Siemens Arts Program – Music

“Carnegie Hall, a venue that has held such a mystical, magical aura for me since my childhood.” – Fabian Müller, winner of the ARD Music Competition 2017 (piano), at Carnegie Hall in New York. There, the pianist performed together with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester in March 2018.

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).

News

The OPUS KLASSIK 2020 goes to...

Siemens Arts Program production wins OPUS KLASSIK for Best Concert Recording. The award goes to soloist Annika Treutler, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stephan Frucht.

The Siemens Arts Program has launched an audiovisual art project in partnership with pianist Annika Treutler and media artist Alexander Stublić.

 

The project is based on Piano Concerto Opus 25 by the composer Viktor Ullmann, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.

 

The art project features an elaborate new 3D audio recording of the concerto alongside a virtual reality media art installation. The music was recorded at the RBB concert studio in Berlin in partnership with the Deutschlandfunk Kultur radio network, and performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stephan Frucht (Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program). 

 

Stephan Frucht says:

“We’re so delighted that this project was nominated in several OPUS KLASSIK categories and that we won Best Concert Recording. It would never have been possible without a team effort. Everyone who put so much passion and innovation into the project shares this accolade, as well as the great Viktor Ullmann of course, whose work I hope to showcase on concert stages throughout the world. He has earned it.”

 

Annika Treutler adds:

“I’m over the moon about the OPUS KLASSIK award – above all because it honors Viktor Ullmann’s music. It brings us a step closer to achieving the goal of my #respondinmusic project: to relate history through music by giving a new voice to the composers of the time. Exploring our role as musicians has never been more important than it is today. I’m grateful to the Siemens Arts Program for making it possible to take music to a new level through this recording and the art installation based on the piano concerto.”

In the media art installation, artist Alexander Stublić brings together genre-transcending audio and video recordings made during the 3D musical production to create dreamlike scenes, some with motifs from places where Viktor Ullmann worked and composed. 

The audiovisual art project uses cutting-edge technology in a sophisticated production that blazes a new trail in music reproduction. Through the visual, three-dimensional experience of the recording and the scope offered by 21st century technologies, the Siemens Arts Program hopes to bring Ullmann’s music and the story of his cruel fate to a wider audience, including to a younger generation. On October 18, 2020, the anniversary of Viktor Ullmann’s death, the production was awarded the OPUS KLASSIK for its outstanding artistic quality.

 

 

The OPUS KLASSIK is Germany’s most prestigious classical music award. This new, independent prize is organized by Verein zur Förderung der Klassischen Musik e. V., which aims to promote classical music and especially to recognize the artists who perform it. An expert jury representing the music and media industries selects 47 winners in 25 categories.  

See an excerpt from the VR installation

Visit webpage

More information about the Viktor Ullmann project

Visit webpage

News

Siemens becomes partner and main supporter of Deutsche Grammophon’s online initiative presenting live performances

Siemens becomes partner and main supporter of DG Stage – The Classical Concert Hall. The new relationship recalls the historic role played by Siemens as owner and then significant shareholder of the Yellow Label, from 1941 to 1987.

Siemens is set to invest in DG Stage’s productions and technical development until the end of 2021.

The partnership aims to expand the platform’s ability to offer a global audience long-form concerts, world premiere presentations and performances, featuring everyone from the superstars signed to DG to up-and-coming young musicians, as well as guest artists involved in outstanding individual projects.

 

“Using the latest technology to bring music to a wider audience was a key concern of both companies when Siemens was a shareholder of Deutsche Grammophon in the middle of the last century,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “What we want to do now, via our new DG Stage partnership, is translate this fundamental idea into the present. DG Stage is a response to our artists’ need for innovative online opportunities to complement their live performance work and to the desire of classical music audiences worldwide to experience exciting new productions at close range despite the current restrictions on live events. Siemens is an established and much-valued partner and sponsor of some of the world’s leading international festivals and music institutions, and together we are now expanding these activities into the digital realm. We are very much looking forward to a creative collaboration.”

 

Professor Dr Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of Siemens Arts Program, explains: “The times we’re living in call for completely new concert formats, and classical music has to seize the opportunities offered by the digital world. It has only survived as long as it has because it has never stopped reinventing itself. In fact it really ought to be called ‘renewable’ rather than ‘classical’ music. For Siemens, that endless variability is the beauty of classical music – constant evolution ensuring the future existence of an established art form. That’s why promoting research, technology, art and culture is so central to our corporate culture.

