LES ESSENCES is an international chamber orchestra that has developed from members of top-class chamber music ensembles and outstanding musicians from the surrounding orchestra landscape in North Rhine-Westphalia. LES ESSENCES has set itself the goal of building on the tradition-conscious performance practice of all eras with a critical and courageous approach which is achieved through respectful textual and informed performance practice. Without a conductor, but under the artistic and musical direction of the German-Turkish violinist Önder Baloglu, communication among the musicians becomes a tool, which also enables LES ESSENCES to interact in larger ensembles like chamber music.
The core of the ensemble is a string quartet, Quart.essence, which can look back on numerous concerts since 2009. The quartet gradually expanded through concerts with various guests, and thanks to the increasing success, the desire to strive for “the big picture” deepened. The ensemble's repertoire ranges from baroque music to commissioned works by contemporary composers.
The vision of the orchestra LES ESSENCES is to bring back, filter out and present the essence of the music. The instrumentalists work out scores meticulously and down to the last detail, let the music speak for itself and sound where it was originally intended - serenades in the open air, sacred works in churches or chamber music in salons, to name just a few examples.
In 2021, LES ESSENCES, supported by ensemble funding from the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Sparkasse Essen, presented an exciting three-year concept that reflects the most diverse stages and moods of human life. The concept pursues the goal of making the entire city of Essen, the hometown of the chamber orchestra, to a venue. On the program within this framework are known and unknown works, including very old and very recent compositions, with which different religions and cultures are touched. The German newspaper WAZ reported on the kick- off project “Through Essen with the Christmas Oratorio” with Chorwerk Ruhr as a partner: “...the ensemble has now received three-year financial support from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is already raising great artistic hopes. Chorwerk Ruhr thus has an equal, ideally suited instrumental partner at its side.”
LES ESSENCES performs regularly at Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Philharmonie Essen, Mercatorhalle Duisburg, Forum Leverkusen, CRR Istanbul, AASSM Izmir, Stadthalle Rheinberg, Orchesterzentrum NRW and many churches in Essen, Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Moers, as well as at festivals in Germany, Israel, Spain, Albania, Turkey and collaborates with valuable musical partners like Chorwerk Ruhr, Andreas Reiner and Anja Lechner from the ex-Rosamunde-Quartett, Rebekka Hartmann, Anastasia Kobekina, Maximillian Schafroth, Gareth Lubbe, Fazil Say and Reinhard Goebel.
Imaginative and eloquent, the Turkish-German violinist Önder Baloglu is known for his breathtaking artistry and adventurous approach to programming. With a technique that blends virtuosity and entrancing musical finesse, Önder presents an innovative musical universe. He is a versatile violinist in search of the essences of music: as a soloist, a chamber musician, a concertmaster, an artistic director, a professor and as a musical director, active in the most of Europe, Asia and South an North America.
As a soloist he shared the stage with most of the Turkish orchestras as well as with German orchestras such as the Koblenz Rheinische State Philharmonic, the Bochum Symphonic, the Dortmund Philharmonic, the Aachen Symphonic, the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the Ensemble Folkwang Modern and the KlangVerwaltung Orchestra Munich with conductors like Rheinhard Goebel, Florian Helgath, Otis Klöber, Oliver Leo Schmidt, Cemi’i Can Deliorman.
Önder moved his passion for chamber music into a different aspect by conducting orchestras from concertmaster position such as the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, the Bilkent Symphonic of Ankara and his own „Les essences“, an international chamber orchestra, supported by the Ministry of Culture of North Rhine-Westphalia. Highlights of his play & conduct performances include the Christmas Oratorio by J.S.Bach with the renowned Chorwerk Ruhr and Les essences in churches of Essen, touring with his Les essences in Germany and Turkey regarding his "Turkish-Battle" program with works from the baroque and classical periods, including the "Turkish" violin concerto by W.A.Mozart, J.Haydn‘s „Seven last words“ and the E minor Violin Concerto by F.Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as well as Mozart’s 40th Symphony with the Yasar Symphony Orchestra.
A keen chamber musician, Önder’s esteemed artistic partners include Anja Lechner, Rebekka Hartmann, Boris Bloch, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Nino Gvetadze, Anastasia Kobekina, Klaus Mäkelä, Elina Vähälä, Alissa Margulis, Harriet Krijgh, Marc Bouchkov and Fazıl Say at venues and festivals such as the Philharmonie Essen, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Gasteig and Herkulessaal in Munich, Vienna Musikverein, Konzerthaus Berlin, Konzerthaus Dortmund, Musiquem Lleida Festival in Spain, Duisburger Akzente, Festival "NOW!" in Essen, Brühler Schlosskonzerte, Hohenloher Kultursommer, Klasik Keyifler Festival in Cappadocia, Colmar Fête le Printemps in France, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland and his own series „Les essences“ where he presents eccentric and unusual programs and concepts all over in Essen City.
Between 2015-2017 he designed an unusual concert series as an artistic director: „Klassisch.Unterirdisch. – the Underground-Festival of Classic“ in Katakomben-Theater Essen. 2017-2018 he was the co-artistic director of the Klasik Keyifler Music Festival in Cappadocia. Furthermore he is the co-founder of the society “Erato - Akademie für Musik und Sprache Rhein-Ruhr e.V” and the Gedik Philharmonic Orchestra in Istanbul.
Önder is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music and a gifted improviser and regularly engages with people across the artistic spectrum. Uninhibited by conventional genre boundaries and noted for his innovative programming he designed during the first lockdown in 2020 his project „Unvoiced Diaries“ and commissioned -together with the Gedik Foundation in Istanbul- 24 Turkish composers living all over the world to compose one-minute-long miniatures for solo violin, designed especially for social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. In 2021, Unvoiced Diaries were released on Spotify and Apple Music.
Önder became a concertmaster of the Duisburger Philharmonic and the German Rhine Opera Düsseldorf- Duisburg at the age of 24 and continued his duties until 2022. In 2021-2022 he was the concertmaster of Aziz Shokhakimov‘s Tekfen Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra.
Önder started his violin lessons with Ferhang Huseynov and studied at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen, Germany with Nana Jashvili, Pieter Daniel and Andreas Reiner, as well as having had the chance to work closely with renowned musicians such as Vadim Gluzman, Gordan Nikolic, Ivry Gitlis, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Reinhard Goebel, Enoch zu Guttenberg.
Önder teaches at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands in The Hague and at the Folkwang University of Arts. He plays a 1779 Antonio Gragnani violin and a 1880 James Tubbs bow.
„Violinist Önder Baloglu is a promising talent… If there was the term ‘belcanto’ for the violin, Baloglu had earn it…“ (Augsburger Allgemeine)
Through the years, we have been or we are collaborating with the finest organisations: