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September 9, 2003

What do the FCO members do on a nearly 6 hour train journey from Stuttgart to Berlin? Check out the photos! Most popular seems to be either sleeping or listening to music. Some brought a picnic along, others played chess and there was much coming and going along the train aisles as people chatted to one another. Once safely arrived in Berlin the evening was free to explore Germany's exciting capital. The next day we travelled by bus to the Philharmonie - home of perhaps the world's finest orchestra - the Berlin Philharmonic. We rehearsed in the hall in the early afternoon and at 8pm, performed the Berg Violin concerto and the Brahms Requiem. It was a great concert! Afterwards there was a reception/supper and there time to say good bye to fellow musicians and friends. A happy but sad time. Happy because all went superbly but sad to bid farewell to so many. Music has brought us all here together from all corners of the globe and will reunite us again next year. Many thanks and fond wishes to all who took part in whatever way.... and.... come back in 2004!!!
Nick Cohu, Dieter Bernhardt, Tobias Ebel, Elisabeth Janku, Birgit Leppin, Holger (Hollie) Schneider, Susanne Timmer
and Helmuth Rilling,
Andreas Keller
and all other members of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart

September 7, 2003

The last couple of days have been leading up to our final concert in the Swabian capital. Not only was it our last concert here but it was also the closing concert of this year's European Music Festival. Nearly 200 musicians assembled on stage (in addition to 8 trumpets and horns up in the wings of the Beethoven Hall) to perform the Mahler second symphony. Although the author of these lines is not 100% completely objective with regards to the fine musicians we have here this year, I can safely s ay that the result was a triumph. If you don't believe me..... just look at the photo of the standing ovation we received! Musicians and staff, still buzzing with the excitement of the performance, poured into the Hospitalhof for the annual Stuttgart farewell party. Tons of food and gallons of drink were consumed before midnight when people were quietly encouraged to move towards their hotels before the trip the next day to Berlin. So goodbye Stuttgart for 2003!

Sat September 6, 2003

Todays´s photos show some of the moments from the last couple of days - we had the last of the "lecture concerts" and last night performed the Brahms German Requiem and the Berg violin concerto. Each concert requires a completely new stage set up - and in one concert we even had to widen the stage to fit in a Bach-sized ensemble in addition to the full orchestra for Brahms! That nearly 200 musicians fit onto the stage is a tough task in itself and we at the FCO owe gratitude to the many technical workers and stagemen who have accomplished this superbly over the last couple of weeks. To Dieter Bernhardt and his crew - many thanks!! Additional shots of the FCO members relaxing after the concerts at our local bar, the "Hospitalhof" complete our overview. Tonight we rehearse until 9pm, then we pack up the office. It´s already looking sadly empty!! Tomorrow is our final concert in Stuttgart and then on Monday we all travel to Berlin.

Thu September 4, 2003

Photos from some new perspectives of the concerts we´ve been giving over the last couple of evenings here in Stuttgart fill today´s "Daily News". In addition to the lecture concerts, the FCO performed a mixture of small scale orchestral pieces and a-cappella music to a full house in the Liederhalle. Rehearsals have continued today and as I write the evening´s concert is just about to begin. All is well, despite a few FCO members still suffering from the Summer flu bug. The bug that infected our computers yesterday was caught and banished into cyberspace. Hollie and Tobias proudly announce the news! Further news on Saturday.

Wed September 3, 2003

Sorry, no news today, except one: even our most perfect information technology became prominent victim of a tiny little creature called i-worm and had to serve its evil purposes for quite some hours. But finally we got it by its tail and invited it for a nice fishing day tomorrow... Next update (of course with great pictures of the big fish we're gonna catch) straight after our return.

Mon September 1, 2003

On Saturday we travelled to the historic Monastery of Eberbach to perform Mahler´s Symphony No. 2 as the closing concert of this year`s Rheingau Music Festival. The beauty of the monastery impressed our first time visitors and those who were with us last year were happily reaquainted with this idyllic setting. The concert was sold out and was loudly applauded. On Sunday, the Honourary Canadian Consul, Mr. Theo Schweiker, invited all the Canadians to a sight seeing tour of Stuttgart followed by a typical Swabian meal. This is the third year Mr. Schweiker has done this and his support and recognition of the musical talents of the Canadians (26!!) in the FCO is greatly appreciated by us in the Bachakademie. Canada is the only nation who so openly supports her artists with us! Many thanks! Shots of the visit to the Rotenberg chapel where some former kings and queens of this area are buried and in return for a typical German/Swabian meal, the honourary Consul was serenaded in true Canadian style! The two video clips show excerpts from the rehearsal this afternoon for tonight`s concert. More news on Wednesday.

Fri August 29, 2003

Strings, strings orchestra is without them! And we have quite a lot with us here so hence our small photographic hommage to the many string players (and their cases!) in the Festival Orchestra...not forgetting the harpists who have the biggest instruments of all! Our musicians love for music shows itself in their attendence at the many daily concerts in the European Music Festival and a couple of the shots show the queues for tickets. Photos of this afternoon´s rehearsal complete the news today.....our Australian trumpeter John really doesn´t need any trumpet lessons but we caught him brushing up on his German. Perhaps he is thinking... "Ah ha, now I know what Auferstehung means....!" Next update: Monday.

Wed August 27, 2003

We made it!! 200 musicians plus instruments, luggage and music arrived in Stuttgart on Saturday morning after 2 glorious weeks on the shores of Lake Constance. Phase II starts here and there was no pause - an official opening ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon and a hefty rehearsal day followed on Sunday with the brass giving an exemplary performance in the early morning church service. Our first concert took place in Stuttgart's newly renovated Stiftskirche in the center of the city. The church is a focal point of the Stuttgarters life and the packed audience at our concert heard wonderful and inspired performances from the orchestra and choir. Despite tiredness, many members of the FCO turned up at our newly resurrected from his sickbed webmaster's 40th birthday party after the concert. Swing and salsa replaced Brahms & Mahler for a few hours. But not for long! Maria Guinand launched into rehearsals the next day (Tuesday) and Helmuth rehearsed and then conducted the first of the three lecture concerts on Mahler's second symphony. Again a full house. The videos today show up to date images of this afternoon's (Wednesday) rehearsals including Dietrich Henschel singing to the fishes....I must hurry as the concerts begin in 15 minutes!!! More news on Friday...

Fri August 22, 2003

A festive day today - our last in Salem. The morning choir rehearsal had the added bonus of the now traditional final day performance for the chorus by our voice coaches. All six of them sang a medley of songs and even moved their bodies as well as their vocal chords! Meanwhile in our office, computers were unplugged, boxes filled with files, new lists printed, old ones thrown in the bin, coffee machines packed away and a general clearing up in readiness for the journey back to Stuttgart on Saturday morning. We seem to be really quite popular with the townsfolk of Überlingen as our annual concert at the school was sold out and indeed there were last minute fights for tickets among the normally placid and peaceful holiday makers. The concert lasted 2 hours with a mixture of small scale orchestral and choral pieces. Applause all round. A luscious buffet awaited our hungry musicians at 9pm and the photos show happy faces on full stomachs!! The party lasted until just after midnight when us staff then snatched away all beer and wine bottles and tried to usher our young musicians towards bed in preparation for the early start in the morning back to Stuttgart. So our two weeks in Salem have come to an end......wonderful music making and great times together. We look forward to phase two in Stuttgart.

Thu August 21, 2003

The daily walk for many from Spetzgart to Härlen goes through some woods and Tobias found a couple of interesting shots of the trees in the glen. Todays orchestral rehearsls were for the Berg Violin concerto and the Mahler symphony II. Shots of the two stand-in violin soloists (Rahel and Marte) complete the morning pictures. In the afternoon the Aula resounded to mega decibels as the full forces of choir and orchestra played the 5th movement of the Mahler symphony. It's doubtful whether such a volume of sound has ever been heard before on the campus. All were impressed - except perhaps our little guest from Israel. Perhaps the Mahler put him off his food??

Wed August 20, 2003

Head shots are the topic of the day. There are shots of some of the members of the FCO, the staff, the professors plus some honourary visitors from Stuttgart and elsewhere. A long day rehearsing Mahler with excellent results especially as Helmuth Rilling explained the history and story behind the symphony in the afternoon rehearsal together with Norbert Bolin from the Bachakademie. Helmuth's commentaries impressed all. during the evening, Jaime Martin our flute professor amazed us all by playing a Bach flute sonata on a wine glass! Something for all our students to strive for?

Tue August 19, 2003

All is well here with a couple of exceptions. Our webmaster has fallen victim to a flu bug and has had to return to Stuttgart and Simba the dog, our "mascot" on the campus limps around with an injured foot. Otherwise all is well - despite a certain "Monday morning feeling" after our day off yesterday. Any cobwebs were blown aside by the huge volume of sound the orchestra made in the last movement of Mahler II as we rehearsed for the first time with the off stage musicians. The day was busy and all was quiet as from 10pm.....the first time this has happened!

