Since its founding in 2001, the Kammerakademie Potsdam has become a leading chamber orchestra in the Berlin region and one of the most versatile of such ensembles in all of Germany, with a repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music. It is one of the few small orchestras to perform on both historical and modern instruments, depending on the needs of the music it is playing. The Kammerakademie Potsdam was founded when two ensembles, Ensemble Oriol Berlin and Potsdam's own Persius Ensemble, merged at the turn of the century. The Ensemble Oriol, in existence since 1987, brought a diverse repertoire, made still broader by the addition of the Persius Ensemble's brass instruments. Each of the combined ensemble's music directors -- Peter Rundel, Sergio Azzolini, Andrea Marcon, Michael Sanderling, and Antonello Manacorda (chief conductor since 2010) -- has emphasized a different repertory, and the orchestra has sometimes performed without a conductor as well. The Kammerakademie Potsdam, supported by the city of Potsdam, performs in the city's Nikolaisaal concert hall and in the Friedenskirche (Peace Church). It organizes the Potsdam Winter Opera concert series in addition to presenting orchestral concerts, and it is also a frequent guest at the large Philharmonie concert hall in Berlin. Guest soloists who have worked with the orchestra have come from the top ranks of both the mainstream (Julia Fischer, Sol Gabetta, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Steven Isserlis, and many more) and early music (Konrad Junghänel, Bernhard Forck, and Erich Höbarth) worlds. The Kammerakademie Potsdam was signed to Sony Classical, releasing an album of rediscovered Bach wind concertos in 2009; in 2017 it released a Mendelssohn symphony pairing under Manacorda. Since 2010 the Kammerakademie Potsdam has taken an active role in music education in its home state of Brandenburg, performing numerous concerts and interactive events for children and adolescents. ~ James Manheim
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