Mit dem 3. Oktober hätte sich die Staatsoper Unter den Linden für die Wiedereröffnung keinen geschichtsträchtigeren Tag aussuchen können. Aber warum auch nicht? Schließlich ist dieses Datum fest mit Berlin und dem Tag der Deutschen Einheit verbunden und steht somit symbolisch für frische Neuanfänge. Nun ist Berlin aber auch eine Stadt der nicht enden wollenden Baustellen und es ist kein großes Geheimnis, dass die Renovierungsarbeiten der Staatsoper länger als geplant dauern – stolze vier Jahre länger, um genau zu sein. Doch diese lang erwartete Wiedereröffnung bringt gleich zu Beginn einen kleinen Dämpfer mit sich: Das Opernhaus eröffnet, um sofort wieder zu schließen. Wer nun verwirrt ist, ist dies zurecht, weswegen inhaltliche Ordnung in diesem buchstäblichen Chaos angebracht ist.

Fangen wir am besten am Anfang an und holen Friedrich den Großen mit ins (musikalische) Boot. Berlins ältestes Opernhaus wurde vom Alten Fritz im Jahre 1740 an den Architekten von Knobelsdorf in Auftrag gegeben und am 7. Dezember 1742 vor seiner eigentlichen Fertigstellung eröffnet, um dann im Jahre 1743 komplett fertiggestellt zu werden. In seiner langen Geschichte wurde das Opernhaus bereits sieben Mal umgebaut und baustilistisch stets verändert. Durch den zweiten Weltkrieg fast vollständig zerstört, fand der letzte große Um- beziehungsweise Wiederaufbau in den 50’er Jahren durch den Architekten Richard Paulick statt. Dabei orientierte er sich stark an von Knobelsdorf ursprünglichem Design. Seitdem sind viele Dirigenten ins Berliner Opernland gezogen, weswegen nach der Jahrtausendwende Pläne für einen lang angebrachten Umbau des nach dem Krieg zusammengeflickten Gebäudes ins Visier genommen wurden. So sahen die ersten Baupläne von Klaus Roth beispielsweise eine komplette Umgestaltung des Zuschauerraumes vor, wogegen viele Künstler von nationaler und internationaler Größe mit Protest begegneten, da der Denkmalschutz des Gebäudes missachtet worden wäre. 2008 wurde der Bauauftrag letztendlich an das Architekturbüro HG Merz vergeben, welches sich mehr an der Linie Paulicks/von Knobelsdorfs orientieren sollte. Mit einem beauftragten Büro an der Hand konnten nun die Bauarbeiten im September 2010 beginnen. Theoretisch hätte die Staatsoper bereits ab 2013 wieder spielbereit sein sollen, doch aufgrund von Fehlplanungen und daraus resultierenden Pannen, ziehen sich die Arbeiten bis zum heutigen Tage hin. Wolfgang Brauer, Politiker und ehemaliges Mitglied des Untersuchungsausschusses “Staatsoper” beschreibt die Sanierungsarbeiten wie folgt:

“Man räumte die Stühle raus und fing an mit der Baustelle. Ohne abgeschlossene Bauplanung, ohne solide Bauwerksanalyse, ohne solide Bestandsanalyse und das fiel dann natürlich auf die Füße. Man hatte die Vision entwickelt, dass man baubegleitend planen kann. Und das ist die eigentliche Katastrophe gewesen.” *

Bauarbeiten im Zuschauerraum, ©dpa

Doch bald sollen all die Fehlkalkulationen vergessen sein, wenn das Orchester unter Dirigent und Langzeitwegbegleiter Daniel Barenboim in die musikalische Heimat unter den Linden zurückkehrt. Besonders viel Wert wurde auf eine verbesserte Akustik im Zuschauerraum gelegt: So wurde beispielsweise für die 1.356 Sitzplätze ein dünneres Polster verwendet, damit der Klang nicht zu stark abgefedert wird. Zudem war Daniel Barenboim ein längerer Nachhall ein besonderes Anliegen. Der Zuschauerraum wurde durch die um fünf Meter angehobene Decke so konzipiert, dass nun ein Nachhall von 1,6 Sekunden statt ursprünglich 1,1 Sekunden gegeben sein soll. Außerdem soll auf mehr Beinfreiheit geachtet worden sein und dass man von jedem Platz aus einen guten Blick auf das Bühnengeschehen hat.

Allmählich zeichnet sich auch ein regeres Geschehen in der Staatsoper ab, wo sich seit dem 1. August die Mitarbeiter*innen aufhalten, die bis zum 3. Oktober noch den letzten Feinschliff anlegen. Feierlich eröffnen werden Schumanns “Faust-Szenen” das frisch herausgeputzte Opernhaus  bis zum 7. Oktober. Danach ist erstmal für weitere zwei Monate Schluss. Diesen Zeitraum wolle man zum Nachjustieren der Technik nutzen, nachdem man erste Erfahrungen im neuen, alten Theater gesammelt habe.

