• Founded 1950
Often appears with
The Münchener Kammerorchester, or Munich Chamber Orchestra, has distinguished itself among Europe's small orchestras by its longstanding and ongoing commitment to contemporary music. The group is among the most acclaimed chamber orchestras on the competitive German scene.
The Münchener Kammerorchester was founded in 1950 by Christoph Stepp, much later the conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra. He was succeeded in 1956 by Hans Stadlmair, who conducted more than 4,000 concerts and did the most to shape the group as it exists today. He programmed music by Schoenberg and Webern at a time when these composers were rarely heard on public concert programs, and he went even further, presenting music by arch-modernists Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis, and also championing the works of Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Christoph Poppen became principal conductor in 1995, and his successor was Clemens Schuldt, who remained in the position as of 2020. Both Poppen and Schuldt have continued to program new music, including premieres by Erkki-Sven Tüür, Wolfgang Rihm, and Thomas Larcher. Since 1995, it has presented more than 80 new works. The orchestra has won several awards, including the Neues Hören (New Hearing) Prize of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, given to an ensemble that excels in the presentation of contemporary music to new audiences. The Münchener Kammerorchester performs at the Prinzregententheater and at other Munich venues.
The Münchener Kammerorchester has a catalog of more than 20 recordings, covering not only contemporary music but music from the Baroque era forward, and often including the works of less-often-heard composers such as Franz Danzi and François Devienne. The group has cultivated relationships with a large variety of labels, including Sony Classical, ECM, and Tudor Records. It moved to PentaTone Classics in 2020 for a recording of the Four Seasons sets by Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla, led by violinist Arabella Steinbacher. The orchestra benefits from support from the City of Munich, the State of Bavaria, the Region of Upper Bavaria, and European Computer Telecoms AG.