The Immigrant Orchestra bases its name on the world-famous fairytale by the Brothers Grimm, but has the edge on its fictional counterparts in one significant respect– its musicians actually arrived in Bremen. Willy Schwarz, the brains behind the ensemble and also its musical director, has had some experience in Chicago with similar projects: the All – American Immigrant Orchestra and the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra.

The concept of the Immigrant Orchestra is to maintain traditions on the one hand while simultaneously developing a new musical repertoire together on the other. In this respect, the musicians, each trained in a particular traditional music style, still do not regard themselves as a ‘folk’ ensemble, nor are they eager to present a fashionable mix of „global“ music (indeed, they dispense with electric instruments for that very reason). Instead, the ambivalence and complexity become a principle of the compositions. Curiosity about the music of „others“ and the ability of the individual musicians to feel at home instantly in all kinds of different musical worlds make The Immigrant Orchestra into an ensemble that is quite unique. If music is indeed the international language, then what we have here is a lively round-table discussion.


So what‘s so special about the The Immigrant Orchestra’s style? Well, for instance a Chinese musician plays a Chilean piece, a Kurd plays an American piece that has its roots in the traditional music of Kashmir, and a Turkish-sounding piece is actually a new composition – combined with German lyrics that would certainly have not been written in the same way in Turkey itself.
In this way, The Immigrant Orchestra is a futuristic model for a multicultural society. The German language and German culture here serve as the cause of international understanding rather than that of world domination. This multicultural understanding takes the issue of mutual respect for granted.

Willy Schwarz – vocals, accordion, other instruments

Willy was born in Michigan (USA). He is the son of Italian and German refugees. At a time when the concept of global music was as yet unheard of, Schwarz traveled the world from Brooklyn to Bombay and Katmandu to Kabul, researching, studying and playing music in all the musical languages of the world. In doing so, Willy Schwarz gained inestimable knowledge and also became a highly impressive musical all-rounder. In the 1980’s he toured internationally with the critically-acclaimed trio ‘Eclectricity’, whose enormous spectrum of music defined ‘World Music’ a decade before it became a recognized musical more…

Abiud Chinello– vocals, guitar, quatro

Vasile Darnea– violin

Zeki Kara– vocals , ud, saz

Lartey Larko– vocals, Ga drums

Sema Mutlu– vocals

Mohsen Nejadi– zarb , doira, percussion

Matyas Nemeth– bass

Daniel Bodwell– bass

Behzad Rooshanpour– santur, setar, nei

Ulli Simon– vocals , Quena, Charango, Samponja, Siku

Yun Fei Zheng– Chinese & European flute