The Critical Orchestra®

Workshop for interactive conducting | Founded by Prof. Christhard Gössling based on an idea by Klaus Harnisch

About the project

The Critical Orchestra / Das Kritische Orchester® unites members of well-known orchestras, who gather on a voluntary basis to offer young junior conductors a globally unique teaching situation. It is the musicians themselves who give the feedback and suggestions to the conductors during the rehearsals.

The Critical Orchestra® 2024

The Critical Orchestra® 2024 will take place from 14th to 17th March 2024 at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy, Neuer Marstall, Schloßplatz 7, 10178 Berlin.


Each of the three rehearsal days will be spent working on a symphony.

1st Round: Richard Strauss: Fröhliche Werkstatt (Sonatine Nr. 2 Es-Dur)

2nd Round: Josef Suk: String Serenade op. 6 (Es-Dur)

3rd Round: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Schottisch Sinfonie op. 56 (Nr. 3 in a-moll)

The application phase for 2024 is over.

All information about the application

This interactive workshop enriches the traditional forms of further training for conductors with an artistic exchange between conductor and musician that is not common in everyday orchestral life. The young talents thus benefit from the experience of the musicians from orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, Deutsche Oper, Komische Oper, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, NDR-Elbphilharmonie-Orchester, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Niedersächsisches Staatsopernorchester, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and others.

The Critical Orchestra® works and decides artistically autonomously. Prof. Lothar Strauß is the artistic director of the project.

Among the participants of past workshops were Patrick Lange, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, David Afkham and Kristiina Poska.

The Forum Dirigieren has been running this project in cooperation with the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin since 2016. It is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Artistic Director

Prof. Lothar Strauß, First concert master of the Staatskapelle Berlin

Lothar Strauss is one of the leading German concert masters. Born as the son of a composer and a singer, he already began playing the violin at the age of five at Berlin’s Special Music School. Owing to his great talent, he was admitted to the master class of Prof. W. Scholz at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy in Berlin at the age of 14, and in the following years he won several awards at international competitions. The Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin even elected the 22-year-old as its first concert master when he was still enrolled as a student.


Conducting Mentor 2024

Prof. Christian Ehwald

Christian Ehwald was head of the conducting programme at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music Berlin from 2002 to 2023. His students have won numerous prizes at major international conducting competitions, including first prizes at the Mahler Competition, Solti Competition, Besancon, Donatella Flick Competition, Panula Competition, Tokyo Competition and the German Conducting Award. As graduates, they have worked as chief conductors of major orchestras, including the Munich Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic and many other orchestras and opera houses.




of the Critical Orchestra® since 2002


Orchestras Involved

The musicians of the Critical Orchestra®

Orchestras Involved

Application as Conductor

All information about application requirements:


Application for the Critical Orchestra®


Contact Conductors/Applicants:
0049 (0)228 2091-141


Contact Musicians:
0049 (0)228 2091-143