Artikel-Schlagworte: „Chamber Music“

Masterclass with Christoph Eschenbach

Donnerstag, 14. Februar 2013

A Young  Soloists´s personal experience

“We were working on this opportunity for more than 10 years”,  said Raimund Trenkler about Christoph Eschenbach´s coming to Kronberg to deliver a series of masterclasses over one weekend. Now, last weekend it finally happened (February 8-9).  This was a unique chance for me to personally get to know a worldwide renowned pianist and conductor.

Maestro Eschenbach shared with us his incredible experience as a conductor, working on such  beautiful concertos like Schumann´s cello concerto, Bruch´s violin concerto, Walton´s viola concerto and various other pieces. In addition, we had the chance to play and perform with him, playing chamber music works by Mozart and Dvorák.

I was very much impressed by his strong sense of timing in music, and how he was feeling the natural shape of musical  phrases. At times, he paid attention to a very small detail with the result that the music was getting freedom and new colors. None of the formal, lifeless notes were missed by him. And he was so much involved in working with each student to bring into the piece truthfulness and natural breath.  Sometimes, he just showed a direction, conducting only two bars and the phrase got immediately clearly articulated. He also suggested some of the bow changes for orchestra groups in certain places, where the melody of the solo instrument needs a particular support from the orchestra.

To play chamber music with Christoph Eschenbach is a very special experience. It’s an opportunity to make music with a great musician, to feel his spirit and fully embrace the music. And sensing a kind of distance which always exists between a soloist and the conductor. However, a distance that is disappearing in the moment of creating music together. At the beginning Maestro Eschenbach wanted to play only one movement of the Dvorák piano quintet and it was so interesting to see how excited everybody became when he couldn’t stop with one movement and the quintet piece was finally played to the end.

As a result of my participation and listening to a series of masterclasses conducted by great musicians who were coming to Kronberg over the last couple of months I got the feeling of a common spirit. Also I felt that there was a common idea shared amongst the group of Young Soloists who were also in the room during those masterclass sessions. And that feeling was so special,  meaning that all young musicians were united by that common idea and we were part of it through shared learning and performing. And this feeling got even stronger, when all the Young Soloists and Maestro Eschenbach played together chamber music. Mr. Eschenbach pointed out that musicians should carry a message to the audience which is to make sure that music has the power to unite people with different standpoints, convictions and beliefs.

Last but not least I would like to add a few observations. The Maestro didn’t want to make breaks between sessions, in other words, it seemed that he was very much looking forward to the next interpretation, a new personality and new musical experience. And I also felt, that after the two days making music together and speaking and exchanging ideas during dinners, we got to know him better and if I may say so, the distance between him and us was shrinking. We came closer to each other. After these two amazing days with Christoph Eschenbach we were  all excited about the experience and we are clearly looking forward to his next stay in Kronberg, scheduled in June.

Anastasia Kobekina

Young Soloist, Kronberg Academy Masters

(Photo: Andreas Malkmus, Frankfurt)

From fancy fiddler to hard working Young Soloist

Mittwoch, 21. Dezember 2011

An interview with 17 year old Dutch cellist Ella van Poucke

Ella van Poucke turned 17 in April.  Since October  2011 she is a new member of our group of Young Soloists for Kronberg Academy Masters. The professor who will be taking care of her musical development is cellist Frans Helmerson. Last week, shortly before our conversation, Ella had finished a masterclass with Canadian cellist Gary Hoffman, who is also a  permanent Professor in Kronberg.

Asked how to run this interview, Ella smiled and said “My first language is Dutch, second is English and regarding German I can understand quite a bit, speak a few words, but it isn´t enough to let the interview flow in German.”  So we switched to English.

Before we entered Studio 1 in the KAM facilities at Kronberg´s Streitkirche, we took a look at her cello. “It looks quite old“, I remarked.  “No, it isn´t! It was made in 2009, but I would love to have an old one” answered Ella, smiling.

Ella has two brothers and a sister. Her parents provided for a good musical background. Ella´s father is a trained trumpet player for Netherlands  Radio Symphony Orchestra (NRSO). Her mother used to play viola but in recent years she has turned to cooking, professionally and in the family.

Following is a short conversation with Ella, who grew up in a little city near Amsterdam.

1 ) How do you feel in Kronberg?
Ella: It´s a big honour for me to be here! Staying with the best teachers for string instruments and being part of that group of so talented young musicians is very inspiring. It´s a prestigious place to study music.

