To the main content

Klasse Klassik – Performing with the Pros

On 4 February 2024, around 145 pupils from Bavarian schools will have their dream come true. After months of rehearsals, they will perform a concert on the Isarphilharmonie’s stage together with members of the Munich Radio Orchestra. The Klasse Klassik music education project provides an opportunity for participants young and old to learn from each other.

Pupils rehearse for the final concert of Klasse Klassik, in the foreground a young horn player.
Year on year, the Klasse Klassik project is met with enthusiasm by participating youngsters and professionals alike. Copyright: BR/Constanze Straub

“At first, I was a bit worried about whether I could deliver what was expected of me”, admits 18-year-old trumpeter Philipp. “Is my playing good enough?” About to take his school leaving exams, he is looking forward to taking part in Klasse Klassik for the third time running. “I don’t really have stage fright anymore”, he adds with a smile. “After all, I’m on stage with friends and professional musicians.”


Klasse Klassik is a music education programme of the Munich Radio Orchestra, funded by the Bavarian Ministry for Education and Culture and the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich. Every two years, ensembles from secondary schools in Bavaria can apply to participate.


Philipp is a pupil at the Gymnasium bei St. Stephan school in Augsburg, whose school orchestra has long been involved in Klasse Klassik. He is one of the 12- to 18-year-olds who spend several months working with professionals on a challenging concert programme that includes works by composers such as Mussorgsky, Márquez and Gershwin. Philipp and his Augsburg schoolmates are eagerly looking forward to the final concert on 4 February at the Isarphilharmonie. Following a rehearsal, they and their music teacher agree that the project has already “brought them even closer together”.

“Our coach has entrusted me with the position of principal chair. It feels good to be appreciated like this.”

Jette, 15, cello
A young trumpeter plays side by side with a professional from the Munich Radio Orchestra.
A strong team: professionals and pupils together at Klasse Klassik Copyright: BR/Annette Goosens
A professional gives a pupil tips on making music.
Students receive valuable tips from the professionals. Copyright: BR/Constanze Straub

Eye to eye with the pros

In addition to rehearsal weekends with all of the musicians, various members of the Munich Radio Orchestra visit the schools to provide coaching. They work intensively with vocal groups and practise particularly difficult passages with the pupils. “Even if I hit the wrong note at times, the coaches don’t freak out but give useful tips instead and admit that it happens to them as well”, says Jette, 15, who plays the cello in the orchestra.


Kaspar Reh, one of the coaches and bassoonist with the Munich Radio Orchestra, enjoys seeing how the youngsters develop over the course of several months and is impressed by their energy. For him, this ties in with his conviction that “the main thing is to enjoy making music together and not simply to achieve perfection and deliver what you’ve learnt”. Something that even experienced musicians would do good to remember.


“I can just watch my students benefiting from Klasse Klassik year after year. How they grow into a community and how all of them come away having gained something valuable. Because the music touches them, they are passionate about it. They’ll draw on experiences like these at school for the rest of their lives.”

Dr Ulrich Graba, Orchestra Director of the Gymnasium bei St. Stephan in Augsburg

Olivier Tardy, who will conduct the Klasse Klassik final concert for the first time on 4 February, also enjoys working with the youngsters. “The pupils make me explain music in a way that is more accessible and relevant to them”, says the conductor, visibly energised by recent rehearsals at the Aschaffenburger Gymnasium school, which will be performing the second part of the concert together with string players from Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz.


Tardy appreciates the passion and commitment of those involved in the project and believes that school orchestras have a special appeal due to their heterogeneous make-up. Every new school year means an influx of new members, so that the orchestra always comprises young people of various ages and levels. This constant change, says Tardy, brings with it a valuable social aspect.

Conductor Olivier Tardy sits in front of the score and waves his baton during rehearsals for Klasse Klassik.
Olivier Tardy is very much looking forward to his first time conducting the final concert. Copyright: Lisa Hinder

“The young musicians come from diverse backgrounds. Musical communication is totally different here, so we have to find different approaches. That’s a challenge for us all and also opens new doors.”

Olivier Tardy, conductor

Many of the Augsburg school orchestra’s members already have their outfits ready and waiting for the big performance, and proud parents have long since secured tickets for this family-friendly highlight at the Isarphilharmonie. Elisa, 17, particularly looks forward to that moment at the end of a piece, when the conductor still holds the tension and it’s so quiet you could hear a needle drop in the hall: “That’s when you can really feel the adrenaline, and then suddenly the applause starts. All the hard work was worth it just for this. It’s the best moment of all.”

Watch youngsters and the pros together on stage!