Hats off to a charismatic winner with a powerful voiceLiubov Medvedeva performed self-confidently and concentrated on the stage in the Palais Garnier. From the very first moment she was sure of the attention and enthusiasm of the audience. She sang every one of her pieces – whether by Donizetti, Mozart or Strauss – with total precision and passion. In the spirit of Georges Bizet's aria "Ouvre ton cœur" (Open Your Heart) she spoke with refreshing openness about her origins, her feelings on stage and creativity in the opera business. The young soprano is the proud winner of the Siemens Opera Contest France 2019.
Liubov, can you tell us something about your background, your musical education and your family?
I was born in Russia, or to be more precise in the north of Russia, above the Arctic Circle. My parents are not musicians themselves. My mother is a nursery school teacher and my father is a policeman. Nonetheless, I have been surrounded by music since my childhood, so my parents have contributed substantially to my musical education. I owe them a great deal.
How would you describe the art of singing?
For me, the art of singing means always being in harmony with my body and with myself. And wherever I perform or whatever I do, I always try to be very precise in my work. It is very important to know where you can improve and where you should change your expression or your technique. Standing on the stage gives me a lot of energy. This energy helps me to do my very best and to perform better every time.
Many people say that opera is all about tradition. But what about innovation and creativity?
Yes, many people say that opera is about tradition and nothing else, but, like any art form, opera changes over time and innovations are inevitable. Our lives are continuously evolving and of course the same also applies to opera. For me, creativity means constantly searching and never standing still. It is a living, dynamic process.
Siemens Opera Contest France 2019
Siemens Arts Program initiated the third Siemens Opera Contest France in Paris. It is a professional singing competition for outstanding young singers.
See the video about the winner and voices about the Siemens Opera Contest.
What influence does digitalization have on the music landscape? Artists earn around 0.006 cents per stream at Spotify. To earn the minimum wage of 1414 euros in Germany, an artist needs around 393,000 streams a month. Only when songs are streamed millions of times musicians can make a good living from their music (source).
After the #SiemensArtsProgram had started its own project in the field of digital music, we wanted to stick to the topic. We invited representatives from the arts, media and politics to a panel discussion in the Siemensstadt The guests discussed how artists and labels deal with the changes in the production and distribution of music. Many musicians and smaller labels can only survive if they concentrate more on live concerts. On the other hand, thanks to streaming platforms, the artists reach music lovers all over the world. Niche music from Germany finds fans from Lagos to Seoul.
But just listen to the podcast yourself!
Jugend forscht – Always an idea aheadFrom 16th to 19th of May 2019 the national competition of "Jugend forscht" took place in Chemnitz. Siemens, as premium partner of the Fraunhofer IWU, the federal sponsorship institution, supported the competition for the best young German researchers in a special way.
Creative minds and an innovative spirit
Curiosity, daring and the will to take risks – or in short: creativity. These are the qualities that talented young researchers and artists have in common.
The foundation Jugend forscht e.V. has set itself the goal of promoting young people in STEM subjects who have precisely these qualities, at an early age. Nationwide, more than 12,000 young researchers had registered for the 54th round of "Jugend forscht". Around 200 of them qualified for the national competition in several selection procedures.
From 16th to 19th of May, the finalists of the regional competitions presented their work to the jury at the Chemnitz Exhibition Centre, and were honored for their outstanding achievements – also with the intention of getting them into the mood for "more".
Culture and STEM-Research? For sure!
Inspired by the innovative ideas and inventions of the participants, the Siemens Arts Program could not miss the opportunity to connect the talented researchers with artists.
The artistic program illustrated how creativity drives different forms of creation and thus builds a bridge between research and culture. The breakdance crew Da Rookies, is well-known for experiments (similar to the young researchers) – but in their field: music and dance. They fascinated the audience with breathtaking moves and a passionate show at the highest level of dance. Also Atlas Ahead as Alternative Funk Band and Tereza at the turntables inspired with musical competence, emotions, passion and the eagerness to experiment. Mastering their technique and combining it with expertise lead to the creation of new artistic worlds.
It created a stimulating atmosphere which invited to exchanging inspiring ideas - and accounted to that special spirit for innovation.