Sun August 17, 2003

Today was Sunday - our only free day in four weeks of intensive work. So nothing better than to go by boat to the wonderful Island of Reichenau in Lake Constance. The photos really need no comment. Just browse through them to recognise faces and catch something of the atmosphere of today. There is something for everybody - including those of you who enjoy our daily photos of animals. Todays offering is basically aquatic. Our webmaster Hollie takes the photos (see himself in picture N°.1) but over the last few days the "Daily News" has published some memorable photos (look at the last 8 in the list today including a wonderful shot of a swan on the lake) taken by Friedemann Röhlig who is with us this year coaching the singers. To him we send many thanks and look forward to further contributions. The webmaster travels briefly back to Stuttgart tomorrow to plug and unplug computers in the Bach Academy offices. So that means no daily news on Monday but a mega double edition (at no extra cost...!!!) on Tuesday!!

Sat August 16, 2003

Today was the heaviest day so far in the number of rehearsals. Not only did we rehearse the two main works but in addition the choir sang parts of the a-cappella programs they are preparing and also orchestra members rehearsed Brahms, Debussy and Bach in three seperate groups tonight up to 9:30pm. But the choice of today's photos reflect life outside of the rehearsal room. Some are taken from last night and others from free moments today... one FCO member catches a quick siesta, others play sport and Dave places a call to Canada. Tonight's open air cinema has just finished and so it's time to send this report into cyberspace.

Fri August 15, 2003

A mixed bag of photos today which perhaps reflects the diversity of the life here. Some play chamber music late at night, our Russian friends drink tea (!), others watch a film (guess which one? there are clues in today's photos) and some make oboe reeds. There are shots of our voice teachers giving individual lessons to members of the choir plus a group photo of some of our double bass section. The choir was divided in the afternoon for sectional rehearsals.It was overall rainy today which kept our intrepid photographer inside but nevertheless he managed to snap some shots of doves on the roof of the main building. More photos of animals and humans tomorrow.......

Thu August 14, 2003

Two photos of breakfast start today's report - not many people there....either still in bed or (hopefully) practising! Various shots also of visitors to our office in Room 7 - some visits social, others to mark up scores - in fact, the office got so full that Helmuth Rilling had to hold a meeting outside!!! No problem as the sun is shining again after a brief rainy interlude. In addition to rehearsals of the Brahms Requiem we also held chamber music rehearsals and the Harmonium made its debut in Schönberg's arrangement of Mahler songs. What does "Volles Werk" mean? Answers to me please! Shots of additional daily activities fill today's report including one of a bumble bee clinging on to a bicycle spoke. Isn't it quicker to fly?

Wed August 13, 2003

It's hard to say what impressed most today - the sound of the orchestra on the first full orchestral rehearsal of Mahler II and the Brahms Requiem or the simply glorious sunset over Lake Constance. Decide yourselves - you can see the photos and listen and watch the videos. Shots of musicians, professors, reeds and an observant spider complete today's overview. All is well - it rained this afternoon and thus broke the spell of mega-heat. Some celebrated by "dancing in the rain"... but as I write (11pm) the temperature is still 25° (80°F).....

Tue August 12, 2003

Officially the youngest member of the FCO is 18 but some just can't wait to start.........and that despite the heat! It's so hot that we even have to cool down the office paper! Helmuth Rilling and Maria Guinand joined us for a glass of wine last night before Maria began 7 hours of rehearsals of the Brahms Requiem with the choir in Spetzgart Castle. During the breaks, some sought shelter from the heat and others played cards. At the same time that Hannes Läubin was leading a combined brass rehearsal of Mahler Symphony N°.2, Gernot Süssmuth showed a conductor's flair in his string tutti session in the main hall. Two of our timpani players take a break as do the oboe players from making reeds while our lady harpists warm up (if that was even necessary in this heat..!!) before a full orchestral rehearsal tomorrow.

Mon August 11, 2003

No news is good news - but no doubt most of the participants this year have phoned home to report their safe arrival in Überlingen. Nearly 200 young musicians worldwide arrived safely yesterday in Überlingen and today started rehearsing despite jet lag, the incredible heat and quite a few lost suitcases! A welcome meeting presented by our managing director, Andreas Keller and the director of Salem College, Dr. Bueb took place this morning and then we launched into the first of many rehearsals. The photos show some of the classes from today including shots of Prof. Michael Hasel's flute class to whom we owe an especial word of thanks for flying in at such short notice to replace the indisposed Jean-Claude Gérard. First impressions overall of the FCO 2003? All agree that all is going well and all are happy..........

The daily comments for the news written by Nick. Photos by Hollie the webmaster. Short videos by Tobias.