The Mainzer Virtuosi is a young chamber orchestra ensemble founded in 2007 by Prof. Anne Shih and based in the Rhineland of Germany. The orchestra is comprised of top young players from Europe, North America and Asia.
The soloists performing with the orchestra are often drawn from the orchestra itself, and this produces a very collegiate and unique environment. Their repertoire ranges from Bach, Haydn and Mozart to Schnittke, Paert, and Britten. The orchestra normally plays without conductor, but for modern or larger works, invites conductors such as Ben Gernon, ( Dudamel Fellow and Salzburg Nestle International Competition first prize winner), Achim Fiedler ( Festival Strings Luzern), Christian Weidt, among others.
Since its founding, the ensemble has received international acclaim for its dynamic, serious and dedicated performances of outstanding quality, and for its innovative programming. The ensemble has, in such a short time, achieved an international reputation, serving as the Orchestra-in-Residence of the MING Connection Mainz; at Norfolk Concerts in England; and at the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy. They have been invited to perform at Houghton Hall, Norfolk several times. They gave their London debut in Cadogan Hall in 2013 with the help of a British sponsor and the Yellow Car Trust. In addition, the orchestra have toured Italy, Germany, Austria, and England extensively to critical acclaim. Performances have been broadcast live in Italy, and garnered attention across Italy, resulting in performances in Tuscany. The Lake Como Academy has now formed a collaboration to bring their top pianists together with the Mainzer Virtuosi. This year will mark the first tour of China.
The ensemble has a particular focus on new music and newly discovered repertoire. Their very first commercial CD on the Sheva label, including the premiere of Peter Seabourne’s violin concerto amongst other modern works, garnered favorable reviews from Neue Musik Zeitung as well as Gramophone Magazine. They have recorded Herbert Nobis’ Divertimento Hommage a Vivaldi for CD which included quartets by the composer performed by the Cherubini and Auryn Quartets. Works have been written for the ensemble by Peter Seabourne, Xiao Ou Hu and Hans Kunstovny. Musical impulses have come from these composers,from Lutz Dreyer, and also from violist Roger Chase who brings to the ensemble his performance expertise in the area of modern British music.
The work with Ton Koopman, Andreas Scholl, Michael Hofstetter and Felix Koch, through the Barock Vokal program at the Hochschule in Mainz has also given members of the ensemble extensive experience in historical performance practise. The collaboration with Felix Koch has led to the recording of a second CD with the 8 seasons from Vivaldi and Piazzolla released 2014, and to critical acclaim from Das Orchester.
The members are also dedicated to outreach programs, bringing new music to schools. So far, they have reached 11 schools in the Norfolk, England area. In Germany, they mentor an even younger ensemble, the Young Mozart Players, resulting in concerts each year with them in the beautiful Kurhaus in Wiesbaden. Four members of the ensemble form the Arte Viva Quartet which are involved in outreach programs in the Wiesbaden area.
Under the artistic direction of Prof. Anne Shih, the Mainzer Virtuosi is being widely recognized as a very unique young ensemble, who has performed with many outstanding soloists such as Julius Berger, Anne Sophie Dauenhauer, William Youn, Maximilian Hornung, Georgy Tchaidze, Andrey Pisarev, Borealis Quartet, Emil Rovner, Roger Chase, Nai Yuan Hu, Giacomo Battarino, Lucia Hall, Pavel Kolesnikov, Nahuel Clerici, Xi Zhai, Andreas Eggertsberger, and Ingmar Lazar.