The Collegium musicum Potsdam symphony orchestra was founded in 1945, shortly after the war, by composer and conductor Prof. Hans Chemin-Petit, who provided outstanding services for Potsdam and its musical variety in the areas of choirs and orchestras, especially by establishing regular serenade concerts in the courtyard of the city palace. Today, the Collegium musicum, as the oldest orchestra of the state capital Potsdam, counts among the most traditional local music associations.
With more than 75 amateur and professional musicians, the Collegium musicum Potsdam symphony orchestra, as a charitable organisation, has grown into the largest orchestra of the state capital Potsdam and into one of the largest-staffed orchestras of the state of Brandenburg. The orchestra's instrumentation enables it to perform late romantic to contemporary orchestral works, but it is also at home with works of the baroque and classical Viennese styles. The musicians often enter into new areas, such as compositions by Potsdam composers Gisbert Näther and Wolfgang Thiel as well as recordings of computer game music.
As a symphony orchestra that has functioned for decades, the Collegium musicum consists of volunteer musicians from Potsdam, Berlin and various other cities of Brandenburg, who live up to their compassion for music and the ensemble by meeting weekly for rehearsals in Potsdam-Babelsberg to prepare and perform concerts in Potsdam and in the state of Brandenburg.
In recent years, numerous new Potsdam residents have found a place in the orchestra and thus gained quick entry into the cultural and social life of Potsdam. In the past 15 years, the membership of the orchestra has grown from 18 to 75, and its high age diversity allows the orchestra to work in a generation-spanning way. The orchestra, which today functions as a registered charitable organisation, is proud of its local connection to the state capital Potsdam and the Babelsberg district as the place of its weekly meetings and numerous concerts per year.
The cultural contribution of the orchestra does not stop with the preparation and performance of concert programmes, whose number has increased markedly in recent years, but also includes the involvement of broad population sections in its musical work, made possible by low entrance fees and free-entrance events such as the series “Classical Music on Weberplatz“.
It is a goal of the orchestra to open the door to classical music to broad sections of the population and to reduce barriers to classical music and modern compositions. In doing so, the orchestra focuses its cultural work and associated projects in the areas of cultural education and social work in Potsdam and the surrounding areas of Brandenburg. The Collegium musicum has developed various concepts and projects in recent years that meet with much popularity and a high demand by the public.
Projects include the orchestra's regular welcoming of children and adolescents at rehearsals as well as the project “Symphony Orchestra for the Elderly“, established two years ago, which allows older persons living in nursing homes and not able to visit concerts on their own to experience a live symphony orchestra.
Drawing audiences between 1,500 and 2,000, the “Classical Music on Weberplatz“ series of the Collegium musicum Potsdam symphony orchestra has become one of the traditional activities of the ensemble. In recent years, the “Brandenburg-Brazil“ project, which aims for cultural exchanges between musicians from Brandenburg and Brazil, has gained international significance.
Concert trips have brought the orchestra to the Netherlands and to Slovenia. In 2012, the Collegium musicum, together with two Slovenian choirs, performed Carl Orff's “Carmina Burana“ in Slovenia on the occasion of the German Unity Day. In 2010, the Jerusalem Ankor Choir performed with the orchestra in Potsdam’s Nikolaisaal. As a first in its history, the Collegium musicum performed George Frederic Handel's “The Messiah“ in the context of the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival in 2012.
Also in 2012, the state capital Potsdam honoured the Collegium musicum Potsdam symphony orchestra with a prize for charitable work in the culture category.
Ute Beckert (soprano, Potsdam)
Ralf Benschu (saxophone, Potsdam)
Andrej Debevec (tenor, Slovenia)
Wilson Dias (trombone, Campinas, Brazil)
Ulrike Fabienke (oboe, Potsdam)
Vagner Ferreira (piano, São Paulo, Brazil)
Dagmar Flemming (harp, Berlin)
Jessyca Flemming (harp, Berlin)
Jörg Genslein (tenor, Berlin)
Katharina Groth (speaker and singer, Berlin)
Lothar Hensel (bandoneon, Berlin)
Lars Hoefs (violoncello, Campinas, Brazil)
Karsten Intrau (guitar, Berlin/Potsdam)
Johannes Kaufhold (bass, Potsdam)
Bettina Mahr (actress, Potsdam)
Ulrike von Meier (harp, the Netherlands)
Johanna Müller (French horn, Potsdam)
Gabriele Näther (soprano, Potsdam)
Mircea Nedelescu (tenor, Berlin)
Helge von Niswandt (trombone, Berlin)
Ilona Nymoen (soprano, Kleinmachnow)
Adonay Pereira (guitar, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Eliana Printes (singer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Peter Rainer (violin, Potsdam)
Paulo Ronqui (trumpet, Campinas, Brazil)
Saxophone quartet “Meier’s Clan“ (Potsdam)
Ulrike Schüler (alto, Potsdam)
Christian Schramm (presenter, Potsdam)
Hagen Schwarzrock (piano, Magdeburg)
Matthias Simm (clarinet, Potsdam)
Elena Soltan (violin, Cottbus)
Christian Theodoridis (tenor buffo, Hamburg)
Oliver Uden (tenor, Berlin)
Jože Vidic (baritone, Slovenia)
Guilherme Vincens (guitar, São João del Rei, Brazil)
Katharina Wingen (soprano, Bonn)
Thomas Wittig (baritone, Potsdam)
Ralf-Torsten Zichner (piano, Berlin)
Urška Žižek (soprano, Slovenia)
Cinthia Alireti (Campinas, Brazil)
Leonardo Cunha (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Thomas Hennig (Berlin/Potsdam)
Parcival Módolo (São Paulo, Brazil)
Ronald Reuter (Potsdam)