Founded in 1962, the CAMERATA BERN has developed into a highly-acclaimed chamber orchestra uniting top level musicians inspired by the idea of performing within a flexible, self-conducted ensemble. CAMERATA BERN has become one of Europe’s foremost chamber orchestras, active worldwide as Berne’s cultural ambassador.
Its members are gifted soloists and chamber musicians. Under its artistic director, the violinist Antje Weithaas, as well as guest concertmasters Erich Höbarth, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Carolin Widmann, Kolja Blacher and others, CAMERATA BERN performs a broad repertoire ranging from early Baroque to today’s composers. The orchestra stands out for its subtle and perfectly homogeneous sound, its freshness and mastery of style. With charisma and spontaneity adding to its ability to thrill its public, CAMERATA BERN is now renowned as one of the prime ensembles among chamber orchestras in Europe.
The ensemble’s outstanding qualities has led it to perform with such eminent artists as Heinz Holliger, András Schiff, Vadim Repin, Alexander Lonquich, Jörg Widmann, Sabine Meyer, Tabea Zimmermann, Vessilina Kasarova, Tine Thing Helseth, Bernd Glemser, Benjamin Schmid, Christian Gerhaher, Andrei Korobeinikov, Paul Meyer, Marie Luise Neunecker, Aurèle Nicolet, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Maurice André, Bruno Canino, Radu Lupu, Peter Serkin, Gidon Kremer, Nathan Milstein, Boris Pergamenshikov, Narciso Yepes, Pepe Romero, Barbara Hendricks, Peter Schreier, Jan Vogler, Reinhold Friedrich, Leonidas Kavakos, Angelika Kirchschlager and others.
The ensemble has toured extensively in Europe, South- and North-America, as well as in South-East Asia, the Far East, Australia and Japan. Its recordings on Sony, Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv, Decca, Denon, ERATO, Berlin Classics, Novalis, ECM, Claves and Philips have won several international awards, such as the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Grand Prix International du Disque, the International Record Critics Award, the Record Academy Prize, and the Prize Echo Klassik ‘97 of the Deutsche Phono-Akademie. The latest CD-releases feature Antje Weithaas with pianist Alexander Lonquich in a Mendelssohn programme (Claves, January 2011), Heinz Holliger interpreting Bach (ECM, June 2011) and Antje Weithaas in a Beethoven programme (CAVI, September 2012).
Lately, CAMERATA BERN has performed at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato/Mexico, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, in the Sala Sao Paulo, at the Teatro Solis in Montevideo, at Geneva’s Victoria Hall, at deSingel in Antwerp.
Within its large scale educational project for children since 2010, the CAMERATA BERN performs concerts in schools across the Canton of Bern. The project “CONCERTrate children!” developed in the frame of the Education Department’s “Education and culture” programme has reached over 8000 children up to now, mainly in the canton’s rural areas.
Last year, the 13 Bernese guilds and corporations along with Bern’s Burgergemeinde and the Hans and Verena Krebs Foundation bequeathed a set of 14 string instruments after baroque models to the ensemble, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The CAMERATA BERN now performs an early music concert series in Bern and has extended its focus to historically informed performance.
With the English choreographer Cathy Marston, CAMERATA BERN has coproduced two full-length choreographies featuring the Corps de Ballet of Berne’s Municipal Theatre. In each 10 performances, “Flight of gravity” (music by Martinu, Tartini, Silvestrow and Penderecki) in 2011, and “Hexenhatz” (Witch-hunt) (Italian baroque music on period instruments) in 2013 thrilled the Berne audience. In 2015, CAMERATA BERN will be co-producing Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo” on period instruments with Berne’s Municipal Opera.
CAMERATA BERN hosts its own subscription concerts cycles in Berne at the Paul Klee Centre, at the Konservatorium and at the Kultur-Casino. The success of CAMERATA BERN’s concerts among music lovers in Bern, in Switzerland and abroad asserts its reputation as musical ambassador of the cultural City of Bern and as a key player in the Swiss performing arts.
The CAMERATA BERN FOUNDATION is subsidized by the City, the Burgergemeinde and Canton of Berne and receives project-related funding from different foundations and sponsoring partners. One of its main partner is the Ursula Wirz Foundation.