European Hanseatic Ensemble

European Hanseatic Ensemble 2021, © Olaf Malzahn

The Hanseatic cities in Northern Europe with Lübeck at the top were poles of economic wealth and middle class prosperity. At the same time the Hanseatic League incited a diverse flourishing of culture, including music. The goal of this European project is to rediscover the great musical heritage of this region in the years around 1600 and to revive it for our time through concert performances. The project is coordinated in the European Hansemuseum in Lübeck.

The project “European Hanseatic Ensemble” which was established in 2019 is aimed at talented young musicians who study or have studied Early Music at a European conservatory or university and will be under the age of 32 when the masterclasses take place in September.

The European Hanseatic Ensemble will be newly formed each year, consisting of musicians that particularly excelled in the masterclasses of the previous year. The ensemble will tour through different Hanseatic cities with a newly developed programme each year.

They will explore music by composers who worked in the Hanseatic cities and whose works have largely been neglected in today’s concert business – unjustly so! For there are marvellous compositions of various different genres that were popular around 1600: motets in the style of classical vocal polyphony, multi-choral works following Venetian examples, as well as compositions in the concertant style of the early baroque era. You can find numerous samples on the right.

The artistic direction has been place in the hands of Manfred Cordes, an internationally renowned specialist in European music of the 16th and 17th century, long-standing professor for Early Music at the University of the Arts in Bremen and conductor of the Ensemble Weser-Renaissance Bremen.

Through its affiliation with the European Hansemuseum, the ensemble has found its ideal home. The 800 year-history of the Hanseatic League can be traced closely here like nowhere else. The Hansemuseum offers a combination of staged historical scenes, cabinets with valuable original objects and interactive features presenting astonishing new historical aspects of cultural and urban development and enabling the museum to convey an informative and fascinating impression of the world of the Hanseatic League. During their visit in Lübeck the museum offers the participants of the masterclasses the opportunity to gather valuable insights into the history of the Hanseatic League, the era that they are exploring in their music.

The concerts with participants of the masterclasses of 2023 are scheduled to take place in summer and fall of 2024.

A selection of the more than 200 Hanseatic cities:

Find a complete overview of the location of all Hanseatic cities here:

Download map (PDF 3 MB)

© European Hansemuseum / Research Centre for Hanse and Baltic History (FGHO)

Music samples from the Hanseatic cities

CD productions, courtesy of Ensemble Weser-Renaissance Bremen

Andreas Hakenberger (1574 – 1627), Gdansk
Beati omnes, qui timent Dominum

Johann Stobäus (1580 – 1646), Königsberg

Du bist meine Zuversicht

Johann Steffens (1560 – 1616), Lüneburg
Paduane & Gaillard

Julius Johannes Weiland (1605 – 1663), Bremen
Laudate Dominum

Philipp Dulichius (1562 – 1631),
Anni nostrae sicut arenea


Hieronymus Praetorius (1560 – 1629), Hamburg
Cantate Dominum

Thomas Selle (1599 – 1663), Hamburg
Christ ist erstanden

Jacob Praetorius (1586 – 1651), Hamburg
Gaudete omnes

Johannes Eccard (1553 – 1611), Gdansk
Lasst uns singen

Johann Vierdanck (1605 – 1646), Stralsund / Greifswald
Ich freue mich