Christian Loferer auf der Bühne des Nationaltheaters

From brass bands to the Opera House

Horn player Christian Loferer

From brass bands to the Opera House

Horn player Christian Loferer

Horn player Christian Loferer

The Bavarian State Opera at the Nationaltheater on Max-Joseph-Platz in Munich is the largest opera house in Germany. It can house 2,101 spectators. The box seats are elaborately decorated with stucco, and the magnificent royal box stands in the centre. This is where Christian Loferer works, horn player in the Bavarian State Orchestra. When he plays, he allows the soul of Bavaria to rise to the fore in his music – it is a feeling that the man from the Chiemgau has carried with him since he was a boy.

'I think it is important not to forget your roots.'

Loferer began playing the horn when he was just nine years old. His path led him to Grassau Music School, then to the Chiemgau Youth Orchestra, and, of course, to the traditional brass bands, which he played with for years. "I still keep this up now, when I can fit it in", he says. "I played at a concert with the band in Schleching in the summer of 2015. I think it is important not to forget your roots." He began at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater. In 2005, he was given the permanent position of horn player in the State Opera – and he brought the Bavarian brass band tradition with him into the concert hall.

Horn

He describes it as the "Bavarian soul". "I notice it when I am playing music by composers like Richard Strauss. He wrote his pieces in the alpine uplands, in Garmisch. His pieces were influenced by the surroundings. From the ringing of cow bells that he heard, or the view of the Alps." Fellow musicians, who didn't grow up with it, have to work this out. For Loferer, the Bavarian soul is drawn from nature: "Nature is so full of life and diverse here. This splendour means that Bavarians tend to be humorous types."

'Nature is so full of life and diverse here. This splendour means that Bavarians tend to be humorous types.'

Fittingly, the horn players are known to be an especially fun-loving group. They form their own group within the orchestra and are positioned away from the rest of the brass musicians because they fulfil a different function: "We are in dialogue with the woodwind musicians", explains Loferer. As the Munich Opera Horns, they have been playing pieces that have been especially arranged for large horn ensembles since 2007.

Christian Loferer an der Isar
Christian Loferer auf der Bühne des Nationaltheaters

Loferer is also involved in modern brass music. He has appeared with the Banana Fishbones and the band Sommersault, and has played with the Munich Brass Connection, which he co-founded, for 14 years now. He thinks that the new brass music trend with brass bands like Kellerkommando or Moop Mama is great, and even has a personal connection with it: "I know Stefan Dettl, the frontman of LaBrassBanda, well. We were at music school together and played together in various bands. He was in our brass quintet for a while."

'But it is clear that Grassau produces great horn players.'

Does he have a sense of this enthusiasm for brass music amongst youngsters back home in the Chiemgau? "Yes, Stefan Dettl is like a flagship musician for us, as he learned his craft in Grassau." He doesn't see himself as a role model, he says; but adds, grinning: "But it is clear that Grassau produces great horn players."

Christian Loferer auf dem Weg ins Nationaltheater
Bayerische Staatsoper
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