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.

Since October 2019 Olivier Pols is our conductur. After his sold-out, first concerts with the Akademische Philharmonie Heidelberg in spring 2020 the choice of him as our conductor has been titled "A real stroke of luck" ("Ein echter Glücksgriff") in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung.

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 conductor - Ilya Ram

The Israeli-American conductor Ilya Ram, praised for his charismatic and energetic performance, currently serves as Music Director of the Leipziger Univesitätsorchester.​ Always looking to understand the most current trends on and off the podium, Ilya participated in the unique Music.Multimedia.Management Project, as well as being admitted to the Akademie Musiktheater-Heute.

Ilya enjoys conducting repertoire from romantic symphonies to contemporary operas. Emerging internationally, in 2022/23 he has been engaged in Germany, the United-States, and Israel. He was also invited to The Mahler Competition this year, after receiving the audience prize at the 5th Evgeny Svetlanov Competition in 2022.

He has studied amongst others with Christian Thielemann at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Neeme Järvi, Marek Janowski, Hartmut Hänchen, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Johannes Schlaefli, and Jorma Panula.

 A firm believer in the humanities, Ilya has volunteered in underprivileged communities in Israel, working with children, and continued volunteering at Physicians for Human Rights during his B.A.

Join us!

Dear Musician,

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're interested in joining us, you can easily contact us and audition on October 12th before our first rehearsal of the semester. If you don't have time at that evening, feel free to let us know and we will find a solution.

 In the upcoming semester we will be rehearsing every Wednesday from 19:30-22h apart from that we conduct two rehearsal weekends per semester and at least one concert. You can find all the dates at the Startpage.

The next auditions will take place at the beginning of the upcoming semester.

If you consider applying please send us a short paragraph about your musical background, past activities and auxiliary instruments (like piccolo, alto trombone, contrabassoon, english horn etc.) you might happen to play.


Also check your calendar to confirm that you can attend the weekly rehearsals and rehearsal weekends. You can find the dates on the Startpage. Reliably partaking in weekly rehearsals is essential for a successful concert!


For the audition please prepare a solo piece for your instrument (5-10 min), you will also be given a few excerpts "prima vista".


If you are interested in joining, please contact Philippa to introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your musical past. She can provide further information and will give you the exact time of your audition.


Additional info for clarinet players: Please only register for auditions if you can provide both a Bb- and an A-clarinet!