Young Talents - Big DreamsIn recent years, young talents from our own competitions as well as from our partner institutions performed for the first time at Carnegie Hall. Due to the long-standing partnership with the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, we were looking for the best musicians of the university to perform in this renowned concert hall in New York.
Violinist Veriko Tchumburidze and flutist Rafael Adobas Bayog convinced the audience all along the line during their performance at Carnegie Hall.
Audition 2022 for Carnegie Hall
The jury immediately agreed. The winners of our Audition 2022 for a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York are the violinist Veriko Tchumburidze and flutist Rafael Adobas Bayog. The Flutist presented his own composition to the jury.
Siemens AG was founded 175 years ago. As part of this anniversary and in memory of the recently deceased Peter von Siemens (former member of the Managing Board and Supervisory Board of Siemens AG), Siemens Arts Program organizes a concert evening at Carnegie Hall in New York. Due to the long-standing partnership between the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and Siemens and the Siemens family, we were looking for the best musicians from the university and organized an audition in our Siemens headquarters in Munich in April.
We talked with both musicians about their musical careers, their associations with the prestigious concert hall and the pieces they chose for the concert.
Rafael, what was the first thing you thought when you learned after the audition you will perform at Carnegie Hall? What do you associate with the word 'Carnegie Hall'?
"Is it happening? It is happening...!" I was thinking this over and over again and I still can't believe it myself. I won't believe it yet until I get to the city.
Whenever I hear "Carnegie Hall", I think of the huge and sparkling chandeliers and the song "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra starts to play in my mind, especially the beginning: "Start spreading the news, I am leaving today..."
When you look back, what was the most important decision in your musical career so far?
"I think going to study abroad was the most important decision. Thanks to Erasmus I discovered Munich and Munich helped me develop fully as a musician and as a person. It's not easy to leave home at a young age, be away from home and find yourself in another atmosphere. Also, living with another culture and getting to hear different ways of playing kept me learning day by day."
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far, and how have you overcome it?"
"My biggest challenge was trusting myself and my own work. It came a point I was doubting myself constantly and looking for the approval from the others. Slowly, I am changing the perception of myself and every time before I go on stage I try to tell to myself: ‘Hey, you prepared and put all your heart on this, now just relax and enjoy."
Can you tell us more about the selection of the pieces for your performance? One piece has been composed by you. Can you say more about your composition?
"The repertoire I am playing is a selection which represents me best and every piece has had a special meaning in my career. In every recital I try to show a variety in styles and forms. And so is my composition: it's a collage where I portray my vision of life, its beauty from the very beginning until the end, with all its lights and its shadows. It includes theatre, singing and dancing through music by Carl Nielsen, as well as different excerpts from solo pieces from the flute repertoire. Other genres can be heard such as Pop Music, Flamenco, Electronic Music and R'n'B. I am looking much forward to present it in the special Carnegie Hall!"
Veriko, you told us that a long time ago, when you were a small child, you tried to get a sneak peek into the concert hall, at that time it was not possible for you to see it. What was the first thing you thought when you learned you will perform there?
"I am truly very happy and honored to be able to play in the legendary Carnegie Hall which has been a place for many artists, among them there are also my role models such as Isaac Stern, Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and many others."
Can you tell us more about the story back then?
"When I was 9, while exploring New York City I and my mom were nearby the Hall and decided to go inside to see the Carnegie Hall. I remember vividly asking the security if we could get in, but sadly he said, we need tickets and, on the day, tickets were sold out. I thought, who knows when I can come again back here. 17 years later to be back as an artist is a real gift of my career."
When you look back, what was the most important decision in your musical career so far?
"Even though, I am not a big admirer of the idea of competitions, one of the most important decision of my musical career was to participate in 15th H. Wieniawski Violin Competition. After winning the gold medal in this competition, my career got big attention from the musical world. I have performed with orchestras and conductors such as Staatsorchester Stuttgart & Marek Janowski, Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Olari Elts and as a big admirer of chamber music, I was in also invited to play with great musicians Marc Andre Hamelin, Maxim Vengerov, Tabea Zimmerman, Lisa Batiashvili and many others."
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far, and how have you overcome it?
"One of the biggest challenges was to get through the period of the pandemic as the rest of the world. It was quite difficult to experience and observe how the virus can cause such a sudden impact - especially to the art scene. During these last two years, I took time to work on the repertoire I wanted to learn and read. I thought in these uncertain days what best I can do is to invest time wisely on things what I could not do before because of limited time. I also found some ideas that I would like to realize."
Can you tell us more about the selection of the pieces for your performance?
“My program selection includes Grieg Sonata no.2, Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantella and Saint Saens/Ysaye Valse Caprice. I find Grieg’s second Violin Sonata is quite rarely played, and I truly think it is one of the most beautiful sonatas written for violin. It is a secret gem of the repertoire, and I am always excited to share these kind of less played gems with the audience. I really wanted to bring a piece from Poland which has been my fourth home country since winning world’s oldest violin competition. Wieniawski’s Scherzo tarantella is probably one of the most known violin works and it is a wonderful challenge for every violinist to play works by Wieniawski, Paganini or Ysaye. In the end I will play Saint Saens ‘Valse Caprice’ which was arranged to the violin and piano by great violinist and composer Eugene Ysaye. Even though this piece is considered as a virtuoso piece, Ysaye’s genius way of arrangement and Saint Saens’s wonderful lyrical side offer much more than just a virtuoso, technical show.”
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.