Berlin, 4 March 2021. Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to sign an exclusive agreement with Magdalena Hoffmann. The multitalented performer, principal harpist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, is in high demand both as a chamber musician and as a soloist, even though her chosen instrument is not one that always leads to a solo career. “The great challenge of my instrument is to be innovative”, says the 30-year-old German musician. “It has such primeval roots on the one hand and so many possibilities that are still waiting to be explored on the other. It can be theatrical, poetic, comic, lyrical, magic, eerie – there are so many stories to be told.”
“We are delighted that Magdalena is continuing the great harp tradition on the Yellow Label, represented by, for example, Nicanor Zabaleta during the last century,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “I am certain she will take a highly personal, contemporary approach, creating exciting new recordings and broadening the repertoire of one the most ancient and demanding musical instruments. Magdalena knows how to make the most of its entire tonal spectrum in her own original, thoroughly unconventional way.”
“Human imagination, when we let it run free, is boundless,” says Magdalena. “The harp, which can produce so many different colours and textures, has always been the poet’s and the storyteller’s instrument – it is a wonderful vessel for adventures of the imagination. I can’t wait to share this experience with Deutsche Grammophon’s listeners around the world. It’s a personal thrill to join the Yellow Label at such an exciting point in its history and to draw inspiration from its creative energy.”
Angelika Meissner, Director Classical, Artists & Repertoire, pays tribute to the harpist’s breathtaking virtuosity and musicianship: “Magdalena’s playing goes straight to the heart – and she already has so many ideas for future projects. Her first recording, with its blend of original solo pieces and transcriptions, is utterly enchanting. Working with her is a really inspiring process.”
Magdalena Hoffmann’s DG debut album, scheduled for release next January, will explore music inspired by the night – and by the theme of dance, a form of artistic expression that suits her instrument. After all, playing the harp – which weighs in at 40 kilos – is a very physical activity. Not only do harpists have 47 strings to play with their hands, they also have to work seven pedals with their feet. Each string can be raised by a tone or semitone using the pedals. One mistake can result in a change of key.
Magdalena herself is yet to put a foot wrong. She began taking harp lessons at the age of six. Having made rapid progress, she later studied with Fabiana Trani at the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf. Her training included graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Cristina Bianchi at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik. She was awarded a coveted Cusanuswerk scholarship by Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research and has achieved national and international competition success, including prizes at the 2016 ARD Music Competition.
Before joining the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in November 2018, she was principal harp with the Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra and guest harpist with the Munich Philharmonic and the WDR Symphony and Düsseldorf Symphony orchestras, among others. As well as teaching at the Tiroler Landeskonservatorium, Magdalena Hoffmann is also regularly invited to appear at festivals worldwide, and has received acclaim both for creating projects that engage her skills as musician, visual artist and writer, and for her collaborations with equally adventurous colleagues.