The Scharoun Ensemble Berlin was founded in 1983 by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The critical acclaim achieved by the ensemble already after its first public concert, featuring Schubert’s great F major Octet, was impressive. The Tagesspiegel Berlin wrote about the group’s “remarkable tonal beauty” and “sophisticated ensemble playing and intensity, pointing to a high degree of communication and empathy among all members of the ensemble.”
The German architect Hans Scharoun will always be associated with his greatest creation, the Berlin Philharmonie, home of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Often copied, but never equalled, this hall set new standards worldwide. Space had been created for making music in the spirit of conveying both tradition and innovation, furthering human communication and understanding. The orientation toward Scharoun’s legacy shows the musician’s artistic commitment to the treasures of the past as well as the aesthetic challenges of the present and future.
The ensemble uses the classic octet instrumentation as its basis: clarinet, horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and double bass. Schubert’s octet, Beethoven’s septet and masterpieces by Mozart and Brahms form the core of the Classic-Romantic repertoire. The programs are often augmented by the inclusion of additional members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists. In recent years concerts have been conducted among others by Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, and Sir Simon Rattle.
The multi-faceted repertoire of the Scharoun Ensemble includes a multitude of less famous, though often no less interesting works for various instrumental combinations, along with the great jewels of the Classical and Romantic literature. Contemporary music constitutes a significant part of the Scharoun Ensemble’s programming, and numerous pieces by leading contemporary composers have been commissioned by the ensemble. Works by Hans Werner Henze, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Aribert Reimann, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Isang Yun, and many others belong to the Scharoun Ensemble’s standard repertoire.
Frequent concert tours and appearances at the major international music festivals (e.g. regular concerts for the Berliner Festwochen, the Salzburg Easter Festival, and the Lucerne Music Festival) have established the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin as one of the most prominent chamber music ensembles in Europe.
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