Under the reign and patronage of Elector Karl Theodor during 1743-78, the court orchestra of Mannheim became the leading centre of musical life in Europe. Not only were its performances of the music of the finest composers of the day considered first rate, but the orchestra was also renowned for its own school of composers, virtuoso players, and innovative style. The new "Mannheim" style wowed audiences of the day with its extreme energy and spectacular new effects like the Mannheim Rocket and Crescendo. This school had a profound influence on later composers like Mozart and Haydn, and Mozart notably sought employment there, albeit unsuccessfully.
This served as the inspiration behind Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester (DNMO), which was established in late 2016 in The Hague by Canadian harpsichordist and fortepianist Anders Muskens with the aim of recapturing the spirit of music from the period of the original Mannheim Court Orchestra, including late Baroque, galant, Classical, and early Romantic – especially from composers of the Mannheim School. As an early music ensemble, the DNMO plays on period instruments using historically informed techniques. It is made up of young professional early music specialists, some of which play in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth-Century, and the Academy of Ancient Music. The orchestra is a highly international group of young specialists, playing concerts internationally and featuring talents from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In November 2018, a contingent of the ensemble was awarded the „Hofkapelle Elbe-Elster“ für das Jahr 2019 prize at the „Gebrüder Graun Prize“ 2018 in Bad Liebenwerda, Germany. As the Hofkapelle Elbe-Elster, the ensemble played a number of concerts in the Elbe-Elster region of Germany throughout 2019 and 2020. DNMO has played at the Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe, the Wahrenbrücker Graun-Festtage, and has several ongoing recording projects for release in Fall 2020. DNMO presented a revival of Johann Christian Bach’s opera seria, Carattaco in February 2020, and a revival of Gian Francesco de Majo’s opera serenata, La gara delle grazie at the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam in August 2020. Most recently, DNMO was awarded the Digital Originals micro-innovation grant from the Canada Council for the Arts alongside funds from the Adriana Jacoba Fund to record a profile of music from the Mannheim Orchestra’s repertoire from 1743-78. It will be released in November 2020 as an album and will be showcased online by CBC/Radio Canada.
DNMO is committed to challenge established boundaries and conventions of the Classical Music world with the goal of rekindling the passion of 18th century performances. DNMO has a number of research initiatives to better understand and reconstruct 18th century orchestral performance practices. In addition to presenting music from well-known masters, the DNMO seeks to present music of lesser known composers which is equally worthy of performance.