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The Lautten Compagney is one of the most influential historically informed performance ensembles in Germany. Though the ensemble is dedicated to early music, Baroque music, and staging historical operas, its repertoire extends to the music of the 20th century.
The Lautten Compagney was founded in East Berlin in 1984. A mutual interest in early music by Hans-Werner Apel and Wolfgang Katschner led to the formation of the ensemble while they were both guitar students at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler." The group was initially formed as a lute duo, but the ensemble has grown in size and variety of instrumentation since its founding, with Katschner assuming the principal conductor role. Apel and Katschner still perform as a duo occasionally under the auspices of the Lautten Compagney. The ensemble is devoted to performing unknown and rarely performed Baroque operas by composers such as Handel, Giovanni Andrea Bontempi, Johann Adolf Hasse, and Carlo Pallavicino. Since 2004, the Lautten Compagney has played at the Handel Festival in Halle, performing the composer's Rinaldo, Parnasso in Festa, and Alcina, and Haydn's Lo Speziale. In concert, the group also accompanies vocalists such as Simone Kermes, Dorothee Mields, Suzie LeBlanc, and Lynne Dawson. The ensemble was awarded the Rheingau Music Prize in 2012 for its innovative programming.
The Lautten Compagney has recorded for several labels, including Berlin Classics, Carus, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and Capriccio. The group won an Echo Klassik Award in 2010 for the album Timeless: Music by Tarquino Merula and Philip Glass. The 2018 album War & Peace 1618:1918, featuring Mields, was awarded the Opus Klassik Award in 2019. That year, the group issued the album Circle Line, featuring works by Guillaume Dufay juxtaposed with works by Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Cage, among others.