Adieu 2010

Saying Goodbye to 2010 will be a catharsis for me and I will look back at the year with very mixed emotions.
Carrying me along throughout the year were numerous moments of pure excellence in arts scene in the city of Düsseldorf,  much of which I've been most fortunate to experience much of this up close and personal.

My most memorable moments of 2010 have been:

©Gert Weigelt

1. Rhine Ballet "Signing Off"  by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León. Part of Martin Schläpfer's b.03
Simply beyond amazing. A piece of passion, ripping farewell and beauty to remain with me always.

©Andreas Dommenz

2. Simone Kermes at the robert schumann hall in museum kunst palast.

A personality and voice to admire, what a thrilling performance!  Cannot wait to see her again at the robert schumann hall in June 2011.

3. Now that's a hard one - there were sooo many moments that I'd put into this position:

KiKiFe, the Children's Film Festival, where we introduced the first International Children's Jury with ISR has left me with many wonderful memories. The students were such a delight, I am proud of the work they did and the magic we made.

Buika and The Mozart Requiem from altstadtherbst stick in mind as does the extraordinary encounter at the concert given by Aki Takase at the Approximation Festival. This was such a passionate, unique concert and one I would never normally have visited had it not been for RhineBuzz. A true discovery.
It was also a privilege to be able to talk about and admire the exquisite, porchelain-like portrait of Isabella Rosselini at the Mapplethorpe Retrospective at the NRW-Forum. Such a mesmerising woman we met at the NRW-Forum in 2009.

Thanks are often boring to those not involved, so I'll apologise here and now. This is a an absolute must though as without the people who interact with us, RhineBuzz would be just another networking group and we all experience that, thankfully much, much more.

So my heartfelt thanks go to Tanja Brill, Frau Jokel and Herr Schmiedel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
WoW! I'm in and out of The Opera House so often these days, now with three functions and I love each one equally. I knew when I took the first tour some 18 months ago, that I wanted to spend more time there and now, here we are!
The press conferences are quite different from those of the fine arts. Less formal, somehow warmer. I recently told a close friend, an opera singer, that everyone is just so very nice! He answered it could be because all the staff are out there night after night, live and spontaneous interacting with their audience. Front and back stage. It's a real calling to wish to work there and boy do you sense this! I really mean it. I've not encountered huge egos, I'm always greeted with a genuine, warm smile, and my often naive questions are greeted with such enthusiasm. 
The Opera for All events and Opera Scouts project are aimed at bringing new people to the Opera and I'm privileged to be such a part of this. My knowledge of the Opera was so limited when I received their first call in December 2008, and now I just cannot imagine RhineBuzz without this institution of such history, passion and longevity.

To Marina Schuster at museum kunst palast who welcomed me with the biggest smile and such a wonderful spark for all things new. Our Arts Sessions are just the BEST.  We all love them so and they have introduced a very different aspect of the arts to many RhineBuzzers. Sabrina, our lovely instructor, thank you. Our continued partnership with mkp is a treasure, the exhibition halls are monumental and the robert schumann hall offers a fabulous musical program, especially for young people; I look forward to working even closer with you all in 2011.

Also, very special thanks to:
Krista and Isabel at ISR
Steffi, Helma and Krista Konzok at the DMT
Kurt Helbig
Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk at the Glasmuseum Hentrich
Maria von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk who was very kind
Tina Adomako 
Daniel Fiene at Antenne Düsseldorf
Danielle and Rita at the NRW-Forum
Werner Lippert
Amina Johanssen and Barbara at KiKiFi
Colin Sinclair
Claudia Holthausen at altstadtherbst
Mike Woodiwiss
Bernd Ahrens
Andreas from Kwadrat
Mark and Dinesh from Meetup

To Nicola, Ann-Katrin, Eveline and John, my invaluable soundboards and all our admins on the facebook group
And to Feli, always Dear Feli, now loving it in San Francisco

Adversely to Diva_Girl. Thank you for bringing us John and Herbert. Such great, great guys!

Most of all to YOU, the RhineBuzz community. Each and every one of you who comes to our events, our readers and all of you who post and talk about RhineBuzz all over the place, spreading the word, helping others, especially the city newcomers, find a connection to us. 
You are such a diverse and enriching group of people. I'm so happy we have all found each other.
To my precious friends who help where they can, despite madly busy careers and often rigorous travel.

