"The splendid Brian Berryman effortlessly fired up the audience's enthusiasm." -- Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

About me

Just a few words about where I came from and where I'm headed...

Brian was raised in the small town of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, on Canada's east coast; he has lived and worked in Germany for over twenty years. He was born into a musical family: his mother was a music teacher and organist, his father was an enthusiastic amateur choral singer.

After humble beginnings, joining the the band at the local paper mill at age twelve, he has become one of the most sought after specialists on historical flutes in the current early music scene in Germany.

After completing his Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance at the University of Victoria, Canada and a Master's and Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance Practice at Stanford University in California, he studied baroque flute with Wilbert Hazelzet at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands, completing the "Certificaat Oude Muziek".

Brian appears throughout Europe and on numerous radio and CD recordings with such notable ensembles as The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Barockorchester Stuttgart, Concerto Köln and the FestspielOrchesterGöttingen (FOG) of the International Handel Festival Göttingen founded by Nicolas McGegan and now led by Laurence Cummings.

With his ensemble La Ricordanza, of whom he is a founding member, he has recorded 5 critically acclaimed CDs. His solo recording, "Crossing the Border", and the concert programme of the same name, are a must-see for aficionados of stylistically adventurous and creative flute playing. His latest solo CD, "Almost Home", explores his Nova Scotian roots: Together with guitarist Cornelius Bode he presents a programme of traditional Irish and Scottish music, as well as music from Cape Breton on Canada's east coast.

Since 2006 he is principal flute of the period-instrument orchestra The Hannoversche Hofkapelle and can be heard as soloist regularly in their annual (and sold out!) New Year's Eve concert. Brian was a faculty member of the music school in Salzgitter, Germany for over ten years, teaching flute and conducting the youth orchestra, with whom he has won numerous prizes.

Brian can also occasionally be seen playing folk sessions in the Irish pubs of Hanover, but nowhere nearly as often as he would like...

Upcoming appearances will include:


Bach, Suite h-Moll, Brandenburgisches Konzert Nr. 5

Leipziger Bachfest


Bach, Suite h-Moll, Brandenburgisches Konzert Nr. 5

Festwochen Uslar


Bach, Suite h-Moll, Brandenburgisches Konzert Nr. 5

Musikwochen Weserbergland


Beethoven, Symphonie No. 3, "Eroica"
Blaibach, Oberpfalz


J.C.F. Bach, "Die Auferweckung des Lazarus"



Bach, Johann Sebastian, Suitein h-Moll (Barockorchester La Festa musicale)



Mendelssohn, Symphonie No. 4 ("Italienische")

Bad Elster


Mendelssohn und Mozart, (mit der Hannoverschen Hofkapelle)

Kloster Maulbronn


Bach, Matthäuspassion

Bachtage, Plön


Works of Haydn and a newly-commissioned composition (!)



Bach, Messe in h-Moll (Barockorchester Schirokko)

Laeiszhalle, Hamburg


Brahms, Ein deutsches Requiem



Sonaten of Handel, Bach, Oswald and Mackintosh



Bach, Weihnachtsoratorium 1-3 (Hannoversche Hofkapelle)

Stadtkirche Celle


Bach, Weihnachtsoratorium (Barockorchester Schirokko)



Bach, Weihnachtsoratorium (Hannoversche Hofkapelle)



J.S. Bach, Cantatas zu Weihnachten (Bachorchester Hannover, Jörg Straube)