2) How did you just arrive in Kronberg?
Ella: Well,  I took the train, which is so convenient. I like train rides a lot! There I can sleep,
read and eat! It takes only about 5 hours from Holland.

3) Are you here for the first time?
Ella:  I was in Kronberg last year for the cello masterclasses in September which was a great experience! It all started when I was 15 and taking classes with  Frans Helmerson in Cologne for about a year. He mentioned Kronberg Academy and proposed that I should opt for an audition.  So, during  2009 I travelled to Kronberg the first time and met with Stephen Potts, director of Kronberg Academy Masters. Then I had my first audition. Also I travelled to Kronberg only some weeks ago for attendance of the masterclasses with Gidon Kremer and Volker Biesenbender. Volker lectured on improvisation and Gidon Kremer spoke about music and musicianship. Two very different personalities and styles. Both masterclasses provided a wealth of information.

4) What did you know about KronbergAcademy?
Ella: I heard about the Academy from a friend when I was nine. Later I looked at Kronberg Academy´s homepage on the internet and I found it very appealing.

5) How did your love for playing the cello evolve?
Ella: I started at age 4, taking violin classes. Honestly, I didn´t like it so much,  it was kind of weird. I quit the classes when I was five and a half. Later at age six I discovered the cello and this is what I liked a lot! Then my parents sent me to the Utrecht music school. Looking back I must say the classes became more enjoyable for me and when I was eight it really became more serious and it was fun. I began practicing for myself and at age twelve I was attending the Amsterdam conservatory. Prior to Amsterdam I was also taking classes at Den Haag for about a year. When I was ten I joined a group of young violinists called the “The Fancy Fiddlers”, founded by one of my teachers at the time, Mrs. Coosje Wijzenbeck. There were 20 players in that group and we began to perform concerts.

6) How was musical life in your family?
Ella: I liked to play chamber music. Throughout the day, while at home I also listened to music from my brother and my parents. One of my brothers listened to hip-hop and pop music, my father is a great Jazz fan and he likes the Beatles very much and of course Jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. This kind of music I do like as well. In earlier years my mum was playing viola. So I am used to hear her viola sounds from time to time. But in recent years she has concentrated on her cooking job and music became a side activity. On the other hand her vegetarian cooking style is very good for my health. So, overall, music was ubiquitous in our home. And I was exposed to different styles of music.

7) Who was a strong influence for you?
Ella: As I had already mentioned the “The Fancy Fiddlers” were founded by my teacher Coosje Wijzenbeck, and she had a very strong influence on me. Playing together under her leadership was great fun. We often rehearsed string quartets. Another great influence was and still is British cellist Colin Carr, who is a very good friend of my parents. In fact, I very much loved his way of playing, very different from what I learned through Coosje Wyzenbeck. I play with Colin from time to time in famous concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. At age 13 I played with him Vivaldi´s Double Concerto in that hall. Another influence was Godfried Hoogeveen, whom I met during the Amsterdam Conservatory years. Godfried is a great player, he told me all about music, not technically but rather aspects related to emotions, musicality and various musical styles. He was a student of renowned cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and became my mentor. Attending the cello masterclass at Kronberg Academy in September 2011  was also a great experience. And not to forget: at age 13 I joined the Amsterdam Chamber Music Society and I am still a member of that institution. There I met Christian Bor who was a student of violinist Jascha Heifetz. Christian as well as Godfried Hooogeveen influenced me over the years quite a lot.
While I was attending the Verbier musical festival in 2009 I had the great opportunity to attend masterclasses with Bernard Greenhouse, about 3-4 lessons, an hour each. Mr. Greenhouse told me so much about phrasing. This was very inspiring for me.

How do you relax ?
Well, I love cooking, walking and jogging. Especially jogging is something I enjoy so much. Also right now. Jogging is hard to do here in Kronberg because of the various hills. So it is quite challenging. When I am at home in our house in Holland I enjoy the great kitchen that we have and do cooking activities with great enjoyment.

Which type of music do you play with great enthusiasm? And what kind of music do you listen to, today?
Ella: I listen to a lot of chamber music. Dvorak´s Cello Concerto performed by Colin Carr is something I like to listen to,  over and over. And I listen to a lot of CDs, mostly classical music. And I like to listen what other fellow musicians play.

Playing and rehearsing daily, how many hours a day do you play and how much of sacrifies does this mean?
Ella: Currently I am playing 5-6 hours a day. The act of rehearsing is fun, I enjoy it! I can´t think of any sacrifices. I am really happy when I am playing, every day! But after so many hours each day other things are getting painful. Like carrying the cello case uphill, biking with the cello or sitting long hours in really unhealthy positions. Those things can be a bit of  a burden, but I can´t call them sacrifices.

