How it all began
The Junge Deutsche Philharmonie
Wyk auf Föhr · Friederike Latzko and Richard Duven establish the ›Kammerorchester der Jungen Deutschen Philharmonie‹ – a democratically run ensemble of music students. Over the next three years, the musicians meet up regularly to prepare concert programmes that can be offered to promoters. Four of the founding members still play in The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen: Ulrike Rüben, Hanna Nebelung, Friederike Latzko and Klaus Heidemann.
New York · The Junge Deutsche Philharmonie gives a notable performance at the United Nations in New York City.
Austria · Gidon Kremer invites the orchestra to perform at the prestigious Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival in the Burgenland region.
The ›Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie‹
Frankfurt am Main · Having received its first funding from the City of Frankfurt and Deutsche Bank, the orchestra is re-established as a ›Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts‹ (civil law partnership). It changes its name to ›Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie‹, intended to convey the idea of a medium-sized ensemble that combines the transparent, refined sound of a chamber orchestra with the rich sound of a philharmonic orchestra. The size and line-up of the ensemble varies according to the repertoire being played: sometimes The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie works with supplementary musicians to perform as a full-size philharmonic orchestra; at others its members form a small string ensemble.
In the following years, thanks to long-term funding agreements, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie is able to present a first series of subscription concerts in the Mozart Hall of Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, which quickly become popular with concert audiences. The young orchestra also organizes a regular programme of pre-concert introductions and workshops.
International tours and recordings follow, often featuring world-renowned soloists.
The appointment of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie’s first principal guest conductor is a key development during this phase, as the musicians originally chose to work without a head conductor – where possible, all artistic decisions are taken jointly by the members of the orchestra. Under the leadership of Mario Venzago (1988/89) and Heinrich Schiff (1990–92) the ensemble continues to develop into a highly successful orchestra. Further collaborations with specialists in historically informed performance practice such as Jaap ter Linden and Frans Brüggen, or with the likes of Sándor Végh, who performed chamber music with Pablo Casals and Wilhelm Furtwängler, also have a lasting influence on the musicians‘ creative approach.
The Swiss conductor Mario Venzago is the first Permanent Guest Conductor. Under his direction, the Kammerphilharmonie above all delves into the works of the Second Viennese School.
Members of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie establish the Wind Soloists, a wind octet dedicated to performing chamber music. The ensemble goes on to be highly successful and wins numerous awards over the following decades.
The cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff becomes Principal Guest Conductor. Together with the renowned instrumentalist, the orchestra devotes itself increasingly to the classical repertoire. The first two CDs of Beethoven symphonies are products of the collaboration with Heinrich Schiff.
Japan and New York · The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie embarks on its first tour of Japan and the United States with Gidon Kremer, during which it makes its debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Bremen · The orchestra relocates from Frankfurt am Main to Bremen on the river Weser, where it continues on its chosen path. Having secured long-term support from the City of Bremen, while remaining autonomous in terms of musical programming, it works towards its goal of becoming a world-class ensemble. Now operating under the name The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the orchestra presents two subscription series and two chamber music series.
Jirí Belohlávek, a specialist for the Czech masters as well as the eras of Romanticism and Impressionism, works together with the orchestra as Principal Conductor.
Bremen, Knoops Park · The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen inaugurates an open-air festival in the city’s Knoops Park under the heading ›Summer in Lesmona‹. The classical music festival becomes an extremely popular annual event that draws audiences from far and wide.
Thomas Hengelbrock becomes the first Artistic Director of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Under his direction, the orchestra builds on its considerable successes and expands its stylistic range to include period instruments and historically informed playing techniques.
On its tour of the United States, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen impresses audiences at Tanglewood and at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, among others.
The orchestra becomes an established presence at the Musikfest Bremen, where it also performs in musical theatre productions with the likes of Klaus Maria Brandauer.
Daniel Harding is appointed Music Director, a post he holds until 2003. During his tenure The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen makes its international breakthrough, winning over audiences, critics and promoters on its extensive concert tours and with recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Berlioz and Milhaud, among others.
Albert Schmitt becomes the orchestra’s Managing Director and oversees the process of turning the ensemble into a business enterprise.
