The WDR Funkhausorchester ( WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln until 2014 ) is a symphonic entertainment orchestra of West German Radio in Cologne . The Funkhausorchester in its current form was founded in 1947 and emerged from several smaller instrumental formations, some of which have existed since 1927. It is presented by WDR as a “prominent figurehead” of the station and currently consists of 52 members.
The repertoire covers the entire range of light music , musicals , feature operas and operettas , film music (also for silent films ) and niches of classical music, the unknown oratorio and related jazz. Time and again the WDR Funkhausorchester breaks new ground with its programs, for example with the concert performance of music to video games . The WDR Funkhausorchester Köln also works with the WDR Rundfunkchor and the WDR Big Band .
Permanent arrangers for the newer repertoire are Wieland Reissmann, Dietmar Mensinger and Ingo Luis. For several years the orchestra has been working with younger conductors such as Alondra de la Parra , Enrico Delamboye , Rasmus Baumann , André de Ridder and Arjan Tien . The British conductor Wayne Marshall has been chief conductor since the 2014/2015 season .
In addition to regular appearances in the concert halls of North Rhine-Westphalia and at international music festivals in Germany and abroad, the WDR Funkhausorchester holds popular concert series in the Cologne Philharmonic and in the large broadcasting hall of the Cologne Radio House. Participating in television programs, for example " Zimmer frei ", is just as much a part of his field of activity as working in the production studio. Numerous recordings have been awarded record prizes. Under the direction of the then chief conductor Helmuth Froschauer , the orchestra began extensive touring activities in 2001 (including Spain , Germany , Turkey ).
Singing competitions and music festivals
The orchestra has been accompanying international competitions in Cologne for many years, has been invited to other competitions ( Competizione dell 'Opera of the Dresden Music Festival 2002 in Dresden , German Music Council ) and is a guest at national and international music festivals ( Beethovenfest Bonn , Dresden Music Festival , Rheingau Music Festival ).
The early history of the WDR Funkhausorchester began in the Café Germania on Hohe Strasse in Cologne in the 1920s. The Germania Salon Orchestra under the direction of Leo Eysoldt was one of the best in the city, with its unusually large line-up of 20 musicians playing upscale light and popular music at a "remarkably demanding level" ( Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , May 1926). After the founding of the WDR in Münster in 1924 and the move to Cologne in 1927, the director at the time, Ernst Hardt, was looking for an orchestra for light entertainment. He found what he was looking for in Café Germania, where he met and engaged Leo Eysoldt. He put together an orchestra, the Leo Eysoldt Orchestra, which existed until 1942 before it was disbanded during the war and Eysoldt was transferred to the BR in Munich.
After the end of the war, WDR commissioned Hans Bund in June 1946 to put together a new orchestra in the style of Leo Eysoldts. This started very successfully, but was dissolved after a few months in order to form the basis for the new WDR Symphony Orchestra . From then on, Hermann Hagestedt was responsible for the light music, who at that time had his own orchestra, which he paid for out of his own pocket. Thanks to their growing popularity, the musicians were given permanent employment contracts on September 1, 1947. This date marks the founding of the WDR Funkhausorchester Köln.
After a few years in makeshift concert halls in Cologne , which was destroyed by the war , the WDR Funkhausorchester was able to use the large broadcasting hall of the new Cologne Funkhaus on Wallrafplatz from 1950 , which was officially inaugurated in 1952. This is where the orchestra is still based today. In the meantime the orchestra had grown to 53 people, including some members of the Leo Eysoldt Orchestra. The quality had also increased: Many music greats worked as guest conductors with the WDR Funkhausorchester, for example Robert Stolz , Werner Eisbrenner , Nico Dostal , Franz Grothe , Michael Jary , Friedrich Schröder and Werner Egk , to name just a few. The recordings made by Hermann Hagestedt traded under the name "Orchester Hermann Hagestedt". From 1949 to 1965 Franz Marszalek was in charge of the operetta , who made around 70 complete recordings, countless cross-cuts and individual titles in first-class casts of the time. In addition, Marszalek devoted himself to upscale light music.
1960s, 1970s and 1980s
In the 1970s, the Funkhausorchester was merged with the “WDR Dance and Entertainment Orchestra” for a short time. This “Great Entertainment Orchestra of the WDR” played around 150 productions for the WDR with a cast of around 80 people, mostly under the direction of Heinz Geese . However, it was not viewed as an independent ensemble, they only worked together for the productions.
The changes in pop music also changed the demands on the WDR orchestra. The Funkhausorchester grew again and took over the violins of the entertainment orchestra from which the WDR Big Band was formed.
1990s and 2000s
In the 1997/1998 season, the Viennese-born Helmuth Froschauer took over the position of chief conductor, initially for a year alongside his position as director of the radio choir . He remained chief conductor until 2003. Because of his special merits, he was later made an honorary conductor. Helmuth Froschauer was inherited as chief conductor by Michail Jurowski, who carried out the activity until 2008. From the 2010/2011 season to the 2012/2013 season, Niklas Willén chaired the WDR Funkhausorchester.
Chief Conductor: Wayne Marshall (since September 1, 2014)
The honorary conductor until his death in August 2019 was Helmuth Froschauer , who had been associated with WDR since 1992. He was Chief Conductor for six years from 1997 to 2003, he was appointed honorary conductor of the WDR radio station Orchestra Cologne followed in July 2003. In addition, Helmut Froschauer 2006 for his recording of Offenbach operetta Coscoletto with the Prize of the German Record Critics' Award.
