Founded in 1995 by Thomas Hengelbrock, the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble is named after the epochal Baroque architect Balthasar Neumann (1687–1753), who effected a symbiotic combination of different disciplines in the interplay of painting, sculpture, architecture, and gardening. In keeping with this ideal, the musicians strive for a close interrelationship between the arts through musical-literary projects, staged concerts, and opera productions. The basis for their playing style is historically informed performance practice, but this is not confined to early music. Works from the early Baroque to Modernism are played on authentic instruments corresponding to the time in which they were written and to their historical background. The Ensemble regularly performs at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, and the Salzburg Festival. Along with the projects that Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Choir play together, such conductors as Teodor Currentzis and Pablo Heras-Casado have also collaborated with the ensemble. Their most recent DVD releases include Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Rolando Villazón as director and doubling in the role of Nemorino, as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott. For its 20th anniversary, the Ensemble presented Verdi’s La traviata in period style at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and performed Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Salzburg Festival. Their most recent project is the century-spanning crossover program Himmel, Erde, Meer led by the Swedish conductor Olof Boman, in which the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble combines music from the early Baroque with Modernist works. 

February 2017