The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra turns 75 – Live on BR-Klassik
Established as one of Europe’s most prestigious orchestras, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 75th anniversary and looks back at its eventful history, as well as ahead, towards an optimistic future
- The 2020/21 season was to be all about the orchestra’s anniversary. Tours to South America and Japan were firmly planned. There was due to be a festive celebration in Bamberg in time for the symphony’s birthday in March 2021.
- But the pandemic has thrown a spanner in the original plans. The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra will celebrate anyway – just differently than planned.
75 years of Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
- The story of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, unusually does not begin in Bamberg. It starts in the Prague Estate Theatre with two defining moments in music history: the premieres of Mozart’s operas “Don Giovanni” (1787) and “La Clemenza di Tito” (1791). The story then continues into the 19th century at the New German Theatre in Prague, where Gustav Mahler premieres his 7th Symphony. Great artists such as Alexander von Zemlinsky, George Szell and Erich Kleiber made their mark on the music scene during this time too. The ‘German Philharmonic Orchestra Prague’ played until May 1945, and finally a large part of the orchestra found itself in Bamberg following the turmoil of World War 2.
- For 75 years, this world-renowned orchestra has now been based in Franconia, yet at the same time it has truly found its home all over the globe. As cultural ambassadors, they were the first German orchestra to tour Europe and the world after the war. To date, the symphony orchestra has given a total of almost 7,500 concerts throughout history.
- In the process, they have played for audiences at 535 venues across 63 countries. With performances spanning from Egypt to Venezuela, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra have travelled around the world far more than once. In addition, they are regular guests at international festivals such as Lucerne, the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival.
- More than 500 conductors have stood at the helm of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. In the early years, it was Joseph Keilberth, Hans Knappertsbusch and Eugen Jochum who shaped the special sound, specifically, the deep “Bamberg Sound”. Today, it is the principal conductor Jakub Hrůša and the honorary conductors Herbert Blomstedt and Christoph Eschenbach who continues to write the history and shape the sound of this extraordinary orchestra.
- At the same time, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra has always given the stage to young artists, namely the young Gustavo Dudamel who’s career took off in 2004 after winning the renowned Mahler Competition. There are also numerous world premieres held which showcase contemporary composers from Toshio Hosokawa to Jörg Widmann.
- Since the early 1980s, Herbert Blomstedt has conducted the orchestra more than 175 times and remains closely associated with it to this day. Consistency and sustainability, in the very best sense of the words, have characterised the orchestra from the very beginning.
- Jakub Hrůša has been the principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra since 2016. With him, the orchestra has already celebrated numerous successes over a short time: having numerous tours throughout Europe, a concert tour through Japan, a concert tour through China, the celebrated Má Vlast recordings, winning a BBC Music Award and an award for the best concert programme.
The anniversary concert:
- In March 2021, the orchestra will celebrate its birthday against all odds. Since no audience is expected to be admitted to the Bamberg Concert Hall at that time, the orchestra will be supported by the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation as a media partner for the execution of this plan.
- The anniversary concert is planned for Thursday, 18 March 2021. As a tribute to the history of the orchestra, principal conductor Jakub Hrůša and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra will repeat the very programme that should have been played 75 years ago. In March 1946, Beethoven’s Overture “Leonore” No. 3 op.72b and his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major op.61were heard. In 2021, the orchestra will also play the “Eroica”, Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major op. 55, which had been planned for the founding concert but was not permitted by the American military administration of Bamberg at the time. Beethoven’s “Eroica” was also the last concert the “German Philharmonic Orchestra” played in Prague in 1945.
- The concert will be heard live on the radio on BR-Klassik on 18 March 2021 from 8.05 pm, on television on ARD-alpha from 8.15 pm and as a live video stream on www.br-klassik.de/concert . At the same time, it can also be seen on the BR-Klassik Facebook page www.facebook.com/brklassik.
- On 21 March, parts of the programme (“Leonore” and “Eroica”) will be repeated once again at 9.00 am on BR television.
- For their anniversary, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra have prepared further gifts for their audiences, who are currently not allowed to be there to experience the orchestra live. There is the orchestra’s new CD, Mahler’s 4th Symphony with Jakub Hrůša, which has been released on 22 January. Spring will also see the second volume of the Bamberg Diary published, in which photographer Andreas Herzau, accompanies the orchestra during its travels through
Asia. And finally, there will also be an audio book dealing with the history of the orchestra, from Mozart’s time to the present day, and its radiance throughout the world.
Jubilee concert for the 75th birthday of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Jakub Hrůša conductor
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider violin
Programme: Ludwig van Beethoven Overture »Leonore« No. 3 op. 72b
Ludwig van Beethoven Concert for violin and orchestra D-Major op. 61
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 3 Es-Major op. 55 »Eroica«