Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester
While Mannheim today is a relatively typical industrial city in southwest Germany, as the former capital of the Electorate of the Palatinate, it was regarded in the eighteenth century as a new “Athens on the Rhine.” This was due in part to the efforts of its ruler, Karl Theodor (1724–1799), who, unlike his many contemporaries who invested their treasury in war-making and territorial expansion, Karl Theodor invested heavily in arts, culture, and sciences. Taking his cues from the Enlightenment philosophies of his time, Karl Theodor sought to create a harmonious society built on knowledge, reason, and artistic expression. He opened his library and theatres to his subjects, poured money into the construction of astronomical observatories, and attracted all sorts of painters, sculptors, classicists, garden planners, architects, writers, philosophers, scientists, and musicians from all around Europe to his court, where they all intermingled and created a new intellectual boon.
It was under this inspiring climate that the Mannheim court orchestra became the most prominent in Europe. Not only were its performances of the music of the finest composers of the day lauded, but also were its own school of composers, virtuoso players, and innovative style. This school had a profound influence on later composers like Mozart and Haydn, and Mozart notably sought employment in Mannheim, albeit unsuccessfully. Yet, despite its grand and enticing qualities, it remains largely forgotten today, alongside the cultural legacy of Karl Theodor’s court. We were inspired to revive this music not only for its great qualities, but also to refresh the Enlightened-climate from which it was born: a cosmopolitan group of creative intellectuals, all working together and inspiring each other with diverse perspectives, bringing new innovations to the arts and sciences that sought to create an Enlightened, harmonious, society.
Karl Theodor resided at his court in Mannheim between 1742–78. However, from 1778, after inheriting the Electorate of Bavaria, he would move his court and many of his musicians to Munich, until his death in 1799.
This served as the inspiration behind Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester (DNMO), which was established in late 2016 in The Hague by Canadian harpsichordist and fortepianist Anders Muskens with the aim of recapturing the spirit of music from the period of the original Mannheim Court Orchestra, including late Baroque, galant, Classical, and early Romantic – especially from composers of the Mannheim School. As an early music ensemble, DNMO plays on period instruments using historically informed techniques. It is made up of young professional early music specialists, and is a highly international group featuring talents from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and the United States.
In November 2018, the ensemble was awarded the „Hofkapelle Elbe-Elster“ für das Jahr 2019 prize at the „Gebrüder Graun Prize“ 2018 in Bad Liebenwerda, Germany. DNMO has played at the Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe in 2018–19; and the Wahrenbrücker Graun-Festtage 2019. DNMO produced a revival of Gian Francesco de Majo’s opera serenata, La gara delle grazie at the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam in August 2020. DNMO was invited to play on Dutch national television’s Podium Witteman (NL) in April 2021 in a segment on the music of the Mannheim Court, and in the summer of 2021 produced a series of concerts supported by the Fonds Podiumkunsten Balkonscènes Fond (NL). In April 2022, DNMO performed at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele. With the support of Sean, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Adriana Jacoba Fonds, DNMO has produced numerous recordings released on teh labels Etcetera and Leaf Music Distribution (via Naxos)..
DNMO is committed to challenge established boundaries and conventions of the Classical Music world with the goal of rekindling the passion of eighteenth-century performances. With the collaboration of various musicologists, DNMO has a number of research initiatives to better understand and reconstruct eighteenth century orchestral performance practices. In addition to presenting music from well-known masters, DNMO seeks to present music of lesser-known composers which is equally worthy of performance.
is a Canadian early keyboard specialist . He began piano studies at the age of 4 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and completed an Associate Diploma in modern piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Irina Konovalov. He completed a Masters in historical performance at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague in 2019 under Dr. Bart van Oort and Petra Somlai for fortepiano, with Fabio Bonizzoni and Patrick Ayrton for harpsichord. He has received scholarships from the Edmonton Community Foundation, the Adriana Jaoba Fonds, the Province of Alberta, and a research fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has received recognition as an international artist and has performed in both Europe and North America.
received his Master’s degree in Oboe after studying with A. Ogrintchouk (Concertgeboworkest) and K. Schoofs (Rotterdam Philharmonic) at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. He would continue his studies with Baroque and Classical Oboes with F. de Bruine (Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century). Federico performed with several orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, Concerto D’Amsterdam, Bremer Barockorchester, Concerto Bremen and Cappella Regia Praha. Since 2017, Federico has been the principal oboist of DNMO. F‘ association.
