The Symphony Orchestra of the UdK Berlin
As one of the leading university orchestras in Germany, the Symphony Orchestra of Berlin University of the Arts enriches the capital's orchestral scene with three to four concerts each year plus an opera project. These include the traditional “Concert for the Nations” in autumn, a concert format providing a solemn context for the internationality of students at the College of Music of the UdK Berlin, taking place every year under the patronage of an ambassador currently resident in Berlin. The opening concert of crescendo – Musikfestwochen der UdK Berlin is also played by the Symphony Orchestra of the UdK Berlin. In addition, the orchestra appears regularly with chamber music instrumentation, playing works from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Since 2013 the orchestra has been delighting its audiences repeatedly under the artistic direction of Prof. Steven Sloane, with concerts whose exciting programmes often combine major symphonies with works of modern and contemporary music. Outstanding among them have been the performances of Prokofjew's Fifth, Mahler's Fourth or Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and most recently Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Widman's Con Brio and the world premiere of Ehsan Khatibi's “Assonance”. At the winter concert in Berlin's Philharmonic Hall in February 2016, Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony was combined successfully with Charles Ives' “Unanswered Question”. The orchestra's next appearances will take place in the context of “Concert for the Nations 2016" under the patronage of the ambassador of the state Israel in Germany, His Excellency Yakov Hadas-Handelsman. Steven Sloane will conduct Paul Ben-Haim's First Symphony and Dmitry Shostakovitch's Fifth Symphony.
Other impressive concerts have included the performance of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony, an appearance at the music festival to mark Olivier Messiaen's 100th birthday in 2008, and also Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang" (Hymn of Praise) in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Berlin in 2009, and Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in Berlin Philharmonic Hall. Together with the choir of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Symphony Orchestra of the UdK performed Georg Friedrich Handel's Messiah in Glasgow, Berlin and Potsdam in 2007, and in 2012 the orchestra successfully participated in the International Festival of Academic Orchestras in Katowice with works by Lutosławski, Beethoven and Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
The Symphony Orchestra of the UdK Berlin can look back on a long tradition. It was established at the foundation of the Hochschule für Musik (College of Music) in 1869 and has been directed, among others, by Joseph Joachim, Max Bruch, Julius Prüwer, and in the more recent past by Erich Bergel, Harry Lyth and Lutz Köhler. In the context of orchestral workshops, conductors of international repute have stood behind the lectern of the Symphony Orchestra of the UdK Berlin, such as Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Kent Nagano, and Mariss Jansons. And specialists from the Early Music scene, most recently Andreas Spering in 2015, work together with the orchestra.
There are many sound and image recordings by the Symphony Orchestra of the UdK Berlin, which are released by the Sound Engineering programme and betont, the label of the UdK Berlin, also available live on the university website and in its mediatheque, as well as in the form of CDs and DVDs.