The Camerata Salzburg does not comply to the conventional notion of a chamber orchestra. Those who play in the Camerata Academica and who shape, form and contribute to its success, must have an artistic disposition which draws its strength from the chamber music dialogue. Instrumentalists must possess highly tuned, keen hearing, have an open-minded approach, self confidence and a tolerant attitude.
Such pre-requisites are some of the reasons why the Camerata has remained, since it was founded by Bernhard Paumgartner in 1951, a kinship with strong affinities in every phase of its artistic development, to such an extent that it adopted a family character during long leadership of Sándor Végh (from 1978 to his death in January 1997). In September 1997 Sir Roger Norrington was appointed chief conductor of the orchestra In addition, the Camerata works regularly with conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Trevor Pinnock or Richard Hickox and performs frequently without conductors, under concertmaster like Alexander Janiczek, or highly-acclaimed soloists, such as Murray Perahia, Boris Pergamenschikow, Maria-Joao Pires, Rudolf Buchbinder and Sabine Meyer.
The repertoire takes the less well-known works of Mozart into consideration and is also dedicated to the masters of the baroque period, the entire Viennese classics through to the main protagonists of the 20th century (Schönberg, Berg, Bartók, Strawinsky).
Extensive sets of works (such as Mozart's serenades, divertimenti, cassations and various piano concerts) and numerous individual works of the repertoires mentioned were produced for the audio media (Capriccio, DECCA, Philips) under the supervision of Sándor Végh. More recently, Mozart's violin concerts (Augustin Dumay) have been recorded for the "Deutsche Grammophon", the works of HK Gruber (Franz Welser-Möst) for EMI and for ERATO (Mozart piano concerts with Till Fellner).
The Camerata Academica Salzburg leads an active life with various concerts and tours amounting to 90 performances per year at home and abroad. During these concerts there are ample opportunities to listen to solo performances of the orchestra members.
The Camerata gives a series of concerts in Salzburg in cooperation with the International Mozarteum Foundation, such as the "Begegnung"-Festival, and is a frequent guest every year in the Viennese Concert Hall. For many years, the Camerata Academica has been invited to the Salzburg Festival as well as to the Mozart Week as an opera and concert orchestra.
In 1998/99 the Camerata Academica Salzburg will work together with a large number of artists, some of whom are mentioned below, as well as those conductors and solo artists named above: Pierre Boulez, Thomas Quasthoff, Matthias Goerne, Maurice Bourgue, Alexander Lonquich, Zoltán Kocsis, Peter Schreier, and Elisabeth Leonskaja.
Concert tours take the orchestra to Germany, France, Italy, the USA, Canada, as well as to South America and the Azores.