In Germany musical life is flourishing on all levels. From local choirs and village brass bands to world famous philharmonics. Known as a land of music, initially the classics come to mind, but there are many new, dynamic, and sometimes unusual, sounds to be heard everywhere from musical theaters and pop and rock concerts of every style, to jazz clubs and the indoor and open-air festivals that cover all categories of the music scene.
A scene that has not stopped evolving since it began.
Works by Hidegard of Bingen, Germany’s 12th century mystic Abbess and prolific writer and composer of Christian music and texts, are thought to be the first phase of the country's musical path.
Germany has 84 publicly-funded opera houses, 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.
Instead of one national organization each of Germany’s 16 Länder has an individual cultural center, this leads to a tremendous diversity as to what it is offered 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, and the teachers often include current 'pop' stars. Although German pop music was strongly 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."
Many pop and jazz musicians have found inspiration from 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.
Stuttgart is close to the Friedberg US barracks where the "King of Rock and Roll", Elvis Presley, started his military service in 1958. He had German ancestry on his father's side dating back to 1704.
Soon afterwards, in 1960, the British group The Beatles began their journey to success in northern Germany’s Hamburg, appearing at the Star Club.
Throughout the German speaking world there are the famous Blaskapelle, brass bands also known in the English as Oom-pah bands, where the musicians wear Tracht traditional regional outfits, and play on all sorts of occasions and parades, not only thigh slapping, foot stomping drinking songs in beer halls or at Oktoberfests.
They also produce everything 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 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 put together special programs for young listeners, which are well supported, and even Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth, setting for the world famous festival, has an opera for children as well as open air broadcasts.
German singer Herbert Grönemeyer was the first non English speaking artist invited to perform in the MTV Unplugged series in 1994, and one of his most popular songs in Germany is in praise of The Curry Wurst. Popular street food, it is a grilled sausage covered with curry sauce.
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg viq Hamburg.de: Musikkapelle photographer Usien via 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