This page is about the shows Rainer has in his repertoire. 

To see where Rainer is actually next performing click here For corporate performances here.

Conductor
Solo Shows

 

Conductor

The orchestra drifts onstage.  Lights dim.  There is a slight pause and on strolls the conductor.  Audience applause, respectful bow, handshake.  The concert starts.  The music rolls on, half the audience aren’t really listening.  The piece ends. Are they applauding because they want to, or just because they feel they have to?

That’s what you expect.  That’s what classical music is, isn’t it?  Think again. 

Picture a concert in which the audience is enjoying themselves even before the orchestra takes to the stage - funny messages and pictures are flashed to them on a screen while they are finding their seats.  On comes the orchestra in one big sweep.  Then the conductor, literally running – he can’t wait to get out there.  He speaks; he is funny and clearly also a very accomplished stand-up comedian.  The audience laugh, cheer and clap – they are primed for a great evening. Suddenly the sound of the trumpets at the start of the William Tell gallop ring out and the performance has started.  Yes, it’s the William Tell Overture all right but not as you know it.  Witty comic moments, musical quotations and stops pervade the score - each acting like a punchline to seed another roar of laughter.  It’s a brilliant arrangement, full of energy and, above all, it’s the orchestra themselves who are the stars.  The music comes to a comical and very final end.  Audience erupts.

This is how a concert with Rainer Hersch starts.  With music like the William Tell Overture and The Blue Danube to brand new comedy creations for orchestra, each piece explodes with it’s own comic twist and Rainer’s introductions light the fuse.  Here, no-one wonders if it is all right to clap - this is an evening with an extraordinary atmosphere, a real event for both audience and orchestra to remember.  “I’ve have never seen everyone so switched on” is a typical comment.

Within the comedy are straight, showcase pieces for everyone to enjoy – some light, some more serious, some simply beautiful.  The orchestra are not only showing that they have a sense of humour but that they are artists.   They are a community reaching out to their audience.  But what the audience doesn’t realise is that this is all achieved within the strict rehearsal schedule available to the modern orchestra.  Every comedy moment is written into the music so the players pick it up quickly and easily.  Result - they walk on stage completely confident in their role and their maestro. The audience are not the only ones who spend the evening with a smile on their face.

Yes, there is another type of classical concert.  Join one of the many orchestras around the world who have thrilled their patrons by collaborating with Rainer Hersch.

shows

  • Rainer Hersch's Hilarious Guide to the Orchestra
  • Rainer Hersch's Victor Borge (orchestral version)
  • The Last Night of the Proms...EVER (with soprano soloist)
  • Rainer Hersch's Johann Strauss Gala (with soprano soloist)
  • The Grandest Night of Grand Opera (with choir and two soloists)

scoring

Full orchestra [2222:423(1) (H) 2P Strings]
Orchestra with reduced scoring [0010:100 +1P, strings]
Four Part Choir accompanied by piano or orchestra

LANGUAGES

English, German, French, Spanish

Rainer has PERFORMED WITH

members of Auckland Philharmonia (NZ), Basel Kammerorchester (CH), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (UK), Elgin, Symphony Orchestra (US), Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (CAN), members of the Hannover Opera Orchestra (DE), Johann Strauss Orchestra (tours 2013 & 2014) (UK), Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (CAN), Leicester Symphony Orchestra (UK), London Concert Orchestra (UK), London Gala Orchestra (UK), London Firebird Orchestra (UK), Orquesta de Cámara de Nuevo León (MEX), Philharmonia Orchestra (UK), Philharmonia Britannica (UK), Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra (UK), St Pauli Kurorchester (DE), St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (RU), Symphony Nova Scotia (CAN), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (AUS), Tel Aviv Soloists (ISR), The Queensland Orchestra (AUS), Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (CAN)
...and many more.

reviews/Testimonials

  • “I enjoyed meeting and working with Rainer Hersch very much. His show is brilliant, fascinating and different. Not a superbly funny comedian, he is also a truly great musician” Isabella Lippi, Concertmaster, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, IL, USA

  • "A conductor-comedian whose jokes come directly from the music. The orchestra is always out front and does not serve just as window dressing for funny goings on elsewhere. Heart-warming at the highest level" Beat Fehlmann, CEO Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, GERMANY
  • “...an incredibly talented musician and comedian, and a great performer.  But all of that is accomplished with humility, an eye for detail, and humour in rehearsals” member, Leicester Philharmonic Choir

  • “The funniest concert you will ever see” London Time Out
  •  

  • "Rainer Hersch is something of a rarity amongst musical comedians. He is funny" London Telegraph

For more Reviews/Testimonials, see below.

