Bringing the reputation of the city of Bonn in Beethoven’s spirit to the world is the guiding principle of the Beethoven Orchester Bonn. One of the main ideas motivating the musicians’ artistic work is the presentation of unusual programmes. A number of recordings are evidence of this, for example the opera ‘Der Golem’ by Eugen d’Albert, which won an ECHO Klassik prize. The ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’ and further ECHO Klassik prizes for the recording of the opera ‘Irrelohe’ by Franz Schreker and the recording of Maurice Ravel’s ‘Daphnis et Chloé’ are a pleasant acknowledgement of this commitment.
On 1 October 1907 the city of Bonn signed a contract with which it took the Philharmonisches Orchester Koblenz, founded ten years earlier, and its conductor Heinrich Sauer into its service. And so, after the Kurfürstliche Hofkapelle (Electoral Court Orchestra, the ‘Elector’ being the Elector Archbishop of Cologne, who resided in Bonn) had been disbanded in 1794 the city of Beethoven’s birth finally got its own professional orchestra again in 1907. It is also the orchestra of the Bonn Opera.
Conductors and guest conductors such as Gustav Glassens, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Volker Wangenheim, Dennis Russell Davies and Kurt Masur established the orchestra as one of the top orchestras in Germany. Between 2008 and 2016 the Swiss conductor Stefan Blunier was in charge of the orchestra as its musical director. Under his charismatic leadership the Beethoven Orchester Bonn won several awards, both for its educational concert projects and for its recordings of operas and symphonic works. For the 2016/17 season the artistic direction of the orchestra lies in the hands of Christof Prick, the acting principal conductor. From August 2017 Dirk Kaftan will take on the role of musical director.
In addition to the orchestra’s operatic and concert activities (approximately 35 concerts and 120 opera performances per season) the children’s and youth work, under the heading ‘Bobbys Klassik’, is an important focal point. In 2009 and 2011 the education programme was also awarded an ECHO Klassik prize.
The Beethoven Orchester Bonn has also been able to confirm its reputation as an outstanding orchestra with tours of Europe, North America, Japan and China.