I'm very proud that RhineBuzz is not just about having a groovy time, as recent difficult situations have shown. When one of us needs help, we are all so willing to do what we can. A simple post brings in mountains of information. RhineBuzz is a trusted link to so many aspects in Düsseldorf, often when the formal connections are just too daunting to approach, or when family abroad are clueless as to how procedures work in Germany and need to fix things for their loved ones here. The community is quite simply brilliant. Thank you.

©Bernd Ahrens Photography

Happy New Year to you all, all over the world! 
To those who have been in Düsseldorf and are now elsewhere, 
we miss you and love hearing what you are up to now. 
To those who have yet to discover us and this wonderful city, welcome.
 And to those at home across the globe for the holidays, 
come back to us safely.
2011 will be simply brilliant! Roll on Eurovision!

To quote a recent, very special post, "RhineBuzz flows!"
 I just couldn't agree more. 

More Tickets for Eurovision go on sale December 16

The tickets for the final sold out in just a couple of hours on Sunday.
On December 16 the sales of tickets for the Jury Final on May 13 2011 begins. 
Prices €19.00, 39.00, 59.00, and 69.00

Tickets available from

12.12 at 12:12 Tickets for The Eurovision Song Contest!!!

So you can finally stop asking us!  
At 12:12, central European time, on the 12.12, the first 35,000 tickets will go on sale exclusively on the website.
Tickets for the semi-finals are expected to go on sale by the third week in January.
Good luck!

Levon Mitchell

Levon fools around at the museum kunst palast
and then he gets creative

There will be a funeral service for Levon at the Nordfriedhof on December 17 at 9:30am.

Today I have been in an exceptionally sunny mood.
Telling people of how wonderful RhineBuzz is because of the very cool people we meet.
Then in a single moment, I've just learnt that Levon Mitchell passed away this morning of a heart attack.
To say I am shocked doesn't say enough and the following words are not cliched statements, they are meant from the heart for the moment RhineBuzz and Levon came into contact we all knew we would never forget him.
We met Levon online just as we were planning our launch party in the autumn of 2008 in the manic, exciting early stages of RhineBuzz. He kindly fixed Mark's, much-needed, dropped laptop via an online forum. I said invite him to the party!
Levon arrived larger than life. Very tall and hugely smiling.
He was the first guy up on the dance floor, giving fellow American, singer Pamela Falcon, a truly wild and active dance partner. When Pamela asked 'Levon, Levon from San Francisco' to join her on the floor she had no idea of what she was getting into!
We had 160 guests at our launch party, not one has forgotten Levon I'm sure. We have the rubber man on film somewhere - I'll have to dig it out.
Since then Levon has sent me numerous contacts, tips and ideas to help with RhineBuzz. His ideas never just stopped! He even tried to get Julie Andrews (one of his 2000+ facebook friends) involved in our showing of Mary Poppins last year at the Children's Film Festival!
I was delighted at the success of his Smooth Jazz Festival in southern Germany for him and we swopped stuff about a similar idea in Düsseldorf.
Levon's mind never rested. Nor did his energy to help the less fortunate amongst us.
We last saw him at the museum kunst palast a few weeks back when he took part in one of our arts sessions. Immediately he was fooling around once again, he loved to be 'on' as he told me but he also loved the session with a passion and his raving facebook posts attracted the attention of his worldwide friends. He told us about his current inventions and how I would be given one to test!

He then sent me this:  'lots of thanks to your tireless efforts here, Caroline - you just make connecting -in person- work! Love it Love it!'