 

Video CLIPS

COMEDY REPERTOIRE INCLUDES

Arne/Hersch: God Save The Queen
Arne/Hersch: Rule Britannia
Beethoven/Steven Baker: ‘Ode to Joy’ theme played in the style of audience suggestions
Beethoven/Hersch: Emperor Concerto
Bizet/Hersch: Carmen Overture
Handel/Hersch: Firework Music
Hersch: Abbreviated Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven
Hersch: Cinema Sounds
Hersch: Commercial Music Nokia, British Airways
Hersch: Composers’ Inspiration: Beethoven, Chopin, Rossini, Offenbach
Hersch: Concert by Candlelight (Improvised)
Hersch: Conducting Competition
Hersch: Elgar v. ABBA
Hersch: Endings (how to tell one composer apart from aonther)
Hersch: Symphony of Audience Sounds
Hersch: Where’s the Justice in That?
Hersch: Windows Sounds and Waltz
Johann Strauss II/Hersch: Blue Danube
Johann Strauss II/Hersch: Fledermaus Overture
Johann Strauss II/Hersch: Laughing Song (with soprano)
Johann Strauss II/Hersch: Perpetuum Mobile
Johann Strauss II/Hersch: Schwipslied (with soprano)
Mozart/Hersch: Recitative and Aria “come scoglio” (with soprano)
Mozart/Hersch: Symphony no.40
Pachelbel/Hersch: Pachelbel Canon (conducting the audience)
Pachelbel/Steven Baker: Canon-Pop Song mash-up
Prokoviev/Hersch: Soviet Archers
Rossini/Hersch: Largo al factotum (with Baritone)
Rossini/Hersch: William Tell overture
Saint-Saëns/Hersch: Fossiles International                      
Smetana/Hersch: Dance of the Comedians
Strauss I/Hersch: Radetzky March
Strauss/Hersch: Juggling Pizzicato Polka
Trad/Hersch: Hornpipe ‘Jack’s the lad’

Further reviews/Testimonials

  • Gerard Hoffnung meets Victor Borge with some cheeky stand-up humour thrown in for good measure.” The Times
  • "You'll never see another show quite like this" Edinburgh Evening News
  • "Monty Python meets stand-up comedy via Vivaldi. Hilarious" Leicester Mercury
  • "Hersch has presented a fair number of comedy programmes on the radio, but you really have to see him live to appreciate how skillfully he can weave together music and mirth.  And the beauty of it is that you don't have to know your Bach from your Elgar to appreciate the punchlines..." Evening Standard Comedy Choice
  • English stand-up comic/conductor Rainer Hersch had them rolling in the aisles at the Cohn Friday night for his 'Last Night of the Proms . . . Ever' pops concert with Symphony Nova Scotia" The Chronicle Herald, Halifax
  • "Hersch accomplished the near impossible: making a classical symphony concert the coolest - and funkiest - show in town" Winnipeg Free Press
  • "We engaged Rainer Hersch and his classical comedy show, “All Classical Music Explained” this season, and could not have been happier with the reception. The audience was hugely entertained, engaged and happy from start to finish, and the orchestra had a lot of fun too. It is a hilarious, clever show, and Rainer is a terrific comic – I’d recommend this presentation to any orchestra looking for a ‘can’t miss’ comedic Pops presentation." James Sommerville, Music Director, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

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Solo Shows

All Classical Music Explained

All Classical Music Explained (ACME) is a  stand-up comedy show with a difference.  On stage is a microphone, a piano and a projector screen.  Enter Rainer Hersch and, with his friendly, interactive style, immediately engages the audience in an hilarious journey from 'Every Good Boy Deserves Football' to grand opera.  Nobody really needs to know anything and, frankly, nobody really learns anything but they have a hell of a time on the way.  ACME has been turned into two series for the BBC.  Excerpts from the show are also available on CD. 

