A trip through time with Max Raabe & Palast Orchester:
1986 Max Raabe and a few fellow students of the Berlin University of the Arts have the idea of founding an orchestra to revive the sound of the 20s. This act is followed by act 2: the search for musical material in archives, on flea markets and in curiosity shops. First rehearsals are held.
1987 Premiere of Max Raabe & Palast Orchester at the Berlin Theatre Ball. The first song the group plays publicly is "Abends wenn die Lichter glüh´n" (In… Show more The Evening When All Lights Glow) by Fred Raymond. For the first and only time the orchestra is placed in a shabby foyer. In spite of this the audience is captured by the music and remains in front of the off-stage instead of passing on into the elegant ballromm. The band is even persuaded to repeat their entire programme.
1988 Max Raabe begins his opera studies at the Berlin University of the Arts and records the first record with the Palast Orchester. It is called "Die Männer sind schon die Liebe wert" (Men Are Certainly Worth Loving) and it includes numbers like "Mein Bruder macht beim Tonfilm die Geräusche (My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies) which still is an important song within the repertoire to this day.
1989 The sax- and clarinett player Sven Bährens joins the orchestra. Max Raabe & Palast Orchester perform more and more, winning the hearts of their listeners and increasing the number of fans with every concert.
1990 Max Raabe & Palast Orchester prove they are not a mere flash in the pan. The second album is recorded: "Kleines Fräulein einen Augenblick" (Just A Moment, Little Fraulein)
1991 The next LP is recorded: " Ich hör so gern Musik" (I Adore The Sound Of Music). 22 productions have followed up to date.
1992 A person like Max Raabe who doesn´t like mobile telephones, is very sensitive towards the problems of human beings in the era of modern telecommunication. He composes and writes the song "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" (Not A Pig Gives Me A Call). It becomes a hit.
1993 Preparations of "Der Blaue Engel" (The Blue Angel) begin. Max Raabe is to play a sixth-former in the production of Peter Zadek and in
1994 performs on stage next to Eva Mathes, Heino Ferch and Ute Lemper. This year brings him a second theatre role, that of Dr Siedler in the cult operetta "Im weißen Rössl" (The White Horse Inn). Together with the entire Palast Orchester Max Raabe appears in the Sönke Wortmann film "Der bewegte Mann" (The Most Desired Man) to which they also contribute the sound track with songs like "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" (Not A Pig Gives Me A Call), "Die Männer sind schon die Liebe wert" (Men Are Certainly Worth Loving) and "Kleines Fräulein einen Augenblick" (Just A Moment, Little Fraulein).
1995 At last Max Raabe finishes his studies and from now on is a certified baritone. However, his aim to work for the opera never materializes. "Classical singers need to be so very disciplined, which I am not", he maintains. "I am addicted to pleasure". And a second honour follows: world famous Hildegard Knef records her hit "Jene irritierte Auster" (Yonder Irritated Oyster). The arrangement is provided by Günther Gürsch, until his death Max Raabe & Palast Orchester´s favorite arranger.
1996 Two new members join the Palast Orchester: Rainer Fox on baritone sax, as well as the guitar- and violin-player Uli Hoffmeier. Max Raabe appears again in a film by Sönke Wortmann: "Charleys Tante" (Charlie´s Aunt).
1997 Max Raabe & Palast Orchester celebrate their 10th anniversary with an audience of 17,000 at Berlin's most beautiful open air venue, the "Waldbühne". The ecstatic orchestra claims: "We are certainly going to repeat THAT!".
1998 After many tours through Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Holland, Max Raabe & Palast Orchester find the courage to perform in the home country of Swing. Max Raabe recalls: "After our first show in Los Angeles the audience didn´t want to leave the concert hall!".
1999 Together with Nina Hagen and HK Gruber, Max Raabe sings the role of Mack the Knife in a CD production by the Ensemble Modern of Bert Brecht´s "Threepenny Opera".
2000 As counterpoint Max Raabe interprets modern pop songs in 20s style on the new album "Super Hits" of the Palast Orchester. In Eastern Europe the record with songs like "Oops, I Did It Again" by Britney Spears or "Sexbomb" by Tom Jones is a huge success: it hits the charts as number 1 in Latvia, Ukraine and Lithuania.
2001 The album "Charming Weill" is released, an homage to the composer Kurt Weill. Max Raabe & Palast Orchester appear in Werner Herzog´s film "Invincible".
