extraordinary performance took the work from its aerial view, “an imaginary landscape beneath the Northern Lights”, to a dizzy crescendo of complex, frenetic dance.”

The Times, Hilary Finch, 24.02.15

“Hardenberger was unruffled by the unalleviated technical demands of the concerto. Frequently driven to the highest register, his tone was ever sure and appealing; rasping crescendos and trills were despatched with controlled vigour; rapid passagework flowed with ease; he even managed to play and sing simultaneously in the uneasy opening episode. Moreover, a lyrical quality is not wholly absent from Gruber’s score, and Hardenberger showed how easily he can slip between bright brassiness and the mellowness of jazz.”

Seen and Heard International, Claire Seymour, 23.02.15

Go back


Håkan Hardenberger plays Dean & FrancesconiBrett Dean: Dramatis personae, Luca Francesconi: Hard PaceMay. 2017, BIS Records, CD
Wallin: ManyworldsThis CD and Pure audio Blu-ray release includes three orchestral works by Rolf Wallin performed by John Storgårds, Håkan Hardenberger and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra.May. 2015, Ondine, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Turnage: Speranza & From the WreckageHåkan Hardenberger with the London Symphony OrchestraOct. 2013, LSO Live, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Gruber: 3 MOB Pieces - Busking - Schwertsik: Divertimento MacchiatoHåkan Hardenberger with the Swedish Chamber OrchestraAug. 2012, BIS, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
KaléidoscopeOrchestral works by Tobias Broström, played with the Gävle SymfoniorkestreApr. 2012, Swedish Society, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Both Sides, NowHåkan Hardenberger with the Academy of St Martin in the FieldsFeb. 2012, BIS, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
HK Gruber: BuskingHardenberger with works by Gruber: Busking, Nebelsteinmusik & Violin concerto No. 1Jan. 2011, BIS, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Exposed ThroatHåkan Hardenberger's solo disc with works by Gruber, Börtz, Ruders a.o.Jun. 2007, BIS, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Swedish Trumpet ConcertosHardenberger plays Swedish trumpet concertos by Börtz, Sandström and RabeFeb. 2007, BIS, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon