BERLIN. From now on the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker will be called the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. „The change of name is a tribute to the contribution of Herbert von Karajan, with whom the long success story of the Academy is inextricably linked”, explained Peter Riegelbauer, manager of the Karajan Academy and double bassist with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) founded the Academy, the first institution of its kind in Germany, in 1972, out of concern about the next generation of musicians for the Berliner Philharmoniker. Peter Riegelbauer added: „The Karajan Academy is an unmistakable cultural brand. The clear reference to its founder is an important step towards the perpetuation of the Academy’s outstanding performance record in the future.”
The Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker trains highly talented young musicians from all over the world. Their teachers are primarily the concertmasters and section leaders of the Philharmoniker. As a rule, the students find positions with renowned orchestras after graduating from the Academy, the majority even in coveted solo chairs. Approximately one-third of the current members of the Berliner Philharmoniker are former students of the Karajan Academy. Orchestra board member Ulrich Knörzer said: „The Karajan Academy is a fascinating symbiosis of the past, present and future. The long-established performance culture and unique sound of the Berliner Philharmoniker are guaranteed for the future thanks to our Academy.” The Berliner Philharmoniker and the members of the association unanimously supported the name change.
Former students of the Karajan Academy can be found everywhere, whether in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Radio France, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Vienna and Munich Philharmonic orchestras – and of course the Berliner Philharmoniker. „Learn from the pros” is the motto of the Academy. Founded 40 years ago by Herbert von Karajan and funded by private donors, highly talented young musicians are taught by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and are prepared for the life of professional orchestral musicians. A commitment that bears abundant fruit: Almost one-third of the members of the Berliner Philharmoniker today are former students of the Academy.
Herbert von Karajan’s idea was appealing: With the Karajan Academy, an institution was created in which young, well-trained graduates can receive the best possible preparation for the profession of orchestral musician. Both in classes and working together with long-standing and experienced members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the students learn the particular style and the sound ideal of the orchestra. More than just learn it, they internalize it. However, the training goes far beyond that: According to Peter Riegelbauer, double-bass player of the Berliner Philharmoniker and head of the Karajan Academy, the young instrumentalists get a sense of what it means to be a „complete musician”, who not only work intensively on their own development, but also learn to widen their experience and meet the world with a thirst for knowledge and open eyes.