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Classical music has featured prominently in our work since the program's inception. At the same time, we are also committed to supporting productions that feature contemporary forms of musical expression. Against this background we initiate dance performances and sound experiments as well as musical productions and classical concerts.
An important aim of our activities is to nurture the next generation of creative talent around the world. We do this through our own competitions for aspiring artists (e.g. Siemens Opera Contest) and by forging links between new talents and established international cultural institutions (Carnegie Hall New York, Opera Garnier Paris, Bavarian State Opera, Salzburg Festival).
In memory of his master Mstislaw Rostropovich, Daniel Müller-Schott played excerpts from Bach's Cello Suite No. 2, the piece that Rostropovich also played at Checkpoint Charlie after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 10, 1989. Original film footage of this historic event from November 1989 was shown parallel on stage. Müller-Schott's opening concert reminded the audience of the fall of the Berlin Wall, unity and freedom, inspiring ten thousands of spectators.
In the Siemens Pavilion, we also created a link between digitalization and classical music with our "3D Sound Project" including an avatar orchestra in an augmented reality environment.
We were able to talk behind the scenes about their concerts at the Brandenburg Gate both with the up-and-coming talent Ilkin Alpay and with the renowned cellist Daniel Müller-Schott.
The well known cellist Daniel Müller-Schott took the time before his big performance on October 3rd to talk about the joint project.
What were your first thoughts when we - the Siemens Arts Program - approached you with the idea for the opening concert in memory of the fall of the Berlin Wall?
"It is a great honor for me to be able to recall the fall of the Berlin Wall with excerpts from Bach's cello suites. I can certainly say in advance that this moment will be highly emotional for me, since my teacher Rostropovich played the same piece at Checkpoint Charlie in 1989. The feeling of knowing that the original film footage of this historic event in 1989 will be faded in live on stage is beyond words."
What does the artistic intervention in memory of Mstislav Rostropovich mean for you as a musician? How do you relate to Rostropovich - and to Berlin?
"Slava Rostropovich was my teacher for one year. A few years after he played Bach at the Berlin Wall, I was able to audition him by the recommendation of Anne-Sophie Mutter. He was also curious because he had heard about my first prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Moscow. I profited infinitely from him. In Berlin I have played countless concerts and I love the energy, the pulse and the culture of the city. Many of my friends live there. It will be a particularly emotional moment to play Bach for Berlin, for Germany and for my late teacher".
The young soprano Ilkin Alpay won the Siemens Opera Contest Turkey in 2016. Since then she has made on the initiative of Siemens Arts Program her debut at Carnegie Hall New York in 2017 and in the same year performed at the Federal President's Buergerfest at Bellevue Palace. Her appearance at the Brandenburg Gate was another unique moment in her young career.
Directly after her concert we asked her for a short statement about her performance.
How do you feel after your performance?
"I've just sung at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for the German Unification Day. It was a wonderful experience for me to sing in such a historic place."
The Siemens Arts Program presents the second Siemens Opera Contest France and its winner, Sarah Shine, in the world-famous Opéra national de Paris.
The Siemens Arts Program initiated 2018 the second Siemens Opera Contest France.
Shine convinced the expert jury and successfully beat twelve competitors. The up-and-coming talent was born in 1993 in Ireland and graduated from the Irish Royal Academy of Music in 2015. At a festive gala at the Opéra national de Paris, she received the prize from Nicolas Petrovic, CEO Siemens France, and in the presence of Klaus Helmrich and Roland Busch, members of the Managing Board. The audience of customers, partners and politicians were impressed by the presence, passion and talent of the winner. She was presented with the award to rapturous applause.
The performance at the Palais Garnier in Paris is a very special moment for the young soprano.
The winner of the competition talks about her feelings and preparations for major performances, such as the Siemens Opera Contest France.
How do you feel, and what does this award mean to you?
"My reaction to winning the prize was total shock. Now that I've time to digest what it means, I feel pure happiness. The Siemens Opera Contest and contests like this are very important. This gives me a recognition. How I sing, how I perform and how I lead my life, I was doing something right. It gave me such confidence."
How do you prepare for major performances?
"Training your voice for concerts like in the Palais Garnier starts months before what you see on stage. It means getting the music into your body and finding how you can express it in a healthy way with the correct technique."
Siemens Arts Program publishes cello works by Tchaikovsky and Gulda in 3D sound technology.