Previous performances

Edinburgh Festival, Purcell Room (South Bank, London), Henley Festival, Perth Festival (Scotland), Belfast Festival, Wexford Opera Festival (Republic of Ireland), Adelaide Festival (Australia), Grahamstown Festival (South Africa), Edmonton Festival (Canada), Comed'in Festival (Lisbon), Felicja Blumental Festival (Israel) and many others.

Press

"A brilliant touch of comic madness" Time Out, London

"Not Since Victor Borge has a music-comic raised the roof with such continuous laughter" The Post, South Africa

"This swift and very funny hour is the perfect prelude to a night at the concert hall - or an evening in the pub" The Scotsman, Edinburgh Festival

For details about timing, technical requirements, staging click here


 

Rainer Hersch's Victor Borge

Victor Borge was a brilliant pianist, virtuoso comedian and, at one point, the highest paid entertainer in the world. In Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge the Great Dane’s hilarious act has been lovingly re-imagined for the 21st century by his natural successor, Rainer Hersch.

On stage, Rainer plays the role of both Borge and himself as he tells the stories of both men with charm and wit. This intriguing production was a total sellout at the Assembly Rooms in the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival under the title Borge Again! In a full two-act version, he is also joined by a pianist for an hilarious duet rendition of the Liszt 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody.

PREVIOUS PERFORMANCES

Edinburgh Festival, The Venue Theatre (London), Perth Festival (Scotland), Chichester Festivities, Buxton Opera House, Montreal Festival, Winnipeg Festival.  Also at arts centres and theatres across Britain.

Press

"It's hard to imagine that if the great Victor Borge himself had taken the stage, he would be more entertaining that Rainer Hersch's tear-streamingly funny tribute" Scotsman

"Victor Borge for a new generation" The Sunday Times

"Two great comics for the price of one.  5 Stars" Edinburgh Metro

For details about timing, technical requirements, staging click here


 

ORGANTASTIC!

An hour show about the organ for children aged 8 and above asks the question 'To smash or not to smash?'

Rainer takes the role as spokesperson for The Organisation for Organ Havoc (O.O.H), not to be confused with their arch rivals the Association for Artistic Harmony (A.A.H).  O.O.H.'s declared aim is to 'smash up all the organs of the world and use the bits for something else' as made clear by their motto 'Si in Nuto Smash is Sursum' or 'If in doubt, Smash it up'. “O.O.H. believe that smashing up the organ will make a lot of space and save money'.  Says Rainer: 'the pipes alone have got enough metal in them to make 418 cars, 8682 scooters or 48,263,820 metal bits off pencils'. Does anyone care enough to save the organ?  Certainly the organ's residents, organ mice, hope so.  But if there is one thing O.O.H. hate more than organs its little furry animals. Organtastic was commissioned by Bridgewater Hall in Manchester as part of their Organ Outreach Programme and is performed with organist Daniel Moult

MOZART: ZE KOMPLETE HYSTERY

The curtain rises on a graveyard, smothered in an eerie mist.  After 250 years dumped in a sack, Wolfgang Amadeus is jolted back into the 21st century.  Yes, the genius of Salzburg returns with the truth about his life and his death. Particularly his death. But this isn't some mummy. Mozart knows what the score is:

"You have probably heard of me.  Yes?  Of course you have.  Type Mozart into Google - you get 39M results.  I do it all the time, can’t help myself.  OK, if you type tits into Google you get 40M results but then there are two of them.  Just think how many results you would get for Mozart’s tits”. 

A touching performance full of laugh out loud comedy.  His story, Ze Komplete Hystery told, Mozart returns to his sack to finally rest in peace.

For details about timing, technical requirements, staging click here

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Copyright ©2009-14 Rainer Hersch. Comedian and Classical Musician from Britain. management@masterpiece.me.uk