Making music brings people together to the great pleasure of everyone – for instance, in the Konzerthaus Publikumsorchester. Here, some 60 Konzerthaus fans from different generations and nationalities, who pursue different professions in their daily lives, perform together. We met four of them with conductor Dirk Wucherpfennig and received insights into where they find their inspiration.
Psychotherapist Ines von Witzleben has been playing with the cellos since the orchestra was founded in 2014 and is also a member of the Orchestra Board. She is relieved that the restrictions of the recent past have been lifted: “At the start of the pandemic, we were trembling from one rehearsal to the next as to whether we could continue, and in the summer of 2020, we were overjoyed to be able to start rehearsing again.”
Members of the Publikumsorchester not only missed making music, but also the social bonding within the group. One of the nice features is the close connection to the Konzerthausorchester Berlin: “We love it when we have section rehearsals with David Drost or Taneli Turunen from the Konzerthausorchester cello group, and also benefit a lot from these.”
While some other amateur orchestras have had to disband due to a loss of members or increasingly difficult conditions, conductor Dirk Wucherpfennig notices there is even more enthusiasm in “his” orchestra than before. Meanwhile, the Publikumsorchester rehearses in a school auditorium in Charlottenburg, but concerts are naturally still held in the Great Hall: “The fact that everyone has stuck together shows how important our music experience is to them. Over time, many personal bonds have developed. We try to organise regular rehearsal weekends. And we have already had two wonderful concert trips to Copenhagen and Singapore.”
Electrical engineer Peter Erdmann has been pursuing his hobby, playing the trumpet, for decades. “Not only do we look forward to our Wednesday rehearsals, but also to going out for Greek food together afterwards and talking about our personal interests, work and other hobbies. Sometimes we perform together at a kindergarten or Christmas market. In the summer, we went on a steamboat trip – for once we didn’t perform, instead an accordionist did.”
Hans Ullrich plays the timpani. Even in retirement, the former principal timpanist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin cannot imagine a life without music: “I turned my hobby into my profession, so why should I give that up now? When you play the timpani, you don’t do it in the basement for your own pleasure – you do it in an orchestra.”
Liza S. has only been part of the group since early October. The young language student from Ukraine plays the violin and came to the Publikumsorchester through a contact from her host family. “I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity to play in this orchestra and in the Konzerthaus. Everyone is so friendly and relaxed. I never wanted to be a professional musician, although my teacher had high hopes for me. She will be very proud when I tell her what I am doing now. Playing the violin allows my soul to fly free. Making music with others helps me get through hard times.”
Dirk Wucherpfennig, who incidentally plays percussion in the Konzerthausorchester as his main job and is also a trained conductor, has the delightful but difficult task of finding pieces that neither over nor under-challenge the group. Most recently, Bartók’s Dance Suite and Zemlinsky’s First Symphony were on the programme: “Of course, all the orchestra musicians should be involved to the greatest extent possible. We have triple woodwinds, four trumpets, three trombones and a tuba. Plus an enormous string section with 16 first violins, which we would like to build up even further. We are particularly happy to have double basses, but more violins and violas are always welcome, as are horn players.”
Wednesdays from 7.00 to 9.30 p.m. (holidays excluded), Sophie-Charlotte-Oberschule auditorium, Sybelstraße 2, Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Dirk Wucherpfennig and the Orchestra Board of the Konzerthaus Publikumsorchester look forward to receiving a short application with details about your instrument and orchestral experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Sebastian Runge