“There was much more visible enthusiasm from ON AIR, who looked as if they enjoy the act of music-making. The convivial interplay between a range of all kinds of oboes (and bassoon) was an entertaining breath of fresh air, and their playing had plenty of cantabile finesse. I admired how intelligently the short programme balanced sacred and secular, instrumental and vocal, and German and English music.”
(Early Music Review, No. 155, August 2013)
ON AIR is an ensemble dedicated to the performance of baroque oboe band repertory in four parts on period, double-reed instruments. These include – besides oboes and bassoons – oboes d’amore and da caccia, as well as bass oboes. Depending on occasion and location ON AIR invites guest musicians to extend the ensemble with period brass and percussion.
The principal members of ON AIR – Simon Böckenhoff, Robert Herden, Friederike Köhncke, Marie-Therese Reith, Karin Gemeinhardt and Luise Manske – met during their studies at the Akademie für Alte Musik at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen. All four musicians are frequent guests of prestigious baroque orchestras such as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the European Union Baroque Orchestra, and prize winners of competitions such as the Biagio-Marini-Wettbewerb in Neuburg/Donau.
Their shared passion for baroque music and their interests in oboe band repertory and performance practice were the basis for founding ON AIR. The band has been fortunate in receiving guidance from Xenia Löffler and Christian Beuse (both Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Hochschule für Künste Bremen). Masterclasses with Susan Williams and Thomas Albert were the sources of further inspiration.
The band’s artistic practice follows the examples set by the traditional oboe band formations seen in Europe in the 17th and 18th century. Accordingly, ON AIR performs at a wide range of events: swearing-ins at the historical Bremer Rathaus, prize giving ceremonies, church services, as well as concerts. The objective of this broad and forward-looking ensemble is to bring baroque music back to the centre of society.
ON AIR’s repertory consists of works of those composers who composed specifically for oboe band (Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Fischer, Johann Philipp Krieger, James Paisible, Jean-Baptiste Lully), but also includes faithful arrangements of contemporaneous pieces (i.e. by Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach).
ON AIR appeared at the Early Music Platform of the Association Européenne des Conservatoires in 2012. The band was awarded the Hochschulpreis of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen in 2013 for the best Alte Musik ensemble and was finalist of the York Early Music International Artists Competition 2013. Future plans include a CD release.
Simon Böckenhoff, Robert Herden, Friederike Köhncke & Marie-Therese Reith
[baroque oboe, oboes d’amore, oboe da caccia and bass oboe]
Karin Gemeinhardt & Luise Manske [baroque bassoon]