Marktkirche Hannover


Silvesterkonzert der Hannoverschen Hofkapelle

Galerie-Gebäude, Schloss Herrenhausen, Hannover


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Almost Home

Almost Home: Traditional Music From Ireland, Scotland And Nova Scotia

About the CD

What happens when a classically trained flutist from Nova Scotia, living in Germany, gets homesick? This CD is an attempt to answer that question. If you have ever arrived in a place for the first time and yet felt instantly at home, you will understand something of what playing traditional music means to me: Growing up in Nova Scotia means you're never far away from the sounds of Celtic music; after some years in Germany I decided to realize a long-held dream and began playing Irish flute. It became instantly clear to me that this was no mere hobby, nor was it just a sideline to the orchestral playing which forms the backbone of my career. After almost two decades of sessions and concerts I am only still dipping into the well; I have reconciled myself to having classical accents in my playing, just as I will never sound completely German despite years of trying! No matter: This traditional music welcomes those who approach it with admiration and respect, rewarding the player and listener alike. Traditional music players speak of their tunes as objects, heirlooms to be treasured and passed on as gifts. Not: "Where did you learn that?", but rather: "Who gave that one to you?". "I got this from my father" is a common reply. So when I'm playing a traditional tune, it is all mine for the moment, in that moment when I breathe life into it. Later I will pass it on to another player and it becomes his or hers, and so on. I like to hope that the Beethoven symphonies and Bach cantatas I play have gained something of this relationship; if music isn't personal why bother? And so even though I came from elsewhere I still have a strong sense of belonging; I'll never be a native, but neither am I a casual visitor. I feel welcomed; it is a great privilege and good fortune to be "almost home".

King George Medley: King George IV (strathspey) / The Old King's Reel / King's Reel / Miss Lyall's Reel / Bridge of Bamore Blue Bonnet Set: Blue Bonnets Over the Border (air) / Garrett Barry's (jig) / Dusty Windowsills (jig) / The Hag at the Churn (jig) The Hills of Lorne: Hills of Lorne (air) / Sir Archibald Dunbar (strathspey) / Trad. Strathspey / Scourdiness (reel)/ Catching Rabbits (reel) / Margaree Reel The Blarney Pilgrim: The Blarney Pilgrim (jig) / The Lilting Banshee (jig) / Stan Chapman's (jig) / Frank's Reel Christmas Eve: Christmas Eve (air & reel) / Far From Home (reel) / Father Kelly's (reel)



Also available directly from me via PayPal for 14 € including shipping and PayPal fees

CD Almost Home

Fiery and Sublime

Fiery and Sublime - La Ricordanza, 2010

About the CD
"Learned, Fiery and Sublime": Thus was Quantz's flute playing described in his obituary. Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773) : In a period of constant wars and skirmishes between smaller ducal states he espoused an ideal of a multinational musical style. In an age where musicians were classed as labourers and servants he enjoyed a status and salary most of his colleagues could only dream of. Best known as the flute teacher of Frederick the Great, his musical development was essentially in place by the time he was awarded the official position at the Prussian court in 1740 (when he was in his early forties). Quantz's formative experiences were made in Dresden and during his three-year "Bildungsreise" through Italy, France, England and the Netherlands in the eyrs 1724 to 1727. This recording explores some of the sources of Quantz's internationalized style, grouping two representative works by Quantz together with works by composers who he met on his Grand Tour.
The fiery and furious Italian style was often portrayed as the diametrically opposite pole to the sentimental and pleasing French style; Quantz saw German musicians in a uniquely advantageous position, being able to draw the best from both worlds to form their own mixed taste. In Quantz's own closing words to his 1752 treatise (my translation): "...For a musical style, which is not merely accepted by just one state, or one province, or by this or that nation alone, but rather is appreciated by many different peoples; a music that can only be perceived as good, must, when based on sound principles of reason and of healthy sensibilities, be, indisputably, the very best."

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
Concerto à 5 QV 5:45 in D major for Traverso, Strings and Basso Continuo
Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)
Sonate en Trio Op. 2 Nr. 8 for Recorder, Viola and Basso Continuo
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Trio sonata Wq. 146 in A major for Traverso, Violin and Basso Continuo
Johann Gottlieb Graun (1702-1771)
Concerto in F major for Recorder, 2 Violins and Basso Continuo
Johann Joachim Quantz
Trio sonata in C Major for Recorder, Traverso and Basso Continuo
Michel Blavet (1700-1768)
Concerto in a minor for Traverso, 2 Violins and Basso Continuo

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CD Fiery and Sublime
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Foreign Insult

Foreign Insult - La Ricordanza, 2004

About the CD
To a musician in Europe during the eighteenth century, London must have seemed like a city of limitless opportunities. The pieces on this recording span almost a century, from 1685-1774, and give witness to the powerful attraction of London on the continental composers of the baroque period..
For the French, Italian and German musicians who flocked to the British capital there were many and varied opportunities to be had as a freelance musician.
The straitjacket of court employment in Germany or Italy, despite the regular paycheque, was for many composers less attractive than the precarious life of a freelancer in London. In the duchies of Germany and Italy, musical tastes and activities were subject to the whims of more or less enlightened rulers. In contrast, London's musical life was subject to the laws of supply and demand. The paying public, hungry for entertainment, welcomed enterprising and talented musicians whatever their origins, thereby nourishing a musical landscape that for over 100 years was the most varied and dynamic in Europe.