In the "tent of innovations," Siemens and Fraunhofer IWU invited visitors on a journey into the future. A variety of exhibits illustrated which forward-looking solutions with the latest technologies, digitization and ingenious talent are possible today. This also includes innovations in art and culture. The young researchers and visitors were able to experience a combination of 3D audio recordings and a virtual orchestra at the Avatar Orchestra of the Siemens Arts Program.
The result: thanks to the special recording process, works by Peter Tchaikovsky and Friedrich Gulda appear three-dimensional - as if they were sitting between the musicians. An app even made it possible to select one's own viewing and listening position or to select individual orchestral parts. It created a surprising, new listening experience - and inspired to experiment with new technologies also in the field of arts and culture.
Impressions from the "Jugend forscht" competion 2019 in Chemnitz
Watch our video (in German):
Kristīne, the perfectionist rebelWhat can we learn from artists? In an unusually open discussion with the ARD music prize winner Kristīne Balanas (violin), we learned a lot about false advisors, trust in one's own intuition and the courage to take risks. The young violinist makes her debut in New York's Carnegie Hall.
Kristīne, you are considered one of the most aspiring international talents. What was your most important decision in your career?
For me one of the most important things has been to always remain true to my principles and never compromise the quality of music. Years ago, I used to cancel concerts, left rehearsals and be quite difficult to work with when I think it was not up to my standards. I was too much of a perfectionist. Perhaps I expected too much or was too idealistic, I was a bit of a rebel. Nowadays I carefully take my next steps and I am not afraid to take risks. Patience is also helpful! Musicians often get a lot of advice and a lot of contradicting advice from various people. It is very important to find a few people whom you can to trust when taking decisions and most importantly trust your own intuition.
You told us that your parents are famous rock musicians in Latvia. Was playing classical music an act of rebellion?
That is a very interesting question! My father was singing rock’n’roll throughout life and made us all sing since we were 2-3 years old. I think it was more like a natural development to go into more and more complex music rather than a rebellion! For me it was later a dilemma between both, when I wanted to do more crazy things in classical music or didn’t get enough happiness just from singing pop songs.
You describe yourself as an advocate of contemporary and lesser-known repertoire.
Yes, I recently took part at a festival in Wales where most of the music was unknown or completely new for me! There were many British and Baltic composers and pieces I would otherwise not have an opportunity to perform or learn. It was such a challenge to discipline myself and not just stick with the usual. It is in a way comfortable and natural for us as human beings to only do the familiar things. I love setting new challenges and to explore music written by living composers!
A few months ago, you played for Siemens colleagues in Berlin Siemensstadt. Did you remember anything special about your performance?
I loved performing at the Siemensstadt and meeting all the audience members afterwards! It was a very special concert because of the people and the wonderful hospitality. I also enjoyed the fact that for many of the audience members this was their first classical music experience. It makes me so happy to know that my concert was maybe the ice breaker and these people will develop a genuine interest in classical music!
A Rebel at Carnegie Hall
The Siemens Arts Program staged a concert with ARD music prize winner Kristīne Balanas (violin) in the Carnegie Hall.
See the video about her debut in New York’s “temple of music”.
In conjunction with the Orchestra Academy of the Bavarian State Orchestra and Jakob Spahn, solo cellist at the State Orchestra, the Siemens Arts Program has recorded works by Peter Tchaikovsky and Friedrich Gulda, producing them in several “immersive sound formats”. In intensive cooperation with the Siemens Arts Program, its artistic director Stephan Frucht and the Immersive Audio Network IAN, a completely new sound experience has been born which unites the traditional cello repertoire with a technically innovative audio method.
All three spatial dimensions are represented in the immersive 3D sound. The listeners can now experience the entire sound spectrum in three dimensions - as if they were in the middle of the orchestra.
The “Cello Concertos” album in 3D sound quality has been published on the hänssler Classic label as a Blu-ray and CD by 11 May. The sound recordings were taken at the group headquarters of Siemens AG and in the Bruno-Walter hall of the Bavarian State Opera. The 3D immersive production was also presented at the Siemens Headquarters in Munich on 28 April as part of the “Long Night of Music” event.