Since moving to the Netherlands, award-winning soprano Elisabeth Hetherington has quickly established herself as a stand out up-and-coming performer and interpreter of early, contemporary and modern repertoire throughout Europe. Elisabeth has been praised for her “… fearless and powerful personality, as well as her flawless technology and breathtaking presentation” (NRC, 2020) and “virtuosic grace, sophisticated dynamics and subtle colours… beautifully lyrical, somewhat fragile timbre...” (Place de l’Opera Magazine, 2020). Managing to effortlessly bridge the gap between early and contemporary music, Elisabeth has premiered and recorded numerous works throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and Estonia. Her ability to combine music old and new continues to garner acclaim; “Paolo Gorini set another Dickinson poem to music: It’s like, and in the Monteverdian vocal decorations you can hear the versatility of Hetherington.” (de Volkskrant, 2019)
Elisabeth is an especially passionate advocate for multidisciplinary performance. With modern dance company Leineroebana, she has developed SOLAS. Drawing on her background as a dancer, SOLAS is a fusion of music and poetry, as well as song and dance in which she demonstrates how well movement and singing live together in her (Theaterkrant, 2019). Elisabeth has created operatic roles with companies such as Holland Opera, Holland Baroque and Opera Zuid - including Senta (De Vliegende Hollander, Holland Opera 2021), The Woman (Bonsai Gardens, Opera Zuid 2020), Belina (Dido & Aeneas, Holland Baroque 2021), Susanna (Divorce of Figaro, Holland Opera 2022) and Cordelia (King Lear, Holland Opera 2019) - for which it was said “…with a silvery, pure soprano voice. She is the star of the evening and rightly receives the most applause afterwards” (Theatrekrant 2019). She founded the ensemble Duo Serenissima for whom she has had the opportunity to create programmes that have been performed in many festivals and concert series around the world. Elisabeth’s ability to programme daring and demanding recitals and concerts for world renowned ensembles and festivals has garnered her the praise of “showing how a great future in music sounds” (NRC, 2021).
In addition to her vibrant performing career, Elisabeth has received a great deal of attention for her research in the field of Original Pronunciation of Elizabethan English. She has become a sought-after clinician on the subject, giving masterclasses in conservatories around the Netherlands, as well as appearing as a lecturer in the Utrecht Festival Oude Muziek.
Elisabeth was awarded the prize of the Dutch Classical Talent Award in 2020 after taking part in the year-long competition and tour. She recorded her debut album through the Dutch Broadcasting agency Avrotros, and continues to make frequent appearances on the television and radio stations of the Netherlands.
Elisabeth completed her Undergraduate Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, and is now a cum laude graduate from the Masters of Historical Performance at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with whom she regularly works as a guest lecturer.
is currently living in Switzerland and working as a performing artist in the field of early music and dance.
She graduated with distinction both at the Academy of music in Ljubljana in the violin class of Primoz Novsak (2008) and at the Hochschule der Kuenste Bern (2011), where she studied with Monika Urbaniak and Monika Baer. Already during her studies in Bern she showed particular interest for early music on period instruments, which later on changed her musical path. Thus she pursued her studies in form of a Master of Music Performance in Early music at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel ( violin in the early measure) in the class of Amandine Beyer.
She reguraly plays in Ensemble Ad Fontes (former Les Elemens), Arabesque, Musica cubicularis (Slovenia), Grenzklang, Freitagsakademie Bern, and others.
Ensemble Ad Fontes runs its own concert season in Kartäuserkirche in Basel since september 2017, with particular interest in less known national styles of early music, early traditional music, but also contemporary music.