MARTIN STEGNER     viola 


-first learnt violin as an 8-year-old from his father. After studying at college level he swapped to viola and attended the Berlin Philharmonic’s orchestra academy. Martin’s first orchestral appointment was as Principal Viola with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, but after only three years he left, after winning a position in the Berlin Philharmonic.

Since then he has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the world and has released a highly acclaimed CD of Robert Schumann lieder arrangements.

Martin’s teenage love of jazz never left him, and he has performed in many formations with the likes of Herbie Mann and Diane Reeves. He founded the Berlin Philharmonic Jazz Group and has been a guest of Berlin’s Cyminology.

MANFRED PREIS        clarinet/ bassclarinet/ saxophone


-never thought he would play the bass clarinet. That was, until he sawthe Berlin Phil was looking for a new bass clarinetist...and the rest is history. At the time Manfred, a graduate of Munich’s Musikhochschule and the Berlin Philharmonic’s training academy, was a member of the Radio-Symphonie Orchester Berlin. He not only applied for the job but won the audition. Thus began his love affair with the lower realms of the clarinet sound.

Manfred performs in Trio Berlin, in the Winds of the Berlin Philharmonic, and other chamber music groups and teaches at the Nurnburg- Augsburg Musikhochschule and in international youth orchestras. He has also been in demand as a saxophonist for many years.

HELMUT NIEBERLE      guitar 


-is one of Germany’s most respected jazz guitarists and one of the few seven-string instrumentalists. After studying at Munich’s Jazz School he attended Berklee College in Boston. This enabled him contact and inspiration through workshops with some of the world’s best – Barney Kessel, Eddie Marron, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Attila Zoller, Peter Leitch and Karl Ratzer.

Helmut won the Bavarian Culture prize for Jazz Guitar in 1991. He has performed widely not only as a soloist and accompanist, but also as the member of a multitude of bands and ensembles. Often his activities have included leading, arranging and composing extensively for these groups.

Helmut has been a multiple guest of the Philharmonic Salon in Berlin.


RAPHAEL HAEGER        piano


-was only 4 years old when he asked for a drum! He also loved playing other instruments, especially the piano, and it took a long time before he could decide which instrument to make his profession.

Becoming a member of the Berlin Philharmonic’s percussion section in 2005 certainly made the decision easier. Raphael had already spent a decade in the orchestra of Mannheim's Nationaltheater and directed two jazz-concert series. In 2002 he released a piano CD performing his own jazz compositions.

ESKO LAINE       doublebass


-originally played cello, and after trying to quit, was coerced by the music teacher to try bass instead, arguing that Esko could also become a jazz musician on the bass. That did the trick! He began studying at 13 and at only 18 years of age became a member of the Finnish National opera orchestra. After studying in Frankfurt, Geneva and at the Menuhin Academy, Esko became the first Finnish member of the Berlin Phiharmonic in 1986. He is currently Solo-Bass of the Berlin Philharmonic and professor of the Hanns Eisler Hochschule and of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Orchestra Academy.

Daniel „TOPO“ GIOIA        percussion


- was born in Argentina and began teaching himself percussion at the age of 15. He moved to Spain in 1973 and performed in Barcelona and Madrid with various Argentinian and Spanish groups. For 11 years, he performed through Europe with the bassist Hans Hartmann and also with Lydie Auvray.

Topo won “Best Conga Player” in 1988 at the Latin Percussion competition in Germany. You can hear him on over 300 recordings with the likes of Hendrik Meurkens, Ray Anderson, Ernie Watts, Mezzoforte, Ronaldo Folegatti, Kalus Hoffmann and Experimenti Berlin.

Amongst others, Topo has performed with John Newton, Giora Feidman, Lalo Schifrin, Oreste Vilato and Raul Recow from Santana, Mikis Theodorakis, Maria Farantouri, Ray Anderson and the US guitartist Tino Gonzales. Concerts have taken him all over the globe including Japan and the States, and to festivals such as Pori Jazz, Prague, Berlin, Rimini and Donau-Eschingen.

Topo has been teaching since 1999 at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule in Berlin.

Bolero Berlin

Bolero  Chorinho  Jazz with members of the Berlin Philharmonic