Author: Nicole Restle
ca. 3 minutes

Vincent Vogel | Picture: Stefan Höderath

There is a holiday mood at the Berliner Philharmoniker. For some of our musicians, this spells the end of some tense months. Having proved themselves in everyday orchestral life, they have now passed their trial period, becoming fully-fledged members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. We congratulate them! Here, we introduce you to Vincent Vogel, Tobias Reifland and Barbara Kehrig.

Vincent Vogel 

Until now, Vincent Vogel has liked to keep his life’s next step in view. But this has changed; for the first time, he says, he feels: “Things can stay like this forever. There is no better orchestra!” When he received the news that he had passed his probationary period, the relief was “enormous”. Vincent Vogel, who was born in Vienna, has been playing the timpani with the Berliner Philharmoniker since the 2022/23 season. The probationary period was an emotional rollercoaster, he says. In his very first week, he played Mahler’s Seventh Symphony under the baton of Kirill Petrenko. “It was an incredibly positive experience, and I got a lot of great feedback.” But there were also times of struggle: “I am my own worst critic. Sometimes I was unhappy with myself when something didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. That really bothered me between concerts.”

Vincent Vogel comes from a family of musicians. It became clear early on that he would be a percussionist. He often laid all the kitchen utensils out on the floor to find the pot lid that had the ideal sound. At the age of just eight, he was already a junior student at the conservatory in his home town of Vienna. From 2011 to 2014 he studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna under Josef Gumpinger, Bogdan Bacanu and Christoph Sietzen.

 In 2015, he continued his studies at the School of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin under Franz Schindlbeck and Rainer Seegers. In 2017, he joined the Karajan Academy, and decided to pursue a career as an orchestral musician. His first job was with the Staatskapelle Halle – in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown. “I spent most of my probationary period in my flat.” The fact that he now holds the position of his esteemed teacher Rainer Seegers with the Berliner Philharmoniker fills him with joy and respect: “I am well aware of his legacy.”

Tobias Reifland

When Tobias Reifland joined the viola section of the Berliner Philharmoniker in September 2022, he was already an experienced orchestral musician. He had been principal violist of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, a position he took up during the coronavirus pandemic. Concert life was radically restricted: “No audience, only live streams, programmes with smaller ensembles, and non-standard repertoire,” he recalls. “When I started with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the circumstances were completely different; by  that time, the orchestra was back to functioning normally.” 

The violist’s new “normality” kicked off with a major tour of America, giving him the chance to get to know his colleagues better, and to settle into the orchestra. As a result, he found the probationary period with the Berliner Philharmoniker much more relaxed than that of his previous position. But both trial periods had one thing in common: with each came the birth of a daughter. “Two probationary periods with a baby and everything that goes with it, including long nights and little sleep – that was the biggest challenge. I am incredibly grateful to my wonderful wife, who supported me through all of this.”

Tobias Reifland has been playing the viola since he was seven years old, and chose it because of its elegant, dark, and warm sound. He studied at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, and completed his training at the University of Music and Theatre Munich under Roland Glassl with a Post-Master Certificate. Born in Stuttgart, he has won several prizes at competitions, including the International Max Rostal Competition, the International Anton Rubinstein Competition, and the Hindemith International Viola Competition. How did he feel when he found out that he had passed his probationary period with the Berliner Philharmoniker? “It was a huge relief! I have really found my place here now, and am proud to be part of this orchestra.”

Barbara Kehrig

Barbara Kehrig began her career as an orchestral musician in 2006 as a second bassoonist, doubling on contrabassoon, with the Munich Philharmonic. From 2016, she was principal contrabassoonist, doubling on 2nd/3rd/4th bassoon, with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. She joined the Berliner Philharmoniker in December 2022. Born in Freiburg, she studied under Alfred Rinderspacher at Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts, under Klaus Thunemann at the School of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin, and under Volker Tessmann at the Lübeck Academy of Music. 

She gained her first orchestral experience with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, the Landesjugendorchester and the Sinfonisches Jugendblasorchester, as principal bassoonist of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and as a trainee with the SWR-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden/Freiburg. From 1999 to 2001, Barbara Kehrig was a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Karajan Academy, where she was taught by Daniele Damiano and Stefan Schweigert (bassoon) and Marion Reinhardt (contrabassoon).