„…Here, as a master, Kern confirms, more clearly, more decisively, the thematic threads of neatly tracing structuring, which leads the Philharmonic Orchestra to a convincing, multifaceted interpretation of the symphony... “ Rhein-Zeitung
“Magical, enchanting!” wrote La Provence about Ulrich Kern’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Ulrich Kern is distinguished by his stylistically confident interpretations on opera and concert stages and is besides passionately committed to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Born in Stuttgart, the internationally acclaimed conductor studied at the music academies in Stuttgart and Weimar. He received further decisive impulses from Bernard Haitink, Jorma Panula and, in the USA, from David Zinman. With support within the framework of the conductor forum of the German Music Council, he has conducted, for example, at the State Theatre of Mainz and at the Kiel Opera.
Ulrich Kern has now conducted over 50 stage works. His repertoire ranges from Mozart's late operas, Wagner's "Tannhäuser" and Stravinsky's "Le sacre du printemps" to Hartmann's opera "Simplicius Simplicissimus" and Henze's last opera "Gisela!", which Ulrich Kern conducted at the Semperoper Dresden. In the international journal for music theater "OPERNWELT 2023", the opera evening SIMPLICIUS SIMPLICISSIMUS by Karl Amadeus Hartmann with Ulrich Kern at the podium was listed in the critics ‘survey as the most unusual performance of the season.
As a guest conductor Ulrich Kern appears with renowned orchestras, including the German Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken, MDR-Sinfonieorchester, Dresdner Philharmonie, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt and Ensemble Resonanz Hamburg. He made his debut in the USA in 2009 with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 he guested with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in France. Ulrich Kern has conducted at the theatres in Bremen, Bielefeld, Osnabrück and at the State Theatre in Salvador/Brazil. The conductor is a welcome guest at internationally acclaimed festivals. He has conducted, for example, at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, the Nargen Festival in Tallinn, the Ruhrtriennale, the Impuls-Festival Sachsen-Anhalt and the "International Festival for New Music Darmstadt", in the renowned concert halls of South America such as the Teatro Solis in Montevideo and the new concert hall CCK in Buenos Aires.
In the 2023/24 season, Ulrich Kern will return to the Berlin Philharmonie to conduct the New Year's Eve concerts with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Other guest conducting engagements will take him among others to the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, the Jena Philharmonic and as well as to the Kulturpalast Dresden. The Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart invites Ulrich Kern to an opera production. At the Hochschule für Musik "Carl Maria von Weber" Dresden he will take on a teaching position in the winter semester. At the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Theatre Görlitz, Ulrich Kern will focus on several concerts with the Neue Lausitzer Philharmonie, the staged performance of Handel's "Saul" and the German premiere of Leonard Bernstein's "Peter Pan".
Ulrich Kern collaborates with outstanding soloists, most recently, for example with Harriet Krijgh and Daniel Müller-Schott at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern music festival, with the pianist Martin Stadtfeld and with the harpist, Anneleen Lenaerts in Ghent.
Ulrich Kern is especially interested in collaborating with contemporary composers. With the "Ensemble Resonanz Hamburg", for example, he opened the "Flanders Festival Ghent" with a premiere by Kalevi Aho. In Hamburg's Laeiszhalle the conductor premiered works by Rebecca Saunders and Sven-Ingo Koch. With the MDR-Sinfonieorchester, Ulrich Kern premiered specially composed works in Leipzig as the musical highlight of the Bauhaus Festival 2019. A concert recording of the symphonic poem "Die Regentrude" by Klaus Wuesthoff was released on CD with Martina Gedeck as narrator.
Radio recordings with Saarländischer Rundfunk and with Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk as well as concert broadcasts at Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk and Norddeutscher Rundfunk, round off his extensive artistic activity.
Ulrich Kern was given numerous awards: Recently his CD „French Trombone Concertos“ with the trombonist Fabrice Millischer and Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken received the German Music Award „ECHO Klassik 2014“ in the category „Concert Recording of the Year – 20th century“. In 2006, he won the “German Music Universities Conductor competition”, which was sponsored by the Herbert-von-Karajan Foundation Berlin, and furthermore received the competition’s special prize for Best Interpretation in the field of Opera.
At present Ulrich Kern is engaged as first conductor and deputy music director at Görlitz Theatre. He was numerous awarded with the special prize of the Theaterverein and with the Public's Prize in honor of his successful work.