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The Berlin Academy of American Music is a chamber orchestra made of top Berlin-based musicians who share a common focus on performing and promoting the works of American and American immigrant composers. Formed during the height of the pandemic, conductor Garrett Keast conceptualized a way to connect music, performers, and audiences on a deeper level. Transatlantic, BAAM’s first recording received 5-stars from BBC Music Magazine and das Orchester, and reflects the orchestra’s motivation with a program of Copland, Dorman, Stravinsky, Takemitsu, and Urquhart. The orchestra’s early concerts accentuated social justice themes with the European premiere of Anthony Davis’s You have the Right to Remain Silent, as well as featuring Milhaud’s groundbreaking La Creation du Monde and Caroline Shaw’s fresh and contemporary Entr’acte. Praised for its “successful debut” by Concerti Magazine, the orchestra aims to inspire dialogue exploring the connections between America and Europe. 

The European Orchestra Focusing on American Music

The Berlin Academy of American Music

The Story Behind Transatlantic and
The Berlin Academy of American Music

Our debut album Transatlantic was recorded at the beginning of 2021 against all odds, in the winter and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the first signs of life for this new orchestra began coming together with my friend Rosie Salvucci (American bassist and fellow Berliner) six months prior. In the summer of 2020 - simply for the sake of doing so - we decided to organize some impromptu, distanced orchestra readings with chamber orchestra repertoire that could easily be played in a studio in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. We needed something to do, many summer festivals and vacations were cancelled, and musicians were excited to play together again. We invited professional musicians who we thought would enjoy works by composers like Adams, Stravinsky and Copland. Everyone enjoyed the collaborations, and experiencing this repertoire, in these times with these musicians was special.


Then in November of 2020 two friends, American composer Craig Urquhart and Greek flutist Stathis Karapanos and I began discussing the possibility of recording Craig’s newly orchestrated Lamentation for Flute and Strings. I had heard Craig’s piano version of the piece and found it deeply touching. Stathis had performed the piano version with Christoph Eschenbach at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, where he was awarded the 2020 Leonard Bernstein Award. Based on the readings we had, I told them that Rosie and I could put together a talented orchestra and then seemingly things were off to the races. There was a flurry of communication, and the idea quickly grew from recording one work into recording an entire album. Just two months after our conversations began, the orchestra was formed, and in January and February of 2021 we rehearsed and recorded Transatlantic in one of Germany’s legendary recording locations, Teldex Studios.  


With Craig’s piece set as a cornerstone of the album, Stathis and I began to think of what repertoire would best accompany this. I thought of Craig, an American-now-Berliner and long-time executive of the Leonard Bernstein Office. I was also steeped in life as a Berliner, and I thought perhaps the connection for works could be the fact that they, too, had transatlantic connections. Being an American conductor who is often asked to perform American repertoire, I looked to works by Americans and American immigrant composers, and even to those who wrote works based on American ideals or stories.


We were all quite fond of the fact that the transatlantic theme also occurs throughout the orchestra’s personnel. The musicians on this recording are from a tapestry of nationalities spanning five continents. While conversing during the coffee breaks of the recording sessions, we learned from each other that more than half of the orchestra either came from the U.S. or had studied there.

Transatlantic was released with worldwide distribution and streaming by London’s ONYX Classics on October 29, 2021. We are proud to present this recording to an international audience, which rather serves as the debut of the Berlin Academy of American Music to the world. The album features an array of orchestra musicians based in Berlin, soprano Chen Reiss, flutist Stathis Karapanos, Berlin Philharmonic’s concertmaster and principal harpist, Noah Bendix-Balgley and Marie-Pierre Langlamet. BAAM’s first Berlin concert series followed in November of 2021 and a first tour of Europe is soon to be announced for June of 2022.

– Garrett Keast, Founder & Executive Director / Chief Conductor

Founder & Executive Director / Chief Conductor

Garrett Keast

Garrett Keast

Garrett Keast receives worldwide attention for his ability to create galvanizing and soul-stirring experiences both in concert halls and opera houses. Born in the US and based in Berlin, Garrett is a prominent interpreter of repertoire from his homeland and is strongly committed to inclusive, innovative programming that tells a deeper story.


Amy Harris

Amy Harris​

General Manager

An expat herself, Amy Harris is a Berlin-based full lyric soprano and project manager. Originally from San Diego, CA, Amy has performed and worked across the USA and Europe.


David B.

David de Bjaouix​

Business Liaison

Berlin based German-French entrepreneur, travel curator and music enthusiast, David de Bjaouix calls concert halls, opera houses and theaters around the world his second home. As business manager of BAAM, David is responsible for the business development of the orchestra and supervises its touring and productions.



Violin I
Elissa Lee
Michael Brooks
Henja Semmler
Yezu Woo

Violin II
Johanna Schreiber
Sophia Fournier
Hildegaard Niebuhr
Sarah Martin
Diego Vassallo
Sophia Fournier


Joel Hunter
Florian Peelman
Nancy Sullivan
Francesca Zappa
Anna Pelczer
Ruth Mogrovejo

BAAM – The Core Orchestra

Stefan Heinemeyer
Cicely Parnas
Elena Cheah
Lillia Keyes
Sayaka Studer
Samira Aly


Kaspar Loyal
Jurgis Buinevicius
Niklas Heide
Peter Ferretti


Federico Dalprà
Juree Kim


Liana Leßmann
Julius Engelbach
Daniel Kurz
Vanessa Klöpping

Louisa Slosar
Anton Engelbach
Kenichi Furuya
Michaela Spackova


Oboe / English Horn*
Janos Wollenweber
Hyunjung Song*

Christoph Enzel


Bar Zemach
Mercedes Gutiérrez
Sakura Koyama
Antje Warratz


Damir Bacikin

Julie Bonde

Vladimir Veres

Finlay Panter
Jose Colina
Lukas Böhm

Chelsey Padilla

Assistant Conductor
Avi Caspi
Ken Yanagisawa
Thomas Fortner
Lorenzo Guggenheim
Luke Berringer

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