The Berliner Barock Solisten is a chamber group based in Berlin, Germany, devoted to the performance mainly of music from the Baroque and other early periods. The number of the ensemble's personnel can vary according to the work performed, but usually falls in the range of nine to 16 players.
The Berliner Barock Solisten (BBS) was founded in 1995 by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra members with an interest in early music. Two players in particular were instrumental in establishing the ensemble: Rainer Kussmaul, who has served as the group's artistic leader over the years, and Raimar Orlovsky, the manager of the BBS since its founding. Kussmaul was the Berlin Philharmonic's first violinist from 1993 to 1998 and Orlovsky, an expert in the music of Telemann, served as a violinist with Berlin Philharmonic since 1991.
Other well-known members of the BBS include violist Wolfram Christ, who served with the BPO from 1978 to 1999, Tanya Christ (BPO violist from 1993-1999), violone player Klaus Stoll (BPO bass player since 1965), and Georg Faust, (BPO first cellist since 1985).
Shortly after founding the ensemble, they were able to attract some of the finest conductors associated with early music, including William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. But the group also performed in concerts led by other conductors generally associated with broader repertory, like Simon Rattle.
The BBS's first recordings soon appeared: in 1998 it released CDs of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (on their own BBS label) and works by J.S. Bach and Telemann, with recordist Michala Petri (on BMG Classics), both issues attracting considerable attention in Germany, as well as throughout Europe. EMI began releasing recordings of the BBS in 2001, with a disc of J.S. Bach works that featured flutist Emmanuel Pahud.
Meanwhile, the group continued to gain positive notice playing a regular schedule of concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie and making numerous successful tours of Germany and Europe. Concerts have included two in Switzerland at the Lucerne Festival (August 30, 2006) and the Zermatt Festival (September 2, 2006). The BBS received a Grammy award in 2005 for its recording of three Bach cantatas on Deutsche Grammophon that was released the previous year. Other recordings have garnered accolades, including a 2005 CD of Telemann concertos on DG. The musicians' flexible approach to period performance -- using modernized historic instruments and period bows -- has attracted soloists such as Albrecht Mayer, Christine Schäfer, and Thomas Quasthoff.