Cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker made her international breakthrough with her sensational success at the 8th Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 2005, where she became the first contestant in the event’s history to win the first prize as well as two special prizes. Since then Hecker has become one of the most sought-after soloists and chamber musicians of her generation, recognised for her deep expression and natural affinity for the cello, with Die Zeit describing her playing as “heartbreakingly sad and instinctively beautiful”.
Born in 1987 in Robert Schumann’s hometown Zwickau, Hecker began learning the cello at the age of five, with the distinguished German cellist Peter Bruns becoming her principal teacher. She continued her studies with Heinrich Schiff and subsequently took part in masterclasses with eminent figures such as Anner Bylsma, Frans Helmerson, Bernard Greenhouse, Gary Hoffman and Steven Isserlis. Early recognition came when she won Germany’s important Jugend musiziert competition at the age of twelve, followed by the special prize at the 2001 Dotzauer Competition and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2009. She is supported by the Kronberg Academy.
Among the highlights of her career to date are performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra, annover, Hannover, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Spanish National Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. She had collaborated with conductors such as Marc Albrecht, Barenboim, Gergiev, Gullberg Jensen, Harding, Hengelbrock, Herreweghe, Janowski, Krivine, Luisi, Nagano, Rhorer, Saraste, Solyom, Thielemann, von Dohnányi and Zacharias. In addition, she has appeared in recitals in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Florence, Frankfurt (Alte Oper), Hohenems (Schubertiade), Jerusalem, London (Wigmore Hall), Lucerne (Lucerne Festival), Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York (Carnegie Hall), Paris, Vancouver, Verbier (Festival) and Zurich.
Highlights of this season are debuts with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Lódz, and the Royal North Sinfonia. She gives recitals with Martin Helmchen in Berlin and Birmingham and at the Bad Kissingen, Schubertiade and Rügen Festivals. In chamber music she appears with Mitsuko Uchida and Veronika Eberle at the Mozartwoche Salzburg, with Carolin Widmann at the Alte Oper Frankfurt and at the Kaposvar, Marlboro, Rügen and Schubertiade Festivals.
In co-operation with Music Road Rwanda Marie-Elisabeth Hecker regularly travels to Rwanda in order to support a local music school with concerts and educational projects.