Georg Friedrich Händel
Concerto HWV 287 in g minor for Oboe, Strings and Basso continuo
Francesco Barsanti
from A collection of Old Scots tunes: Lochaber, Where Helen Lies, Clout the Cauldron, Corn Riggs are Bonny
Gottfried Finger
Sonata Op. 5 No. 10 in C Major for Recorder, Violoncello and Basso Continuo
Johann Christian Bach
Quintet Op. 11 No. 6in D Major for Traverso, Oboe, Violin, Viola and Basso Continuo
Nicola Mattheis
Ground after the Scotch Humour for Recorder, Violin and Basso Continuo
Georg Friedrich Händel
Trio sonata HWV 383 in F Major for Violin, Oboe and Basso Continuo
Carl Friedrich Abel
Concerto in e minor for Traverso, Strings and Basso Continuo

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Crossing the Border

Crossing the Border: Traditional and Baroque Flute Music of the British Isles
Brian Berryman, flutes; Axel Wolf, lute, guitar; Eckhart Kuper, harpsichord, 2002

About the CD

The styles of baroque and traditional folk music often seem to be worlds apart, played by musicians who rarely cross the border into the other genre. Historically just the opposite situation was more common; the border between the two realms of baroque and folk music was a site of heavy traffic: Far from disdaining each other's style, violinist and fiddler often expressed mutual esteem for the other's music. Baroque composers made frequent use of folk melodies for their compositions; folk musicians in turn were influenced by the music of their colleagues at court. This CD selects some of the many baroque pieces which are variations on traditional melodies, interspersed with Irish and Scottish dance tunes from 18th-century sources or commonly heard in pub sessions today.


Daniel Dow (1732-1783):
Ancient Scots Music (Strathspeys, Jig, Reels)
Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762):
3 Scotch Airs with Variations from A Treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick
Trad. Irish:
Banish Misfortune; The Maids in the Morning; The Banks of Lough Gowna; The Earl's Chair
Alexander Munro (18. Jh.):
Sonata "Fy Gar Rub Her": Allegro; Adagio; Corrente; Gavotta; Minuetto
Neil Gow (1727-1807):
Neil Gow's Lament for the Death of his Second Wife; Put the Gown upon the Bishop; The Iron Man; Dunfermline Races; Blue Bonnets O'er the Border
Johann Christian Fischer (1733-1800):
Variations on Gramachree Molly
Capt. Simon Fraser (1773-1852):
Caledonia's Wail for Neil Gow Her favourite Minstrel (Variations: Brian Berryman)
Francesco Geminiani:
An English Tune, Variations
Trad. Irish:
Eleanor Plunkett; Willie Coleman's Jig; Dwyer's Hornpipe; The Sally Gardens; The Steam Packet
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La forza della virtu

La forza della virtu - La Ricordanza, 2000

About the CD

Reinhard Keiser was born on the 9th of January 1674 in Teuchern, near Weissenfels, Germany, and died on the 12th of September 1739 in Hamburg. He was the most important composer for German-language opepra of the high baroque period. His career as an opera composer began after his graduation from the Thomasschule in Leipzig, when one of his operas was performed at the Brunswick court in 1693. In 1697 his opera "the beloved Adonis" was produced at the Gänsemarkt theatre in Hamburg, marking the beginnings of the important key role he played in the Hamburg opera world for the next 40 years. Between 1702 and 1707 he held the post of artistic director.p>

The selected arias on this CD provide an overview of Keiser's early years in Hamburg: 1697 Adonis, 1700 La forza della virtu, 1703 Claudius and 1704 Nebucadnezar. Georg Philipp Telemann's violin concerto was inserted into a revival performance of Nebucadnezar in 1728.p>

Keiser's friend and supporter Johann Mattheson, a renowned theoretician and composer resident in Hamburg, never tired of singing his praises in print. Keiser's music is, for him, above all "galant, loving", and conveys "all the passions to which the human heart is most prone."


