German Unification Day

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.
German Unification Day 2018

Musical signal of understanding with kick-off concerts at the Brandenburg Gate

In the course of the celebrations for the German Unification Day we had the chance to actively participate in the supporting program on the main stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate. We used this great opportunity to set a musical signal of understanding with two self-initiated concerts. On October 1, the Neue Philharmonie Berlin officially opened the three-day festivities together with soprano Ilkin Alpay, winner of the Siemens Opera Contest Turkey. On October 3, the world-famous cellist Daniel Müller-Schott opened the #1heit concert after an speech by the ruling mayor Michael Müller.

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."