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Fun Fact

Apart from Stegreif

STEGREIF The Improvising Symphony Orchestra

Musical Vision

We are an improvising symphony orchestra of 30 young musicians from all over the world, opening new ways to classical music for ourselves and the audience. With our recompositions of classical works we strive to broaden this cherished musical heritage by letting contemporary currents flow into our work. We perform without a conductor, chairs or sheet music, and use the freedom thus gained for improvisation and movement. Musical spontaneity and intensity in our performances offer the audience a unique, intimate concert experience. The audience is free to participate in shaping the space - the concert hall, the auditorium, the gallery: everything becomes a stage. The material of the classical pieces is enriched by the diverse artistic influences and backgrounds of our musicians. The result is a lively approach to making music together that brings it closer to the audience.

(C) Ludwig Nikulski


Organisational Vision

Both on and off stage, Stegreif stands for a collective way of working. We want to break the traditional, strictly hierarchical structures of the orchestral world and replace them with collaborative processes. In the field of orchestral music, collective creative processes have been a rarity up to now, and the preconception persists that a democratic way of working is not possible in an orchestra. It is our desire to explore and establish new forms of (collective) collaboration and to encourage other groups to do the same, as we have found that this allows the potential of a group to be utilised more fully, and conflicts to be resolved more effectively.

(C) Ludwig Nikulski

Social Identity

A mindful approach to ourselves, our environment and our art is an essential part of our identity. As an orchestra, we therefore see ourselves as a social entity, like to combine the musical work with interactive educational initiatives, and are committed to sustainable development with projects such as "#bechange - 17 Sounds of Sustainability". Our work is shaped by the following values: mission - instead of distraction, dynamic decision - instead of stagnation, wisdom - instead of ego, valuing diversities - instead of blurring them out, responsible freedom - instead of rigid rules, and making room for energy - instead of time pressure.

(C) Sophia Hegewald

The Orchestra

General Applications

Would you like to play with us? We are also happy to receive unsolicited applications from musicians. Lea Hladka is your contact person for this. In addition to a letter of motivation, please send us some audio and video samples for us to get an impression of your artistic activity.

Our Story

Without a conductor, without sheet music or chairs: Stegreif demonstrates new ways of what a modern orchestra canlook like. In radical recompositions, the group combines symphonic music with improvisation and influences from other genres, and integrates the audience in a unique auditory and spatial exploration. With these innovative formats, the young ensemble continues to inspire a growing audience of different backgrounds and interests.

Since the foundation of the orchestra in 2015, at least one new concert program has been developed every year: #freebeethoven, #freeschubert, #freebrahms, #free∃roica, #bfree, #freemahler, #explore_mozart, #explorefreischütz. In addition, the group has been involved in co-productions with the Neuköllner Oper (GIOVANNI. Eine Passion, MOON MUSIC), the PODIUM Esslingen (#bfree, #freebrahms), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the junge norddeutsche Philharmonie (TRIKESTRA), among others. The orchestra has performed at renowned venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Brucknerhaus Linz, Radialsystem Berlin, the Beethovenfest Bonn or the Prinzregententheater Munich as well as at various festivals such as FUSION, Detect Classic, PODIUM Esslingen, the Düsseldorf Festival or the Oranjewoud Festival (NL).


In addition to the ensemble's own composers such as Juri de Marco, Franziska Aller, Alistair Duncan, Helena Montag, Julia Bilat, Nina Kazourian, Sebastian Caspar, Tabea Schenk and Bertram Burkert, Stegreif has also commissioned works and arrangements from Uri Caine, Mike Conrad, Wolf Kerschek, Evelyn Saylor, Malte Schiller and Claas Krause. The orchestra has also worked with directors, including Ulrike Schwab, David Fernandez, Theresa von Halle, and Ela Baumann, as well as with musical guests like Caroline Widmann, Nils Landgren, Markus Stockhausen, and Rosanne Philippens.

Music Education

Furthermore, Stegreif develops its own structured music education programmes. The orchestra regularly gives workshops and children's concerts, has on multiple occasions performed joint concert programs with amateurs and students, such as #Carmen with the Weimar Stadtstreichern or BE:community with the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and has launched its own digital education series known as "plural".


The orchestra has been awarded the following prizes: Startup-Music-Preis Berlin 2016, "D-Bü" Wettbewerb Studierender der deutschen Musikhochschulen 2017 (Thema: Zukunft des Konzertformats), Würth Preis 2018 der Stiftung Jeunesses Musicales, Fellowship im Programm #bebeethoven des PODIUM Festivals Esslingen 2018-2020, Europäische Trendmarke des Jahres 2019 beim 14. Europäischen Kulturmarken-Award.