The Aachen Symphony Orchestra Aachen hits all the right notes
“One minute a storm is raging – nay, a hurricane, veritably whipping through the pit – and crashing waves that suck the breath from your lungs. The string section plays to complete perfection, with woodwind instruments mastering every trill, no matter how quiet, not to mention a brass section which is truly majestic. Here’s an orchestra and a conductor that simply love Wagner…”
Whenever Aachen Symphony Orchestra plays, gushing plaudits from music critics and audiences alike have long been the order of the day – whether in the form of the written word or a standing ovation – the Aachen public just loves this ensemble. And here, in this small city on the very western edge of Germany, concert-going has re-gained its place as a social activity. This cultural renaissance is not least down to Marcus R. Bosch who, in 2002 at the tender age of 32, took over the reins of this great orchestra as its Director of Music. And what a success it’s been, with visitor numbers quadrupling in the ten years after he took charge. The orchestra is now one of the finest in North-Rhine Westphalia – not least also thanks to performances and tours which were internationally very well received.
This string of successes sees Aachen Symphony Orchestra following in a long tradition: first mentioned in 1720, it’s one of Germany’s oldest orchestras. Indeed, it put up the first-ever performance of Weber’s “Der Freischütz” in Paris and was involved in the first performance outside Vienna of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Famous guest conductors such as Richard Strauss and Karl Muck have wielded their batons here, and internationally successful musical directors like Fritz Busch, Herbert von Karajan and Wolfgang Sawallisch began their careers in Aachen and influenced the development of the orchestra.
Impressive role models indeed, as the orchestra’s current charismatic and ambitious Director of Music, Kazem Abdullah, took pleasure in pointing out when he followed in their footsteps in 2012. The fact that Abdullah was exactly the same age as Marcus Bosch when taking over seems to have been a good omen so far, with Aachen audiences offering him standing ovations and loud cheers even at his trial performances.
And so the success story continues: whether under Marcus R. Bosch or Kazem Abdullah, whether in the ballroom of the Altes Kurhaus at the “Barock im Ballsaal” event, in the Church of St. Nicholas (the “Bruckner in St. Nikolaus” event), at the CHIO equestrian festival “Horse & Symphony”, the “Kurpark Classix” open-air festival, the “Gold & Silver” Christmas show, the New Year’s concert or the “Konzert ohne Frack” (“come as you are”) – every time this orchestra proves once again: Aachen hits all the right notes!
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