TrumpetHåkan Hardenberger
Håkan Hardenberger © Marco BorggreveArtist

„the best trumpet player in the galaxy“

The Times
8 / 30


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.

Håkan Hardenberger performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductors he regularly collaborates with include 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, Olga Neuwirth, Arvo Pärt, Tōru Takemitsu, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Rolf Wallin and HK Gruber’s concerto Aerial, which has received its 70th performance by Hardenberger with 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 with a performance of his first trumpet concerto Aerial. He returns to Vienna for a performance at the Musikverein celebrating B.A. Zimmermann’s centenary. Other orchestras he works with include the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, BBC Symphony, Swedish Radio and Danish National Symphony Orchestras as well as Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Conducting has become an integral part of Hardenberger’s music making. He conducts orchestras such as BBC Philharmonic, Saint Paul and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, Dresdner Philharmonie, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Basque National Orchestra and Malmö Symphony Orchestra. In recital he appears in duos with percussionist Colin Currie and pianist Roland Pöntinen. He is also Artistic Director of Malmö Chamber Music.

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 new arrangements of film and pop melodies, a Gruber and Schwertsik CD with Swedish Chamber Orchestra (BIS) and a Wallin recording with Bergen Philharmonic/ Storgårds (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


“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

“You can throw anything at Håkan Hardenberger, a champion of the new, and he’ll play it – brilliantly, unfazed and with total commitment.”

Classical Source, Colin Anderson, 05.12.14

“Hardenberger displaying bamboozling virtuosity”

Classical Source, Colin Anderson, 02.11.14

“His smooth, silvery tone remains matchless.”

The Telegraph, John Allison, 10.08.14

“Hardenberger, called 'the cleanest, subtlest trumpeter on earth', undoubtedly is the most virtuosic. If Wagner pushed the limits of 19th century tonality, Hardenberger pushes the limits of 21st century trumpet playing.”

Broadway World, Erica Miner, 21.07.14

“Håkan Hardenberger is magisterial as the flugelhorn, trumpet and piccolo trumpet soloist in this richly expressive and phantasmagorical piece”

Music Web International, Lucy Jeffrey, 30.01.14

“Hardenberger has swagger and style, solid qualities whether you're a soloist, conductor or both.”, Rob Hubbard, 21.11.13

“Håkan Hardenberger is a colossus of the trumpet and he graced Tobias Broström's concerto Lucernaris with his fabulously velvet tone, playing the flugelhorn in the long opening statement and maximising the impact of the more intricate writing.”

The Guardian, Rian Evans, 14.10.13

“Hakan Hardenberger was the immaculate soloist, fusing the jazzy, the spicily atonal and the phantasmagoric into a deeply expressive whole.”

Evening Standard, Barry Millington, 2.08.12

“The Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger brought admirable focus, clarity, and nuance to a solo part that offered few easy opportunities to ingratiate himself with the audience.”

The Classical Review, David Wright, 6.01.12

“Coming onstage in a very stylish coat of tails carrying three trumpets in hand, Hakan Hardenberger, who has been described as ‘the greatest orchestral trumpet soloist today’, blew the house down. Beginning with the trumpet’s lower and mellower sibling, the flugelhorn, Hardenberger created a sound I cannot ever remember having experienced. It was as if Miles Davis had reappeared transmuted in a most elegant echo, a warm, promising, haunt—a Wow!”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, David Patterson, 6.01.12

“Hardenberger was a coolly commanding presence on all three instruments, capturing the music’s elusive wedding of melancholy soul and spikey caffeinated energy. His cadenza hovered in an intriguing border zone between jazz and classical.”, Jeremy Eichler, 6.01.12

“Hakan Hardenberger was the impeccable soloist, his virtuosity so demurely devoted to the demands of the music (which encompassed Miles Davis at times) [...].”

The Birmingham Post, Christopher Morley, 18.11.11

“Armed with two instruments and various mutes, Håkan Hardenberger, the best trumpet player in the galaxy, rode with ease through its dizzyingly fast repeated notes and quick-changing colours.”

The Times, Geoff Brown, 15.11.11

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