“Here at Siemens Art Program, innovative thinking about classical music is part of our day-to-day work. That’s why we want to be part of and contribute our expertise to DG’s pioneering digital project. Social distancing calls for spiritual closeness. The shared history between Siemens and Deutsche Grammophon leads us to expect something special to come from any joint projects. And, for purely artistic reasons, I’m delighted that the DG Stage platform will allow us to introduce talented young musicians discovered and promoted through our own cultural initiatives to audiences all over the world.”

The history of Siemens & German Grammophone Society

The oldest and most traditional German record company was founded in 1898 by the brothers Emil and Joseph Berliner in Hanover. After quickly becoming the market leader, Deutsche Grammophon's sales plummeted dramatically during the global economic crisis due to faltering sales of luxury consumer goods. In addition, the emigration to which the owners and many of the obligated artists were forced in 1933 led to losses in the artistic quality and breadth of the record repertoire. In 1941, Siemens & Halske AG acquired a hundred percent majority stake in Deutsche Grammophon through the so-called "Telefunken transaction”. In the 1950s, the company regained its market-leading position and was incorporated into the Phonogram joint venture with Philips in 1962. In 1972 Philips and Deutsche Grammophon formed the joint venture company PolyGram. Philips finally took over all PolyGram shares from Siemens in 1987.

Visit DG Stage – The Classical Concert Hall

Go to website

Siemens-Hallé Conductors Competition 2020

In accord with the orchestra

With a dynamic stage presence and great passion, Delyana Lazarova captivated the public at a concert held in the nave of the former St. Peter's Church in Manchester. From Brahms Symphony No. 1 to Verdi's overture from The Force of Destiny, she created a musical happening which enthralled audience and musicians alike.

Delyana Lazarova wins the international Siemens-Hallé Conductors Competition 2020

"Winning this competition is an unbelievable feeling, I am extremely happy and feel very honored. It is a great privilege to work with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra," said Delyana as she was presented with the award.

 

 

Last year, 287 talented conductors from 55 countries around the globe applied for this prestigious position. In addition to a cash prize of 15,000 GBP, Lazarova will also have the unique opportunity to fulfil a two-year engagement as Assistant to Hallé's principal conductor Sir Mark Elder, which also includes becoming the Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra – a dream come true for any up-and-coming conductor!

Hosting this competition in cooperation with the Hallé Orchestra means we can give new talents a platform to demonstrate their many years of hard work and musical skills on an international stage.
Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program

It's my job to inspire  

Her role as Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra is an important part of Delyana's new appointment. But what are the main differences between working with young musicians and a professional orchestra?

 

Delyana, who was born in Bulgaria, has this to say about the subject:

"I don't think working with a youth orchestra is much different to working with a professional orchestra. Part of my task as a conductor is to be a source of inspiration, no matter who is in front of me. And I find it really rewarding to work with young people, with young souls and young minds, and inspire them with music. It basically is an inspiration, but on a slightly purer level than with professional musicians."

 

When asked about her sense of the competition process itself, Delyana replied: "This competition was definitely special. Not least because of the reception I was met with: the Hallé and the Siemens Team were all very welcoming. I immediately felt at home." 

The highlight of a long partnership

The collaboration between Siemens and the Hallé has a long tradition. We have already been working for two decades with this renowned orchestra, one of the best symphonic ensembles in Great Britain. The Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition is the culmination of a series of successful projects initiated during years of cooperation.

 

The commitment of the Siemens Arts Program has now raised the profile of this alliance to an international standard with considerably more global coverage.

Our association with the Hallé Orchestra is a remarkable one: Not only do they share our dedication to excellence, they also represent an important part of our involvement in the community of Manchester. This competition with its novel digital challenge is a wonderful example of how technology and art can work together and profit from each other to create something original with a cutting edge.
Carl Ennis, CEO of Siemens UK

Conducting via avatar

In keeping with Siemens' reputation as a leading technology company, there was also an innovative component in the form of a "digital challenge". Candidates had to successfully complete this task in order to move into the finals. It was designed to test above all their ability to work with new, unknown elements – not least because the focus on digitalization is not only at Siemens, but is a phenomenon which is also crossing over into the world of opera.

