The Hermann Levi Academy

The Hermann Levi Academy supports talented young musicians by enabling them to practice with the orchestra under professional conditions – especially with the opera literature with its specific requirements, but also in the symphonic area.

The Bayerisches Staatsorchester’s Hermann Levi Academy was originally founded in 2002 hailing the name “Orchestra Academy of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester” to pass on the centuries-old tradition of one of the oldest German orchestras to young musicians and consequently keep this particularly special sound and performance culture alive for subsequent generations. Since July 2021, the Orchestra Academy has included the “Hermann Levi Academy” title in its name to honour Hermann Levi’s importance in world of music and in particular his forward-looking creativity at the Nationaltheater in Munich.

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The Bayerisches Staatsorchester’s Hermann Levi Academy offers highly talented musicians under 26 years old the opportunity to gain their first professional experiences and to get to know the extensive repertoire of one of the world's leading opera orchestras. 

Within two years the academy participants will take part up to ten times each month in rehearsals, concerts and opera and ballet performances, and receive regular lessons with members of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester. 

The training also includes chamber music and solo performances, as well as audition preparation and mental training. Graduates of the Hermann Levi Academy have gone on to join the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, while others have been engaged by renowned orchestras in Oslo, Basel, Stockholm, Berlin, to name but a few cities.

Scholarship students’ training incorporates four focus points – orchestra practice, lessons, chamber music and mental training:

The core of the Academy is its cooperation with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester within the scope of ten duties performed per month – these can be rehearsals, opera or ballet performances or concerts. Together with General Music Director Vladimir Jurowski and other renowned conductors, the scholarship students may, for example, develop the opera repertoire here, ranging for classical through to contemporary. In addition to active participation with the orchestra, the doors to all rehearsals, performances and concerts in the house are also open for the young musicians as listeners. They can follow the formation of entire opera productions from the very beginning right up close and look over the shoulder of renowned singers and directors here. Their musical education therefore goes far beyond purely instrumental training and also contributes to the young musicians’ evolution into artistic personalities.

The academy members receive regular lessons from the orchestra’s soloists. Firstly in lessons the pieces currently on the programme are studied to enable the academy members a smooth entry into the everyday world of opera. Equally so the lessons also serve to prepare audition programmes and the solo literature of each instrument.

Chamber music concerts by the members of the academy are also held two or three times per season in the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche of Munich’s Royal Residence, now converted into an incredibly beautiful concert hall, which is also home to the orchestra’s chamber music series. In further lessons they are intensively prepared and supported by orchestra members. The cooperation with the singers of the Bayerische Staatsoper’s Opera Studio with one of the annual chamber music concerts also produces exciting programmes, which allow a look beyond the boundaries of purely instrumental music. A special opportunity to cooperate directly with General Music Director Vladimir Jurowski is presented with the annual festival concerts, with which, among others, he personally rehearses and performs pieces written especially for the cast of the Hermann Levi Academy.

To prepare the scholarship students for the constantly increasing requirements with auditions at top orchestras, in addition to their instrumental training in lessons they also have mental training instructed by graduate psychologist Ulrike Klees, a specialist with particular experience working with musicians.


In his artistic personality, Hermann Levi combines the two focus points with which he stands out at the Bayerische Staatsorchester: Opera and concerto. He was one of Johannes Brahms’s closest friends for many years and delivered the world premieres of several of his works. He later became one of Richard Wagner’s most important collaborators and remained an indispensable conductor at the Bayreuth Festival until 1894. He also supported other contemporary composers, who were not yet generally acknowledged in the repertoire of the day, such as Robert Schumann, Anton Bruckner, Hector Berlioz and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, for example. We must also thank him for Mozart’s da Ponte operas being so well established as a cycle on opera stages; he performed and interpreted all three largely in their original form and true to the original piece. Many literal lyrical formulations such as, "Take my hand my life”, are attributed to Levi. And of course he also supported young musicians, delivered world premieres of early orchestral pieces by Richard Strauss as he grew in popularity and even supported and recommended him with his first steps as a conductor.

Levi’s importance was played down in the 1930s due to his Jewish heritage, and his legacy was neglected. As part of the efforts to rectify this dereliction, since July 2021 the Orchestra Academy has included “Hermann Levi Academy” in its name, as an eternal reminder of Hermann Levi’s importance in the world of music and in particular his forward-looking creativity at the Nationaltheater in Munich, and as an inherent obligation to also continue telling the history behind his name to future generations.


At this point we must thank the Hermann Levi Academy’s sponsors, who, with their support, make an inestimable contribution to promoting young talent at the Bayerisches Staatsorchester:

Hermann Levi Academy main sponsor: SIEMENS

Further Hermann Levi Academy sponsors:
Freunde des Nationaltheaters e.V., Dr. Helmut Röschinger

Would you also like to contribute to promoting young talent at the Bayerisches Staatsorchester or inform yourself about further support options? Our Development staff look forward to hearing from you and helping you:

Bayerische Staatsoper Development Office 
+49 89 21 85 10 39