Albrecht Mayer's first encounter with music was as a member of the Cathedral Choir in his home city of Bamberg, an early experience which is perhaps partly responsible for the warm, singing quality of his oboe-playing. He is fascinated by the idea of lending the voice of his oboe to pieces written for other instruments or for singers. He is especially attracted to the human voice, as the most “natural” of all instruments.
His professional career began in 1990 as principal oboist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and since 1992, has occupied the same position with the Berliner Philharmoniker, despite his growing renown as a concert soloist. Among the most sought-after oboists of our time, he has appeared as a soloist with eminent conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2007 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and is an enthusiastic chamber player, whose partners include Hélène Grimaud, Leif Ove Andsnes and the late Lars Vogt.
Mayer's artistry invites superlatives: people talk of a "divine spark" and how he has elevated the "miraculous oboe" to become an "instrument of seduction". Lieder ohne Worte, a disc of Bach transcriptions for oboe and orchestra, went straight into the German classical charts at No. 2, and he even hit the German pop charts with New Seasons, an album presenting music by Handel in a stunning new light by giving opera and oratorio vocal lines to the oboe. He has been awarded Bamberg's ETA-Hoffmann Prize and honoured with the ECHO-Klassik prize three times, twice as Instrumentalist of the Year and in 2013. He was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame and awarded the Bavarian Culture Prize.
Despite the pressures of his schedule, he has also found time to establish the Albrecht Mayer Foundation, a project that raises funds to save eyesight. Such concern for others' wellbeing is the hallmark of a man whose emotionally charged music-making continues to bring great joy to audiences worldwide.
Albrecht Mayer plays an oboe and oboe d'amore by German makers Gebrüder Mönnig.