 

And never was there a conductor's competition as digital as this one, even attracting the attention of the Times newspaper in London. David Sanderson, Arts Correspondent, wrote that "the jerky conducting of the Siemens Avatar in front of the Hallé Orchestra could be the future, much as Stravinsky once was."

 

The event location was also extraordinary, namely the recently renovated Anglican church of Hallé St. Peter's, now fully restored and equipped with the latest Siemens technology. This is where historic charm meets modern infrastructure, the best requisite for an outstanding concert with an excellent audio experience.

At one with the music – the real prize

"Today's performance has given me immense joy," said Delyana after her performance in the final. "Making music with the Hallé Orchestra - that's a very special thing. For me, that final moment when we finished the concert, was such a rewarding experience that I didn’t need anything else. Winning is great but making music at such a high level and feel at one with the musicians in perfect harmony – that's what’s truly special for me." 

Projects

Linking creativity

The Viktor Ullmann Project

Going Digital against oblivion - tribute to the murdered composer Viktor Ullmann

75 years ago, the composer Viktor Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. The Siemens Arts Program wants to keep alive the memory of Viktor Ullmann, representing numerous artists who were expelled and murdered by the National Socialists. We hope that Ullmann's music will be (re)discovered by many people all over the world. Therefore, we have started an audiovisual art project with the pianist Annika Treutler and the media artist Alexander Stublić.
My aim is to make Ullmann’s music as highly regarded and as well-known as the work of those of his great contemporaries who were not persecuted. The work deserves it! In his music, Ullmann developed a very special language and a tonality all his own.
Annika Treutler, in tribute to the composer

The Siemens Arts Program has launched an audiovisual art project in partnership with pianist Annika Treutler and media artist Alexander Stublić. The project is based on Piano Concerto Opus 25 by the composer Viktor Ullmann, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. The art project features an elaborate new 3D audio recording of the concerto alongside a virtual reality media art installation.

 

The music was recorded at the RBB concert studio in Berlin in partnership with the Deutschlandfunk Kultur radio network, and performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stephan Frucht (Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program).

 

 

In the media art installation, artist Alexander Stublić brings together genre-transcending audio and video recordings made during the 3D musical production to create dreamlike scenes, some with motifs from places where Viktor Ullmann worked and composed. 

The media installation uses virtual reality and immersive sound technology to illustrate Ullman's piano concert and shows new, digital ways of multidimensional music transmission.

Excerpt of the VR installation

Youtube video

The audiovisual art project uses cutting-edge technology in a sophisticated production that blazes a new trail in music reproduction. Through the visual, three-dimensional experience of the recording and the scope offered by 21st century technologies, the Siemens Arts Program hopes to bring Ullmann’s music and the story of his cruel fate to a wider audience, including to a younger generation.

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) is an Austrian composer, conductor and pianist.

Because of the Jewish origin of his parents, Ullmann was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942, where he created a large part of his works. There he composed for example "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" and "Die Weise von Liebe und Tod". On October 18, 1944, Ullmann was killed shortly after his arrival in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

 

Stephan Frucht (artistic Director of Siemens Arts Program) says about the project: "January 27, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust remind us that remembrance can never be complete. At the same time, it is an obligation never to silence those voices that were not allowed to express themselves during their lifetime or that could no longer express themselves. This also includes many Jewish artists who were never able to fully develop their creativity because they were denied the freedom to create art. This fate of many great artists from the visual arts, who were branded "ostracized", was also shared by important musicians and composers, including Hans Krása, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann, all of whom fell victim to the Nazi regime."

Siemens Arts Program has made a new recording of Viktor Ullmann's Piano Concerto Opus 25 (composed in 1939) together with pianist Annika Treutler. This is the first recording of the work in 3D audio format.

 

The production was realized under the direction of Stephan Frucht (Artistic Director Siemens Arts Program) with the Deutschlandfunk Kultur and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in the large broadcast hall of the RBB in Berlin. Prof. Thorsten Weigelt (Universität der Künste Berlin) and the 3D-Immersive Audio Specialist Stefan Bock (IAN Munich) were in charge of the recording.

 

The new recording - consisting of an audio CD and Blu-ray - contains not only the Piano Concerto Opus 25 but also Ullmann's Piano Sonatas No. 3 (1940) and No. 7 (1944), which Annika Treutler recorded in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem. The album release is on January 31, 2020 on the label "Berlin Classics" (Edel).