Now he is gone. I can't believe it. My heart goes out to his partner Sylivia and his family and dear friends. To say he'll be missed is such a silly phrase right now. But those that knew him know exactly what I mean. We are not the wealth we seem to strive to gain, we are what people think and remember of us and just watch Levon's facebook page as it grows and grows in tributes and love.
Good bye dear Levon and thank you - you really made me smile. x


I have received moving communications from Levon's sister in the USA in response to this piece. So I then sent the family the link of the launch party and it seems they enjoyed to see their brother leaping around entertaining everyone and himself - so here's Levon for everyone 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

So here it is again, that time of the year - nearly all the RhineBuzzers are heading home; planes, trains, automobiles ... and snow.
I wish you all the Happiest Christmas and a very peaceful New Year and so look forward to seeing you all again in 2011. Safe travels people.
It's been quite a year for me personally, full of everything life loves to throw at us. Enormous sorrow and great joy. My heartfelt thanks go to all who have helped to make RhineBuzz what it is today. Last week at the Christmas Meetup in the Altstadt I was able to tell everyone who asked, that RhineBuzz is truly doing great. Our city partnerships have grown and I am invited to more and more wonderful presentations and events and am more than delighted to let you all know what it happening here. I see stunning performances that I just would never have known of before and sometimes I even see complete nonsense, but it's all extremely enriching. There's a whole lot planned for 2011, it's exciting and very stimulating. 
But what makes RhineBuzz really, really special are the people we attract. They are quite simply extraordinary. I am privileged to know you all, you add fascination and  charm to my days in a way that few jobs can and you bring me a great deal to smile and think about and I am incredibly thankful.
The international community is transient. We are having leaving parties all the time and it's always sad to say goodbye; on the other hand new folks arrive every day and RhineBuzz never stands still. I am told again and again what has been created here is truly special and I'm incredibly proud of this. The feedback I receive is quite simply second to none. I thank each and everyone of you who have taken the time to write or tell me personally what RhineBuzz means to you. I have even received fan mail from people who have never been to Germany but would love to come! Fantastic.

I have thanked them before but simply must do this again. 
John and Ann-Katrin, two wonderful friends I am so grateful to have at my side and who helped to keep things going when I was unable to. What can I say? You know. 
Christmas Tree Extravaganza in Siegerland courtesy of the Messe Düsseldorf

©Bernd Ahrens Photography
A Very Merry Christmas to You All!

Schumann Quartett at robert schumann hall

Schumann Quartett with guitarist Wilfried Haecker
©Susanne Diesner

RhineBuzz now have discounted tickets for this concert - please email to reserve

We enjoyed such a memorable evening back in January in the company of the young and charismatic Schumann Quartett, headed up by Erik Schumann, including a chance to meet and speak to these great musicians before the concert.

This Sunday November 28 at 5pm, they return for a new series of ErstKlassik! concerts at the robert schumann hall, on this occasion with guitarist Wilfried Haecker. The chamber music recitals incorporate a few words from these enthusiastic young people who are keen to share their immense musical knowledge. It's a delightful chance to hear and learn more about this wonderful music.
Tickets priced €9 - €18 + booking fee, available here.

Joseph Haydn Streichquartett Nr. 63 in B-Dur, op. 76 Nr. 4 („Sonnenaufgang“), Hob. III: 78 Rudolfo Luigi Boccherini
Gitarrenquintett Nr. 4 in D-Dur "Fandango", G 448
Franz Schubert 
Streichquartett Nr. 14 d-moll D 810 "Der Tod und das Mädchen" 

Simone Kermes

©Andreas Dommenz

Last night Simone Kermes at the robert schumann hall was simply enthralling.
She bounds onto the stage in platform shoes with energy and eagerness and even a little fear; just how will her audience will receive her?
The performance is arresting and her voice, well her voice touches you in a way that has something to do with raw emotion and awe-inspiring respect.
Her audience, desperate to show their appreciation are, at the same time, clinging onto the moment she has created. They are hesitant to break that spell with their applause. But then, once one dares to clap, the adoration is never-ending.  

Clearly delighted at the standing ovation she and her musicians, the wonderful Le Musiche Nove, received at the end of the performance, I sensed something resembling 'relief' in her beaming eyes and her smile. The soprano wishes to touch her audience, she hopes that they will laugh and cry and indeed they do. I felt that she would have been very unhappy if she had not reached her audience in this way.

We are very fortunate in that Ms Kermes will be in Düsseldorf again on 4 June 2011 as part of the robert schumann hall series 440HZ when she will play with the young award-winning conductor Alexander Shelley and the Schumann Camerata Orchesta. The details of this programme are still not 100% known but we have been told that she will be touching on baroque arias in a 'disco version' and songs of the 1920's. Whatever the final programme, you can be certain of an amazing event of crossover sounds that will make for an exceptional evening's music.

