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5 x 5 = a quarter of a century

The Walkman, Bessy comics, telephone booths and telephone directories, a parking meter, fax machines, chewing gum machines – all of these dwindled into oblivion during the past 25 years. Without much of a hullaballoo … They became redundant and simply disappeared. That’s life.

But what a relief, the L’Orfeo Barockorchester isn’t just a similar useless banality, to be discarded at some point. On the contrary, Michi Gaigg and her musicians have gained themselves a reputation with concerts and CD productions over the past 25 years. In fact, it is hard to imagine the international Early Music scene without them, even in Austria!

We have documented the story of these past 25 years in 5 films. The founders share their recollections, also those who joined forces from the start and the next generation. A time travel through a quarter of a century, a period seeing the end of the wacky wobbler and the TV test card but not the L’Orfeo Barockorchester.


Interviews: in German
Design: Gabriela Kaegi

1996 – 2001: The founding mothers

When the violinist Michi Gaigg and the oboist Carin van Heerden founded their own orchestra in 1996, a Baroque orchestra, they weren’t the first to do so, but probably the first women who had the guts. Did they face a headwind?

2001 – 2006: The early allies

„If you have time at some stage you’re welcome to join us,“ Michi Gaigg said to the young violinist Julia Huber-Warzecha who once attended a course by Michi Gaigg. And hey, she had time. And that’s how it all started with Julia and L’Orfeo. For Martin Jopp it was love at first sight. He was still a student at the time and played along during a Rameau project on period instruments with Michi Gaigg. „An awesome experience“, he adds. It still took some time though before he had a permanent position in L’Orfeo. Some hurdles had to be overcome until it all gelled.

2006 – 2011: The new accomplices

When Linda Pilz and Martin Kalista joined the orchestra the haute cuisine was introduced. From then on we had coffee and cake during rehearsals, „to avoid an attempted mutiny by the orchestra“ as Linda puts it. But apart from that, as Martin Kalista explains, there were also specific qualities that had developed during the first ten years.

2011 – 2016: The next generation

Daniela Henzinger and Lucas Schurig-Breuß joined the orchestra at different times: he arrived as a viola player in 1998, she came as a violinist ten years later. What they have in common was their very young age at the time and their ignorance of the orchestra. And of course, the experience of a magic moment right at the first concert.

2016 – 2021: The wild cubs

Michi Gaigg and Carin van Heerden, the two founders of L’Orfeo, have been teaching for many years. They taught baroque violin, baroque oboe and recorder at universities in Linz, Salzburg, Strassbourg and Cologne. It is but a logical step away that old students who had learnt the ropes as far as expectations, vocabulary and sound ideals were concerned would eventually join the ranks of L’Orfeo. The Vienna Philharmonics apply this principle. So does L’Orfeo. Listen to two alumni, Nina Pohn and Philipp Wagner, sharing their experience of the very first time.

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