Daniel Harding receives an Echo Klassik award in the category Newcomer of the Year.
The orchestra is established as a ›gemeinnützige Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung‹ (non-profit limited liability company). As sole partners, the musicians assume full responsibility for both the financial and the artistic direction of the company, and with this organizational structure the orchestra achieves an exceptional self-financing ratio (61 percent in 2012, today around 75 percent).
Taking the lead with Paavo Järvi
Around the world with ›Bremen’s Beethoven‹
Paavo Järvi, who has worked with the orchestra on several occasions since 1995, is appointed Artistic Director. Under his leadership The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen establishes itself as a leading international orchestra.
The first milestone achievement in their collaboration is the ›Beethoven Project‹ – the performance and high-quality recording of all nine of Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen performs regularly in concert halls and at festivals throughout the world with Paavo Järvi and other internationally acclaimed guest conductors and soloists.
Bonn · The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen becomes ›Orchestra in Residence‹ at the international Beethovenfest Bonn, a position it will hold for the next 10 years.
Yokohama · First performance of all nine Beethoven symphonies over three days. During the following years the orchestra electrifies audiences in Lanaudière (Canada), Strasbourg, Paris, Salzburg, Bonn, Warsaw and São Paulo with further performances of the complete cycle.
Bremen, Osterholz-Tenever · In April The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen moves into a new rehearsal space at the Bremen East Comprehensive School. The simply but purposefully converted space in this comprehensive school not only offers excellent rehearsal conditions, it also enables the musicians to make top-quality recordings on high-resolution SACD. Two of their six CDs that have won Echo Klassik awards were recorded here.
In this new location in the socially deprived district of Bremen Osterholz-Tenever, close links are quickly established between the orchestra, the school and the local community. As part of the orchestra’s award-winning Future Lab initiative, the musicians work together with teachers, pupils and local residents on music-based community projects that are designed to have a lasting impact, such as the stage show ›Melody of Life‹ and the ›Community Opera‹. These projects aim to improve prospects for young people and empower other members of the local community. Such commitment wins the orchestra the Zukunftsaward 2007 – for employing music as a motivational tool for personal development, but also as a catalyst for the development of communities such as the orchestra, the school and the local population.
Later this year, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen wins the prestigious German Record Critics’ Annual Award (Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik).
The orchestra wins the special prize at Deutscher Gründerpreis, awarded by ZDF, Stern, Porsche and the German savings banks group (Sparkassen) for outstanding entrepreneurial achievements.
Another three of the orchestra’s CD releases win Echo Klassik awards.
The fourth decade
World-class in all respects
Hamburg · The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen becomes ›Orchestra in Residence‹ at the Elbphilharmonie Konzerte – a position it has now held for six years.
Deutsche Welle produces a DVD recording of the orchestra’s performance of all nine Beethoven symphonies, as well as an award-winning music documentary on the ›Beethoven Project‹.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen becomes the first orchestra ever to receive the prestigious German Record Critics’ Certificate of Special Merit (Ehrenpreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik) for outstanding achievement in the field of recording.
The orchestra also receives the Bremer Stadtmusikantenpreis for its services to the community and collaboration with the Gesamtschule Bremen-Ost.
The orchestra produces a new interpretation of Robert Schumann’s symphonies under the baton of its artistic director Paavo Järvi. This ›Schumann Project‹ becomes a further focal point of this musical collaboration. The first CD of Symphonies Nos. 3 and 1 appears the same year.
The Foundation ›die schwelle‹ recognizes The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s ›Community Opera‹ as an exemplary initiative and confers on it the 5th International Bremen Peace Award.
Deutsche Welle produces a DVD recording of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen performing all four Schumann symphonies in a former shipyard building in the port of Bremen, as well as ›Schumann at Pier2‹, the second music documentary featuring the orchestra.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s Future Lab initiative receives the Echo Klassik Jury Award for Fostering Young Talent in Classical Music.
The Schumann symphony cycle is performed at the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw and at the Konzerthaus in Vienna.
The second of the Schumann cycle CDs, with the 2nd Symphony and overtures, is released.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen receives the Vision Award – the »Nobel Prize for Social Entrepreneurship«; further recognition of its pioneering work fostering a culture of unlocking potential.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen receives the Start Youth Art Foundation Award of the Year 2012 for the ›Melody of Life‹.
