Beijing Forum for Symphonic Music 2021 (Thematic Forum Ⅰ): Stefan Dohr




The Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker

The Berliner Philharmoniker have always been known for their outstanding, unmistakable sound. In 1972, its then Chief Conductor Herbert von Karajan, together with major figures from German industry, founded the Karajan Academy – an innovation at that time whose prototype is still followed by numerous orchestras. Karajan’s idea to train young, talented musicians close to the orchestra after their instrumental studies clearly paid off: today, about one third of the Berliner Philharmoniker are Academy graduates.

Every year, over 500 gifted young musicians from all over the world compete for a place at the Academy but only few are selected to be prepared for professional orchestral life at the Academy over two years alongside the orchestra members. Supported by a scholarship, 36 musicians from 18 nations are being trained in the current season. These young musicians prepare themselves specifically for a position in the orchestra’s own ranks and are expected to meet the same standards as the long-standing professionals beside them on the concert platform.

On the initiative, and through the financial support of a small circle of patrons, Herbert von Karajan’s idea has continued to be realized to this day, which his successors Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle also fully supported.


Proclaimed by the New York Chronicle as the “king of his instrument”, Stefan Dohr is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest horn players.

In addition to being Principal Horn of the Berlin Philharmonic, Stefan has collaborated as a soloist with the world’s leading conductors, including Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Christian Thielemann, Daniel Harding, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Dima Slobodeniuk, Gustavo Gimeno, John Storgårds, and Marc Albrecht. He has performed with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orquesta Nacional de España, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra and Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stefan studied in Essen and Cologne, starting his professional career at the age of 19 as Principal Horn of the Frankfurt Opera, during which time he also frequently appeared as a guest artist with Ensemble Modern. He held the position of Principal Horn in Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Festival Orchestras of Bayreuth and Lucerne before taking up his current post in 1993. A passionate teacher, Stefan is a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, the Sibelius Academy, and a permanent faculty member at the Herbert von Karajan Academy and the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin.

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