When Virtual Reality meets the orchestra

Welcome to the digital society of the 21st century. A society where any time, any where, at your fingertips, is increasingly and faster than ever, becoming the standard across industries, products, geographies and people.

It is no longer about millennials only – it is about our contemporary society and our everyday life across the globe. It is about mobility and convenience, as well as the consolidation of the smartphone era.

This new normal challenges the status quo as a whole – and the orchestras are no exception. Standing still is no option at all, and the way to the very survival involves a fair deal of innovation, strategy, technology and customer-centric attitude. It involves reimagining the possibilities and embracing new ways to conveying a message, to engaging with the audiences, to providing relevant and fulfilling experiences with music. Continue reading “When Virtual Reality meets the orchestra”

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‎#throwbackthursday‬

Me deparei hoje com várias organizações e pessoas postando fotos antigas com a hashtag #‎throwbackthursday‬. Aqui vai minha parte na brincadeira do dia.

Para quem nunca ouviu falar, ‎#throwbackthursday‬ nada mais é do que uma referência usada especialmente nas redes sociais, para marcar postagens de fotos antigas (throwback) e o Thursday uma referência ao dia da semana quinta-feira. É isso, as pessoas usam esta hashtag para marcar fotos antigas postadas na quinta-feira.

1956-first-sketch-BPhilEste é o sketch de 1956, do prédio da Sala de Concerto da Filarmônica de Berlin, desenhado pelo arquiteto alemão Hans Scharoun. Este desenho faz parte da história arquitetônica do prédio e o original está armazenado no arquivo da Academia de Arte de Berlin.

Ele representa um ponto de vista de quem olha para baixo, a partir do teto da sala de concerto. Até certa medida, é possível perceber nos traços as diferenças na altura e profundidade da alocação de assentos da plateia. Mas a grande inovação introduzida por este projeto foi ter colocado a orquestra no centro, observável de praticamente todos os “lados” da sala.

E só para deixar a brincadeira mais interessante, aqui abaixo uma fotografia de tomada interna da sala principal de concerto da Filarmônica de Berlin. Uma espécie de antes e depois 🙂

 

É isso. Fica aqui então meu #tbt #throwbackthursday

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Nice to meet you, Herr Menahem Pressler!

Mr. Pressler at his debut with the Berliner
Philharmoniker on Jan 11th, 2014.
Credits: Berliner Phil.

The other day I was about to attend one of the concerts of the Season 2013/2014 of the Berliner Philharmoniker when I first read about a German pianist named Menahem Pressler. I felt particularly pleased with the Mozart’s Piano Concerto Mr. Pressler had chosen to his debut with the BPhil: Nr 17, in G major, KV 453. I am very found of this piece and to me it is like Mozart’s “ode to joy” since in all 3 movements one can listen to nothing but cheerful and happy notes. But my sequence of happy revelations was only beginning…

Semyon Bychkov was the conductor for the night. For the second part of the concert, Mr. Bychkov conducted a brilliant execution of the celebrated (Dimitri) Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony in G minor.

During the interval, both Mr. Pressler and Mr. Bychkov were separately interviewed. I learnt big time from Mr. Pressler’s stories… This was his debut with the BPhil, at the age 90. And at this very age, he is still as active as I could not imagine from someone else. He teaches in the US, plays and records with his Beaux Arts Trio, and above all, plays as soloist in the most prestigious temples of classical music: St Petersburg, Amsterdan, Paris, Berlin, among them.

In his interview he explained his “religious approach” when comes to “sacred” music written by the ones he consider “Gods” or at least “semi-Gods” – Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy. And the theory goes on: he feels himself like a Priest whose religion is Music and whose readings are written in scores, which he reads and reads and keeps on trying to interpret and teach others. Brilliant!

Beaux Arts Trio in concert.

Googling in search of more background information about Mr. Pressler, another happy revelation arose: the cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio is no other than the Brazilian Antonio Menezes! How come I have never connected those two dots? Unbelievable!

One of my greatest frustrations in life is that I will never get a chance to attend a live performance of the Ukrainian pianist Mr. Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989). Mr. Horowitz is definitively among my top favourites, not only but especially when comes to Mozart. I felt particularly touched by their resemblance (look and feel). And I hope I can find my way to the audience of one of Mr. Pressler’s concerts soon!

The full concert is unfortunately only available for subscribers of the Digital Concert Hall but here you have a great glimpse of it direct from BPhil’s Youtube Channel. So, have a seat, find your best smile and enjoy it! 🙂

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Alles gut zum Geburtstag, Herr Furtwängler!

And today we are celebrating the birthday of another acclaimed German conductor, Herr Wilhelm Furtwängler. Known as an unpredictable conductor, and mostly misinterpreted due to this artistic characteristic, in fact he used to take musical liberties as required by his free mind. He held positions in many important musical places – Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and Wien among them – but built himself fame as the chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker between 1922 and 1954.

I need to say that I particularly share his non-acceptance about the end of tonality. Ok, it may not be something to be proud of – and believe me, I am not – but I would not be 100% honest if I stated otherwise. I really appreciate the repertoire he developed.

