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Maximianno Cobra (Conductor, Piano, Harpsichord)

Born: 1969 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Franco-Brazilian conductor, pianist and harpsichordist, Maximianno Cobra De Oliviera, started music lessons at 5. When he was 13, his piano teacher, Maria José Repsold, noticing her young pupil’s keen interest for composition, suggested he should study harmony and music analysis. He followed her advice and the course of his musical life veered quite naturally towards conducting and composition. At 15, Maximianno Cobra met conductor Alceo Bocchino (a former student and friend of Heitor Villa-Lobos and collaborator of Hans Swarowsky) who taught him conducting, counterpoint, fugue and composition. He soon became Maestro Bocchino’s assistant and honed his skills for the next three years, working with various Brazilian orchestras and opera houses.

In 1989, Maximianno Cobra made his Rio de Janeiro debut at the head of the Brazilian Philharmonic Orchestra. The all-L.v. Beethoven programme - Egmont Overture, 5th Piano Concerto (“Emperor”) and 5th Symphony - featured pianist Nelson Freire as a soloist. In the aftermath of this hugely successful concert, Maximianno Cobra was appointed music director of the Brazilian Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held for five years. He was also invited to coach several opera workshops, focusing on training young professional opera singers for the stage.

All along his formative years, Maximianno Cobra had attended theater and philosophy master-classes, two disciplines he considers to be his “second nature”. The works of Spinoza, Nietsche and Deleuze forged his philosophical and political conscience. Discovering Shakespeare was - in his own words - “an existential upheaval”. As his knowledge of theater deepened, so grew his interest in Constantin Stanislavsky’s Acting Method, a defining element in his own quest for artistic identity, with a decisive influence on his musical and theater activities, especially conducting and stage directing.

In 1990, a grant enables him to further his studies in Europe, at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst. In spite of the distance, he still keeps strong professional ties to his native land where, at the invitation of Maestro Eleazar de Carvalho, he conducts the Sao Paulo State Symphony and the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. He is also the producer of a concert series for TVE (Brazil’s Ministry of Culture’s public television channel - TV Brazil) featuring the Brazilian Philharmonic and the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, under his direction. He made his European debut in 1992 in Paris, at Salle Pleyel, with Orchestre Lamoureux.

In 1993, Maximianno Cobra toured France with the Hungarian State Opera and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, performing L.v. Beethoven’s Fidelio and the complete Johannes Brahms symphonies. This first collaboration influenced the course of his professional life: over the next ten yars, his schedule included regular guest-conducting appearances in the Hungarian capital. In 1999, the label HODIE-Tempus Collection entrusted him with the destiny of Europa Philharmonia, a newly-founded ensemble bringing together Hungary’s best orchestra musicians for studio recording projects using the latest media technology. Maximianno Cobra has already conducted and produced some twenty-odd recordings for HODIE-Tempus, including a DVD-Video & Audio of L.v. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

In parallel, Maximianno Cobra completed a Ph.D. in musicology and music history under the supervision of Professor Serge GUT, graduating in 1999 from Paris-Sorbonne/Paris IV University. His dissertation: Les Symphonies de Ludwig van Beethoven : une étude analytique, critique et historique en vue d’une nouvelle édition followed up on Professor Willem Retze Talsma’s research and focused on the issues of L.v. Beethoven’s tempi and metronome markings. This in-depth study marks another decisive turn: from then on he’ll dedicate himself to the TEMPUS theory. Maximianno Cobra’s work has been reviewed in various musicology journals, notably the Revue de Musicologie de la Suisse Romande, and is mentionned in Carl Honorés’ best-seller: In Praise of Slow (Éloge de la lenteur).

A respected musicologist, he was appointed supervisor at the Mozart Center at the invitation of Philippe Autexier and responsible of the French Beethoven research institute Centre d’Études Beethovéniennes de France. More recently, he was appointed supervisor and head of the scientific committee of Les Neuf Sœurs research group whose aim is to safeguard, study and diffuse artistic works in relationship with various philosophical disciplines and humanistic movements.

Maximianno Cobra has been living in France since 1993. He’s now dedicating himself to composition and, as a conductor, to the development and diffusion of the TEMPUS theory. In parallel to his musical activities, he writes for the stage and the screen (scenarios, adaptations...) as well as philosophical essays on aesthetics and art and political articles.

Maximianno Cobra’s selective discography: J.S. Bach: The Art of the Fugue (BWV 1080), Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) (harpsichord); L.v. Beethoven: The Complete Symphonies; A. Bruckner: Symphony No. 9; W.A. Mozart: Symphonies 25, 40 & 41; W.A. Mozart: Opera overtures Vol. I-III; W.A. Mozart: Requiem; Gustav Mahler: Symphoniy No. 5; F. Schubert: Symphony No. 9 “La Grande”; Richard Wagner: Orchestral Music Vol. I-IV.

Catalogue exerpts: Symphony « Ordo ab Chao » Op. 1 - string quarttet Op. 7 - Nine Lieder (songs) after Shakespeare, Schiller et Goethe - Piano Sonate Op. 11 - Incidental music : Timon of Athens - Macbeth and Coriolanus - Opera : « Remember me » (after Shakespeare) - Das Märchen (after Goethe)…

Sreenplay & Adaptations:
Original work : « Green, the quest » - Papageno - « Sœur Louise » ( after Louise Michel’s works and life).
Shakespeare: Timon of Athens - Macbeth and Coriolanus.
Goethe: Egmont.

Broadcast concert series for TVE (Brazilian broadcast corporation - culture department) featuring: Brazilian Philharmonic and Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.
DVD's and CD's (around 20 releases) catalogue HODIE - TEMPUS Collection.
Philosophical (art aesthetics) and politic essays.

Source: Maximianno Cobra Website (Biography by Katarzyna LE FE, based on an October 2007 interview with Maximianno Cobra. This text is available under the terms of the GNU Free documentation license)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2009)

Maximianno Cobra: Short Biography | Collegium Invisibile | Recordings of Instrumental Works | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Maximianno Cobra (Official Website) [Multi-lingual]

Maximianno Cobra (Wikipedia) [Potuguese]

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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