In Germany musical life is flourishing on all levels, from local choirs to world famous philharmonics and, known as a land of music, it is initially the classics that come to mind, however there are many new and dynamic sounds to be enjoyed everywhere from musical theaters and pop and rock concerts to jazz clubs and festivals. The music scene in Germany has not stopped evolving since it began.
The works of Hidegard of Bingen, Germany’s 12th century mystic Abbess and a prolific writer and composer of Christian music and texts, are believed to have been the first phase on Germany’s musical path.
Germany has 84 publicly-funded opera houses, which is one seventh of the world total of 560 permanent and professional opera houses.
Countrywide there are 133 symphony orchestras, many directed by star international conductors.
Each of Germany’s 16 Laender has an individual cultural center instead of there being one national organization, and this leads to a tremendous diversity as to what it is possible to offer in music, art and culture throughout the country.
There is a Pop Academy in Mannheim for those who dream of a future in the Pop Music industry, where the teachers often include current ‘pop’ stars. Although German pop music was influenced by US and British trends, and many performers sang in English, a growing number now sing in German.
In addition there are 24 Academies for Music, which train everyone from soloists, orchestra musicians and teachers to dancers, actors and jazz players and where over one third of the students come from outside Germany.
Einstein said ‘What I have to say about the life’s work of Bach is this. Listen, play, love, admire – and keep your mouth shut.’ But many pop and jazz musicians have played around with Bach’s compositions, including the Beatles with Penny Lane and Procol Harum with A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Germany’s sales of hip hop are second only to the USA, with hip hop crews, break dancing and the runaway success, and still popular, DIE DA by the Stuttgart group De Fantastichen Vier, The Fantastic Four, starting the trend in 1992.
The King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley not only had German ancestry on his father's side that dated back to 1704, Stuttgart was close to the Friedberg US barracks where he started his military service in 1958.
Not long afterwards, in 1960, the British group The Beatles began their journey to success in northern Germany’s Hamburg, appearing at the Star Club.
Germany has Oom-pah bands, other wise known as brass bands, where the musicians dress in ‘tracht’ traditional leather trousers, and not only play thigh slapping, foot stomping drinking songs in beer halls and at Oktoberfest but, on all sorts of occasions and parades. Producing anything from the classics and jazz in concert halls to folk and dance at festivals.
The WIND OF CHANGE was a world wide hit in 1991 for the German group from Hanover The Scorpions, and it was written by the group’s singer, Klaus Meine, to commemorate the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Europe.
Most major cities hold at least one music festival, but in Germany festivals are not only to be found in the cities. Classical works especially are also staged small town theaters, many of which are architectural gems, as well as historic castles, palaces, monasteries and churches, and are a favorite not only of Germans but also those visiting and traveling through the country.
The numbers of young people with an interest in classical music, as well as in the contemporary music scene, are rising. Although some might be influenced by David Garrett, a young German American ‘pop violinist’ who has built up an enthusiastic following for both his style of playing classics and his personality, the majority of opera houses and every orchestra also put together special programs for young listeners and these are well supported. Even Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth, setting for the world famous festival, has an opera for children and open air broadcasts.
German singer Herbert Groenemeyer was the first non English speaking artist invited to perform in the MTV Unplugged series in 1994. One of his famous songs in Germany is in praise of The Currywurst, a grilled sausage covered with curry sauce.
Cologne Cathedral Choir in the Koelner Dom, uploaded and photographed by Bernhard Walterscheid, de.Wikipedia, Music video by Die Fantastischen Vier performing Die Da!?!. (C) 1992 Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbHby, Music Video by Scorpions performing Wind Of Change. (C) 1991 The Island Def Jam Music Group
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