The 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker have amazed audiences of all ages with their performances of music from classical to jazz, tango to the avant-garde. As ambassadors for Berlin, they accompany the German Federal President on state visits and have been invited on several occasions to the Japanese Imperial Palace. Their performances at the London Proms, at Carnegie Hall in New York, and at Suntory Hall in Tokyo are always highlights of the concert season.
Ludwig Quandt was born in 1961 in Ulm. He studied in Lübeck with Arthur Troester, who had been principal cellist of the Berliner Philharmoniker under Wilhelm Furtwängler. Quandt completed his studies with master classes with Zara Nelsova, Maurice Gendron, Boris Pergamenschikow, and Siegfried Palm. He has won awards at many international competitions, and was a prizewinner at the ARD Competition in 1990, and first-prize winner of the “Premio Stradivari“ at the international cello competition “Roberto Caruana” in Cremona. In 1991, Ludwig Quandt was engaged by the Berliner Philharmoniker and has, since 1993, been one of the orchestra’s principal cellists. In 1996, he made his debut under Claudio Abbado with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto.
Nikolaus Römisch was born in 1972 in Berlin and is thus the sole “dyed-in-the-wool” Berliner in the cello group. Römisch studied with Wolfgang Boettcher in Berlin and with Ivan Monigetti in Basel. Among other distinctions, he was a successful contestant with the Federal Selection of Concerts for Young Artists, and his first appointment was to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1996. He has been a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker since the year 2000.
Dietmar Schwalke was born in Pinneberg, near Hamburg. He studied in Hamburg with Arthur Troester and afterward in Berlin with Wolfgang Boettcher, completing his training under Pierre Fournier. Among other distinctions, he was a successful contestant with the competition of the Germany Music Council’s Platform for Young Soloists, a position associated with extensive concert tours and recordings. He was also a member of the Kreuzberg String Quartet, Berlin. Since 1994, he has been a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and has also been active as a soloist and chamber musician with such ensembles as the Philharmonic String Soloists and the Vincent Trio.
Solène Kermarrec was born in 1983 in Brest (Bretagne). She began her studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Jean-Marie Gamard, continuing in Budapest at the Franz Liszt Academy with Miklós Perényi, and concluded in Berlin with Wolfgang Boettcher. She has won several prizes, among them first prize in 2003 at the Gabrielli Competition in Berlin and a special prize for the best interpretation of the Solo Sonata by Kodály at the David Popper International Competition in 2004. She became a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2007.
Christoph Igelbrink was born in 1958 in Düsseldorf. His teachers were Wolfgang Mehlhorn, Arto Noras, Antonio Janigro, and Paul Tortelier. He has won various competitions both in Germany and abroad and qualified for participation in the Federal Selection of Concerts for Young Artists. In 1986, he became principal cellist with the Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has been a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1989. In addition, he has appeared with various chamber music ensembles: the Philharmonic String Sextet, the Athenaeum String Quartet, and the Philharmonic Piano Trio.
Olaf Maninger was born in Recklinghausen, completing his studies in Essen with Janos Starker and Maria Kliegel. Subsequently, he studied in Cologne with Armin Fromm, António Menèses, and Boris Pergamenschikow, as well as with the Amadeus Quartet. He has followed a busy schedule of both soloistic and chamber music activities, taking him throughout the world. In 1994, Maninger became, for a brief interval, principal cellist with the Hessischen Rundfunk, until he was engaged a few months later by the Berliner Philharmoniker. Since 1996, he has been a principal cellist with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Martin Menking was born in 1967 in Münster. Already when still a student of Heinrich Schiff and David Geringas, he won numerous national and international competitions. He rounded off his musical training in master classes with Yo-Yo Ma, Boris Pergamenschikow, Janos Starker, Siegfried Palm, Isaac Stern, the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Alban Berg Quartet. In 1994, he became principal cellist of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, joining the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1996. Additionally, he has been a member since 1992 of the Consortium Classicum and is a much sought-after chamber music partner.
Knut Weber was born in 1974 in Klagenfurt, Austria. He studied at first with the Slovenian Miloš Mlejnik, then with Claus Kanngiesser in Cologne, and with Wolfgang Boettcher in Berlin. He also received decisive stimulus in master classes with Heinrich Schiff, Siegfried Palm, William Pleeth, F. Helmerson, David Geringas, Bernard Greenhouse, the Alban Berg Quartet, and the Beaux Arts Trio. Knut Weber has been the recipient of, among other distinctions, the First Prize of the International Cello Competition in Liezen, Austria. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Born into an Austro-Hungarian family of musicians, cellist Stephan Koncz started studying at the University for Music in Vienna with Valentin Erben (Alban Berg Quartet) at the age of eight. In 2000 he continued his studies with the principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic, Róbert Nagy, and additionally pursued a double major in conducting and composition. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Koncz has collaborated with Julian Rachlin, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and Dmitry Sitkovetsky and has had master classes with Steven Isserlis, Daniel Barenboim, and Heinrich Schiff. As an orchestral musician, Mr. Koncz works regularly with eminent orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2005 he was appointed principal cellist of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. Since 2006 Stephan Koncz has been a member of the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philhamoniker, studying with Ludwig Quandt.
David Riniker was born in 1970 in Switzerland. He studied at first with Jean Paul Guéneux, and later in the concert classes of António Menèses in Basel. He completed honing his skills in master classes with Arto Noras, Boris Pergamenschikow, Wolfgang Boettcher, and David Geringas. He has also been the recipient of numerous distinctions both at home and abroad, including the European Youth Prize in Varna, Bulgaria. Riniker has been member of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1995 and has played with various celebrated chamber musicians.
Inga Raab was born 1979 in Leipzig. She studied at the Musikhochschule Lübeck with Troels Svane, at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” with Stefan Forck, and in Berlin with David Geringas. During her studies she won first prize in the Domenico Gabrielli Competition and third prize in the Lluis Claret Competition in Spain. Aside from playing chamber music, she has also been a soloist with different orchestras and has given numerous recitals. She became acquainted with the 12 Cellists in 2004 and was later offered a part-time contract.
Martin Löhr was born in 1967 in Hamburg. He began his studies in Hamburg with Wolfgang Mehlhorn, continuing them in New York with Zara Nelsova, and concluding in Berlin with Wolfgang Boettcher. Besides earning various distinctions as a soloist, he obtained several international first prizes with his piano trio Jean Paul at the International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka in 1993 and in Melbourne in 1995. In 1995, Löhr also won First Prize at the international cello competition Jeunesse Musicales in Belgrade. He has been a principal cellist with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1996 and has traveled the world during this time with his trio Jean Paul.
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