The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (FBO)
is one of the leading ensembles of historically informed performance practice. For more than 30 years, it has shaped international musical life and set musical standards with its concerts and recordings.
The FBO was founded in 1987 by former students at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, mainly from the violin class of Rainer Kussmaul, later concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic. The ensemble soon advanced to become one of the most sought-after orchestras with period instruments and achieved international renown. The FBO regularly performs in the most important international concert halls, including the Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall London, Lincoln Center in New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Philharmonie de Paris. Concert tours take the ensemble to all continents, from South America to Australia. At the same time, the FBO maintains its own subscription series in Freiburg, Stuttgart and Berlin and is a guest at major music festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, the Tanglewood Festival in the USA and the Tage Alter Musik Innsbruck.
The orchestra's core repertoire is Baroque and Classical music, but it also frequently performs Romantic music, especially works by Mendelssohn and Schumann. In the spirit of historically informed performance practice, the FBO usually performs without a conductor, but for selected projects, e.g. opera performances or large-scale orchestral works, the ensemble works with renowned conductors such as Pablo Heras-Casado, Sir Simon Rattle or Teodor Currentzis. The FBO has a particularly close musical friendship with René Jacobs, with whom the ensemble devotes itself in particular to the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or oratorios from the Baroque and Classical periods.
The artistic directors of the FBO are Gottfried von der Goltz (violin) and Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano), who took over this position from Petra Müllejans in 2017. Both artists also appear as soloists. Furthermore, the ensemble works with renowned instrumentalists and vocal soloists, including Isabelle Faust, Philippe Jaroussky, Christian Gerhaher, Alexander Melnikov, Andreas Staier, Jean-Guihen Queyras and many others.
The FBO's extraordinary musical diversity is documented on numerous recordings, which have been decorated with a multitude of prizes and awards, including several Echo Classic prizes, Grammy nominations and prizes from the German Record Critics.
The 2021/22 season will take the FBO on an extensive tour of Germany and the Netherlands with Bach's Christmas Oratorio together with the Nederlands Kamerkoor under the direction of Peter Dijkstra. The FBO also gives guest performances at the Haydneum Festival Budapest, as well as at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid and the Philharmonie Paris. Under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, the orchestra will perform Rameau's opera Hippolyte et Aricie at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin.
With more than 260 recordings and an active career as a singer, conductor, scholar and teacher, René Jacobs has distinguished himself as a major figure in the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. In 1977 he founded the ensemble Concerto Vocale, with which he explored the repertoire of chamber music and baroque opera. He made a series of innovative recordings for harmonia mundi dedicated to works of a long-forgotten repertoire, which were acclaimed by the international press. The year 1983 marked his debut as opera conductor of a production of Cesti's "L'Orontea" at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. As part of his responsibilities as Artistic Director at this festival and in the course of his engagements at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin as a guest conductor from 1992, at the Brussels opera house La Monnaie from 1993, at the Theater an der Wien as a regular conductor from 2006, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, at the Salzburg Festival, at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and at other international venues, he has conducted operas from the early Baroque to Rossini. Parallel to his operatic career, sacred music has never ceased to occupy a significant place in René Jacob's work. In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Ghent, he has been honoured with many major awards and international prizes for both his recordings and his life's work by music critics in Europe and America.