Balthasar Neumann Residencies

With the residencies in Hamburg, Baden-Baden, Fontainebleau, Havana and from 2024 also in Barcelona, we are present on site in five cities for several weeks each year. In addition to concert programs that are developed and performed, we develop a sustainable program of local engagement for each residency. The work of the Academy takes place in each location in parallel and is fully integrated within the wider project and all musicians of the Balthasar family are involved in a variety of social concerts and educational projects. Through these residencies, we create a symbiotic relationship with the local community where cultures are exchanged and a greater familiarity and deeper relationship between performer and audience is created.

"These are essential activities to anchor us culturally and socially in the middle of society. Should the music market become permanently oversaturated and jaded, we will simply have to find other ways to satisfy the deep existential need many people have for music and art. More and more people now seem to be becoming aware of all this. Now we need new ways of thinking, spaces and freedoms for this." Thomas Hengelbrock 

For ecological reasons, we can no longer justify flying to a country or a city for just one performance and also, we believe that the residency model has a much greater societal and artistic impact, as we are able to fully engage and exchange with the local community on many different levels. The Balthasar Neumann Choir and Orchestra sees themselves as a living and breathing organism that is committed to engaging and enriching the lives of our audience, the local community of our various residences and our musicians.


Since the 2019/20 season, Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann ensembles have been firmly anchored in the cultural life of the city of Hamburg. With its business premises in the heart of the Schanzenviertel and its own concert series at various venues, the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Orchestra have become a characteristic cultural part of the Hanseatic city. In addition to the concert series in collaboration with HamburgMusik gGmbH, the Balthasar Neumann ensembles offer a variety of social and educational activities in Hamburg. Thanks to the great circle of friends and supporters and the support of the city of Hamburg as well numerous collaborations with educational, cultural and medical institutions, the ensembles have become an integral part of the Hanseatic city.

As part of the “Becoming” campus courses, the Balthasar Neumann Academy and the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra have been offering courses and concert projects for young musicians from all over Europe twice a year since 2023. Following the courses, the musicians can be seen at a variety of social concerts throughout Hamburg in order to make the results of their work accessible to a wider audience.
For many, especially young Europeans, classical music is not a part of their lives - neither as an aesthetic nor social experience. One of the aims of our “Becoming” courses is to work against this trend by removing the barriers that exist to participation and access to artistic creation at the highest level for the audience. Our "Becoming" courses promote access to music for a diverse audience by placing the pieces in a context that is relevant today and by conveying their significance for contemporary life. They offer opportunities for participation, the chance to engage in dialogue with the musicians and to test newly developed concert formats.

Our permanent partners in Hamburg are:

HamburgMusik gGmbH

Together with HamburgMusik gGmbH, we present our major concerts in the Laeiszhalle and, in exceptional cases, in the Elbphilharmonie and other locations in the Hanseatic city. All concerts are preceded by an introductory discussion with Thomas Hengelbrock, in which the audience always has the opportunity to actively participate and ask questions.

Child and adolescent psychiatry “Marzipanfabrik”

In the Hamburg children’s and youth psychiatric center “Marzipanfabrik”, encounters with various art forms are seen as an important supplement to treatment. The Balthasar Neumann Academy has been a permanent partner of the clinic since 2018 and there are regular workshop concerts for and meetings with patients.


Thomas Hengelbrock is the patron of KinderPaCT Hamburg and, together with his Balthasar Neumann family, supports the children’s palliative care team in a variety of ways. Regular fundraising events create public awareness of the organization and make a financial contribution. Invitations to special concerts or dress rehearsals directly benefit the relatives of the sick children and young people. In addition, we constantly work with different schools and social institutions in order to reach as many people as possible and to reach them with our language, music.


Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar-Neumann family have had close ties to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden for 23 years. More than 160 staged and concert opera productions have been brought to the stage there alongside many inspiring partners, as well many chamber music, large symphony, oratorio and choir concerts. Alongside the traditional concert format, events such as lectures and discussions on a wide range of issues such as philosophy and history, along with readings and social concerts in the heart of the city, have also been introduced.
Since 2022, the Balthasar Neumann ensembles in Baden-Baden have been regularly creating unforgettable musical moments as part of the new autumn festival “La Grande Gare” - curated by Thomas Hengelbrock and Benedikt Stampa. As the name suggests, the focus is on the friendship between Germany’s European neighbour, France.
The international autumn festival wants to overcome borders through events and concerts in the festival hall and throughout the city, which are open to everyone, as well as events that intensively examine our European values and the Franco-German history. Grand opera, intimate chamber music and spectacular choral works are just as much part of the program as lectures and discussions that promote international exchange. As a way of opening up the music making to the local community, a choir formed of local amateurs will be guided artistically by members of the Balthasar Neumann Choir in preparation for a concert as part of the festival.

Our permanent partners in Baden-Baden are:

Baden-Baden Festspielhaus

The “La Grande Gare” festival was launched in autumn 2022 with artistic director Benedikt Stampa. Curated together with Thomas Hengelbrock, unique concert and opera experiences are created in the large festival hall. The festival offers time to delve deeper into the rehearsal process and to meet people over more than just one evening - they offer nourishment for the soul of the artists involved and the audience. In Baden-Baden, too, we work with different schools and social institutions in order to create a permanent network in the Baden health resort in the coming years.


The "Residence artistique du chœur, de l'orchestre et d l'académie Balthasar Neumann au Château de Fontainebleau" was born out of the desire to recreate a "foyer artistique" at this extremely important château in the history of the European continent. Musicians and artists from all over Europe come together for the Résidence which is now firmly anchored in the musical landscape of the château.

With its exceptional setting and historical richness, the Château de Fontainebleau has inspired generations of artists to create true masterpieces. Under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock, the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble has been breathing new life into the Château since 2020 and will continue to contribute to the history of the site in the future. The unifying European ideal is strengthened through the variety of musical projects in the very place where so many diplomatic, political and cultural ties were forged.

The aim of this residence is to bring art and culture back to life in the château, as it has always been throughout its long history. The centuries-old tradition of the Château, which has always been a center of artistic creation, is combined with new and contemporary forms of culture through the Résidence.

At the heart of the residence at the Château de Fontainebleau are several themed individual music weekends at the beginning of each season. The concerts and events in the series "Les quatres saisons" refer to the exhibitions that regularly take place in the château and reflect the history of the place in very different ways. The Balthasar Neumann family is particularly keen to make music accessible to all and to actively involve the audience. For this reason, all rehearsals are open and can be attended at any time. In addition, the musicians give concerts in social institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals, so that audiences who cannot come to the Château are also able to enjoy the music.

In addition to the concert projects, master classes for German and French musicians are offered by the teachers of the Balthasar Neumann Academy, Thomas Hengelbrock and guest professors. These classes focus on the historical context of different works with their respective original instruments and their playing techniques. For string players and singers, campus courses are also held where the Balthasar Neumann ensembles live, eat, rehearse and make music together, passing on their enthusiasm for music to the younger generation and sharing values and ideas of international coexistence.

A wide-ranging educational program is offered throughout the year for children of various ages, in cooperation with international artistic partners. The young students are actively integrated into special concerts and learn directly and personally by making music together with the professional musicians of the Balthasar Neumann ensembles and under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock and other guest conductors.

Our permanent partners in Fontainebleau:

