Bärenreiter Ltd. London

The Bärenreiter offices in the 1960s

The British subsidiary Bärenreiter Ltd. was founded on 30 May 1963 but the links to Great Britain are far older. The first foreign branch of the company originated in 1939, first located in Haifa and later in Tel Aviv. The Denn family from Augsburg, who were friends with Karl Vötterle, fled to Palestine during the early years of the war and took over the sole agency for Bärenreiter.

Even during the Second World War, Karl Vötterle maintained contact with Jewish and English musicians and musicologists. It was particularly important to keep up contact with scholars from Germany who fled abroad during the years of Nazi rule. Paul Hirsch, one of the greatest German music collectors who had emigrated to Cambridge, and Otto Haas, the former owner of the Liepmannsohn company in Berlin, invited Vötterle to England after the war. There were also connections with Rolf Gardiner, an English youth leader, who had a keen interest in the German singing movement. He was the father of the well-known conductor John Eliot Gardiner. The Jewish musicologist and future publishing director of Novello, Adolf Aber, likewise maintained contact with Bärenreiter. After the Second World War, the Denn family moved to West Hoathly, England and marketed Bärenreiter editions in England from 1948 to 1956. In October 1958 a “musical encounter” took place with performers from England, Germany and Switzerland. As part of this, the Mühlheimer Singkreis performed works by Bornefeld, Brunner, Burkhard, Distler, Marx, Pepping and Reda, and at Novello & Co.’s offices, the German ambassador Hans-Heinrich Herwarth von Bittenfeld opened a major exhibition about Bärenreiter.

The warehouse in Harlow, 2009

In 1977 the London subsidiary moved to Hitchin (Hertfordshire), 55 km north of London. Bärenreiter Ltd. is responsible not only for the marketing of editions on sale but also for the growing amount of hire material. Its sales territories include the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland as well as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. Contacts are maintained with music dealers as well as libraries, orchestras, opera houses and conductors. In the late 1980s, the company looked for a partner and found this in Faber Music. Since January 1990, the two companies have shared warehouse and distribution facilities in Harlow, approximately 45 km north-east of London. Today Bärenreiter Ltd. has become firmly established in the English speaking musical world.