Frank Strobel - Conductor
Frank Strobel, who believes in transcending perceived divisions between artistic genres, is renowned as a conductor, arranger, editor, producer and studio musician. He has been active for many years in the space where films meet music and is a leading figure in the field of film in concert. He has taken silent movies into opera houses and concert halls and is also admired as a conductor of concert repertoire of the Classical and Romantic eras and the 20th century.
Strobel grew up in the surroundings of his parents’ cinema in Munich and got fascinated by the marriage of image and music. As a 16-year-old he obtained a piano score of Gottfried Huppertz‘s original music for Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece “Metropolis”, which he rearranged and then played to accompany the film. The final arrangement of “Metropolis” has again played a determining role in Strobel’s career after an original copy of the film was discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires. The much-anticipated premiere of the restored version of Metropolis took place at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival with Strobel conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Strobel is also in demand internationally for performances of music by the late-Romantic composers Franz Schreker, Alexander von Zemlinsky and Siegfried Wagner, whose works he has both revived and premiered. His open-minded musical philosophy struck a chord with the great Russian-born composer Alfred Schnittke, who came to see Strobel as an ideal interpreter of his works and commissioned him to make concert suites from a selection of his film scores; this led to recordings with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, which in 2005 and 2006 received the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. Strobel also reconstructed and published Prokofiev’s score for Eisenstein’s “Alexander Nevsky”, conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his edition at Konzerthaus Berlin in 2004; this was followed by a performance at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. In 2006, at Dresden’s Semperoper Strobel conducted the Sächsische Staatskapelle for a screening of Robert Wiene‘s 1925 film of “Der Rosenkavalier”, with the reconstructed Strauss’ original orchestral score. A much more recent film, the science fiction extravaganza “The Matrix” was screened at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2011, with Don Davis‘ score performed live by Frank Strobel and the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover. 2014 brought the commemoration of the outbreak of World War I with the world premiere at the Salle Pleyel in Paris of Philippe Schoeller’s newly-written score for Abel Gance’s 1919 film, “J’accuse”; Frank Strobel conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. In 2016 Frank Strobel realised the reconstructed film “Iwan Grozny” by Sergei Eisenstein, for the first time performed with the complete music in its’ original orchestration by Sergei Prokofiev with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) at the Musikfest Berlin, followed by a performance with Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna in 2017.
Frank Strobel enjoys close and long lasting relationships with the Finnish and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestras, the Gothenburg Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, the NDR Radio Philharmonic Hannover, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich; with the Cologne and Paris Philharmonie as well as the Vienna Konzerthaus.
In the 2018/2019 season, Frank Strobel conducted the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin for the reconstructed and restored version of the silent film “J’accuse” (director: Abel Gance), which premiered in 2014 – the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I – with the newly composed music by Philippe Schoeller in the Salle Pleyel in Paris. This is the first part of an Abel Gance series during the Berlin Music Festival, which is continued in the 2019/2020 season with the silent film epic “La Roue” (with the original compilation of works by French composers from 1880 to 1920).
Other highlights of the 2018/2019 season included a tribute to the legendary duo Fellini-Rota and the traditional conducting of the film music competition as part of the Zurich Film Festival with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich – the close collaboration with the Tonhalle Orchestra will continue the following season with three further projects. In the year of the Bernstein celebrations, Frank Strobel conducted the German premiere of the film concert “On the Waterfront” at the Komische Oper Berlin with the original music of the jubilarian.
Frank Strobel acts as an adviser to ZDF/arte for its silent film programming. In 2000, he co-founded with Beate Warkentien the EUROPEAN FILMPHILHARMONIC INSTITUTE. This cultural institution has built a reputation for its expertise in authentic performances of film scores.