Wind, strings harp, harpsichord and piano – Ensemble Obligat presents the full range of chamber music. Founded by flautist Imme-Jeanne Klett in 1995, it brought together talented young musicians in Hamburg, and has established its own unique position in the international cultural scene. It features a comprehensive range of instrumental sound and colour, presenting chamber music of all stylistic periods, sometimes in unique instrumentation. Concerts by Ensemble Obligat are characterised by inspiring choice of programme, creative ideas, and great attention to detail. Audiences can be sure of an outstanding musical experience with the very highest level of performance and lively, sensitive interpretation.
The Ensemble presents a wide range from all periods of musical history, from baroque solo and trio sonatas with harpsichord to classic flute quartets and string trios (sometimes in augmented form as string sextets), to works of the French impressionists and contemporary compositions including harp, piano, and colourful wind formations.
To mark its 25th anniversary in 2020, Ensemble Obligat Hamburg expanded to its present format – a chamber orchestra of solo instrumentalists, bringing the largest of all chamber music formations to the concert hall with nonets from all periods.
Ensemble Obligat has always been dedicated to chamber music formations which stand out both in visual impact and in sound, such as flute, harp, violin, viola and cello; or flute, viola and harp.
The declared aim of these dedicated musicians is to perform chamber music from all periods in the widest possible range of sounds and timbres. Their repertoire is carefully chosen to include compositions of rich sound and colour, from baroque music in varying formations to classical, romantic and impressionist right up to contemporary works by composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Xiaoyong Chen, Moritz Eggert, Nicolas Bacri, Claus Bantzer, Wolfgang Andreas Schultz, Jan Müller-Wieland, Yijie Wang and many more.
Ensemble Obligat is known for its carefully crafted and superbly executed concert programmes, including unique instrumental groupings, plus concepts such as combinations of music and the spoken word; thus Ensemble Obligat has put on celebrated concerts with well-known actors such as Christian Brückner, Maria Hartmann, Christiane Hörbiger, Christoph Bantzer and Clemens von Ramin.
Ensemble Obligat Hamburg has performed at many concerts in prestigious series both in Germany and abroad, and at numerous festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (1999, 2001, 2012, 2018), the Mecklenburg-West Pomerania Music Festival, the Lower Saxony Music Festival, the Hohenlohe Cultural Summer, the EuroKlassik Festival, Festival Arabesques Hamburg, China-Time Hamburg and Berlin, Corveyer Musikwochen, and many more. It can regularly be heard on radio (NDR, Deutschland Radio Kultur, HR, BR, SWR, WDR, Radio Bremen, Radio France, Radio Finland, Radio New Zealand, etc.).
It is the ensemble in residence of the outstanding and long-running OBLIGAT! chamber music festival in Hamburg (previously entitled “Summer Serenade” in the White Room at Jenisch House in Hamburg).
In response to the Corona pandemic, this Festival widened its scope of venues to include further historic houses in Hamburg – adding the Altona Museum (Galionsfigurensaal) and the Museum of Hamburg History (Inner Courtyard), and taking on the new name OBLIGAT! - Festival of Chamber Music in Hamburg.
Ensemble Obligat has released CD recordings with labels such as Dabringhaus and Grimm Detmold, GENUIN Leipzig, and C2/ES-DUR Hamburg, and made a number of recordings for NDR and Deutschlandradio Kultur, Hessischer Rundfunk and Radio Bremen.
The Ensemble is made up of principals from well-known orchestras such as the symphony orchestra of WDR Cologne, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Hamburg Camerata, the Hamburg Philharmonic, the Bremen Philharmonic, and professors from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.
The concerts are presented by musicians from the ensemble, creating a special link between musicians and audience, and giving the listeners fascinating information about the life and work of the respective composer, so that they feel actively involved, joining the performers on a musical journey; the listeners are an essential element in the performance, “obbligato” as it were, like each of the musicians.