Rinaldo Alessandrini © Lorraine Wauters

Babylon ORCHESTRA, founded in 2016, is a Berlin-based urban fusion ensemble that combines European and Middle Eastern music with the sound of a big band and contemporary orchestra.

The aim is to promote intercultural artistic cooperation and thus to give different musical traditions and cultures a place in a new shared and unique sound world of the present. To this end, the ensemble develops a repertoire that brings the traditional music of the Near and Middle East into dialogue with the musical cultures of Europe, and especially urban elements of the Berlin music scene. What’s more, it provides a space for dialogues of tolerance and respectful interaction in the future, as BO´s second major concern is to find its own answer to a changing world that faces immense social challenges.

Together with the Conservatory of Turkish Music in Berlin (BTMK), BO organised the concert series “Between the Euphrates and Elbe. New songs between the rivers”. Thanks to a generous grant from the Capital Cultural Fund, BO had the opportunity to invite a special selection of high-quality artists from around the world and to make the intercultural musical and literary exchange with them accessible to a broad audience on the Berlin music scene. In 2020, BO released its debut album which won the prize for the best world music record by the German Record Critics´ Association.

In June 2019, the starting shot was fired for BO´s concert series “Babylon ORCHESTRA unVEILed“ thanks to the support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The main focus was on cross-genre collaboration with international visual and acoustic artists, during the course of which the orchestra’s ensemble also tested alternative stage concepts in various locations of the Berlin cultural scene.

In the past, BO has performed at the Komische Oper, HAU, Deutsche Oper, Volksbühne and Heimathafen. Together with the Grand Brothers, BO performed at the Elbphilharmonie, the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, as well as at the Festival Mozaique and De Doelen in Rotterdam.

In 2021, the Babylon ORCHESTRA will debut with the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Staatsorchester Stuttgart and the Rundfunk-Sinfonie- Orchester Berlin under the direction of Simone Menezes. The ensemble will also give a concert in the main hall of the Konzerthaus Berlin and go on tour through southwestern Germany, as well as premiere its first online opera „Unsere Fremden“, based on Camus´ „The stranger“ written by Mischa Tangian, directed by Neil Barry Moss and Sina Salimi.