The Bamberg Symphony – Bavarian State Philharmonic has always enjoyed a special status in the music world. Over 7,000 concerts in more than 60 countries and over 500 cities – with that record, the Bamberg Symphony is rightly considered the German touring orchestra.
The circumstances of its birth make the Bamberg Symphony a mirror to German history. In 1946 former members of Prague’s German Philharmonic met fellow musicians who had also been obliged to flee their homes. In Bamberg they founded the Bamberger Tonkünstlerorchester, later renamed Bamberger Symphoniker. The origins of today’s Bamberg Symphony can be traced back to the musicians of Prague’s Estates Theatre – that still exists to this day – who premiered Mozart’s Don Giovanni on 29 October 1787. The link with Prague’s Orchestra makes Bamberg the inheritor of a musical tradition stretching back to the 19th and even 18th Centuries, to Mahler and Mozart – 230 years of Bohemian sound.
Evidence of the outstanding reputation it enjoys everywhere comes in constant invitations to visit leading festivals and to tour at home and abroad, and in prizes for the Orchestra’s recordings, e.g. the MIDEM Classical Award, the International Toblach Composing Hut Record Prize, the ECHO Klassik and the German Music Publishers’ Association award for ‘Best Concert Series’.
That reputation is also in no small part due to the Principal and Guest Conductors who have led and shaped the Bamberg Symphony over the decades. Taking over the reigns from Jonathan Nott after 16 years, Jakub Hrůša assumed musical direction of the Orchestra in September 2016.
“For string players, it is a particularly pertinent and fascinating trend. When we think of distinctive orchestral ‘sounds’ – the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Bamberg Symphony, the Berlin and New York philharmonics – we are talking most often about the sound of the strings.”
(Andrew Mellor, The Strad)
“The fourth movement, with the violas and violins sawing through the music, is a magically grand and strange finale, in grand contrapuntal splendor and yet as unwieldy as a thicket with branches sticking out at odd intervals and home to strange creatures that pipe up before the greater musical substance accumulates and achieves ultimate flow. I’d never heard so much of Sibelius’ Fourth Symphony in this movement as on this – and the three subsequent –performances.”