Berliner Barock Solisten
• Founded 1995
Often appears with
The Berliner Barock Solisten is a chamber group mainly devoted to the performance of music from the Baroque and other early periods. The number of the ensemble's personnel can vary according to the work performed but usually falls in the range of nine to 16 players. The group has worked with many prominent early music performers in concert and on recordings.
The Berliner Barock Solisten (BBS) was founded in 1995 by members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with an interest in early music. Two players, in particular, were instrumental in establishing the ensemble: Rainer Kussmaul, who served as the group's artistic director from its founding until 2010, and Raimar Orlovsky, the manager of the BBS since its inception. Kussmaul was the Berlin Philharmonic's first violinist from 1993 to 1998, and Orlovsky, an expert in the music of Telemann, has served as a violinist with Berlin Philharmonic since 1991. Other well-known members of the BBS have included violists Wolfram Christ and Tanja Christ, violone player Klaus Stoll, and cellist Georg Faust. Shortly after its founding, the ensemble was able to attract some of the finest conductors associated with early music, including William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, but the group also performed in concerts led by other conductors generally associated with broader repertory, like Simon Rattle. Following Kussmaul's departure, the group was led in projects by a variety of musicians, including Frank Peter Zimmermann, Daniel Hope, and in 2014, Reinhard Goebel. Following a successful concert celebrating C.P.E. Bach, which was recorded and released on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi label, the BBS named Goebel its new artistic director in 2018. The musicians' flexible approach to period performance -- using modernized historic instruments and period bows -- has attracted soloists such as Albrecht Mayer, Christine Schäfer, and Thomas Quasthoff. Meanwhile, the group continued to gain positive notice playing a regular schedule of concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie and making numerous successful tours of Germany and Europe. Concerts have included appearances at the Lucerne Festival and the Zermatt Festival in 2006.
The BBS' first recordings began appearing in the late 1990s. In 1998, the group released a recording of works by J.S. Bach and Telemann, with recordist Michala Petri on RCA Red Seal. This album attracted considerable attention in Germany, as well as throughout Europe. EMI began releasing recordings of the BBS in 2001, with a recording of J.S. Bach works that featured flutist Emmanuel Pahud. The BBS received a Grammy Award in 2005 for its recording of three Bach cantatas on Deutsche Grammophon, and an Opus Klassik Award in 2018 for its Sony Classical recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. In 2020, the BBS and Goebel accompanied Benjamin Appl in a recording of cantatas by the Bach family on Hänssler Classic.