Froschauer had been with Westdeutscher Rundfunk since 1992 , first as choir director of the WDR radio choir , and since 1997/1998 as chief conductor of the WDR radio house orchestra in Cologne. Froschauer received his musical education from the Vienna Boys' Choir and while studying piano, horn, composition and conducting at the Vienna Music Academy (with Hans Swarowsky ).
In recognition of his special merits, he was appointed honorary conductor of the orchestra.
First guest conductor
Conductor since 1947
- 1947–1968: Hermann Hagestedt under the name "Orchester Hermann Hagestedt"
- 1949–1965: Franz Marszalek
- 1968–1989: Curt Cremer
- 1968–1995: Heinz Geese
- 1997–2006: Helmuth Froschauer
- 2006–2008: Michail Jurowski
- 2010–2013: Niklas Willén
- since 2014: Wayne Marshall
The WDR Funkhausorchester publishes numerous concert recordings and studio productions every year. The following is an overview from 1988:
|1988:||The Tsar can be photographed , opera by Kurt Weill|
Don Juan and Faust , musical drama by Albert Lortzing
Spa concert in Karlsbad , potpourri by Dostal / Dvořák / Fučík / Labitzky / Lehár / Robert Manzer / Sabathil / Seifert / Smetana
|1991:||Schwarzer Peter , fairy tale opera by Norbert Schultze|
|1992:||The Original Motion Picture Scores, selected works by Franz Grothe
The horse trade , operetta by Kurt Weill
|1993:||The Original Motion Picture Scores, selected works by Georg Haentzschel
|1994:||The luring flame, Singspiel by Eduard Künneke
|1995:||The Diseuse by Dora Dorette
L'Arlésienne , musical drama by Georges Bizet
News from the day opera by Paul Hindemith
Das Dreimäderlhaus , Singspiel about Franz Schubert by Heinrich Berté
|1998:||Concerto for piano four hands and orchestra by Franz Joseph Fröhlich and Leopold Koželuh
|1999:||Pay attention to the vintage, song cycle by Gerhard Jussenhoven
|2000:||Whenever the day slowly falls, selected works by Werner Bochmann
Marienbader Elegies, selected works by František Drdla / Joseph Hellmesberger / August Labitzky / Bedřich Smetana / Louis Spohr
|2001:||Mephisto - opera scenes by Hector Berlioz / Arrigo Boito / Charles Gounod / Giacomo Meyerbeer / Modest Mussorgsky / Robert Schumann / Louis Spohr
Concert for young people, selected works by Leonard Bernstein
|2002:||Classical Horn Concertos, soloist Andrew Joy, music by Luigi Cherubini / Franz Danzi / Joseph Haydn / Giovanni Punto / Antonio Rosett
Works for Violin and Orchestra, selected works by Édouard Lalo
The Merry Wives of Windsor , opera by Otto Nicolai
20th Century Portraits, selected works by Franz Schreker
|2004:||Blue Tango, tango music by Leroy Anderson
|2005:||Selected works by Benjamin Bilse and Friedrich von Flotow
Alessandro Stradella , opera by Friedrich von Flotow
|2006:||Christmas International, selected works by Michael Praetorius / Hector Berlioz / Niels Wilhelm Gade / Sigfrid Karg-Elert / Rudolf Mauersberger / Ralph Vaughan Williams
|2007:||Viennese women, operetta by Franz Lehár|
|2008:||Evening songs, song cycle by Johannes Brahms / Engelbert Humperdinck / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart / Franz Schubert
Music by the Wiener Hofkapelle, selected works by Joseph von Eybler / Johann Joseph Fux / Haydn / Johann von Herbeck / Mozart / Benedikt Randhartinger / Antonio Salieri / Schubert
|2009:||Sing !, Liederpotpourri by Fay Claassen
Wolfgang Manz, pianist, selected works for piano by Claude Debussy / Paul Hindemith / Friedrich Radermacher
Russalka , opera by Alexander Dargomyschski
Lucrecia Borgia , opera by Gaetano Donizetti
The Gates of the World , radio play music by Ken Follett
Romantic violin concertos, selected works by Hans Pfitzner and Siegfried Wagner
|2012:||Gee's Bend, guitar concerts of the 20th / 21st centuries Century, works by Elmer Bernstein , Malcolm Arnold a . a.
The Pharaoh's Wife (DVD / silent film), Eduard Künneke
|2013:||Tor Aulin, Master olof, Swedish dances
Dat sin real Cologne tones, sounding Cologne city history part 2
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss , operetta in three acts
|2015:||Paroli von Leo Fall , Komische Oper
Pe Werner : Best Of - From A to Pe
The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg , operetta based on the play Alt-Heidelberg by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster
|2017:||Symphonic Jazz with Andy Miles
|2018:||The Flying Dutchman - The Musical
In addition, from 1993 onwards, numerous recordings of jazz and pop songs with the violins of the Cologne Radio Orchestra were made under the arranger Hagen Galatis , in collaboration with WDR music editor Wolfgang Kischka and the radio station WDR 4 . These sound carriers were played in various WDR programs, but especially in the program Musik zum Träume on WDR 4. The records and CDs in this series were released under the title Fantasy Strings .
- Wayne Marshall: Chief Conductor ( Memento from August 18, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), WDR from March 12, 2013
- Chief Conductor Wayne Marshall. June 6, 2016, accessed August 14, 2019 .
- First guest conductor Enrico Delamboye. July 16, 2018, accessed August 14, 2019 .