The third of the Schumann cycle CDs, with Symphony No. 4 and the Concert Piece for Four Horns, is released.
In June, the orchestra accepts an invitation from Germany’s President Joachim Gauk and performs at Bellevue under its Artistic Director Paavo Järvi.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen adds the overtures to its Beethoven cycle. The CD is released in October on RCA.
In November, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen receives the Jeunesse Musicale Würth Prize »…in recognition of its work, its exemplary projects for both district and young people, and in appreciation of its corporate culture«.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s CD recording of Louis Spohr’s Oratorio ›The last Things‹ with conductor Frieder Bernius and the Stuttgart Chamber Choir receives the German Record Critics’ Prize.
The Cross of Merit on the ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is conferred on Albert Schmitt by Federal President Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen founds an academy for young musicians with the aim to prepare outstanding, visionary instrumentalists for successful careers as musicians in the cultural landscape of the 21st century.
The French music magazine Diapason confers its Diapason D’Or on The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s recording of Symphony No. 4 by Robert Schumann.
Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Lima – the orchestra goes on a spring tour of South America with the acclaimed Pekka Kuusisto as soloist and concertmaster on the programme.
The recording of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s Beethoven overtures under Paavo Järvi receives the Diapason d’Or in June.
First performances of Brahms’ entire symphony cycle in St. Petersburg and at the Rheingau Music Festival in Wiesbaden. A CD-sampler appears, with highlights from the Beethoven and Schumann cycles, as well as new recordings of the Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3 & 10 by Johannes Brahms.
Paavo Järvi is named ›Artist of the Year‹ by one of the most important classical music awards, the Gramophone Classical Music Award.
The official launch of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s Brahms Project with Paavo Järvi incorporating concerts in Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris and Baden-Baden.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is named first ›Orchestra of the Year‹ by Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
With its recording of all nine Beethoven symphonies, the Kammerphilharmonie takes first place ahead of the competition in the ranking of the internationally respected Japanese trade magazine Record Geijutsu.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is appointed festival orchestra at the Kissinger Sommer festival.
In the autumn, the orchestra embarks on its first China tour. In cities such as Macau, Beijing and Shanghai, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen plays the complete Beethoven cycle and receives standing ovations from the audiences.
In October, the first CD of the Brahms cycle is released featuring the 2nd Symphony together with the Tragic Overture and the Academic Festival Overture.
The Future Lab celebrates its tenth anniversary with three concerts in the ›Kammer-Philharmonie‹. The programme has best-of highlights from the ›Community Opera‹ and ›Melody of Life‹, cultural encounters & songs from Osterholz-Tenever.
In December, principal conductor Paavo Järvi is immortalized in bronze in the Bremen ›Mall of Fame‹.
For its recording of Brahms’ 2nd Symphony, his Tragic Overture and his Academic Festival Overture, the orchestra receives the Opus Klassik in the category Symphonic Recording of the Year, 19th Century Music. The Opus Klassik was awarded for the first time on 14th October 2018 in the Berlin Konzerthaus, broadcast by ZDF.
The second of the Brahms cycle CDs featuring his 1st Symphony and Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn followed in October 2018.
Following the enormous success of the Beethoven symphonies on vinyl, vinyl recordings of all the Schumann symphonies are released in December.
December sees the orchestra once again on tour in Japan and South Korea. On the programme are primarily works of the First Viennese School – symphonies by Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert. Although The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen kicks off the tour with an all-Schubert evening in Yokohama, the following seven concerts feature the American star violinist and three time Grammy Award winner Hilary Hahn as soloist. After the concerts in Japan, a further three concerts are given in South Korea.
The third and final CD in the Brahms cycle, featuring Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4, is released in March.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen receives the Ribke Prize from the Gunter and Juliane Ribke Foundation. This acknowledges the orchestra’s social engagement and its work with the Future Lab. The Ribke Foundation Prize is awarded at a concert in April 2019 as part of the International Music Festival Hamburg.
