German classical music night enthralls Jeddah audience

German classical music night enthralls Jeddah audience
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German classical music night enthralls Jeddah audience
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Updated 17 October 2012

German classical music night enthralls Jeddah audience

German classical music night enthralls Jeddah audience

Diplomats, Saudis, international dignitaries and media on Saturday were enthralled by a classical music concert at the residence’s garden of German Consul General Theodor Schuster in Jeddah
The German musicians Reinhard Armleder on violoncello and pianist Dagmar Hartmann formed the Karlshruher Konzert-Duo and played, with the participation of Saudi violinist Gehad Al-Khaldi, works of composers such as Beethoven, Liszt and Bartholdy.
The audience was so mesmerized by the music that it forgot about the heat and humidity.
“It was a great experience for us. We met many open-minded people interested in classical music, which was a surprise for us,” said Armleder.
Armleder and Hartmann said they found a great audience in Riyadh and Jeddah while performing at the German Embassy and Consulate despite the fact that there is not a huge classical public in Saudi Arabia.
“Nonetheless, our experience at the Riyadh embassy and German Consulate in Jeddah showed us there are many people with a keen interest in such music, and we are very happy that we played for such a wonderful audience. We are very surprised after meeting the Saudi people how eager and keen they are to listen to classical music. We found the Saudi society like a sponge who wants to grab every opportunity given to it,” the artists said.
Cellist Reinhard Armleder studied at the Trossingen University of Music and the Berlin University of the Arts. After graduating, he completed his studies at the Trossingen University, where he took his performing exam in 2000. Armleder was inspired in master classes by Lynn Harrell, Steven Isserlis, Janos Starker, Siegfried Palm, and the Beaux Arts Trio. He started with piano but then moved toward cello when Hartmann began with piano at the age of six.
“We think European classical music has a future in Saudi Arabia. The country has become more open, Saudi students begin to be interested in the music, and many students are going for higher studies to Europe, where they will learn more about classical music. In the future, these people will give lessons to their own children,” they said.
Dagmar continued her piano studies at the Trossingen University. In 1997, she received a chamber music scholarship from the Braunschweig Kammermusikpodium.
“I grew up playing the piano, then completed my musical high school and graduated in music. I joined him (Armleder) during my studies; we started playing together and made a great team,” said Dagmar Hartmann.
Hartmann and Armleder perform as soloists as well as in ensembles with very different castings. For almost seven years, the two are giving private cello and piano classes and appear regularly as jury members in competitions. They already participated in more than 100 concerts worldwide.
“We perform worldwide as well as on the national level in Germany and went on several tours. Every year we go on world tours to perform in different countries from west to east. In the last five years, we have been to almost 30 countries including Saudi Arabia. This is our second visit to Saudi Arabia in three and a half years on the invitation of the German Consulate and Embassy,” they said.
Founded in 1997, the Karlsruher Konzert-Duo is successful and in demand in Germany and abroad. The ensemble has established itself not least by winning several international competitions. “We met and created this concert duo almost 15 years ago, and since then we have been working together,” said Armleder.
They won first prizes in international competitions: in Italy the “Lorenzo Perosi” competition in Biella, in Moncalieri (both in 1999), and in the competition in Racconigi (in 2001). In France, they won the “Concours Pierre Lantier” in 2000 and the U.A.F.M. competition in Chaville, 2003.
Armleder and Hartmann regularly perform in renowned festivals and concert series in Germany and internationally, as well as for radio and television. While still studying, they went on their first tours to Italy (1999), Israel (1998 and 2003) and Switzerland (2001).
The musicians also repeatedly gave concerts in several countries of the Arabian Peninsula and other countries of the Middle East. In 2009, further engagements took the duo again to Italy and Russia, Poland, Romania, Brazil and Uruguay. In 2010 they played in South Africa and Mozambique, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Armenia and Great Britain.
“We plan each year to do two big tours and some small tours in addition to producing our CDs,” said Hartmann.
In 2011, after an appearance in Paris, the musicians gave their first concerts in Greece, Macedonia, Croatia and Portugal. A Southeast Asia/China tour in December 2011 further saw them perform in Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore as well as in Beijing and Shanghai.
“This year, we also have a concert at the residence of the German ambassador in Riyadh. We are very pleased to be here. We went to Dar Al-Hekma University, met Saudi students there, and had a concert. We met so many interested women students who showed keen interest in classical music, and some of them tried cello,” they said.
They said the interest in European music they found will develop with time and will open the doors for more exchange of artists from both sides to join this kind of concerts.
“I think it would be a great opportunity for us to get the chance to play with Saudi musicians. In Germany, people can listen all kinds of music, and world music is very popular, but Saudi music is not that well known. Exchange of Saudi music would help us learning and understanding it, because it’s very complicated. You have to learn to listen; it’s very fine, challenging and melodic, as music is art for itself,” said Armleder.
They said learning any instrument is difficult, but it makes a difference when you practice.
On her part, Saudi violinist Gehad Al-Khaldi said, “Today, I am very glad to have had a chance to play with these German musicians.”
Al-Khaldi said she wished such programs would be organized more regularly to give Saudi artists the chance to perform. “Music has a bright future in the world, and there is talent in Saudi Arabia, but we don’t find the place to show our talent. If we had the chance and proper environment, we could do much better,” she added.
The musicians played musical notes by composers Richard Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Dmitri Shostakovich, among others.

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