New members of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Part 1: Paula Ernesaks, Andraž Golob and Matic Kuder

For six of our musicians, this season marked the end of an exciting phase: they passed their probationary period and are now full members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Congratulations! In the first part of our story, we introduce you to Paula Ernesaks, Matic Kuder and Andraž Golob.

Paula Ernesaks – horn

Paula Ernesaks
(Photo: Peter Adamik)

“My first thought was that the next 40 years of my life were now mapped out and that I would spend them doing a dream job,” Paula Ernesaks answers when asked what went through her mind when she heard the news that she had passed her probationary period. The musician, who comes from an Estonian family, joined the Berliner Philharmoniker’s horn section in March 2022. Paula Ernesaks discovered her love for the horn and orchestral playing through a friend who played her instrument in an orchestra and apparently had a lot of fun doing so. Paula Ernesaks, who initially learned the piano, wanted that too.

So she decided to learn the horn because she liked the look and sound of the instrument. As a member of various youth orchestras, Paula Ernesaks discovered how gratifying it is to play in an orchestra and decided to make it her profession.

At the age of 14, she began her studies at the Espoo Music Institute and transferred to the Sibelius Academy in 2012, where she became a student of Jukka Harju and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 2021.

She gained orchestral experience in the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock. In the 2017/18 season, Ernesaks, who was supported by the Finnish National Opera and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s training programme, played in the Kuopio City Symphony Orchestra. From Finland she then came to the Karajan Academy as a scholarship holder and from there directly to the orchestra via audition.

She found the biggest challenge during the probationary period to be not thinking about the fact that she was still in the probationary period. “As soon as I got used to the work routine, it became easier. In the end, I wanted to enjoy my time with the orchestra – whether it’s two years or 40 years!” According to the musician, she has learned a lot in the past months. Not only does she feel that working in the orchestra is a lifelong source of happiness, but it is also an opportunity to always develop herself further. “I certainly hope to keep learning until I am one of the oldest members of the orchestra.”

Matic Kuder – clarinet

The morning Matic Kuder waited for the result of the vote was one of the most exciting moments of his life. “After the exciting and challenging weeks in Baden-Baden and the performance of Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony during the week of the vote, the news that I had passed the probationary year was a great relief. I am happy and proud,” says the clarinetist, who has been playing in the Berliner Philharmoniker’s woodwind section since December 2021.

Learning the clarinet was an obvious choice for the native Slovenian: in his family, a cousin and an uncle already played the instrument. His uncle was also the one who gave him his first clarinet lessons. Later, Matic Kuder studied in Ljubljana at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet under Dusan Sodja and at the Academy of Music, as well as at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz under Gerald Pachinger and at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg under Thomas Holzmann. He gained his first orchestral experience as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. The positive experiences in this orchestra contributed significantly to Matic Kuder’s decision to become an orchestral musician. A prizewinner at several international competitions, he began his career in 2017 as principal clarinettist with the Nürnberger Symphoniker before joining the Berliner Philharmoniker four years later.

Matic Kuder
(Photo: privat)

During the probationary period, the aim was to integrate as well as possible into the orchestra – while still maintaining his own personal style. The fact that he succeeded in doing this, he says, is also thanks to the support of his colleagues. “They were a great help! Their valuable tips and constructive feedback have always brought me a bit further.” By making music together with the other members of the orchestra, he has developed enormously, both personally and musically. What did he find the greatest challenge? “The orchestra demands an incredible effort from us – in every rehearsal and every concert we have to be highly concentrated and always on top form.”

Andraž Golob – bass clarinet

Andraž Golob
(Photo: privat)

It took Andraž Golob a while to take in the news that he had passed the probationary period. “Only when everyone suddenly congratulated me and hugged me during the day did I realise that I had become part of this wonderful family,” says the bass clarinetist, who has been playing in the Berliner Philharmoniker's woodwind section since October 2021. The path that led him there started at the music school in his home town of Celje, followed by music studies in Graz under Gerald Pachinger and Bertram Egger, and training at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Academy.

While still a student, the multiple prize-winner of international competitions discovered the joy of making music together and decided to pursue the career of an orchestral musician. He gained his first orchestral experience through temporary work with the Grazer Philharmoniker, the Nürnberger Symphoniker and Wiener Staatsoper as well as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. One of the greatest challenges for Andraž Golob during his probationary period with the Berliner Philharmoniker was to find his role in the orchestra and not to become too preoccupied with his own doubts.

“Even when I couldn’t be sure that I would be staying here, I was able to enjoy every moment and experienced unforgettable concerts because of it!” At the same time, he found the past one and a half years very motivating – thanks to the inspiring collaboration with his colleagues, from whom he learned a lot. According to the clarinetist, their joy in playing and their willingness to take risks were contagious and allowed him to grow artistically. “This also applies to our chief conductor Kirill Petrenko: a new stimulus from him and suddenly everything becomes new and interesting for me. These experiences stay with me in everyday life and make me a better musician!”

Read more