Kammerorchester Basel

Kammerorchester Basel

Chamber Orchestra

• Founded 1984


The Kammerorchester Basel (in English, the Basel Chamber Orchestra) has inherited a long tradition of small-ensemble music-making in the Swiss city of Basel, cultivating a twin focus on early music and contemporary music.

The orchestra was founded in 1984 by a group of Swiss music students, using the name Serenata Basel. Their intent was to supplant the long-standing Basler Kammerorchester, and, like that group, offer programs that mixed early and contemporary repertories. Johannes Schläfli was the orchestra's first and only conductor; when he departed in 1999, also the year the group took its current name, the orchestra continued with no conductor. The leader is the concertmaster, currently Julia Schröder. It performs music up to the Classical period on historically appropriate instruments. The Kammerorchester Basel has, however, featured A-list guest conductors including Kristjan Järvi, Trevor Pinnock, Paul McCreesh, Christopher Hogwood, and Giovanni Antonini, who led the group in a noted modern-instrument, but historically informed, cycle of Beethoven's symphonies. Another notable Kammerorchester Basel recording was a 2011 set of Bach cantatas performed by countertenor Andreas Scholl.

The group has recorded for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Oehms, Decca, and Sony Classical, among other labels. The year 2017 saw the release of a Sony album examining Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major for violin, viola, and orchestra, K. 364, in the context of other works of the period for similar combinations, and, for DHM, a recording of music from Bologna in the year 1666. The group won an ECHO Klassik Ensemble of the Year award in 2008. It performs at the Olten Stadttheater in Basel; its 2018 season included a series of concerts with pianist Katia Buniatishvili. In the 2010s, under Antonini, it began a project to record all of Joseph Haydn's symphonies together with the orchestra Il Giardino Armonico; the cycle is set to conclude in 2032.