The Eroica Ensemble Berlin was formed by the young conductor and violinist Jakob Lehmann in 2015 and takes its name from its highly successful debut performance of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, the “Eroica”, in September 2015.
The ensemble takes Beethoven’s symphonic repertoire as its starting point: others’ influence on Beethoven, his influence on others, the impact of this music on public opinion and its general reception – these all inform programming decisions. Consequently, the music of Beethoven’s teacher, Joseph Haydn, is central to the ensemble’s next performance, and future plans include concerts with compositions by Mendelssohn and Schubert.
Jakob Lehmann is convinced that the current historically informed perspective on music, particularly of the early romantic era, needs to be redefined. In his capacity as concertmaster of Anima Eterna Brugge, an orchestra performing exclusively on period instruments, and as assistant to their conductor Jos van Immerseel, he counts cutting edge HIP performers amongst his primary inspirations. He is convinced that the insights gained by the Historically Informed Performance perspective are beneficial to all musicians, regardless whether they are performing on period instruments or not. This attitude is shared by violinist & musicologist Fiona Stevens who leads and coaches his orchestra, and with whom he has formed a creative musical partnership.
Bringing down the barriers between the different musical approaches is as important to them as sharing the results with their audience, whom they believe will benefit from the immediate, innovative and often surprising musical presentation, enabling them to experience the musical works and genres in a totally different way.
Jakob’s special interest in working with singers led him to invite soprano Laila Salome Fischer as soloist in Beethoven’s concert aria “Ah Perfido!” for the ensemble’s performance debut. The ensemble, characterised by free thinking and an undogmatic approach to questions of performance practice, take their musical inspiration not only from founder Jakob Lehmann, but also from its core members, musicians such as Ye-Young Hwang, Tristan Braun and Carolin Krüger. As a result, the musicans come together in varying formations pertinent to the project at hand, for example in order to immerse themselves in a creative dialogue with music of the baroque era, which they consider to be not just the musical but also the emotional basis of later repertoire. In a chamber music formation, the Eroica Consort Berlin, they have been invited by the Catalan mezzosoprano, Anna Alàs i Jové, to record a programme of baroque to early classical repertoire characterising the Greek goddess Diana.
Eroica Berlin’s future plans for the two ensembles include a seminar for baroque performance practice and musical direction with Fiona Stevens, further baroque music performances in a chamber music formation, a CD recording of early twentieth century vocal chamber music with the young bass-baritone Thomas Stimmel, a performance of orchestral music by Joseph Haydn featuring as soloists “Tonali” prizewinner cellist Christoph Heesch and rising star Swiss soprano Bettina Gfeller.