»For me, they are the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire.«
Ryusuke Kozawa, Product Manager Classics at Sony Music
The sound of the 21st century
»Committed, colourful playing«, »transparent and detailed«, »thrilling« – music critics and concertgoers around the world are united in their praise for The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. The orchestra captivates audiences with the energy of its performances and its exceptional sound. The ensemble’s success is founded on the in-depth, systematic study of individual composers and their works. Venturing beyond conventional interpretation, the musicians perform both new and traditional works, offering listeners fascinating new insights into familiar pieces of music, ranging from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras through to contemporary compositions.
The exceptional quality and precision of the orchestra’s playing is rooted in the soloistic expertise and natural curiosity of every one of its 41 members, supplemented regularly by musical influences from outside: for many years, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen has collaborated with internationally acclaimed soloists and conductors such as Christian Tetzlaff, Maria João Pires, Viktoria Mullova, Hélène Grimaud, Janine Jansen, Igor Levit, David Fray, Martin Grubinger, Hilary Hahn, Heinrich Schiff, Trevor Pinnock and Sir Roger Norrington, to name just a few.
Orchestra and conductor – a symbiotic relationship
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s rise from being an insider’s tip in the culture section of the quality press to »one of the leading international orchestras« (BBC, 2003) has been accompanied and influenced by a series of notable conductors, each of whom has contributed significantly to the ensemble’s development. From 1988 onwards, the orchestra worked with Principal Guest Conductors Mario Venzago, Heinrich Schiff and Jiří Bělohlávek, and in 1995 Thomas Hengelbrock was appointed the first Artistic Director. The breakthrough came during Daniel Harding’s tenure as Music Director.
Under the direction of Paavo Järvi or distinguished guest conductors – and on occasion in the best chamber music tradition with no conductor at all – The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen can be heard on concert stages and at festivals both nationally and internationally. For 10 years (up to 2014), The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen was ›Orchestra in Residence‹ at the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn; it is currently Orchestra in Residence of the Elbphilharmonie Concerts in Hamburg and in 2017 will begin its residency as Festival Orchestra of the Kissinger Summer. In 2016, the Kammerphilharmonie was crowned first “Orchestra of the Year” by Deutschlandradio Kultur.
A first major milestone in this journey was The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s acclaimed interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s orchestral works, which critics have described as groundbreaking. The orchestra’s cyclical performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies electrified audiences in Yokohama (Japan), Lanaudière (Canada), Strasbourg, Paris, Bonn, Warsaw, São Paulo and also at the Salzburg Festival. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen has also won numerous awards for ›its Beethoven‹ CD recording on the RCA label, including the ECHO Klassik 2010.
The orchestra and its Artistic Director also brought the same commitment to the ›Schumann Project‹– their interpretation and performance of Robert Schumann's symphonies – which proved to be equally successful. Following sensational acclaim in Tokyo and St. Petersburg, the Schumann symphony cycle was also performed at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn and the Konzerthaus in Vienna in 2012. The first CD of Symphonies No 3 and No 1 was released at the end of 2011 and in early 2016 was listed by Grammophon Magazine as among the best Schumann recordings of the past five years.
The second CD in the cycle - of Symphony No 2 and Overtures has been on sale since October 2012 and the final CD - of Symphony No 4 and the Konzertstück for four Horns - since May 2014. The French music magazine Diapason awarded the last CD its celebrated prize, the Diapason D’Or. In autumn 2012 Deutsche Welle collborated with Unitel, arte and Radio Bremen on the production of a TV/DVD documentary, which also attracted considerable attention and received several prestigious awards.
In 2015, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen began working with artistic director Paavo Järvi on its major new symphonic project. After the symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann, the focus is now on all four symphonies by the German composer Johannes Brahms, which have already been performed as a cycle in St Petersburg, at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden and most recently at the Konzerthaus in Vienna.
Under the direction of Paavo Järvi or distinguished guest conductors – and on occasion in the best chamber music tradition with no conductor at all – The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen can be heard on concert stages and at festivals both nationally and internationally. For 10 years (up to 2014), The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen was ›Orchestra in Residence‹ at the International Beethoven Festival in Bonn; it is currently ›Orchestra in Residence‹ of the Elbphilharmonie Concerts in Hamburg and in 2017 will begin its residency as Festival Orchestra of the Kissinger Summer. In 2016, the Kammerphilharmonie was crowned first ›Orchestra of the Year‹ by Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Musical self-determination and financial independence
In addition to their involvement in The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the musicians also perform as soloists and in other, smaller ensembles such as the ›Wind Soloists of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen‹, an octet that was established in 1990 and has won numerous awards over the past two decades, including the ECHO Klassik.
The experiences and influences gained from these solo excursions flow back into the musicians’ work with the ›large‹ orchestra.
Back in 1980, the goal of musical self-determination was an important reason for embarking on the bold joint venture of forming a new orchestra. The musicians wanted to break new musical ground while remaining independent of the expectations of the established market, and to this end they were (and still are) willing to make a considerable personal investment and also to assume responsibility. Key decisions on musical issues – particularly in relation to programming – are therefore made democratically by all the musicians. And that’s not all – the orchestra’s financial policies are also jointly determined – making it quite unique in the world of major orchestras.
Every member of the orchestra is a shareholder in The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen gGmbH – and is therefore jointly responsible for the economic success of the business as a whole.
This company form has not only drawn attention to the orchestra in business circles, it also gained them the special prize at ›Deutscher Gründerpreis 2008‹ – awarded by ZDF, Stern, Porsche and the German savings bank group (Sparkassen) for outstanding entrepreneurial achievements.
The orchestra’s efforts to become economically self-sufficient have indeed been successful: almost three quarters of the orchestra’s income is now self-generated.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s unconventional route to artistic and economic success formed the basis of its collaboration with Prof. Dr. Christian Scholz, Chair of Business Administration at Saarland University in Saarbrücken and an expert in organization, high-performance teams, human resource and information management. Together they analyzed how the orchestra consistently produces top-quality performances despite being under immense pressure to succeed.
Based on the results of this study, a management training programme for high-performance teams was developed, and this ›5 Second Model‹ is now regularly booked by managers and senior executives from the world of commerce and industry. A number of companies, including several DAX-listed firms, have implemented The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s »5 Seconds Model« and use it, for example, to calculate bonuses for their top executives.
One of the most significant developments in the orchestra's history was when it decided to move its rehearsal space to the Gesamtschule Bremen-Ost, a comprehensive school in the Osterholz-Tenever district of Bremen where the community is faced with significant social challenges. This not only involved building a new concert hall with state-of-the art acoustics where ECHO and Deutsche Schallplatten award-winning recordings have already been made; the orchestra also established its award-winning ›Future Lab‹ initiative in this new location. Having teachers, students and residents of the district in such close proximity renders this an exemplary model for nurturing potential, promoting individual growth and producing lasting social change in an educationally disadvantaged area.
The Minister of State for Culture has meanwhile designated The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen´s ›Future Lab‹ a model project.
In 2012 The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen received the ECHO Klassik Jury Award for Fostering Young Talent in Classical Music in recognition of its initiative ›Zukunftslabor/neue Gesellschafts-Perspektiven durch Musik‹.
In 2007 the orchestra won the Zukunftsaward for its community outreach work at the Gesamtschule Bremen-Ost, the first of many such distinctions and awards. Most recently, the orchestra received the Vision Award 2013 for creating »a learning culture based on developing potential«.