If you want to know a bit more about his impact as a conductor, I encourage you to read Daniel Barenboim’s post Why Furtwängler still moves us today, originally published at the German’s newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

And before closing, I give you 3 petit-cadeaus:

  • A special free track of Furtwängler’s 1951 Haydn recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker (you need to register at Deutsche Grammophon in order to get access to free tracks);
  • The 2014 documentary Furtwängler’s Love (free trailer and film available online at the Digital Concert Hall of the Beliner Philharmoniker);
  • Schumman’s 4th Symphony in D minor, Op. 120, in a studio recording made in Berlin 1953 conducted by Furtwängler (watch the video in youtube).
Elisabeth Furtwängler, wife of the former
Conductor, and central source in the
Documentary “Furtwängler’s Love”

That’s it for today. Happy birthday, Mr. Furtwängler! Or like the Germans would say it: Alles gut sum Geburtstag, Herr Futwängler! 🙂

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R.I.P. Signor Claudio Abbado

“I am Claudio to everyone”. Words of Mr.
Abbado when introduced in 1989
to the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Credits: BerlinPhil

On this very January 20th, 2014, the musical world woke up less shiny: the brilliant italian musician Claudio Abbado is no longer among us. A number of messages and homages followed this sad notice, and I felt particularly touched by a couple of them.

Naming Mr. Abbado as one of the greatest conductors of this and the last century, the label Deutsche Grammophon paid a beautiful tribute to him as well. They worked together for 46 years, thus fortunately, Mr. Abbado’s recordings are preserved and will be available for generations to come. In the words of the DG’s CEO: “The world has lost one of the most inspiring musicians of our era, a man who put himself entirely at the service of the music he conducted and, in doing so, made listeners feel that they were hearing it properly for the very first time.

Mr. Abbado with his former professor,
the Brazilian conductor Maestro
Eleazar de Carvalho.

The recognition of Mr. Abbado’s legacy – his body of work as well as his gentle personality, are also unanimously celebrated. His emphasis on dialogue and cooperation helped build a sounding character recognised not only by co-workers in several countries but specially among young talented musicians that he mentored.

Mr. Claudio Abbado with
Mr. Gustavo Dudamel.

One of those young musicians inspired and encouraged by Mr. Abbado was Gustavo Dudamel, the Venezuelan violinist, conductor and a regular visitor with his baton leading the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mr. Dudamel was the author of one of those touching homages I referred to in the beginning of this post. Pretty considerate words, coming from a great musician morning the death of his mentor:

Claudio Abbado will always be part of the exalted group of geniuses in the history of the arts. His endless generosity and love touched me at a very early age and will be always one of the most valuable treasures in my life. It was not only me personally but more importantly our Sistema Nacional de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela that he embraced as his family. He gave to us his sincere love and his profound wisdom. On behalf of my colleagues and of Maestro Abreu, I would like to pay an eternal tribute to our beloved Maestro Abbado, with the faith that his spirit and his inspiration will be always with us.

Mr. Daniel Barenboim with his
old friend and colleague
Mr. Claudio Abbado

Another great homage that particularly attracted my attention was presented by the old friend, the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. He says: “With Claudio Abbado, we lose one of the greatest musicians of the past 50 years and one of the very few musicians who had a very strong connection with the spirit of music across the different genres. …  Perhaps most significant, however, was his support of young musicians through his founding of many important youth orchestras. In this sense, he was a pioneer who worked with young musicians, challenged and supported them, throughout his entire career. With this, he set an example for the world, maintaining that young and inexperienced musicians can make music at the highest level when they work with the right attitude and commitment. We owe him this, and so much more.

A leader who founded orchestras, launched festivals, encouraged young talented musicians. A conductor that gave us a brilliant interpretation of Mahler‘s work, and always conducted from memory after hard preparation. A professional that refused the title of “great conductor” – “it’s the composer who is great“, stated Mr. Abbado.

Chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1989, Mr. Abbado replaced the legendary german chief conductor Herbert von Karajan, a member of the Nazi party who stayed in command for 35 years. Mr. Abbado was then replaced by Mr. Simon Rattle, in January 2003, a couple of years after Mr. Abbado was diagnosed with stomach cancer and started a long treatment battle that unfortunately led to his death at the age of 80.

A beautiful offer was launched yesterday by the Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker. You may want to enjoy the selected videos made available for free watch.

Let us hope he will keep on conducting and evolving his wonderful musical talents in space… Why not dream about Mr. Abbado leading the Planets and surprising the stars with his baton? 🙂

“For me, listening is the most important thing:
to listen to each other, to listen to what people say,
to listen to music!”

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Christmas gift by the Berliner Philharmoniker – until Dec 12, 2013

It’s almost Christmas… and once again time for the traditional Christmas’ competition at the Berliner Philharmoniker. This year of 2013 they are offering 3 copies of a recent magnificent recording of The Magic Flute. All you have to do is answer to 3 quite easy questions about this opera and click submit.
Now, you are not going to miss the opportunity to win, right? Access the contest page here.
Need a help to answer the questions? There you go the answers…

  1. Year of première of the opera: 1791
  2. Who wrote the libretto: Emanuel Schikaneder
  3. What influenced the libretto: Freemasonry

But remember: you have only until Dec 12, 2013 to join!

Good luck! 🙂

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