Zur endgültigen Normalität soll es schließlich am 7. Dezember kommen, wo der reguläre Spielbetrieb wieder aufgenommen wird auf den Tag genau zum 275. Jubiläum des Opernhauses. Fast so, als ob man von Anfang an auf diesen Tag hingearbeitet hätte.

Bald kann sich die Staatsoper ohne Baugerüst zeigen. ©Hufner

*Zitat aus: Arnt, Susanne: Berliner Staatsoper. Schwere Fehler bei der Sanierung, in: Deutschlandfunk Kultur. 22.06.2016.

 

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(Written on August 24, 2017 )

Charles Dance, celebrated English actor, will join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on their forthcoming European tour to perform Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait at the Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms and San Sebastián.
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Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage

“I am thrilled to be performing this historic work with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as part of their European tour. Past performances of the work have included speakers of high esteem, and I am delighted to be joining that list. I look forward to performing with the CSO as they make their debut performances at the Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms and San Sebastián’s Musical Fortnight festival.” – Charles Dance OBE
Lincoln Portrait, Copland’s tribute to the former US President, was premiered by the CSO in 1942 at the height of World War II, and retains a special significance for the orchestra, having been performed by many notable orators throughout the last century. The ‘tone poem’ features extracts of Lincoln’s speeches, accompanied by a full symphony orchestra in a dramatic and poignant interpretation.
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Charles Dance OBE was formerly a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has subsequently become a household name among the British acting establishment. His numerous film roles include Gosford Park (2001), The Imitation Game (2014), Me Before You (2016) and Ghostbusters (2016). More recently, Dance starred as Tywin Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones, before meeting his (**spoilers**) death at the hands of his son, Tyrion.
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Tickets for the BBC and EIF concerts can be purchased here and here.
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(Written on August 18, 2017 )

Everyone listens to music. We can surely all agree that music is a big part of our lives, whether that be listening to the radio or a Spotify playlist on the way to work, letting our hair down in a nightclub on a Friday night, or watching a visiting orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, music is something that everyone can relate to. So why are researchers warning of the extinction of music in secondary schools in England?

The government introduced the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010, with a goal to increase the take-up of ‘core’ academic subjects like mathematics and science. This move, however, has left the arts lagging behind. The Ebacc does leave space for students to take arts subjects and there is no solid evidence that the new syllabus has affected GCSE arts subject entries. However, in the New Schools Network report on the EBacc and the arts, it has been found that ‘schools have misunderstood the intention behind the EBacc, using its introduction to reduce funding for the teaching of the arts.’ This has therefore led to a decline in the number of qualified arts teachers, correlating with declining figures on music teacher PGCE courses.

The music industry contributes £3.5 billion to the economy, and it is well known that arts education improves job prospects by making young people more creative, tolerant and broad-minded. It is therefore strange that it is not taken as seriously as one of the ‘core subjects’ that the government view as most important to a child’s education. Catherine McKinnell stated in debates on arts subject inclusion and petition in February 2016: ‘I feel that the Government’s policy and approach at the moment fundamentally risks undermining the benefits that can come from that experience… at the most fundamental level, we need these skills for our economy. If we put off children and young people who can flourish in those areas even though they may struggle in some other ones, the evidence shows that that would be a worrying trend.’

Photograph: Newsteam

Not only does music enrich the economy, but it is also good for you. A study from the University of London’s Institute of Education ‘found that exposing children to classical music can aid in developing better concentration levels, self-discipline and social skills.’ Music is both valuable for the economy and for the individual and in Finland, teaching music and learning to play an instrument is the norm. It is, as stated by Stephen Moss in his article, Why not put music at the heart of education?, ‘the foundation of  children’s schooling (in Finland); it should be the model for us to follow.’

So what are we waiting for?

(Written on August 17, 2017 )

WildKat PR is very pleased to be working with composer and pianist Andrew James Johnson on his upcoming album release and concert, following the launch of his new brand.

Olivia Brown, Head of Creative Strategy and Marketing, says: “Working alongside our in-house design team classicalmusicdesign, WildKat has created a brand and visual identity for Andrew that truly represents both his bold, friendly personality and his enchanting yet sensitive compositions. We’re very much looking forward to continuing our collaboration, and sharing Andrew’s debut album with the press and music industry.”

