Mikhail Gurewitsch
Do.gma Chamber Orchestra bei den Proben
Gruppenfoto Ensemble do.gma chamber orchestra
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Mikhail Gurewitsch, whilst concertmaster at the Baden-Württemberg Chamber Orchestra »I Sedici«, founded the dogma chamber orchestra in 2004. Under his direction, young, though already internationally experienced, musicians come together to combine new interpretations of classical music with modern concert arrangements.

Their presentation does not have an ingratiating, galloping aesthetic, with pretty dresses and dapper suits, which often gives a false picture of classical music. Dogma strives vigorously for new ways of working, as has been the case in all periods of music history. It unveils the intellectual and emotional content of the music from a modern viewpoint, and conveys this to the audience as a capti- vating process – that is dogma’s unique style.

The name of the orchestra derives from this way of thinking. It comes from the manifesto »Dogma 95«, which was published by a group of international film directors around Lars von Trier in 1995. Their manifesto was a protest against the increasingly unrealistic nature of cinema, dominated by effect and technical sophistication, and against its dramatic predictability.

The orchestra sees itself as a homogenous group of musicians sharing the same musical ideas, but also as an ensemble of interacting soloists. Members

are encouraged to express their own personalities. The tension between solo impulse and ensemble spirit is fully exploited. The result for the orchestra is an artistic blossoming. This dynamic is further advanced in that the orchestra plays standing.

The dogma chamber orchestra greatly values variability in developing its pro- gramme. The repertoire includes not only baroque, classical and romantic mu-sic but also the work of contemporary composers – as well as dogma’s own compositions.

dogma interacts with the Auditorium. Mikhail Gurewitsch guides the perfor- mances himself. He bridges the distance between stage and public. He en- courages concertgoers not only to »observe« from the outside and to »consume«, but also to appreciate the musical experience as a dialogue – which can continue between musicians and audience following the concert.

The orchestra, in the years of its existence, has developed a continuingly growing network of admirers and developed into one of the best known young European chamber music ensembles. For their latest CD »The Shostakovich Album« the dogma chamber orchestra won, for the second time, a prestigious ECHO Klassik award. 

DOGMA #4 - British. Now!

This CD is a snapshot, inspired by the diversity of 20th and 21st century British music. It fuses the traditional with Modernism, Romanticism with Minimalism, paired with a good portion of underlying humour. All these components make music from the British Isles, classical and beyond, unique and fascinating. 

We have combined a popular composition – Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony” – with less well-known pieces by Lennox Berkeley and Gavin Bryars, as well as the first recording of a work especially composed by Michael Nyman for the dogma chamber orchestra.


DOGMA #3 - The Shostakovich Album

The dogma chamber orchestra has written music history with its third Album “DOGMA#3”. For the first time ever the complete 24 Preludes by Dimitri Shostakovich can be heard on CD in a version for string orchestra. Just as they did in their previous two albums, the award-winning ensemble has re-interpreted a masterpiece of classical music to suit the musical zeitgeist.

This album is special for the concertmaster Mikhail Gurewitsch not only because DOGMA#3 is a world premiere. “Shostakovich has played a very important role in my life,” he explains. “No other composer is so characteristic and symbolic of the dramatic events of the first half of the 20th century. As a freethinking person he had to withstand and endure a good deal, but he used music as a creative mask and to create some free space for himself.” 
The 24 Preludes came easily to Shostakovich. They took just two months from idea to completion – from the end of December 1931 until the beginning of March 1932. Critics of the day especially praised Shostakovich’s flexibility. Shortly before he had created a tragic figure - “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District”. In the Preludes he repeatedly introduced comic and satirical moments.

Audiences, then and now, have marvelled at the charm and complexity of the Preludes. A close listen uncovers the influences of, amongst others, Haydn, Chopin, Prokofiev and Stravinsky – as well as elements from gypsy romances, music from the criminal milieu and popular songs from the 1920s and early 1930s. This is music that even now, at the start of the 21st century, has not lost its fascination. 
In 1935 Shostakovich developed his 24 Preludes into a duet version for piano and violin. Since then string orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic have tried, time and again, to create an orchestrated version. The Russian composer Grigory Korchmar, in 1990, was the first to do so successfully. No recording was made then. Shostakovich’s heirs gave their permission for Korchmar to give his score to a publisher in St. Petersburg, who published the music in 2013. The dogma orchestra have achieved musical pioneer status with their recording of the complete Preludes.