Reinhard Keiser
Die verdammte Staat-Sucht, oder der verführte Claudius (scenes)
Sonata à 3 No. 1 (1725) für Traverso, Viola d'amore and Basso Continuo
Der gestürzte und wieder erhöhte Nebucadnezar, König zu Babylon (scenes)
Georg Philipp Telemann
Concerto for 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello and Basso Continuo
Der geliebte Adonis (scene)
La forza della virtù; oder, Die Macht der Tugend (scenes)

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Leidenschaftliche Unterhaltung

Leidenschaftliche Unterhaltung - La Ricordanza, 2000

About the CD

"...a well written concerto...resembles a passionate conversation between the soloist and the orchestra accompanying him; the soloist communicates his feelings to the ensemble; the ensemble applauds him with briefly inserted imitation, soon it confirms his expression; in the Allegro it tries to stoke the fire of his enthusiasm even further..."

The German lexicographer Heinrich Christoph Koch's definition of the concerto in his Musikalisches Lexikon of 1802 fits equally well to the four earlier incarnations of the high baroque concerto for wind soloist and orchestra on this recording.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Suite No. 2 in b minor BWV 1067 for Traverso, Strings and Basso Continuo
Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto in d minor RV 454 for Oboe, Strings and Basso Continuo
Johann David Heinichen
Double concerto in g minor for Traverso, Oboe, Strings and Basso Continuo
Georg Philipp Telemann
Double concerto in e minor for Traverso, Recorder, Strings and Basso Continuo

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Das Janusgesicht des empfindsamen Stils

Das Janusgesicht des empfindsamen Stils - La Ricordanza, 1998

About the CD

In the second half of the eighteenth century music was Janus-faced: Like the ancient Roman god of doorways, beginnings and endings, music was focussed simultaneously on its baroque past and classical future. In attempting to depict stronger passions in music than was hitherdo deemed acceptable in public, composers strained the formal boundaries of music to their breaking point. Composers like Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Gottlob Janitsch experimented with unresolved dissonances and speechlike phrasing, in an effort to expand the possibilities of musical expression within prevailing convention.

At the same time there was a reaction against this highly emotionalised style, represented above all by composers who were still beholden to aristocratic patronage, as was the case with Johann Christian Bach, the "London" Bach. His courtly listeners rejected emotional excesses as much as they rejected the overly learned counterpoint of the high baroque, in favour of a more pleasant and refined musical style.


Johann Christian Bach
Quintet Op.22 No.1 in D Major for Traverso, Oboe, Violin, Violoncello and obbligato Harpsichord
Johann Gottlob Janitsch
Quartet Op.1 No.1 in c minor for Traverso, Oboe, Viola and Basso Continuo
Johann Christian Bach
Quartet Op.19 No.2 in D Major for Traverso, Oboe, Viola and Violoncello
Johann Gottlob Janitsch
Quartet in D Major for Traverso, Oboe, Viola and Basso Continuo
Johann Christian Bach

Quartet in B Flat Major for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Violoncello

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Clips from Brian's YouTube channel.

This set of "Old Scots Tunes" is also available on the "Foreign Insult" CD. The video is a live concert recording from Schloss Salder, Germany.

From the Irish Pub in Göttingen at our concert "Händel Goes Pub": Three Breton An Dros, also popular in the Irish folk scene!

Another set from our Göttingen Irish Pub concert, a mix of a slow American folk lament, a slow Irish reel and some fast Cape Breton fiddle music!

The beautiful Andante from Bach's flute sonata in E minor, recorded live at Schloss Salder, Germany.

There are further YouTube videos of CDs I have played on, posted by other YouTube members. Here are some links:

With La Ricordanza:

J. J. Quantz - Sonata for flute, recorder & continuo in C (QV 2: Anh. 3)

Michel Blavet concerto in A Minor in a live performance for NDR Radio with the Hannoversche Hofkapelle