Château de Fontainebleau

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, the Château de Fontainebleau is the only château to have been inhabited by all the French kings and emperors between the 12th and 19th centuries. After the French Revolution, Napoleon immediately saw to the restoration of the Château, which has the most opulent furnishings of any French chateau. He breathed new life into the palace, and in 1814 abdicated there, describing it in his memoirs as "the true home of kings." The Château is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and décor with works of European artists gracing the halls and galleries. Generations of rulers have immortalized themselves in the furnishings and design of the château, which can still be admired today: Renaissance masterpieces commissioned by François I, the refined interior of Marie-Antoinette, the state rooms of Napoleon I, and décor reflecting the tastes of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie.  A hunting residence and retreat, witness to both the official and private lives of the kings and emperors of France, the château of Fontainebleau embodies the French "art de vivre" like no other place.
Music has played a central role in the life of the château with works such as Rousseau's Le Devin du villageand Rameau's Anacréon, Mondonville's L'Amour et Psyché or Grétry's Zémire et Azor all being premiered there.
The magnificent Théâtre de Napoléon III built in 1853-1854 by Hector Lefuel, also provided a sumptuous space for musical events. Since 1921, at the suggestion of Charles-Marie Widor, the American art schools have continued the Bellefontaine musical tradition by organizing master classes and concerts every summer under the direction of the likes of Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Rubinstein, Robert Casadesus, Leonard Bernstein, Philip Glass, etc.


As a European cultural project, the residence has been under the patronage of UNESCO since 2021.

Villa Baucis and Pavillon Costrejean,
EPHAD de Fontainebleau
During each week of the Residence, concerts are organized for the residents of Villa Baucis (Alzheimer's Center in Fontainebleau). The musicians of the Balthasar Neumann ensembles, keen to make a social contribution, provide the residents with moments of calm, reflection and tranquility through their music making. Music therapists and doctors also work regularly with the residents of the center and prepare them for the concerts.
Lycée François Ier

The international Lycée François 1er is a public high school in Fontainebleau, distinguished for its international sections (English- and German-speaking) and its curriculum for the international "baccalauréat" (OIB).
Around the enthusiastic pedagogue and music teacher Mr. Fabrice Fortin, a strong music department has developed at the school, making it an ideal partner for the Balthasar Neumann family and Thomas Hengelbrock.
"The place where an enthusiast stands is the top of the world" (Joseph von Eichendorff).

Orchestre à l'École

The association "Orchestre à l'École focuses on the promotion of music education throughout France by setting up music ensembles in schools, providing instruments for the children, and establishing partnerships of French school orchestras and nationwide cultural institutions. Through student exchanges with Thomas Hengelbrock and the musicians of the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra, the children have a chance not only to improve their instrumental skills but to experience the contagious enthusiasm of international professionals.

French version


The Balthasar Neumann ensembles have also been increasingly present in the cultural landscape of Spain for many years now. From February 2024, they will embark on a new residency at the Palau de Música Català.

Every spring, the singers and musicians of the Balthasar will meet with Thomas Hengelbrock in the Catalan capital Barcelona to hold rehearsals and concerts together with local partners such as the Cor de Cambra del Palau or Orfeó Català, before presenting their work throughout Europe on tour.

As with every residency, the rehearsals of the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Orchestra are public, so everyone is expressly invited to listen and observe. In addition, the musicians can also be seen in various chamber music formations in educational and social institutions throughout the city and local area.


Through our residency in Havana, we promote international exchange and offer young people prospects. Against the backdrop of Cuba’s economically precarious situation and the great poverty of the island’s population, we believe it is important to support the young musicians there by offering them a platform to present their country’s rich cultural heritage to an international audience and showing them how their artistic work is admired and appreciated throughout the world.

With the residency in Havana and the Cuban-European Youth Academy, we have established a cross-border cultural exchange for 10 years now and, through making music together, we have provided important impulses for acceptance, openness and sensitivity on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time, lived hospitality, sustainable youth support and the inspiring dialogue between different cultures can be experienced.

In addition to master classes and chamber music lessons for the students of the “Lyceo Mozartiano de la Habana”, the musicians of the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra offer free master classes for all students in Cuba. We support the development of the “Havana Lyceum Orchestra” and promote direct musical exchange as part of transatlantic orchestra projects in Europe and Havana.

The range of postgraduate programs that are tailored precisely to the participants complete the work of the Balthasar Neumann musicians in Cuba. This also deals with instrument-specific technical questions, but the main focus is on dealing with musical statements and contexts of works as well as with aspects of music history.

Large concerts in the Cathedral of Havana or the Oratorio San Felipe Neri round off the theoretical and educational input and give the Cuban audience free access to classical music at the highest level.