“I was still a member of the orchestra’s Academy when I experienced my first rehearsal with the Berliner Philharmoniker. For the first ten minutes I was unbelievably nervous, but that quickly subsided because I felt: you can simply wallow in this string sound. And I’ve enjoyed that feeling ever since.”
He was always fascinated by the violin, but after Philipp Bohnen, then aged five, witnessed a performance of the Christmas Oratorio in which the concertmaster held the instrument in his right hand instead of his left, the boy was so impressed that he simply had to learn to play it himself. At nine he became a pupil of Vesselin Paraschkevov, who took him on three years later as a young student at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. In 1999 he moved to the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he studied first with Stephan Picard, later with Antje Weithaas, and in 2006 earned his diploma “with distinction”.
He then began preparing for his concert exam and became a scholar of the Philharmonic’s Orchestra Academy, while finding further encouragement in various master courses, including those of the International Pablo Casals Festival and at Tibor Varga Music Academy in Sion, as well as from teachers such as Viktor Libermann, Igor Ozin, Gidon Kremer and Tabea Zimmermann. Since 1995, Bohnen, a former member of the Bundesjugendorchester – the German national youth orchestra – has appeared as a chamber musician and soloist.
He played at the Beethoven Festival in Venezuela and in summer 2005 at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany. He has performed in concert with the Lower Rhine Chamber Orchestra, the Hamburg Camerata and the Hamburg Haydn Orchestra. In 2009 he founded with Gerhard Vielhaber, Barbara Buntrock and Peter-Philipp Staemmler the Mariani Piano Quartet and 2012 with the colleagues of the Berliner Philharmoniker the Varian Fry Quartet. As a prizewinner of the Deutscher Musikinstrumentenfonds, the musical instrument fund at the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben (German Music Foundation), Philipp Bohnen plays a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Milan, 1756.