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Ensemblehaus Freiburg

Ensemblehaus Freiburg

Concert Venues of the World

When the right ideas are conceived by the right people in the right environment at the right time, there is a good chance that something special will happen.

In Freiburg, independent ensembles under the leadership of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra set out 15 years ago to finally create working conditions for this highly qualified scene, which often performs at least on a par with state orchestras with a fraction of the budget.

A donation made the start, and instead of letting it seep away in the current financial year, this sum became a symbol of the dawn of a new era. Further sponsors were found, the city and state joined in, and soon the foundation set up for this purpose was able to take action and put the project out to tender. When everyone pulls together, things can develop amazingly quickly, and so the first rehearsals of the baroque orchestra and its modern partner Ensemble Recherche took place in 2012. In addition to various rehearsal rooms of different sizes, there were now finally dressing rooms, storage rooms and sufficient office space for both ensembles.

Ensemblehaus FreiburgThe thanks for this extraordinary commitment cannot be overlooked: both on the website of both ensembles and in the foyer, where the names of all supporters adorn an exposed concrete wall in discreet white lettering. Not as conspicuous as the golden names in the entrance area of the Metropolitain Opera in New York, but at least as strong a gesture.

The location is also well chosen: From here, you are quickly in the countryside, but also within a few minutes of the city, and there is no lack of artistic cross-fertilization when one of the country’s major music academies is just a street width away.

The heart of the building is without question the large hall, which serves as a rehearsal hall for the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Chamber concerts and CD productions also take place here, which is why this hall is now also of interest to us. Although it is almost cube-shaped, which at first seems at least acoustically debatable, it sounds amazingly good and clear in this room. Even in the middle of the orchestra, you can hear almost all of your colleagues effortlessly and connect with them, a quality that not many halls can offer and which allows an ensemble rehearsing under such conditions to improve over time.

Halls grow acoustically over the years as more and more work is done on them, and this room is now of a quality that allows for regular CD productions. Thanks to various diffusers and absorbers, the room is also amazingly gracious when it comes to dynamic outbursts from the orchestra. Any fears in this regard in view of the many smooth concrete walls prove to be unfounded after the first few notes.

Almost more important than the good sound, however, is the effect that emanates from such a building. This project shows that the independent music scene can move away from its victim mentality and – provided a few external circumstances are right – open doors with courage and ideas that were previously thought to be closed.

Music tips – recordings that capture the venue’s signature sound

Ludwig van Beethoven, piano concertos, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Pablo Heras-Casado (harmonia mundi)
Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concertos, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (harmonia mundi)


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