Andrew is a composer and pianist who grew up in Birmingham, England, and despite having no formal training on the piano in his childhood, immersed himself in the works of Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin. After his parents agreed to pay for lessons, Andrew’s eagerness and innate musicality developed rapidly into a passion for piano performance, before he moved onto composition.

Andrew began to draw upon a combination of classical training and contemporary influences, completing a BA in Composition at the London College of Music.  His compositional style combines rich harmonic language with expansive pianistic techniques, revealing the influence of the Romantic-era composers that so inspired him in his youth.

In the years that followed his graduation from the LCM, Andrew undertook commissions for film, television and theatre. Credits include televised advertisements for HSBC and Timotei. Andrew’s compositions take inspiration from everyday life, and his creative process makes use of the full tonal range of the keyboard, drawing on influences from his role models Max Richter and Philip Glass.

We are thrilled to be working with Andrew on his debut album release ‘Winter’s Heart’, due for release in November 2017.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

(Written on August 14, 2017 )

Today marks the first day of Kimiko Ishizaka’s one-month Kickstarter campaign Libre Art of the Fugue. Kimiko is known for her beautiful interpretations of Bach, and through Kickstarter and the support of her fans, she has been able to raise enough money to record two of J.S. Bach’s finest works: The Open Goldberg Variations and The Open Well-Tempered Clavier projects. She has published them under public domain so that her recordings are available for anyone to listen to.

In her new project, Libre Art of the Fugue, we will see a new and exciting interpretation with Kimiko composing her own end to Bach’s unfinished Art of the Fugue. Kimiko’s own composition will be published as part of the Open Score project, making it the very first piece by a living composer to join the project.

Unlike other artists, Kimiko Ishizaka doesn’t use traditional record labels, preferring to have direct contact with her fans. The money that Kimiko has raised through Kickstarter enables her to record her new album at the famous Teldex Studio in Berlin, playing on the brand new Bösendorfer Vienna Concert 280. The venue will give her full opportunity to unfold her musical creativity, and maintain an artistic level of the highest standard.

If you would like to find out more about Kimiko Ishizaka’s project, and support her, here is the Kickstarter campaign for more information.

We wish Kimiko a very successful campaign, and are very much looking forward to the release of her new album!

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(Written on August 8, 2017 )

A musician’s career is a very exciting one. Being able to perform and show an audience what you love is a luxury many people in other professional fields would be envious of. However, with the highs also come the lows: what if the audience don’t like you? What if the critics don’t like your interpretation? Musicians can both struggle financially and work unsociable hours. Mental health problems can therefore be a serious issue within the industry, one in which music charities are beginning to address.

Help Musicians UK is an organisation with an acute awareness of the problems musicians can face. In 2016 they launched the campaign, Mental Health Campaign – Music and Depression, aiming to break down stigma and start conversations within the music industry about depression and anxiety. The charity, Music and Depression, commissioned the first academic study, ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’, on the relationship between musicians and mental health.

The study, performed by the University of Winchester, found that 71.1% of all respondents believed they had suffered from panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety at some stage of their career, while 68% reported they had suffered from depression. The findings suggested that musicians might be up to three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the general public. This was due to a number of reasons, varying from unregulated working conditions and irregular hours to a belief that musical identity shaped self-worth.

The findings found that there is an urgent need for an accessible service for people who work in the music industry. Since the launch of the campaign in 2016, Help Musicians UK have announced a new fundraising campaign for the world’s first dedicated 24/7 mental health service for people working in the industry. The service will provide both listening and advice services, as well as clinical medical, therapeutic and welfare facilities for those who need it.

Classical Music Magazine – Photo credit: Tharakorn/Shutterstock.com

 

(Written on August 1, 2017 )

WildKat PR are thrilled to announce that we will be working with Cowbridge Music Festival (CMF)!

The festival, now in its eighth year, will once again take place in the bucolic village of Cowbridge, South Wales, and feature internationally-acclaimed artists and performers. The varied programme of concerts will include performances by The King’s Singers, Jamie Smith’s Mabon, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Veronika Eberle and the festival’s first ever Artist-in-Residence Llŷr Williams. Nicola Benedetti MBE retains her role as patron of CMF, having first performed an unforgettable solo concert in 2011.

The festival’s founders, Mary Elliot-Rose and Sam Edwards, have been welcoming musicians to CMF since 2010. They saw the town, with its picturesque churches and vibrant community, as the perfect setting to showcase the finest chamber, vocal and instrumental music.

CMF places significant emphasis on education and outreach, education and the community, with a range of programmes and accessible activities including an interactive concert for children aged 12 and under, schools’ samba workshops and CMF Chamber Music Seminar .

A full programme can be viewed here.

© CMF

Website | Facebook | Twitter

(Written on July 31, 2017 )

WildKat PR welcomes new music collective, Corre.

We are very happy to be working with Corre on their upcoming singles and album releases. ‘A Spark, A Beginning’ and ‘Proceed’ will be released on streaming sites on Wednesday 2nd August 2017.

Corre formed earlier in 2017 and aims to bridge the gap between electronica and classical music with a contemporary synthesis of light, movement and sound. The unnamed collaborators behind Corre wanted to create a multi-media, cross-genre alliance, inspired by the likes of Nils Frahm and Max Richter. With a background in electronic music, Corre’s composer was inspired by the possibility that the two seemingly contrasting elements of electronic and contemporary classical music could coalesce.

To create the fusion of natural and synthetic sounds, Corre uses Korg-created synthesiser loops paired with traditional, acoustic instruments such as violin, piano and classical guitar. The visual element takes naturalistic photography and melds it with digital manipulation and overlays to create modern and visually stunning films.

The two singles will be released on 2nd August, with a video premiere of ‘A Spark, A Beginning’ to follow.

© Corre 2017

(Written on July 31, 2017 )

WildKat PR gladly welcomes American pianist and composer Tristan Eckerson!
We are happy to be working together with Tristan on the promotion of his upcoming tour through Western Europe, which will take place from 16th September until 30th September. Tristan’s journey to Europe this autumn draws interesting parallels with his personal and musical life. Ever since he left his childhood home in Ohio, he has lived in several cities in the U.S. as well as Europe – an exciting and restless journey full of experiences, which now feeds his endless inspiration! Tristan’s accomplishments include an extensive variety of music projects including recording with members of the Ray Charles Orchestra, and performing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. He has a degree in Music Production and Sound Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, but his true love has always been performing on stage – first with a band and later as a soloist.
Tristan’s second solo album Disarm is a reminiscence about his time in Spain so one can expect Andalusian and flamenco-esque influences, all the while maintaining Tristan’s minimal approach. For this recording, Tristan played on a special piano that was prepared by David Klavins and commissioned by Nils Frahm. Check out ‘Ether’, the first excerpt of Disarm!
Disarm will be released by 1631 Records on 15th September – just in time for the Western European tour. The first concert will take Tristan to Vác in Hungary, which will be broadcast live from David Klavin’s new piano factory. His following tour dates are:

Sept 16th – Klavins Piano Manufaktúra – Vác, Hungary

Sept 17th – Freilich Open Arts – Vienna, Austria

Sept 18th – La Loca – Prague, Czech Republic

Sept 19th – Noch Besser Leben – Leipzig, Germany

Sept 20th – Sofar Sounds – Berlin, Germany

Sept 23rd – Feinkost Lampe – Hannover, Germany

Sept 24th – Salon de Jazz – Cologne, Germany

Sept 26th – Home of Art – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sept 27th – De Gekke Geit – The Hague, Netherlands

Sept 29th – Porto d’Artes – Porto, Portugal

Sept 30th – Fábrica Braço de Prata – Lisbon, Portugal

It is with great pleasure that we are supporting Tristan with his tour, and we look forward to accompanying him on this journey. Stay tuned for more information!

© Michael David Rose

Follow Tristan Eckerson on his webiste, on Soundcloud, facebook and twitter.

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(Written on July 24, 2017 )

We are delighted to welcome Taner Akyol to the WildKat Family. Taner Akyol is a composer and virtuoso of the Bağlama, a Turkic stringed instrument also called Saz. WildKat is working with Taner to promote his concert on 29th September at the Berlin Philharmonie. This concert will not only present new written pieces for the Taner Akyol Trio, but will also see the great Pianist Fazil Say on stage with Taner Akyol for the very first time.

Although the tuning of his bağlama reaches across both the East and West, Taner is mainly recognised in the West for his works and collaboration in the jazz and classical worlds. His first opera Ali Baba und 40 Räuber was performed in 2012 at the Komische Oper Berlin 30 times and received tremendous reviews. He has also been commissioned and played by/at prominent festivals, such as “Istanbul in Berlin”, Randspiele, Klangwerkstatt, the XJAZZ Festival Berlin and MärzMusik.

On 29th September, the Taner Akyol Trio will present pieces from their current album, as well as new works. Pianist Fazil Say and singer Serenad Bagcan will perform Turkish “Lieder” in the second part of the concert. At the very end, Taner Akyol will join Fazil Say for a surprise set. This news is not only tremendous for Turkey, but for all lovers of quality music without boundaries!

We are excited to support Taner and all the other musicians involved in this project and look forward to getting people engaged with this event. You will hear from us as soon as tickets are available!

© Markus Braun

 

Follow Taner Akyol on his website and on facebook.

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(Written on July 18, 2017 )