Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn
The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn (Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn) has set standards with its stylistically assured versatility and its implemented ideal of chamber music-making. Its emotional and sensuous sound culture is compelling in its use of a full palette of sound colours, from ethereal transparency to passionate romantic sounds. As a musical partner, the orchestra is acclaimed for its pronounced versatility and the art of musical dialogue among equals. Thus, the WKO has established itself as one of the world’s most sought-after chamber orchestras. Since 2002, Ruben Gazarian has influenced its style as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.
Convinced of the value of touring, the orchestra regularly undertakes concert tours throughout Germany and abroad. Highlights of recent years include the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle and Cologne’s Philharmonie, as well as tours through Korea, Cambodia, China and Spain. During the 2017/2018 season, the WKO embarks upon an eleven-concert tour of China.
The orchestra also champions musical diversity at home, upholding the highest standards of quality. With its subscription series in Heilbronn and Ulm, the innovative concert series Redblue Meets Klassik in cooperation with INTERSPORT, the KSK Chamber Music Series “Under the Pyramid”, regular musical theatre cooperations with the Heilbronn Theatre and the music education programme KOPFHÖRER (“HEADPHONES”) for babies, children and teenagers, the orchestra is a pillar of cultural life in its home region.
Since its founding by Prof. Jörg Faerber in 1960, the WKO has worked with many renowned artists and has always supported rising young talents – not only in concert, but through CD recordings as well. Kolja Blacher (CD), Rudolf Buchbinder, Mojca Erdmann, Juan Diego Flórez, James Galway (CD), Augustin Hadelich, Sharon Kam (CD), Felix Klieser (CD), Katia & Marielle Labèque, Sabine Meyer (CD), Nils Mönkemeyer, Sergei Nakariakov (CD), Andreas Ottensamer, Alina Pogostkina, Linus Roth (CD), Christine Schäfer, Olga Scheps, Herbert Schuch, Daniel Müller-Schott, Carolin Widmann and Frank Peter Zimmermann (CD) are some of the artists to have worked with the WKO.
This is also documented by the rich and continuously expanding discography of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn. In 2017, the orchestra released an SACD contribution to the Bernstein Year, featuring Kolja Blacher and Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade as well as Joseph Haydn’s Violin Concerto in C Major (Coviello Classics). Ruben Gazarian led the WKO and the saxophone player Asya Fateyeva in the recordings for Bachiana, featuring works adapted from Johann Sebastian Bach and Heitor Villa-Lobos (Berlin Classics). The recording of Mieczysław Weinberg’s Flute Concerto No. 2 as well as works by Jindřich Feld and Mikis Theodorakis with the soloist Kathrin Christians (Hänssler Classic) continues the WKO’s endeavours to make rarely-performed works accessible on CD. In 2015, the WKO already contributed to the project of recording the complete violin works by Mieczysław Weinberg with violinist Linus Roth. Further CD partners of recent years include the French horn player Felix Klieser (Horn Concertos) and Sharon Kam (OPERA!); the latter features arrangements of opera repertoire for clarinet and chamber orchestra. For listeners of all ages, the WKO has recorded two fairy tales by Andersen, set to music by Andreas N. Tarkmann and narrated by Juri Tetzlaff (Coviello Classics).
The WKO’s recording of works by Johann Christian and Johann Wilhelm Hertel (Coviello Classics) won an ECHO Klassik Award. Its recordings with chief conductor Ruben Gazarian also include Simply Strings with music by Britten, Bartók, Janáček and Sibelius, as well as a complete recording of Beethoven’s symphonies. Furthermore, a CD of Wagner’s Siegfried-Idyll and Bruckner’s String Quintet, and a CD with works by Armenian composers entitled Armenian Classic (Bayer Records) have recently been released.
Since 2012, the orchestra has been under the auspices of the Foundation (Stiftung) Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, made possible by 21 founding donors. The foundation secures the future of the ensemble through long-term development of the orchestra’s offerings in the region, on the national and international market.