The Bamberg Symphony has long enjoyed exceptional status in the music world. Its 6,000 subscribers, out of 70,000 inhabitants, are an impressive reminder of the strength of its roots in Bamberg, the Bavarian State Philharmonic’s home city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the same time, the Orchestra carries Bamberg’s name far afield into the international music scene, and as ‘Bavaria’s Cultural Ambassador to the World’ is well known in concert halls at home and abroad.
To date, the Bamberg Symphony has given more than 6,500 concerts in over 500 cities or towns, in 60 countries. The Bavarian State Philharmonic’s artistic director since 2000, and the fourth Principal Conductor in the Orchestra’s history, is Jonathan Nott. He has successfully nurtured an artistic legacy built up by legendary names. Among them is Joseph Keilberth, the first of Bamberg’s Principal Conductors. During his tenure (1950-1968), ‘the Bambergers’ devoted themselves to the great symphonic tradition, laying the foundation for their outstanding reputation, and toured at home and abroad more than any other German ensemble. Keilberth was succeeded by James Loughran (1979-1983) and Horst Stein (1985-1996); in 1996, Stein was named Honorary Conductor.
The roll-call of great guest conductors and composers who have collaborated with the Bamberg Symphony since 1946, and left their stamp on its sound, is long and distinguished, including Rudolf Kempe, Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch, Sir Georg Solti, Christoph von Dohnányi, Günter Wand, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christoph Eschenbach. But above all, it was the Orchestra’s first Honorary Conductor and outstanding mentor, Eugen Jochum, who ensured its continued artistic excellence after Joseph Keilberth’s death. In 2006, Herbert Blomstedt was only the third to join the select band of Bamberg’s Honorary Conductors.
The Bamberg Symphony’s foundation is a microcosm of the birth of modern Germany. In 1946, former members of Prague’s German Philharmonic Orchestra were reunited in the cathedral city with other fellow musicians who had also been forced to flee their homes. Their newly formed orchestra – then known as the ‘Bamberger Tonkünstlerorchester’ – first performed in public on 20 March 1946, in Bamberg’s Central Hall. For the press, this first Beethoven concert was an overwhelming event: ‘Previously, an ensemble of such exalted quality could only be heard in Bamberg once in a blue moon. To have such an artistic treasure permanently on hand seems like a gift from the Muses’ – a statement which remains just as valid today, 67 years later.
The Bamberg Symphony enjoys a worldwide reputation not only as a concert orchestra but also as a centre for the training of young musicians. The Bamberg Symphony’s Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition was launched in 2004 and immediately won a global reputation as a crucible for the forging of new talent. For the first winner in 2004, the young Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, the Competition was the springboard for a truly meteoric rise, while for Shi-Yeon Sung of South Korea, winner of the second Competition in 2007, it proved an important milestone in her international career. The third event in 2010 saw the Latvian Ainārs Rubiķis emerge with the top prize and promptly receive invitations from the Edinburgh International Festival and the Kremerata Baltica. He was back in Bamberg very soon, as a guest artist at the 2010 Bamberg Biennale, which was followed by his first Subscription Concert with the Bamberg Symphony in January. And starting in the 2010/2011 season, another project dedicated to training music’s next generation got underway: the Bamberg Symphony’s Orchestral Academy.
In July 2003 the Bavarian State Government elevated the Bamberg Symphony to the rank of State orchestra, since when it has been entitled to add to its name the designation of Bavarian State Philharmonic. In addition, in early 2005 the Orchestra’s status was changed by law into that of a charitable foundation. As the Bamberg Symphony – Bavarian State Philharmonic Foundation, it enjoys continued financial support from the Free State of Bavaria, the City of Bamberg, the Province of Upper Franconia and the Bamberg Region.
Conductor, if not indicated otherwise:
August / September 2013
30./31.8. + 2./4.9.
Complete performance of Richard Wagners "Ring" cycle at the Lucerne Festival
Soloists: Petra Lang, Elisabeth Kulman, Torsten Kerl, Mikhail Petrenko,
Peter Sidhom, Michael Nagy and many more
Concerts at Beethovenfest Bonn
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Violin
David Fray, Piano
Susanne Bernhard, Sopran
Gerhild Romberger, Alt
Andreas Schager, Tenor
Franz-Josef Selig, Bass
Bamberger Symphoniker Chorus
(Einstudierung: Rolf Beck)
Season start with Haydn & Bartók
Special concerts in Bamberg and
concert at Alte Oper Frankfurt
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Concerts in Graz
Robin Ticciati, Conductor
Emanuel Ax, Piano
Concerts in Heerlen, Leverkusen, Brügge, Rotterdam and Ludwigsburg
Alexander Krichel, Piano
Concert in Stuttgart
Christoph Eschenbach, Conductor
Tzimon Barto, Piano
Concert at ACHT BRÜCKEN-Festival Cologne
Daniela Koch, Flute
SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
Concert at Konzerthaus Wien
Martin Fröst, Clarinet
Concert in Prag
Violeta Urmana, Sopran
Concerts in Paris and Baden-Baden
Violeta Urmana, Sopran