WESTPHALIA NEW PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia was formed in 1996 from two orchestras from the northern Ruhr district, the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra Recklinghausen and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Gelsenkirchen. Since 1997, the orchestra has worked under the guidance of their Music Director Johannes Wildner, who has developed a far-reaching concept for the artistic and organisational merger of the two existing orchestras, and a strong position in the region. The tasks of the orchestra are very broadly spread. It serves as the major full symphony orchestra of the region, with a series of nine symphony concerts and several special concerts annually. Gelsenkirchen, Recklinghausen and Kamen serve as permanent concert venues, as well as the whole northern Ruhr area. At the same time, the New Philharmonic Orchestra is also the orchestra of the Opera House in Gelsenkirchen. Considerable importance is given to activities for children and young people, and thanks to private sponsors and enormously active teachers and parents it has been possible to reach a great number of children and young people in schools and thereby to win new audiences. Another important element is found in collaboration with choirs from the region for performances of large-scale oratorios and other major choral works. The orchestra has appeared with a number of distinguished conductors and soloists, and has embarked on a demanding series of recordings and undertaken tours abroad, notably, in 2000, to Beijing.