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 recipient is in the middle of the acoustic space and can experience the spatial quality of the sounds three-dimensionally. The “Cello Concertos” album in 3D sound quality will be out on the hänssler Classic label as a Blu-ray and CD on 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 is also being 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:
Full of self-confidence, conductor Marie Jacquot steps out in front of the orchestra. Violinist Sarah Christian can sense her fellow musicians behind her, while Fabian Müller at the piano is calm personified. Three “newcomers” are introducing themselves to an orchestra. And not just any orchestra, but the Bavarian State Orchestra, and not at just any venue, but New York’s Carnegie Hall.
In March 27 the Siemens Arts Program initiates a concert between debutants and virtuoso musicians from the international music world. The Bavarian State Orchestra – the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera – accompanies the winners of the ARD Music Competition 2017, Sarah Christian (violin) and Fabian Müller (piano) at Carnegie Hall in New York. Conductor Marie Jacquot fronts the evening concert.
Making their debut at Carnegie Hall is an accolade for the young musicians, and during their interviews, the three artistes report on their collaboration with the Bavarian State Orchestra.
Ms. Jacquot, could you describe for us how it feels to conduct an ensemble like the Bavarian State Orchestra? Just routine or an unnerving experience?
“Neither routine nor unnerving! As I assisted Mr. Petrenko on “South Pole” in 2016, I am already familiar with many faces in the orchestra. I look forward to meeting the musicians again and getting to know them better, as well making the acquaintance of other members of the orchestra. It is of course always an honor to have the chance to be able to work with musicians of such a caliber. It is a special opportunity, and a shared responsibility to be able to serve the composer and their art even more effectively.”
The Siegfried Idyll, like many of Wagner’s works, strikes many people as being dominated by maleness. Despite its subtlety. So as the conductor, what sort of perspective do you bring to a piece like this?
“Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll is a particularly intimate work, full of deep personal sentiments. With everything from tender, flowing moments, landscapes painted through the music, highly pleasant feelings, right up to the expression of the utmost passion. At every moment, Richard Wagner succeeds in captivating the musicians and audience alike in such a way that they all have no other choice than to immerse themselves in his world. As conductor, I try to convey the emotions in the music through my own life experiences, without my feelings being front and center, but rather helping me to serve a greater purpose.
Having composed the work to mark the 33rd birthday of his wife Cosima and in memory of the birth of their son Siegfried, Wagner was long reluctant to publish the piece. It was intended always to retain its special intimacy, always to sound as if nobody in the room should actually be allowed to hear it. This highly personal declaration of love is one of the most beautiful in music. It is the calm and stillness between the notes that moves us so.”
It is impossible to state definitively whether men or women approach music in different ways. What is certain is that since the days of Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn, it is not only woman conductors but also their instrumentalist counterparts who are subject to particular pressure. As someone who ranks among the most talented female violinists of her generation, how does Sarah Christian cope with the pressure?
“Firstly, I try not to put myself under so much pressure. I tend to shy away from seeing myself in this way and I can be hard on myself. For me, the most important thing is quite simply the music. Not me. So when I go on stage I am there to convey the music, and do not see myself as being at the center of things,” says Sarah Christian.
In truth, what sounds so simple here is a challenge for every “performer” – and that applies in industry too. Major deals are often accompanied by a degree of nervousness. The young violinist explains her method.
“If I am nervous, I try to imagine the composer standing in front of me as a “shield”, so to speak, and that I am playing through them. I believe there are many professions where it helps to concentrate on the matter at hand or the greater purpose and not to regard oneself as being too significant - in today’s era of Facebook et al, this is sometimes no easy task,” continues Sarah Christian.
No less of a task is the interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto, though it is also an opportunity afforded to this exceptional pianist by the Siemens Arts Program – an opportunity granted to few musicians.
Fabian Müller relates: “A year or so ago, I heard the Bavarian State Opera in concert with Frank Peter Zimmermann, and was absolutely overwhelmed by their quality and enthusiasm for the music. The fact that I now have the possibility of playing with these musicians is the most exciting and inspiring opportunity I can imagine. And furthermore at Carnegie Hall, a venue that has held such a mystical, magical aura for me since my childhood, to the extent that I am only now certain that it actually exists having set foot over the threshold.”
Müller is full of enthusiasm.
Siemens is that, too: an enabler, a catalyst for the careers of the creative and talented.
As part of the festivities for the German Unification Day in Berlin, Siemens Arts Program took the opportunity to set a musical signal of understanding on the main stage at the Brandenburg Gate with two self-initiated concerts.
The Siemens Opera Contest is a professional singing competition for the best young singers. In 2018, the contest will celebrate its 20th anniversary at its place of origin in Istanbul/Turkey. 2017 the contest took also place in France for the first time.
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