Starting an international career and playing on famous stages worldwide - that is the goal of many young musicians.
But being successful requires musicality, excellence, commitment – and support. Siemens believes in the significance of arts and culture and the development of young artists. Therefore the Siemens Arts Program has been partner of the ARD International Music Competition since 2017 and supports the competition in bringing together young musicians from all over the world to compete and develop their skills.
Through international partnerships with organizations such as the Bavarian State Orchestra and the Carnegie Hall, the Siemens Arts Program aims to foster these talents by giving them the opportunity to perform worldwide and connecting them with established cultural institutions.
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”.
When the conference hall becomes a concert hallA treat for the senses - this was offered by the first Siemens lunch concert in Berlin. The outstanding ARD music prize winner Kristīne Balanas (violin) and the Neue Philharmonie Berlin (conductor: Andreas Schulz) thrilled the audience in Siemensstadt with a breathtaking performance that was literally absorbed by the audience. A subsequent lunch offered employees and musicians the opportunity for mutual exchange.
Sound experience of a special kind
The violinist Kristīne Balanas opened the lunch concert together with the Neue Philharmonie Berlin under the direction of Andreas Schulz. The Latvian soloist is one of the fastest-growing talents on the international music scene and has undoubtedly demonstrated her skill and professionalism.
With a remarkable ease she took the audience on a journey through Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor. The audience honoured her excellent performance with minutes of applause.
In the second part of the concert, the Neue Philharmonie once again showed its class and presented excerpts from Ludwig van Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Conductor Andreas Schulz demanded top performance from his talented young musicians, which was again rewarded with sustained cheers. As a thank you for this appreciation, the orchestra, founded in 2017, rounded off the concert with an encore.
Networking with aspiring artists
After the concert, employees and musicians were given the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other and gain insights into the other's working world in an informal atmosphere. Soloist Kristīne Balanas also took plenty of time after her performance to let this unconventional lunch break fade away. She spoke in German, English, Latvian and Russian - obviously the sympathetic prizewinner is also a language genius. In order to keep this unique concert in special memory, she took photos with interested employees. Siemens can be proud to support young talents like her through the International ARD Music Competition.