The Webern Kammerphilharmonie, whose players are drawn from the ranks of the mdw, was first brought together with a concrete objective in mind: to support young artists in launching their future careers as professional orchestral players. The ensemble, originally with the English words “Chamber Orchestra” in its name, was founded in 2015. Ever since, it’s been bringing together excellent mdw students and graduates. Musicians who have already had the opportunity to gather experience performing in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall with great conductors during their university studies as part of the Webern Symphonie Orchester can thus now be selected for the Webern Kammerphilharmonie, with which they then go on to appear on other renowned stages in Austria as they enter the world of professional orchestral playing.
The success story of this project, launched for reasons that were really quite pragmatic, may strike one as pretty amazing. But it’s actually no big surprise when one considers the potential inherent in uniting young, talented people who are just beginning their careers and offering them the best possible conditions in which to take artistic flight as an ensemble.
In its mere six years of existence so far, the Webern Kammerphilharmonie has established itself as a professionally organised orchestra and can already look back upon numerous highlights with its head conductor Vladimir Kiradjiev as well as engagements with guest conductors and artistic personalities including Erwin Ortner, HK Gruber, and Emmanuel Tjeknavorian. The Philharmonie has already drawn attention to itself as a symphony orchestra, an opera orchestra, and (as a project partner of Vienna’s municipal theatre operator Vereinigte Bühnen Wien) playing in musicals. And with performances at Vienna’s Ronacher, Radiokulturhaus, MuTh, Konzerthaus, Musikverein, and Theater an der Wien, the orchestra has performed at venues of international repute.
Being based at the mdw, the orchestra—in keeping with tradition—is also available for internal purposes. Student conductors from the Department of Conducting lead the Webern Kammerphilharmonie for their final examinations. These diploma candidates present selected symphonic works before an audience at the Radiokulturhaus for their public diploma exams, which mark the festive conclusion of their studies. Collaboration with the Department of Vocal Studies and Music Theatre has likewise established itself as a welcome tradition in the form of the annual oratorio evenings led by Erwin Ortner in the historic atmosphere of Schlosstheater Schönbrunn.
In 2021, the orchestra can (hopefully) look forward to further highlights in what is shaping up to be a busy year. For the first time, the focus will be on cooperating with the organisation Jeunesse, which agreed to organise a Webern Kammerphilharmonie concert on a prominent stage.
The Webern Kammerphilharmonie will present a traditional but highly interesting programme in its concert for Jeunesse together with pianist and conductor Stefan Vladar at the Konzerthaus on 4 June. This appearance will feature works including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major (K. 488) and Franz Schubert’s 6th Symphony (D. 589).
The orchestra is also eagerly looking forward to its upcoming recordings of works by the contemporary Austrian composer Friedrich Cerha. These recordings in cooperation with the ORF will take place in April at the Radiokulturhaus and be led by violinist and conductor Ernst Kovacic. Kovacic, for his part, has invited the orchestra to appear in late April at kunsthaus muerz—this time with another exciting special feature: the Kammerphilharmonie will play without a conductor.
The 2021 calendar of the Webern Kammerphilharmonie continues to fill up—and for the years thereafter, numerous more Webern Kammerphilharmonie projects in Austria and abroad are already being planned.