10) Which expectations do you have with view to your enrollment with “Kronberg Academy Masters”?
Ella: I am working hard! I will learn things that I need to change in my playing. One can never play complete or perfectly. There is always room for improvements and changes. I want to become a solo cellist and play chamber music. But I also could think of myself as becoming a teacher in the future. All Young Soloists know each other and together with the members of the Kronberg Academy team we belong to a family. This is stimulating. We are inspiring ourselves and the lessons and all the work are quite intensive. The good thing is, all is very well organised by the team. The Academy is not just a music school, it is an institution where so much help is available all the time. I am not waiting here for big things to happen, I concentrate on my work and continuous improvements of my playing.

11) How do you use the internet, how often and how long are you online?
Ella: I am not a typical young internet user or TV person. What I like is using Google for searches. I check my email every day but I don´t stay long online. I am on facebook and using this means staying connected with my friends – this is a good thing. And for background information and easy questions I go to Wikipedia. But otherwise the internet is a waste of time. I am not a heavy internet user,  I see the stupid part of it.

Ella, thank you for this interview!

Michael Heinz/Kronberg Academy

Chamber Music Connects the World / Wie alles begann

Donnerstag, 1. April 2010

Dies ist der Auftakt und eine kleine Einstimmung zu unserer neuen 10-teiligen Blog-Serie über die Anfänge des Kammermusik-Projekts „Chamber Music Connects the World“ und Portraits einiger Ex-Juniors.

Vor nunmehr fast genau 10 Jahren begann für die Kronberg Academy die Reise in die Welt der Kammermusik, und gleichzeitig die Etablierung eines weiteren Bausteins in der Förderung und Ausbildung junger, hochbegabter Musiker und Solisten.

In insgesamt drei Blogbeiträgen wollen wir die Geschichte von CMCW nacherzählen, von den gedanklichen Wurzeln bis zur Realisierung im Jahre 2000. Und vorweg ein kurzer Rückblick auf ein Kammermusik-Projekt in Amerika, wo das Experiment „Marlboro Music School“ in den frühen Fünfziger Jahren aus der Taufe gehoben wurde. Welche Hürden und Hindernisse beim ersten Zusammentreffen in Kronberg im Jahre 2000 zu überwinden waren, davon soll auch hier später berichtet werden. Und über manche Eigentümlichkeit.

Dies alles wird erzählerisch und mit kleinen Anekdoten und persönlichen Erinnerungen garniert. Eingesammelt und eingefangen bei all jenen, die mit Herzblut von Anfang mit dabei waren.

Was uns aber alle bis heute fasziniert ist dies:

die ersten Seniors bei Chamber Music sind über ihre eigenen Lehrer und deren Wegbegleiter mit  einer Generation verbunden, die viele herausragende Künstler der jüngeren Musikgeschichte hervorgebracht hat – dies wird stets lebendig, wenn man die Lebensläufe der beteiligten Musiker sich vor Augen führt und dann realisiert, dass auch diese Seniors auf den Schultern jener Generation stehen und von deren Kreativität und Meisterschaft nachhaltig inspiriert wurden. Ausnahmekünstler wie Pablo Casals, Emanuel Feuermann, Rudolf Serkin, David Oistrach und Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin und natürlich nicht zu vergessen Mstislav Rostropovich haben ihre Meisterschaft und Disziplin an unsere Seniors weitergegeben – sich dieser Verbindungen bewusst zu sein und zugleich als Ansporn und Maßstab weiterzugeben, das ist nach wie vor das Ziel . Die jungen Musiker von heute reihen sich ein in diesen Strom. So betrachtet, ergibt sich ein bedeutungsvoller Brückenschlag zwischen den Generationen bis in die heutige Zeit.

Schließlich erhellen wir an sechs Musiker-Beispielen in den dann folgenden Blogbeiträgen zur Geschichte von Chamber Music Connects the World wie sich der eine oder andere Ex-Junior seit der Teilnahme künstlerisch weiter entwickelt hat. Denn “Chamber Music” istbekanntlich ein weiterer Pfeiler in der individuellen Förderung und Entwicklung einer aufstrebenden jungen Solisten-Generation der Extra-Klasse.

Nächster Blog:   Feuerprobe für ein einzigartiges Konzept

Michael Heinz



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