The Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble are particularly keen to pass on their love of music to others. All involved find that instilling an enthusiasm for classical music in tomorrow’s concert audiences is a richly rewarding experience. Working on a piece of music within a group, learning to understand it and feeling oneself to be an important part of the whole within the framework of a performance are often the spark that triggers a lifelong fascination with music. As a result, many stages in the work of the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble include programmes and offers for schoolchildren. Children of all ages and from every type of school are able to experience the rehearsals at close quarters. They work closely with Thomas Hengelbrock and the professional musicians in his choir and ensemble and learn to regard the music of the past as something immediate and alive. Several examples of our work are included here.
Singing Catches On: Benefit Concerts
For many years the Balthasar Neumann Academy has worked closely with various youth choirs and choir schools. From 2019/20 the Academy will be expanding its community work to include the Choir School at St Peter’s Church in Hamburg, which some 160 children and adolescents regard as their musical home.
The Balthasar Neumann Academy will be giving a benefit concert in Mülheim an der Ruhr on 20 April 2020 with the proceeds going to the Choir School. In this way the Academy hopes to draw attention to the need to support young musicians and to set an example for others. In the run-up to the concert a number of professional musicians from the Balthasar Neumann Choir will visit the Choir School and work with them on the music that will be performed at the concluding benefit concert.
Since 2018 several music education activities related to the concerts of the Balthasar Neumann Ensembles have taken place in close cooperation with the “Megaron Athens Concert Hall”, the Institute for Early Music in Athens and El Sistema Greece.
In the current season the scholars of the Balthasar Neumann Academy will visit the Skaramagas Refugee Camp and other so-called “Nuclei” of El Sistema Greece and play workshop concerts with double bass player Davide Vittone. At the same time, the the tutors of the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble will work together with Greek students of the Institute for Early Music.
School Project: Oratorio de Noël
Seventy years of Europe – so what? More than ever it is necessary to get to know our European neighbours – culturally, linguistically and as fellow human beings both through direct contact and through the intermediary of music. Oratorio de Noël is a music education project in which we shall once again cross Europe’s internal borders and look beyond our immediate cultural confines: choirs from German and French schools will explore the other country’s Christmas traditions and songs. Together they will travel to the border town of Breisach and with the support of members of the Balthasar Neumann Choir they will study works associated with Christmas. The general public will also be admitted. The final concert in Badenweiler on 2 December 2019 will feature Thomas Hengelbrock, the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble and around one hundred young singers, both male and female.
The project will be realized with the help of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation and the Sparkasse Markgräflerland.
Cooperation with the Eppendorf University Clinic
The opportunity to encounter and engage with different art forms is an important part of the treatment of young psychiatric patients at the Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), where such encounters complement other types of treatment. It is for this reason that, starting in the upcoming season, the Balthasar Neumann Academy is creating various opportunities to work with its members in Hamburg: the children and adolescents at the UKE will have the chance to attend rehearsals and concerts of the Balthasar Neumann Ensembles. Scholarship-holders at the Academy will also develop special concerts and other formats in which they can meet these young patients and help them at their workshops.