Thomas Hengelbrock is one of the most versatile and interesting artists of his generation. His work spans epochs and genres and is always the result of a detailed examination of the musical text, meaning and content of the works. With the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Orchestra, he founded two top original-sounding formations with which he has enjoyed international success for over 25 years. He is also a sought-after partner for orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.
As an enthusiastic and inspiring music discoverer, Thomas Hengelbrock dedicates himself to a repertoire that ranges from early music through the 19th and 20th centuries to contemporary works and encompasses all genres. He brings almost forgotten compositions to the public or enables the re-evaluation of the standard repertoire through his projects - such as "Parsifal" on original instruments. His concert programs spanning epochs are legendary, often revealing astounding musical affinities and creatively circling and opening up selected themes.
In the context of assistant activities, Thomas Hengelbrock came into early contact with important personalities of contemporary music such as Witold Lutosławski, Mauricio Kagel and Antal Doráti. Even today, the music of the immediate present forms an important part of his work. For example, he conducted the world premieres of Jan Müller-Wieland's oratorio "Maria" at the Ruhrtriennale 2018 and of Wolfgang Rihm's "Reminiszenz" at the opening of the Elbphilharmonie in January 2017. He also collaborates with composers Jörg Widmann, Simon Wills, Lotta Wennäkoski, Qigang Chen and Erkki-Sven Tüür.
As an opera conductor, Thomas Hengelbrock can be seen at such houses as the Opéra national de Paris, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Teatro Real in Madrid, London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Berlin State Opera, and at the festivals in Baden-Baden, Aix-en-Provence, and Salzburg. In the fall of 2020, Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble also opened their own Résidence Artistique at the Château de Fontainebleau, under the patronage of UNESCO.
In productions with the Balthasar Neumann ensembles, Thomas Hengelbrock also directs himself, for example Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" or Mozart's "Don Giovanni". Musical-literary projects with actors such as Klaus Maria Brandauer, Johanna Wokalek and Graham Valentine are another focus of his artistic work. His own versions of Grieg's Peer Gynt and Schumann's "Scenes from Goethe's Faust" fuse music and world literature and subvert all common expectations. With the choreographer Pina Bausch, he created a celebrated production of Gluck's "Orphée et Eurydice" at the Paris Opéra in 2005, which has toured numerous countries to this day.
Thomas Hengelbrock is an enthusiastic music promoter and supports young artists, among other things through the Balthasar Neumann Academy, which he founded, and his Cuban-European Youth Academy (CuE). In 2016, he was awarded the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize for his services. He is also a long-standing patron of the children's palliative care association KinderPaCT.
Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, Thomas Hengelbrock has been particularly committed to the continuation of culture and freelance musicians in Europe. In order to be able to continue to make music without interruption, the Balthasar Neumann ensembles have developed their own hygiene concept, on the basis of which around 30 projects with musicians from all over Europe have been realized.