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is the first orchestra to be awarded the Rheingau Music Prize 2019. The orchestra and its Artistic Director Paavo Järvi receive the prize at a concert given on 12th July 2019 in the Kurhaus Wiesbaden. For the jury, the orchestra is a »real phenomenon in the German orchestral and cultural landscape: admired and celebrated worldwide for their artistic achievements, they have realized groundbreaking projects together and have often made interpretation history« and that »their innovative spirit is unique from a structural, organisational and social point of view and requires the courage, attitude and commitment of each individual musician and the entire collective«.
The orchestra performs for the fourth time at the BBC Proms held in London’s Royal Albert Hall in September.
At the Bremen Music Festival the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen performs three concerts, the highlight of which is an opera gala with star soprano Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.
October saw the release of the music documentary ›The Brahms Code‹. The big screen première was held in Berlin and organized by the cooperation partner Deutsche Welle.
On 17 December, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen marked the start of the Beethoven anniversary year at Schloss Bellevue at the invitation of Germany‘s Federal President and patron Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The film documentary ›The Brahms Code‹ has been placed on the list of the best by the renowned German Record Critics’ Award’s expert jury.
In early spring, the coronavirus pandemic also brings the concert activities of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen to a standstill. Up to and including June, all concerts and tours have to be cancelled.
As an agile entrepreneurial orchestra, the Kammerphilharmonie is used to process-oriented, flexible work and establishes a creative pool. In the following two years, this gives rise to numerous new projects: among them the ›Young Conductors‹ orchestra workshop as well as several digital formats, including the Music Swap Lab, an online orchestra that invites everyone to join in.
›Sommer am Wall‹ · In July, the Kammerphilharmonie is the first in the pandemic year to breathe new musical life into the historic Theatergarten in Bremen’s Wallanlagen park and perform concerts there. With guests including Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and oboist Albrecht Mayer, various ensembles from the orchestra perform open-air programmes in front of a live audience.
Despite the pandemic, the Kammerphilharmonie is a guest at the Swiss Klosters Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival’s ›Summer of Opportunities‹ in August. In Bremen, the orchestra puts on two top-class special concerts with its principal conductor Paavo Järvi and star violinist Janine Jansen in Messe Bremen’s Hall 7.
Under the title ›Music Lab – Join the Sound‹ the Future Lab launches an unusual digital project in October: a Germany-wide online orchestra with The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, in which everyone – whether they have a musical background or not – can participate and make music.
First online concert · Due to the pandemic, all remaining concerts in front of a live audience scheduled for the autumn have to be cancelled. The planned concert with guest conductor Jérémie Rhorer and soprano Anna Samuil is nevertheless performed and recorded in the Glocke in November without an audience. This is followed by the first streamed concert on the Kammerphilharmonie’s website.
Also in November, another project from the creative pool is implemented: at the ‘Young Conductors’ orchestra workshop, a very good collaboration develops with 21-year-old Tarmo Peltokoski.
With the Klassik Cloud, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie launches its own online concert platform in December, where concert highlights and recently recorded concerts are shown online while the normal concert schedule is suspended.
›Beethoven made in Bremen‹ · All nine Beethoven symphonies and the overtures are re-released in first-class SACD quality on six CDs, with a detailed booklet and in an elegant box.
Festival summer · In July and August the orchestra goes back on tour and gives guest performances at renowned festivals: at the Rheingau Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Klosters Music and the Musikfest Bremen. In July, the orchestra’s own open-air festival takes place in Knoops Park as ›A Breath of Summer in Lesmona‹.
At the special request of principal conductor Paavo Järvi, the Kammerphilharmonie launches the Haydn Project in October, focusing on the composer’s ›London Symphonies‹.
The Music Lab is awarded the Opus Klassik
In February, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen appoints Tarmo Peltokoski as its ›Principal Guest Conductor‹, a title conferred by the orchestra for the first time in its 42-year history. The fact that the young Finn is the first holder of the title is not least a result of the ›Young Conductors‹ orchestra workshop.
The Music Lab is renamed ›Music Swap Lab‹ and receives the ›Kulturlichter‹ 2021 German Prize for Cultural Education in April: at the award ceremony in Berlin, Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth hands over the ›State Prize‹, which is endowed with 20,000 euros.