Camerata Bern is one of Europe's leading chamber orchestras. It has toured throughout the world and regularly performs with elite soloists. Since its debut, the ensemble has performed without a conductor, taking cues instead from its concertmaster.
Camerata Bern was founded in 1962 by string students studying under Max Rostal at the Berne Conservatory, along with a harpsichordist. One of the Camerata's founding principles was to perform without a conductor, so it has taken its cues from the concertmaster since its formation. The group's first concertmaster and artistic director was Alexander von Wijnkoop. Under Wijnkoop's leadership, the Camerata began to tour throughout Europe shortly after its founding; following tours of the U.S. and Asia in 1967, the ensemble has gone on tours of Europe, both of the Americas, Australia, and throughout Asia. Wijnkoop would lead the Camerata until 1979, when he was replaced by Thomas Füri, who served in this role until 1993. During Füri's time as concertmaster, the Camerata signed its first recording contract with the Archiv label. Antje Weithaas was named artistic director in 2009. In 2010, the Camerata began an educational project in which it performs in schools across Bern; by 2019, the ensemble had performed over 150 of these concerts. Patricia Kopatchinskaja was named artistic director in 2018. The Camerata performs on period and modern instruments (though its inclination towards performing on period instruments developed well after its founding), and its repertoire stretches from the Renaissance to contemporary. The group regularly performs, tours, and records with soloists, who have included Heinz Holliger, Sol Gabetta, Göran Söllscher, and Barbara Hendricks.
The Camerata has released several dozen recordings, mainly on Archiv, but it has also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, ECM, and Novalis, among others. In 2019, the Camerata issued an album of Mozart keyboard concertos on Sony Classical, with accordionist Viviane Chassot, and its first album with Kopatchinskaja, Time & Eternity, on Alpha. It has earned several awards for its recordings, including the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Grand Prix International du Disque.