© Marian Lenhard

Thomas Jahnel

When I was a child, my father often sat me at the Berlin State Opera, in the box to the side and over the orchestra pit, giving me an excellent view of what was going on in the music and on stage - an exciting experience. He soon stuck a violin under my chin, too, and gave me lessons in those first years. In the orchestra at our special school I got to know the symphonic repertoire, and as a 10th-grader I trod the opera boards myself, playing on-stage music in full costume.
To this day I’m constantly struck by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra’s sense for special sound, by its palpable pleasure in digging deep into the music at each and every concert, and getting the utmost from it, with passion, enjoyment and creative drive. Meanwhile, playing in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra for many years has kept my connection with opera alive.

Thomas Jahnel was born in Berlin, and after early lessons with his father he attended his native city’s Georg Friedrich Händel Special School, later moving on to Berlin’s Hanns Eisler Academy of Music. Aged just 19, he was engaged by the Komische Oper Orchestra as a substitute, becoming a member two years later. His scholarship from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, from 1990 to 1993, was a formative experience, involving him in numerous concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Thomas Jahnel has been a member of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra since 1993. Besides various chamber ensembles, he also plays regularly in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra - following his long-standing penchant for opera.