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    Musikstadt Berlin 2008

    By Dorothea Holloway | December 31, 2008

    For musicians and music-lovers Berlin is truly a mecca. The city has three operas on the Spree. No, four – I almost forgot the Neuköllner Oper! Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, and Kent Nagano are splendid attractions. Here, the Berliner Philharmonic and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin celebrate world-wide triumphs. Also, the Konzerthaus Berlin on Gendarmenmarkt and the Kammermusiksaal are paradises for music enthusiasts – in the Kammermusiksaal performs the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Kammerorchester under the baton of Hartmut Haenchen. Music can also be heard across the city in concert halls, salons, and churches. For instance: in the Gethsemanekirche, where in December 2008 the 250th anniversary of the birth of Carl Friedrich Zelter was celebrated – as musician, composer, conductor, song-master, and mason-master.

    The city is known for its music clubs and choral groups, organized by both professionals and laymen. To name only one: Bläserquartett Collegium Musicum Berlin. Berlin has marvelous music theaters and music schools, electro-music and techno-sound. Not to forget the radio stations with their own orchestras and choral groups. And then there is pop-music … ! Swinging Berlin is oft compared with Swinging London. Musikstadt Berlin is a paradise for creativity – so well known that internationally recognized musicians and bands are attracted to the Spree. You can hardly count the clubs! In the Berliner Radialsystem, established in an industrial complex, Christian Rieger will perform in 27 hours “den ganzen Bach” – Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete works for piano instruments.

    Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the closing concert at the Musikgymnasium Carl Phillipp Emanuel Bach in Berlin-Mitte. The commitment and virtuosity of the young musicians took my breath away. Six instrumental performances were scheduled: clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, flute, and piano. Among the composers were Sarasate, Chopin, Casadeus. The school’s motto: Talent braucht ein Zuhause (Talent Needs a Home). The teachers are professors and tutors from the Berlin music schools and academies. The training begins in the fifth grade. Jazz and popular music are also taught. www.musikgymnasium-berlin.de. Soon I plan to visit the Hochschule für Music “Hanns Eisler”.

    As far back as 1829 and 1857, Berlin was already known for its musical events. In March of 1829, thanks to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the forgotten Matthäus Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach was discovered at the Sing-Akademie, known today as the Maxim-Gorki-Theater. Also, in December of 1857, here took place the first performance of the Weihnachtsoratorium after Johann Sebastian Bach’s death. At that time, Carl Friedrich Zelter was the head of the Sing-Akademie, a close friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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