Michael Hasel , flute
Andreas Wittmann , oboe
Walter Seyfarth , clarinet
Fergus McWilliam , horn
Marion Reinhard , bassoon
The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet (Philharmonisches Bläserquintett Berlin) was founded in 1988, during the era of Herbert von Karajan, the first permanently established wind quintet in the famous orchestra's rich tradition of chamber music.
With four original members since inception (Marion Reinhard succeeded founding bassoonist Henning Trog in 2009), they are living musical witnesses to the hugely productive and influential musical partnerships of the Berlin Philharmonic not only with Karajan, but also with its two most recent Musical Directors: Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle. Naturally, as members of the Berlin Philharmonic, they have also enjoyed important collaborations with every other major conductor of their times, whether Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Sir John Barbirolli, Günter Wand, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, James Levine or Daniel Barenboim, to name only a few.
The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet continues to astonish audiences worldwide with their range of expression, their tonal spectrum and their conceptual unity. Indeed many listeners and critics agree that the ensemble has succeeded in virtually redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet. Their repertoire covers not only the entire spectrum of the wind quintet literature but also includes works for enlarged ensemble, i.e. the Sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the Septets of Hindemith and Koechlin. In addition, collaboration with pianists such as Lars Vogt, Stephen Hough, Jon Nakamatsu and Lilya Zilberstein have intensified in recent years.
The ensemble's commitment to the wind quintet repertoire is passionate and in 1991 they found the perfect partner for their recording plans, the Swedish company BIS Records, already well known in its own right for its uncompromising standards. The results of this long and exclusive collaboration have received critical accolades worldwide - indeed many of these recordings are already widely held to be "definitive" or "reference" performances.
In addition to their concert appearances throughout Europe, North and South America, Israel, Australia and the Far East, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet are also popular guests at international festivals such as the Berliner Festwochen, the Edinburgh Festival, the London Proms, the Quintette-Biennale Marseille, the Rheingau Festival and the Salzburg Festival. Their television productions and radio broadcasts are seen and heard throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
In recent years the members of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet have intensified their teaching and coaching roles with youth; they give chamber music workshops and instrumental instruction in many countries, with a particular commitment, for example, to the youth orchestra program of Venezuela.
Michael Hasel (flute) was born in Hofheim near Frankfurt and began conducting, piano and organ studies, intending to graduate as a church musician. His first flute teachers were Herbert Grimm and Willy Schmidt and he went on to study piano and conducting with Prof. Francis Travis and flute with Aurèle Nicolet at the Freiburg Musikhochschule. He completed his conducting studies with Prof. Michael Gielen.
Michael Hasel's first orchestral appointment as flutist was from 1982 to 1984 with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, after which he became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan.
For several years he performed as principal flute with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra under conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Pièrre Boulez and James Levine. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Wind Ensemble and Chamber Music at the Heidelberg-Mannheim Musikhochschule.Both as conductor and soloist Michael Hasel has appeared in Europe, Japan and South America with renowned ensembles such as Ensemble Modern, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchester, Orchestra Simon Bolivar and the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Andreas Wittmann (oboe), was born in Munich. He studied oboe at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich with Prof. Manfred Clement and later at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin with Hansjörg Schellenberger. In Munich he studied conducting with Prof. Hermann Michael and participated in conducting masterclasses with Sergiu Celibidache.Wittmann spent only one year as a scholarship student at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy before being appointed to the Berlin Philharmonic itself in 1986. He is an internationally active soloist, chamber musician and teacher, whose career has also included performing as Principal Oboe with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. He taught at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy for several years before becoming it's General Manager in 2013. Wittmann is currently Permanent Guest Conductor of Brazil's Orquesta Sinfónica Salvador de Bahia. He regularly conducts the Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as the Sibelius-Orchester of Berlin.
Walter Seyfarth (Clarinet) is a native of Düsseldorf and was a first prize winner at the age of sixteen in the Deutscher Tonkünstlerverband competition. Following his studies at the Freiburg Musikhochschule with Peter Rieckhoff and with Karl Leister at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, he was appointed to the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 1985, he joined the Berlin Philharmonic as Solo Eb-Clarinettist. It was Seyfarth who was the driving force behind the founding of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet in 1988. He is also a member of the larger ensemble "The Winds of the Berlin Philharmonic". Among his teaching and mentoring responsibilities are the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra and the Venezuelan Youth Orchestras Programme, El Sistema.
Fergus McWilliam (horn) was born on the shores of Scotland's Loch Ness and studied initially in Canada (John Simonelli, Frederick Rizner, and at the University of Toronto with Eugene Rittich), having made his début as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony under Seiji Ozawa at the age of fifteen. Further studies were undertaken in Amsterdam (Adriaan van Woudenberg) and Stockholm (Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto). From 1972 through 1979 McWilliam was a member of several Canadian orchestras and chamber music ensembles before joining the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. From 1982 to 1985 he was a member of the Bavarian Radio Symphony and in 1985 he was appointed to the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. He is not only active internationally as a soloist and chamber musician but teaches at a number of internationally renowned music schools, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy. He has worked with the Venezuelan youth music programme El Sistema for a decade and now is a Board Director of Sistema Scotland. McWilliam served on Berliner Philharmoniker committees for 23 years and is the author of the acclaimed book "Blow Your OWN Horn".
Marion Reinhard (bassoon) was born in Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and from 1991 to 1995 studied at the Meistersinger Conservatory with Walter Urbach and Karsten Nagel. While still only a student, she began performing with the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra as Contra Bassoonist. In 1995 she won a scholarship to study at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy with Stefan Schweigert and Daniele Damiano. Further studies with Georg Kluetsch in Weimar rounded out her musical training and in 1999 Marion Reinhard was appointed to the Berlin Philharmonic where she became a direct colleague of Henning Trog. From 1996 until her appointment to the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, she was a founding member of the Orsolino Wind Quintet, an ensemble which was mentored by Michael Hasel. They won many international prizes, including the Munich A.R.D. Competition and also made numerous recordings.