The following works have been recorded on the new CD and Blu-ray:
- Friedrich Gulda: concert for violoncello and wind ensemble
- Peter Tchaikovsky: rococo variations for violoncello and wind quartet (arrangement: David Stromberg)
Experience the musicians of the orchestra Academy of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester as a virtual avatar orchestra
To go one step further, the 3D audio recordings were combined with an augmented reality application. A virtual avatar orchestra plays Friedrich Gulda’s concert in 3D audio sound. Viewers can choose their viewing and listening positions themselves, while using a touchpad to select the individual orchestra parts.
The freedom of the arts and sciences is one of the cornerstones of democratic societies. As an innovative company committed to progress and innovation, we consider it our natural duty to protect and nurture this freedom.Prof. Dr. Stephan Frucht, Senior Vice President Culture and Sponsoring
The winner! Speechless – shocked – happy.
The young soprano Sarah Shine wins the second Siemens Opera Contest France at the Opéra national de Paris.
The up-and-coming talent was born in 1993 in Ireland, completed her studies at the Irish Royal Academy of Music in 2015 and has been studying at the Academy of Opéra Paris since 2017. At the Siemens Opera Contest, she beat 12 competitors in front of the expert jury, consisting of Jean-Yves Kaced (Opéra national de Paris), Matthias Schulz, (Berlin State Opera), Dr. Clemens Trautmann (Deutsche Grammophon), Eva-Maria Wieser (Salzburg Festival) and Prof. Dr. Stephan Frucht (Siemens Arts Program).
Culture for colleagues
Lunch Concert: On August 24 the first Siemens Lunch Concert took place at Siemens Headquarters in Munich. As Siemens now partners with the ARD International Music Competition, the Siemens Arts Program invited the last year’s prize winner Dominik Wagner (Double Bass) and Maciej Skarbek (Piano) to perform at the lunchtime concert (August 2017).
"I am in seventh heaven"
The first winner of the Siemens Opera Contest France was chosen at the Palais Garnier in Paris.
Mikhail Timoshenko, a 24-year-old baritone, impressed the expert jury consisting of Jean-Yves Kaced, Development Director of the Paris Opera, Matthias Schulz, Director of the Staatsoper Berlin, Dr. Clemens Trautmann, CEO of Deutsche Grammophon and Prof. Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program.
From Ankara to New York
İlkin Alpay is at the beginning of a very special journey. Her ambition is to become a world-class singer. Therefore, she is taking part in a program initiated by the State Opera and Siemens Turkey.
See the portrait of a young soprano.
A lab of ideas for creativity and change
Arts and culture are a vital driving force for exploring identity, creativity and self-reflection. The Siemens Arts Program builds bridges between disciplines, enabling the company to discover new ways of thinking through new experiences. As a creative department within Siemens AG, we see our role as that of mediator between the worlds of art and business. In an open and impartial way, we engage with future challenges from an artistic and cultural perspective so that we can actively shape transformation and change in line with our corporate values.
The Siemens Arts Program does this by creating innovative projects with prominent individuals and institutions from the arts and culture scene. The aim is to encourage collaboration - both personal and thematic, involving creative actors, artistic excellence, and innovative institutions - with our company. The opportunity to participate in the creative process is a key criterion for project selection and management in the Siemens Arts Program. Our aim here is to unleash a powerful inspirational force. Our projects also have a broad relevance and serve as a model within the company.
In a nutshellIn 1987, Siemens AG launched the “Siemens Kulturprogramm” (Siemens Cultural Program) with the aim of developing a specific cultural program for the company. Starting from internal cultural activities, it developed into a well-known and versatile international program for the promotion of contemporary art and culture in the early 1990s. This company-owned cultural institution implemented initiatives on its own initiative in addition to traditional sponsoring. In 2015, the Siemens Arts Program was relaunched under the artistic direction of Prof. Dr. Stephan Frucht.
Prof. Dr. Stephan Frucht
Artistic Director Siemens Arts Program
Senior Vice President Culture and Sponsoring
Organization & Projects
The Siemens Arts Program has a delivery role and does not consider applications for funding from third parties. Engagement with arts and culture is expressed through its own projects and interdisciplinary partnerships. Starting a corporate collection in the conventional sense is not a stated aim of the Siemens Arts Program.
Siemens Arts Program