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Die 12 Thüringer Cellisten

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TA 10th December, 2008

Cello-Advent with Ravel and Pärt

The 12 Thüringer Cellisten crossed their country`s border: on Sunday evening, they presented their Christmas programme in the Berlin cathedral. The evening before, they premiered in the “Achteckhaus” in Sondershausen.

SONDERSHAUSEN. Kars Keen, solo cellist at the Meiningen theatre, has composed a new song for his ensemble: “Little Things” is a charming pop song in the style of the 1920`s and completely different to his rock song “Starfish”. Apart from these stylistic extremes, the Advent programme also contained classics by Ravel and Prokofjew as well as Christmas songs. But not the famous ones like “O Tannenbaum”: Lukas Dreyer, solo cellist from Gera, arranged two particularly beautiful “Colindes” - Rumanian Christmas carols - for 12 Cellos. He also created a new version of the English Christmas Carol “The 12 days of Christmas”, which became a humorous cello-song (almost) without words.

Frauke Adrians
(THÜRINGER ALLGEMEINE, 10th December, 2008)

OVZ 26th August, 2008

Stroked the strings and knocked on wood

The 12 Thüringer Cellisten fascinated their audience at castle Altenburg

...The whole programme was a literary-musical journey through the year and in this combination a real sensation – greatly appreciated by the audience. Since there is hardly any original literature for twelve cellos it was not only the virtuosic technical perfection and the well chosen selection of music but to a large extent the inventiveness of the arrangements which ensured the success of this performance.

One of the highlights of the evening was the composition “Starfish” for twelve Rock Cellos by Kars Keen.

At the end, ovations seemed to be never-ending and the audience in Altenburg was not satisfied with just one encore.

Manfred Hainich
(OVZ Altenburg, 26th August, 2008, extract)

TA 27th June, 2008

A sky full of cellos

...Well, Cellists obviously think ahead. The 12 Thüringer Cellisten who celebrate the first anniversary of their foundation on July 1st 2008 have already proven on many occasions that they don’t care about the limits of classical strings-repertoire.
...Kars Keen, solo cellist of the Meininger Hofkapelle, composes for himself and his 11 colleagues. His Ballade “Starfish” is one of the highlights of their concerts. It is a captivating and bass-intense rock song with a lyrical side motive: a starfish swinging in the waves. Here the 12 Cellos can reveal all their powerful range of sound.

...The 12 Thüringer Cellisten would not exist, if there wasn’t such a wealth of musical institutions in Thuringia, and a variety of orchestras reaching from Eisenach to Altenburg and from Sondershausen to Meiningen.

...And although listening to the 12 Thüringer Cellisten  is a great experience, however, listening and seeing them play is even better. The ensemble are planning to produce a short video which is to appear on DVD…with popular rock songs like “Starfish” they might even be fit for MTV.

Frauke Adrians
(THÜRINGER ALLGEMEINE, 27th June, 2008, weekend edition, extract)

TLZ 6th January, 2008

strikingly beautiful cello playing


…Lukas Dreyer and Fredo Jung arranged Eisler`s prelude and Bach`s air as well as the always popular evergreens of the Comedian Harmonists and Alexander Courage`s main theme of “Startrek”. Creativity is also revealed in Kars Keen`s original composition “Starfish”. Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Preludio” and a traditional May-song are spiced up with the sounds of guitar and recorder. Nothing is left out for the illustration of musical ideas: flageolets, knock-effects on various places of the instrument, picking, trilling, jubilating – and all this with highest virtuosity.

Dr. Uta Ziegner

TA 6th January, 2008

Twelve musicians with four strings in their second year

Some may call it the year 2008 – for the 12 Thüringer Cellisten it is Year Two since their foundation. Their first concerts and their first album were a great success.

MÜHLHAUSEN. It doesn’t matter if it is Bach or Villa-Lobos, the magical string playing works also offside the theatre- and concert hall stages. (...)

In the months since their foundation, the ensemble playing of the 12 Thüringer Cellisten has reached a stunning level of tightness and self confidence, and their performances have become even more exhilarating.

It shows in De Falla`s spectacular “Danza ritual del Fuego” where the instruments really seem to catch fire. Moreover it is audible in the quiet parts of the programme when the cellists accompany the “Good Moon” through the evening clouds: carefully balanced chords and perfectly homogeneous diminuendos display highest ensemble culture.

Frauke Adrians
(THÜRINGER ALLGEMEINE, 6th January, 2008)

NDR Culture 9th December, 2007     7:20 pm
New releases

Musical creativity from Thuringia

12 Cellists. So far this name was associated with the cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. For some time now, there is also the ensemble Die 12 Thüringer Cellisten. Their debut CD was called “Der erste Streich”.

On this album, solo cellists from different thuringian orchestras, such as the Meininger Hofkapelle, and from the Music College “Hochschule für Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar” show the vast creative potential of thuringias cultural institutions.

Philipp Cavert
(NDR Culture 9th December, 2007)

Link to NDR Culture

TA 3rd November, 2007

12 Thüringer Cellisten captivated audience in the “Achteckhaus” in Sondershausen with their programme “Der Erste Streich

...The concert began with a sensation: it was so well attended, that children had to sit on the floor in front of the first row in order to allow all the waiting music fans to join the audience.

Even before the first tone could be heard, the audience rewarded this courtesy with a lot of ovation. By some means, this was indeed a suitable prologue for the thrilling, cheerful and humorous concert...

A knowledgeable audience in Sondershausen greatly appreciated the musical journey and demanded several encores.

Günther Ehrhardt
(THÜRINGER ALLGEMEINE 3rd November, 2007)

OTZ 3rd July, 2007

Musicality times 12

...It’s an easy equation: 12 times Cello in Thuringia equals genuine musical enjoyment and a remarkable musical ability.
A new ensemble has entered the musical scene of the Free State of Thuringia and produced an instant huge success...
The 12 Thüringer Cellisten pursue quite a different concept to the legendary Berlin cello ensemble… They work much more with musical dialogue.
Their debut programme “Der erste Streich” is well-balanced and homogeneous compilation of self-composed works and commissioned arrangements: This is first-class entertainment one would like to see more of

(OSTTHÜRINGER ZEITUNG 3. Juli 2007, extract)

TA 3rd July, 2007

Solo for “Starfish”

This was the first coup [“Der Erste Streich”], and it was first-class: With their premiere concert in the Gera theatre, which was as virtuosic as it was charming, the 12 Thüringer Cellisten won the audience’s sympathy on the spot.


They play with enthusiasm and tremendous enjoyment which passes on to the audience.


Christian Jost`s “Images and Shadows” was played in a quite evocative way. It sounded almost like a funny criminal story in which the cellos were also used percussively. It was a great pleasure to hear and to observe how well they played together, how swiftly a fast spiccato travelled through the ensemble from left to the right and how quickly the musicians reacted to each other. It seemed as if they had been playing together as a team for years. Another highlight was the original composition “Starfish” by Kars Keen, solo cellist at the Meiningen theatre: a captivating rock song with rough fortissimos and onomatopoeic wave murmuring. Who had thought that a starfish’s life could be that exciting.


Download of Press Material

German Press Text as PDF file

Poster DER ERSTE STREICH in high resolution als JPG-File

Concert Program as PDF file

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