About us

We, the Akademische Philharmonie Heidelberg, are a large symphonic orchestra consisting mainly of students from the Heidelberg/Mannheim region. In 2006, the orchestra emerged from the Collegium musicum of Heidelberg University. At that time, we played under our previous conductor, Peter Shannon. After a brief period of transition, we were then conducted until 2009 by Wolfgang Seeliger, who firmly established the Akademische Philharmonie within the musical life of Heidelberg. From October 2009 until August 2019, Jesko Sirvend has been our conductor. With him we have managed, amongst others, to sell out nearly all of our concerts, to start a series of concerts in Dillenburg, to produce a CD recording of Mahler's 5th symphony, and to go on two concert tours to China.

Following in his footsteps and starting in October 2019, Olivier Pols is our new conductur.

Today, we consist of about 110 fellow musicians and are one of the largest amateur orchestras in our region. We all share the joy in weekly rehearsals in a relaxed atmosphere but on a high level, and in performing the pieces we have worked on multiple times a year in Heidelberg's Halls. At our concerts, we perform both well-known and less frequently played pieces in unusual and exciting combinations. We hope that in this way, we can pass on our enthusiam about classical music to our audience.

We are particularly pleased that we have been able time and again to play alongside renowned soloists. In the course of the last years, we have played with, amongst others, Soyoung Yoon, award winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition 2009 and leader of the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Hye-Sung Na, ensemble member of the Theater & Orchester Heidelberg, and Silvia Careddu, solo flute of the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Wiener Staatsoper.

New exciting projects are already in planning and we are always happy to find new commited orchestra members to help us realise them!

Our new conductor - Olivier Pols

Olivier Pols is the new conductor of the Akademische Philharmonie Heidelberg starting from October 2019.

Since the beginning of the concert season 2018/19, he is first assistant conductor at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern. He was visiting conductor with the Rhenische Philharmonie Koblenz, with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, the Neue Elblandphilharmonie Riesa, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen as well as with the National Symphonic Orchestra Ishevsk (Russia).


Our former conductor - Jesko Sirvend

To mark his second season as Chef Assistant of the Orchestre National de France, Jesko Sirvend will conduct his first subscription concert in Paris in November 2018. The concert will be held in memoriam of Leonard Bernstein, who has been a guest conductor of the ONF for many years. Also, Jesko will continue conducting the ONF’s flagship education and outreach project ‘Viva l’Orchestra’, already for the third season.

The 2018/19 season will also see Jesko Sirvend’s Austrian debut with the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich, and is his sixth season as Associate Conductor of the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra: As Artistic Director and moderator of the award winning #IGNITION series (European Trend Label 2015), he continues to be in charge of Germany’s most successful concert series for young people. The current season will also mark his final season as Artistic Director of the Akademische Philharmonie Heidelberg after ten very successful years.

As Guest Conductor, Jesko Sirvend has worked with the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern, the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and the Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra among others. In September 2016, he conducted his debut with the Orchestre National de France on invitation by Emmanuel Krivine, which resulted in several re-invitations in the same season and Jesko Sirvend was offered the position as Chef Assistant of the ONF. Concerts with the ONF at the Theatre Antique d’Orange and the Festival Palazzetto Bru Zane Paris have been broadcasted on France Musique and ARTE Concert.

In 2015 Jesko Sirvend won the third prize and the audience prize of the renowned Nicolai-Malko- Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen under the presidency of Sakari Oramo. Through winning these two prizes, he was able to beat the fifth prize, which he won in 2012, then under the presidency of Lorin Maazel.

Jesko Sirvend studied with Prof. Michael Luig at the Cologne University of Music and Dance. He has attended master classes with Jorma Panula and Colin Metters (Royal Academy of Music London) among others. Prior to attending Prof. Luig’s class in Cologne, Jesko studied percussion and piano at Dr. Hoch’s Konservatorium in Frankfurt am Main.

More information on Jesko Sirvend can be found on his web page.

Join us!

Are you looking for an orchestra in Heidelberg? Do you want to get to know demanding orchestral pieces and perform them alongside other dedicated young musicians?

If you want to know if the APH is for you, just come by for the first rehearsal of the semester to get to know us and the rehearsal work with our new conductor, Olivier Pols. We are currently looking for new members for the winter semester 2019/20. A first open rehearsal will take place on the 9th of October 2019 from 7.30 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the "Mehrzweckhalle" of the Alte Pädagogische Hochschule, Keplerstraße 87.

If you decide that you would enjoy playing in our orchestra on a regular basis, we would like to get to know you a little better through an audition. Auditions usually take place in a small group in the first two weeks of the semester. We are interested in your previous musical activities, and we would like to listen to you perform a piece of your choice (solo, maximum 10 minutes) and a short sight-reading excerpt. In case you specialize in any auxiliary instruments (e.g. bass clarinet, piccolo, alto trombone, double bassoon, English horn...), please let us know.

Before meeting for an audition, please check that you are free for all the rehearsal and concert dates, as regular participation in rehearsals and especially the two rehearsal weekends is essential for our collective work in the orchestra.

Additional info for strings: We are particularly looking for violin and double bass players. Nonetheless, we are also glad about violas and cellos auditioning.

Additional info for clarinet players: Please only register for auditions if you own both a B flat and A clarinet!

If you are interested in joining, just contact Felicitas and introduce yourself telling about your musical experiences.