2002 Max Raabe & Palast Orchester has the honour of opening the Viennese Festival Weeks for an audience of 40,000. The production "Super Hits 2" is released with songs like "Lady Marmelade", "Angel" or "Dance With Me". Former year´s production "Charming Weill" receives the "Classic Echo", the most prestigious German music award. Michael Enders is chosen as Musical Director of the Palast Orchester, and Max Raabe writes the song "Klonen kann sich lohnen" (It's Worth Your While To Clone In Style)
2003 Premiere at Hamburg's Thalia Theater in August of the lavish production "Palast Revue" with changing scenery, a stunning chorus line and video backdrop. The show runs until mid 2007 and is seen by more than 500,000 people. Max Raabe & Palast Orchester play a series of concerts in honour of Walter Jurmann, the composer of such hits as "Veronika, der Lenz ist da", "Cosi Cosa" or "San Francisco".
2004 In spring Max Raabe and his pianist Christoph Israel make their New York debut with two sold-out solo concerts in the Neue Galerie on New York's elegant Upper East Side. This and the following tour of Max Raabe & Palast Orchester to Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Antonio really lets their US career take off.
2005 Two honours in close sequence: Max Raabe receives the Paul-Lincke-Ring of the City of Goslar and Max Raabe & Palast Orchester play their Carnegie Hall debut. New York Times raves "A Bygone Era evoked" and "Fantastic" while Max Raabe summarizes: "I would never have dreamed that we´d be welcomed with such enthusiasm. We received standing ovations and gave 3 encores. Normally this is unheard of there! After the concert we embraced each other like soccer players after winning the world championship!"
2006 In May, Max Raabe & Palast Orchester tour for 3 weeks through Japan and China. More than 20.000 visit the concerts - the same amount that in August comes to their jubilee-concert in Berlin´s largest open air venue "Waldbühne".
2007 Hanne Berger, for 6 years the stunning and musical centrepoint of the orchestra passes the responsiblity of only woman on to equally stunning and talented Cecilia Crisafulli. The musical direction is taken over by Bernd Frank. Otherwise life goes on as usual, Max Raabe & Palast Orchester continue to live out of their suit cases. They celebrate the premiere of performing 20s /30s music in a synogogue - 1 20 visitors follow the concert in the Temple-Emanu-El in San Francisco. Max Raabe records 3 Japanese songs for 2 CDs which are released in Japan in May. On the following tour through Japan these songs turn out to be the highlight of the show. And finally: The new show "Heute Nacht oder nie" (Tonight Or Never) celebrates its world premiere in Los Angeles on October 30. This title becomes motto when Max Raabe & Palast Orchester record themselves live at Carnegie Hall a few days later.
2008 German premiere of the show "Heute Nacht oder nie" (Tonight or Never) in Berlin followed by a tour through 70 cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. On April 11 the CD to the concert tour is released: "Heute Nacht oder nie - Das Carnegie Hall Konzert" (Tonight Or Never - The Carnegie Hall Concert). The CD lands with impact in the German market and soon reaches Gold-status.
2009 Michael Enders takes over the musical direction. The show “Heute nacht oder nie" (Tonight Or Never) is such a success that it is prolonged until end of
2009 and is also played in Japan, USA, Hungary, Greece, Poland and France. Under the artistic direction of Michael Ballhaus (Director of Photography under Fassbinder, Scorcese, and Copolla, a.o.) the show is filmed and released on DVD. Just as the CD, this production soon reaches Gold status.
2010 The success of the DVD "Heute Nacht oder nie" is rewarded by the American Public Broadcasting Service PBS agreeing to put on the air the best takes from this production in their regular pledge shows. These have been running since August 2010 and feedback proves that many Americans "love" Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, the "refinement and humour", their "class" and in particular adore Max Raabe´s style. In October Max Raabe & Palast Orchester experience their biggest adventure: their first tour to Israel with concerts in Tel Aviv, Jersalem and Haifa. The decision whether to go was difficult for fear of how the Jewish population would react to music of the 20s and 30s. Aware of the extraordinary sensitivity of this particular tour, German press watches very closely, but soon are able to report of cheering audiences and show interviews with happy listeners who appreciate this art form as part of their own culture. Film-director Sönke Wortmann documents the trip on film for TV and cinema.
~Biography from www.palast-orchester.de
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