Philharmonic Salon

On Gottfried Freiherr van Swieten

Berliner Barock Solisten (photo: Frederic Brenner)

Without the early-music fan and patron Gottfried van Swieten, the course of music history would probably have been quite different. He introduced Mozart to the works of Bach, encouraging him to combine the older master’s learned polyphony with the grace and balance of his own style. Van Swieten was himself a central figure in Viennese musical life, penning libretti for Haydn’s oratorios and supporting Beethoven financially. The Philharmonic Salon pays tribute to the diplomat with a musical-literary programme. German actor Michael Maertens will read the texts, while the Berlin Baroque Soloists furnish the music.

Michael Maertens speaker

Berliner Barock Solisten

Krzysztof Polonek violin and direction

Cordelia Höfer forte piano

Götz Teutsch programme supervision

Gottfried Freiherr van Swieten - diplomat, musician and patron of the arts

Dates and Tickets


Michael Maertens

As a theater actor, Micahel Maertens has appeared on practically all the major German-speaking stages, in roles by Goethe, Schiller and Shakespeare as well as in plays by Peter Handke, Thomas Bernhard and Yasmina Reza. He can also be seen regularly in film and television productions, including Sonnenallee, Die Vermessung der Welt, Finsterworld, Vorsicht vor Leuten and Tausend Zeilen. In December 2023, the film Das Beste kommt noch! with Til Schweiger and Michael Maertens in the leading roles, was released. Maertens comes from a theater family, and was born in Hamburg in 1963. After attending the Otto Falckenberg School in Munich, he joined Hamburg's Thalia Theater in 1989. He received the Boy Gobert Prize for his first leading role in Goethe's Clavigo,  and was voted Young Actor of the Year. He has also worked at the Schiller Theater and the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, the Münchner Kammerspiele, the Berliner Ensemble, the Maxim Gorki Theater, the Schauspielhaus Bochum and the Burgtheater in Vienna, where he can currently be seen as Robespierre in Danton's Death. In the summer of 2023, he took on the title role in the play Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival. Maertens has worked with directors such as Peter Stein, Jürgen Gosch, Matthias Hartmann, Claus Peymann, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Thomas Langhoff, Katharina Thalbach and Barbara Frey. He has received numerous awards for his performances, including the Gertrud Eysoldt Ring, and he won the Nestroy Prize for "Best Actor" several times.

Berliner Barock Solisten

Historically-informed performance practice on modern instruments - that was the goal when musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker and leading musicians from the early music scene came together to form the Berlin Baroque Soloists in 1995. The formation was considered an innovative project at the time, because - as violinist Raimar Orlovsky recalls - "early music was not cultivated at all in our orchestra". But first concertmaster Rainer Kussmaul infected his Berliner Philharmoniker colleagues with his enthusiasm for baroque music. The members of the ensemble made a conscious decision to interpret 17th- and 18th-century works in period style but on modern instruments. As a result, they developed the unmistakable sound which has become their trademark. When Rainer Kussmaul retired in 2010, the Berliner Barock Solisten worked with a number of different artistic directors, including Bernhard Forck, Daniel Hope and Frank Peter Zimmermann. They released a highly-acclaimed recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos with Reinhard Goebel in 2017, and appointed him to the position of director the following year. In today's concert, Krzysztof Polonek, concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, takes over as conductor.

Cordelia Höfer

Cordelia Höfer was born in Munich. She completed her piano studies with top honours at the universities in Salzburg (under Hans Leygraf) and in Munich (under Klaus Schilde). In Salzburg, she also studied conducting and chamber music. Important teachers were Wilhelm Kempff, Tatyana Nikolaeva and Elisabeth Leonskaja. Since the age of 15, Cordelia Höfer has appeared extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in many European countries, the USA, Japan and Korea, and has worked with singers such as Christine Schäfer, Juliane Banse and Anna Prohaska. During her many years of teaching at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, she was closely associated with fellow artists such as Sándor Végh, Heinrich Schiff and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Since 2002, the pianist has been professor of piano and chamber music at the Mozarteum. Cordelia Höfer has been a regular performer in Berliner Philharmoniker chamber concerts for many years, especially in the Philharmonic Salons.

Götz Teutsch

Götz Teutsch comes from Sibiu in Transylvania, Romania. He was first trained on the cello by Radu Aldulescu in Bucharest and continued his studies under Enrico Mainardi and Karl Richter after leaving Romania in 1968. He also studied early music performance practice and viola da gamba. Götz Teutsch was a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 1970 to 2006, two decades of which as principal cellist under chief conductors Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado. As a concert soloist with the orchestra, he performed works such as Dmitri Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto. Götz Teutsch was one of the founding members of the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. In November 2000, the literature enthusiast created the first Philharmonic Salon – an idea that quickly developed into a highly successful series.