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”.
Big stage, bright lightsThe Siemens Arts Program brings together newcomers and virtuosos at Carnegie Hall: In March 27, 2018 the Bavarian State Orchestra – the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera – accompanied the winners of the ARD Music Competition 2017, Sarah Christian (violin) and Fabian Müller (piano) at Carnegie Hall in New York. Conductor Marie Jacquot fronted the evening concert.
“It's like a dream”İlkin Alpay, winner of the 2016 Siemens Opera Contest Turkey, can still feel the awe-inspiring boards of Carnegie Hall beneath her feet. After singing at the world-famous venue, she’s surrounded by adoring New York music fans: today is just like a dream for the young soprano.
After İlkin Alpay won the 2016 Siemens Opera Contest in Istanbul, her career really took off. Her debut was on October 22 at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe in the role of Gianetta in Donizetti’s ‘L’elisir d’amore’ (The Elixir of Love). This marked the start of a stint at the Staatstheater’s opera studio for the 2017 season.
Hers is an unusual timeline: The young soprano has made it to the world’s premier concert hall – before her professional singing career has officially begun! So her appearance in New York is the high point of her experience to date, and it’s down to support from the Siemens Arts Program. Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program, on the subject of fostering talent: “It’s always been important for Siemens to attract and support young talent from all spheres. We work to provide them with the basis for developing their own creativity.”
The nineteenth Siemens Opera Contest is being held in 2017 in Istanbul between May 22 and 25.
Hueseyin Gelis, CEO of Siemens Turkey, on the Siemens Opera Contest: “Creativity isn’t restricted to research, technology or IT. Our aim at Siemens is to spark an exchange between all creative areas of life. That’s what drives us.”
Through a close collaboration with Siemens, Carnegie Hall’s Studio Towers were renovated in 2014. A central focus was the addition of the new 60,000 square foot Resnick Education Wing, as well as the refurbishment of the Hall’s backstage areas. It reflects Carnegie’s evolution from an old-line temple of music to something of a teacher of music, which now devotes more than a 10th of its operating budget to education programs.
Carnegie Hall is one of the world’s most famous concert halls and well known for its outstanding acoustic. As its official technology partner, Siemens helped Carnegie Hall achieve LEED Silver certification. In order to modernize the 124-year-old building, Siemens supplies building automation, fire and life safety and security systems as well as parts of the power distribution system.