The music publishing group Bärenreiter celebrates its centenary in 2023. In 1923, its founder Karl Vötterle (1903–1975) published his first title, a hymnal of folk songs, in Augsburg. Four years later, the growing company moved to Kassel, which is still today the headquarters of the now international Bärenreiter Group, which includes several independent publishing labels and branches in Basel, London, New York and, since 1991, Prague. During its 100-year history, Bärenreiter has gradually become one of the world’s most important players in the field of music publishing, and the logo with the famous bear in its centre is respected as a seal of quality indicating editions prepared with the utmost professional care both in relation to their content and printing. The family business is currently headed by the founder’s daughter Barbara Scheuch-Vötterle together with her husband Leonhard Scheuch and their son Clemens Scheuch.
The publishing house gained international renown in the 1950s for its scholarly-critical complete editions of the works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert and other key composers of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods. In 1978, in cooperation with the Czechoslovak publishing house Supraphon, the series of complete editions was expanded to include Leoš Janáček, and volumes of the edition of his works are still published today. Another project that earned Bärenreiter the highest respect among musicological circles was the monumental encyclopaedia MGG (Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart), published between 1949 and 1986 (second edition 1994 – 2008 followed by the “MGG Online” project).
In addition to the complete editions and scholarly publications, the publishing house has become famous for its Urtext editions. Under the ‘Bärenreiter Urtext’ label, compositions are published in a form that most faithfully reflects the author’s creative intent, while at the same time presenting the works in a manner that meets the needs of contemporary performers. The Urtext editions encompass dozens of composers from all historical periods and are indispensable material not only for professional concert artists, but also for amateur players and music students the world over.
In addition to these series of editions, which form the backbone of the publisher’s editorial programme, Bärenreiter publishes works by contemporary composers, books on music, and pedagogical literature with equal success.