Logo – Sächsische Bläserphilharmonie
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Logo – Deutsche Bläserakademie

From RBO to SBP

The history of the Saxon Wind Philharmonic


With over 60 years of existence, the ensemble can look back on an eventful history.

Since 1948, live entertainment concerts have been broadcast from the Leipzig Funkhaus, which also included a larger wind instrumentation by freelance musicians. Hans Rüsing also conducted and wrote the arrangements together with the music editor Georg Girke. One played marches, polkas, also small concert pieces. After brief communication tests, there was a weekly half-hour original broadcast. The response was overwhelming and the demand increased. The station soon decided to found a wind orchestra with permanent musicians.

In June 1950 the Rundfunk-Blasorchester Leipzig went public. Werner Krumbein was appointed as the first chief conductor, who decisively shaped the profile of this orchestra in the eight years of his direction. He was followed by Gerhard Baumann, Otto Kayser, Edgar Brandt, Klaus Wiese and well-known guest conductors, among others. a. Hans Schadenbauer, Kurt Brogli, Motti Miron, Antal Farkas, MiloÅ¡ Machek, Günter Joseck and Hans-Hendrik Wehding.

The Dutch composer Henk van Lijnschooten, who produced several times with the Leipzigers in 1988-90, told a journalist: "It was certainly not a walk for them [the musicians], since they were recordings of pieces I composed, in which I wrote used a mixture of elements of classical and modern music to a considerable extent. Here the orchestra demonstrates its ability to play differently. I am also impressed by the balanced sound of the individual groups of instruments. The powerful fortissimo is as impressive as the delicate piano. The rhythmic accuracy and intonation security and the musicianship of the ensemble members, in turn, have inspired me in a special way to let even more interesting musical details shine in my opinion. So give and take - as one would imagine as a conductor. " (Saxon daily newspaper from April 27th, 1989).

The RBO had fixed broadcasting positions on radio and television. As a guest orchestra it was in demand on the stages of the world. Concert tours have included to the former Soviet Union, Finland and Japan. A major turning point in the history of the orchestra followed after the "turning point": In the course of the resurgence of the Central German Broadcasting Service, several radio-based orchestras were dissolved. The RBO musicians were also given notice of termination - despite public protests and evidence of solidarity, such as from Kurt Masur and Gunther Emmerlich at a protest concert on Augustusplatz in Leipzig. On December 6, 1991, Gerhard Baumann conducted the last RBO radio production. A number of dedicated musicians fought to preserve this popular orchestra among personal victims.

A difficult time began, but it continued! The sheet music archive with over 27,000 original scores, i.e. all special arrangements, was taken over by the MDR on loan. This was the only way for the orchestra to achieve its desired transparent sound.

Supported by the Saxon Culture Area Act, which came into force in 1995, new support structures were found, which were followed by different types of business. Although this provided social security, it only partially enabled the necessary goal-oriented artistic development. With the separation from broadcasting, not only was there no permanent production activity, a new content profile had to be found for concerts and events.

Jochen Wehner, chief conductor after Harald Weigel since 1994, came to the fore here. The orchestra devoted itself more and more to symphonic brass music and various chamber music ensembles. It was during this period that the orchestra's own music education institution, the Saxon Wind Academy, was founded, in which the musicians devoted themselves intensively to promoting young people. The offerings of this academy, which has been operating under the new name of the German Wind Academy since 2011, are now being used by amateur and professional musicians from all over Europe.

A topic that repeatedly triggers discussions are transcriptions of "classic" compositions. Loyalty to the work is the top priority in the orchestra. An initially controversial project was the order to the Berlin composer and arranger Siegmund Goldhammer to instrument Mozart's complete "Magic Flute" for the wind orchestra. The result was convincing: several performances with well-known vocal soloists and a CD production prove on the one hand the exemplary transmission of the Mozart score for the wind ensemble, and on the other hand the excellent interpretation, which is differentiated down to the last detail, in line with the work.

Jochen Wehner, who comes from e-music and has extensive repertoire knowledge, used all facets of the sound possibilities of his wind instruments. In March 2000 Jochen Wehner took over the position of Chedirigent.