Alongside the Preludes, DOGMA#3 also includes Shostakovich’s 8th String Quartet, one of the best-known pieces of 20th century instrumental chamber music and one of Shostakovich’s most personal compositions. Written in Gohrisch, a village close to Dresden, it is dedicated to the victims of Fascism and the 2nd World War. It is also a musical memorial, as described by the composer in a letter to a friend in 1960. Shostakovich writes: “In my opinion, should I die, hardly anyone will write a piece dedicated to my memory. Therefore I have decided to write it myself. You could write on its cover: dedicated to the memory of the composer of this quartet.”


DOGMA #2 - American Stringbook (2011)

The dogma chamber orchestra is taking an exciting journey, exploring the origins and development of classical American music.


DOGMA #1 (2010)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Serenade for Strings op. 48
Souvenir de Florence op. 70

We often hear that classical music is dead, or has a meagre uptake, albeit highly subsidised within elite circles, and is of little importance. However, the reality is quite different. Classical music today is more relevant than ever. It inspires ever anew with its energy. It is provocative, awakes emotions and invites one to make new discoveries. 

We would like to present you fresh and new interpretations of two of the most important works of chamber music in Russian musical history: the “Serenade for Strings” and the “Souvenir de Florence” by P.I. Tschaikowsky: two fascinating pieces of music. We have broken away from the traditional, antiquated and mostly risk and discourse-free versions, smothered in sugar-sweet, glamorous icing, that have found their way into the standard repertoire of many chamber orchestras. 

dogma adopts a different direction with this CD production. While taking into account the original intentions of the composer, we aim to free the artistic core of a piece of work and capture musically the life attitudes of a younger generation – this is what the do.gma Chamber Orchestra stands for. 

With “dogma #1” we hope to bring you closer to this timeless music of a great master, and wish you an exhilarating and thrilling musical experience.

Making-Of Video of DO.GMA #1


Press reviews:

Sebastian Scotney, London JazzNews, 8th of February 2017
ROUND-UP: WDR3 JazzFest in Gütersloh (Germany)
 - Lively polyrhythms, interesting compositional and narrative twists, and a performance which had been thoroughly prepared but seemed very fresh." (Read review online...)

Hans-Juergen Schaal, FIDELITY HiFi & Music, No.23, 8th of February 2016
The version for string orchestra that leaves Grigory Korchmar (1990), this music sound even more by Shostakovich, but also creates many new satirical references to clichés in orchestral and violinistic area. [...] The string orchestra version emphasizes the abyss, the outbreaks, the extremes of this extraordinary music. This makes the dogma chamber orchestra, founded in 2004 by Mikhail Gurevich, its name. Finally, the filmmaker was after "Dogma 95" named by Lars von Trier: It's a matter of unvarnished, direct, truthful - against commercialism and mere effect. (Read review online...)

Jens F. Laurson, Listen Magazine/ArkivMusic
It’s rare enough to hear Shostakovich’s Twenty-Four Preludes Op. 34 on disc (much less in recital). Much rarer still, but no less interesting, is it to hear the work – not to be mistaken for the increasingly popular 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 – set for string orchestra. The Dogma Chamber Orchestra took on the task and recorded Grigory Kochmar’s arrangement to marvelous, delightfully unsettling effect: a new angle on an unfamiliar work gives us what amonuts to brand-new Shostakovich. (Read this review online...)

Guy Engels, pizzicato, 16th of Feburary, 2015
"Gripping performances mirroring Shostakovich’s inner turmoil, his grief and his sarcastic passion."

Jean-Jacques Millo, opus (France)
, August/2014
"Here is an SACD devoted to the Russian composer Dimitri Chostakovitch which, because the interpretation and instrumental brio are exemplary, will not leave one indifferent. [...] Directed by its first violin, Mikhail Gurewitsch, the Dogma chamber ensemble offers new depth to the scores played, where the delicacy of the playing often clothes itself in inexpressible grace." (Read this review online...)

Guy Wagner, pizzicato, 23rd of April 2014
[...] "The Chamber orchestra version of the 24 Piano Preludes are definitely a hit, brilliantly played by these extremely virtuoso musicians." [...] (Read this review online...)

Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel, April 2014
[...] "The extra weight, layers and dimension with which a string orchestra augments a string quartet are invaluable, especially when they enhance a masterpiece of this magnitude. The 16 members of the Dogma Chamber Orchestra bring a wealth of expressive insights to this painfully evocative musical narrative." [...] (Read this review online...)

