Karsten Windt


The Philharmonic Kitchen - food and music events for a special experience of the senses.

Forest Hill Musical Days - the festival that initially brought Karsten to San Francisco and made him fall in love with the city and it's inhabitants.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin - Karsten's musical home from 1991 until 2011 and the best alternative to the Berlin Philharmonic: the "other orchestra" in town performing in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall.

San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music - promoter of chamber music in the Bay Area and fiscal sponsor of Salon Classique.

Noe Valley Chamber Music

Born in Berlin, Germany, Karsten Windt was first violinist with the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra (DSO) from 1991 until 2011, performing regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and touring all over Europe, Asia, North and South America. He graduated from the Universität der Künste in Berlin and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London with Professors R.-J. Kimstedt, Hans Maile, Yfrah Neaman and David Takeno. Karsten also took masterclasses with Herman Krebbers in Holland, Emanuel Hurvitz in England, and Nathan Milstein in Zurich, Switzerland.

Member of the DSO, Karsten won a Grammy in 2011 for the best opera recording under the baton of Kent Nagano. As a freelance player Karsten has joined the NDR Symphony Hamburg, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Oslo Opera, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Orchestra de la Communidad de Valencia, and the London Philharmonic.
During his time in Berlin, he was responsible for building up the DSO String Academy over several years, mentoring talented young musicians for orchestral repertoire, auditions and chamber music. He founded a string orchestra which he led as concertmaster, and organized a chamber music series with them. Since forming his own group in 2001, the Akanthus Ensemble Berlin, his concern has been to create fresh ways to hear and understand classical music. Karsten has also produced several CDs with his musicians. In concert he presents not only traditional and contemporary music, but also popular styles like Argentinian Tango or Russian Folk Music. Through the introduction of the artists, the composers and their works, he gives the audiences the inside perspective of an experienced musician on his programs.
The DSO chamber music activities included Karsten Windt’s interpretive introductions for a concert series related to Mozart’s 250th birthday. He also planned and introduced the opening concert of the “Salon Noir,” the title given to a series presented in connection with the exhibit “Melancholy: the Genius and Madness of Art” at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, in which music and paintings were combined in thematic relationships. He also developed, in collaboration with hotels and restaurants like the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin, the Ristorante Tristán in Mallorca, Spain, the International Club, Berlin, and Rindchens Wine Merchant in Berlin and Hamburg, a new kind of event that combines music, wine and exclusive menus for very special culinary-musical experience.    
Karsten talks about music in English, French and German. In 2006, 2007 and 2009 he introduced and played in a series of concerts at Forest Hill Musical Days, a chamber music festival in San Francisco under the direction of internationally acclaimed pianist Mari Kodama and maestro Kent Nagano. After acquiring his residency in the US he moved from Berlin to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he directs his concert series Salon Classique, gives private recitals and works as an independent musician and event organizer. Among the regional orchestras in the Bay Area, Karsten has played with Symphony Silicon Valley, the Berkeley, Sacramento, Modesto, Santa Rosa, Monterey and Napa Valley Symphonies, and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. Recently Karsten teamed up with violist Ivy Zenobi from the Bellarosa String Quartet for food and music events with The Philharmonic Kitchen.
With more than two decades of experience in the Berlin and international music scenes, Karsten feels a great responsibility to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next generation. He has a big place in his heart for children and was invited to design and narrate DSO family concerts. He believes that the future of classical music lies not only with our young musicians but also with our young audiences. He coached and directed the chamber music program at Marin Academy in San Rafael from 2011 until 2019 and currently maintains a private teaching studio.
Karsten holds several captain’s licenses. In his free time he is a passionate sailor aboard his 36ft sloop.