It’s common knowledge these days that electronic music is extremely popular in Berlin. However, if you dig deeper, you’d might be surprised that Berlin actually has one of the strongest classical music scenes in Europe, and for that matter, the world. Young musicians are pumping new life into the many facets of the genre. And the other thing is, if you are under 30 years old, you can experience this realm of music on the cheap.
BLY spoke with Peter Joyce, clarinettist/composer, and Siobhra Quinlan, Irish soprano/composer:
When and how did you start getting into opera and classical music?
Peter: I had quite an unusual musical upbringing in that I actually started off playing jazz saxophone and a few years later started playing classical music on the clarinet. Classical music never quite grabbed me until I played with my first orchestra at about 14 years old. For the next five years or so I continued playing equal amounts of Jazz and Classical music. It wasn’t until I went to University that Classical began to dominate my musical life. While there I was exposed to a huge range of classical music, began seriously studying clarinet and had many great opportunities to perfrom with amateur and professional orchestras. While in college I steadily became more and more interested in composing and conducting which the area I’d like to persue most now! My interest in opera came a little later again when I started listening to and studying the music of Wager and Richard Strauss and later Alban Berg.
Your currently based in Berlin. How did you end up here and what do you like about the city?
Peter: I have been living and working between Berlin and Ireland for well over a year now. After I finished my Bachelors degree I spent a year doing a range of different work, from teaching, playing in Theatres and orchestras to playing in Funk and Rock and Roll bands. All the while my interests were moving more towards conducting and composing. Unfortunately Ireland’s classical music is still quite underdeveloped so I decided to move to Berlin to concentrate on these aspects. Here I knew I’d be able to study privately at first, learn German and see and experience a huge amount of music. Put frankly I think has Berlin has the best music scene in Europe, possibly the world! My favourite thing about Berlin is that on any one night you probably have a choice of five or more concerts and operas to go to, followed by ten or more jazz clubs and all accessible and affordable for young people and students. Add to that the low cost of living and huge amount of talented musicians and artists living here and you have a winning combination!
What is the modern classical scene like these days?
Siobhra: It’s far more vibrant than it appears to the “outside world.” I think it’s a pretty exiting time, as the scene is being driven by exceptional young musicians that are bringing classical music into a new realm so that it’s not just relevant, but essential. And then it’s also being fueled by the creativity and innovation of the contemporary classical scene.
What is the scene like in Berlin?
Siobhra: It’s like the centre of the classical universe. Between the Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus, the Deutsche Oper, Staatsoper and Komische Oper there’s an overwhelming amount going on. And if you’re under 30 you can access all of this for €10 per ticket which is just crazy. Then in addition to contemporary music there is a style of music called Echtzeitmusik which is unique to Berlin, and is somewhere in between new music, improvisation and free jazz.
What is Melting Pot 2?
Siobhra: Melting Pot 2 is the second installment of a concert series of informal evenings of chamber music, opera, art song, instrumental music and new music. And because ‘tis the season…we also have a few festive surprises in store!
Melting Pot 2:
Saturday the 12th
For More Info: Event Page