WDR3, Ulrike Gruener, 
16th of January 2014
[...] "the duplication of the instrumental voices in this dogma chamber orchestra interpretation gives the work more mellowness and sensuous beauty."

SWR2, Konrad Beikircher, 16th of November 2013
[...] "I can only congratulate the ensemble; it plays so delicately and masterfully" [...]

Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, Ralf Doering, 9th of December, 2013
[...] "the energy of the linear tones - where most play with muscle, here is heart and mind – excellent."

crescendo, Anna Novák, 26th of November 2013
"A real journey of discovery, thrilling from the first to last note!"

CLASS:aktuell, Otto Heinrich, vol. 2013/04
"The ECHO award winning dogma chamber orchestra underlines with this recording, once more, its top position."

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Klaus Mohr, 8th of May 2012
Delicate Elegance: 
"Their interpretation in the outer movements recalls the young Mozart [Symphony F major K.138] in its freshness and vitality, whilst the motifs are vividly contrasted between the different instrumental groups. The middle movement, in which vibrato is selectively used, is soaring and ethereal. Peter Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C-Major op. 48 takes its romantic spirit, after all, from the tradition of classical clarity."

International Record Review, December 2010

[...] "His performance is clean, rhythmical, faithful to the score and very well disciplined. It's exciting in the last movement and charming, without ever being arch, in the 'Waltz'. The players are a responsive group and produce a convincing and sensitively shaped account of the 'Elegy'. In short, this is very fine, with fresh, spirited playing that is likely to provide plenty of enjoyment." [...]

Classic FM Magazine
[...] "Technically and musically, the playing of this young German-based ensemble is exceptional, bringing soulful loveliness to one beautiful phrase after another in a way that, while searching deep into the music, always sounds fresh and spontaneous."

Class Actuell, vol. 3/2010
[...] "These finely controlled multi-channel recordings have markedly different instrumental line-ups: Souvenir is produced in the usual sextet formation. The whole stage is set into motion by motifs composed to move through the particular instrumental positioning. The musicians play the Serenade with the 1st and 2nd violins placed opposite each other This allows significantly greater lucidity, but also has an astonishingly taut symphonic impact. The result: with do.gma#1 the young chamber orchestra achieve a successful debut, surprising us with its sprit, a fascinating freshness and an undogmatic lightness. Keep up the good work!"   

SWR2, New from the classical music market.
[...] "played with youthful verve, but also a differentiated, sumptuous sound, and with well-balanced refinement. Good string quartets spring up like mushrooms, but chamber orchestras of such quality are rare."

[...] "really surprises with a superlative lightness of touch, a fresh Tschaikowsky" [...]

"to declutter music such as the String Serenade that is often played, almost too often played; to chip away the sugar icing that blanketed it for decades - that's the purpose of this chamber orchestra. And it has been successful."

[...] "(The musicians) approach both pieces with tremendous enthusiasm, and with a lightness of touch, which greatly benefits Tschaikowsky’s music: they adorn, they breathe and they dance - and they really do express [...] the spirit of a new generation of musicians."

Weser Kurier
"Classical music played with enthusiasm, freshness and lightness of touch. The dogma chamber orchestra, from the first bar gets to the core of the music. This is complete Tschaikowsky" [...]
"the listener is drawn in by the sincerity and lightness of touch."
[...] "a great concert by a young orchestra that we will be hearing much of."

Nassauische Neue Presse
"Energy instead of Kitsch – Tschaikowsky now sounds very youthful." 
[...] "The ensemble impresses with its supreme precision" [...] 
"To experience the seamless harmonic relationship between the highs of the violins and the lows of the violas and cellos was a breathtaking pleasure." 

Rieser Nachrichten / Augsburger Allgemeine
[...] "the orchestra is able to demonstrate its special abilities with feeling, modulated dynamic, powerful tonality and youthful freshness." 

Suedwest Presse
"A full sound and dramatic playing."
"The uniformity of the passages played in unison is awesome."

"Refreshingly different"
"The dogma chamber orchestra thrills with Schubert and Tschaikowsky in the Margravial Opera House." 

Kulturjournal Foyer
"Over-polished aesthetic and formality are dispensed with."
[...] "concerts and recordings that hardly give the listener the chance to sit back [...] here the public is involved as a partner in a dialogue."



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