If you'd like to see her before then, she at the Dortmund Konzerthaus on January 23 2011.

"I Catch Sound Waves"

Free entry to museum kunst palast 30.09 from 6pm.

Ei Wada Braun Tube Jazz Band

It's the opening of the show of the shortlisted artists of Nam June Paik Award 2010 tonight, 30th October, the winners will then be announced. Many of the artists will be present tonight including Ei Wada who touches tv monitors and makes music. When I asked him how he was doing this, he said " I catch sound waves" as if it were the most normal thing ever.
He then asked me to touch a screen, he then tapped my hand and sounds came out!!!
I'm now off to read the brochure and hopefully I can figure this out ...

Do go along tonight. Ei Wada will be playing his Braun Tube Brass Band only this evening.
The exhibition is of course on much longer. Performances of this extraordinary piece will happen at 6.30 and 7.45pm every Thursday evening and 4 and 5pm on Sundays.

International Day at ISR

The International School on the Rhine in Neuss, ISR, celebrates its International Day on Saturday November 13th from 11am until 3pm.
The day's activities let's you taste delicious food from around the globe, from Peru, Cambodia, Argentina, New Zealand, France, Spain and Poland.
Entertainment is offered with flamenco from Spain; shadow puppet theatre from Cambodia; Polish piano pieces; Brazilian beats and a New Zealand song performed by the second graders.

There will great prizes you can win by silent auction - amongst them: an FC Schalke tricot signed by the entire team; a free week in a recreational vehicle in New Zealand; 4 tickets for Titus I gratefully picked up from the German Opera on the Rhine recently and many other wonderful treats.
Proceeds of this auction are going to ISR's chosen charity Palm Tree Orphanage in Cambodia.

Everyone is welcome!

KiKiFe Children's Film Festival with ISR

November 4 - 10 2010
sensational 1100+ children enjoying the festival this week!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (OV) Nov 6 at 3pm 
at the UCI Cinema Düsseldorf

The Children’s Film Festival celebrates 25 years in Düsseldorf
In 2009 RhineBuzz initiated the new International Day at KiKiFe, KinderKinoFest, with an original version showing of Mary Poppins - we were extremely pleased with the turn-out and the children and their parents left the cinema with big smiling faces.
For 2010 RhineBuzz are presenting Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the story of the magical car which was written by none other than James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
making a movie at UFA
The festival is not just about watching movies - it is about getting the children involved in all that the world of movies entail. Throughout the festival there are numerous activities for the children to be involved in. They can make movies, bake, draw, all sorts!

Before our film Colin Sinclair will give a musical workshop at the UCI Cinema in the harbour for children aged 6-12. See what goes into a musical number in a movie - Sinclair is a British choreographer, dancer, model and designer. Places are limited for this workshop, please reserve on or on the hotline 0211 8998108.

What do we think of when we think of films - Oscars of course and KiKiFe is no exception!
One of the main activities is a prize giving for the best film. There has been a tradition of this in the past for KiKiFe for the children of German schools and clubs and now for the first time, we are very pleased to be working with the International School on the Rhine in Neuss, ISR, to be presenting the first International Children’s Jury.

I have been working with the students at ISR, on how to review a movie. We will watch a total of four films, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in order to evaluate and give the prize for best film at the KiKiFe celebrations on November 9th at the UFA Cinema next to the main station. This will be a wonderful day of movies, prizes and activities for both the students of German schools and clubs and ISR, we are looking forward to it immensely!

International Children's Jury ar ISR

We have plans for much more of this kind of activity for next year and hope that more and more international students and those of the German schools and clubs will be given the opportunity to work on such other delightful projects together.

Dance Workshop with Colin Sinclair November 6th 
UCI Cinema 1.15pm €3
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang November 6th 
UCI Cinema 3pm Children €3, Adults €4
Prize Giving Best Film with the International Jury from ISR November 9th UFA Cinema
From October 1st you can reserve online, via the hotline 0211 8998108 or send an email to

robert schumann hall 2010/11

Simone Kermes    Photograph Andreas Dommenz

The robert schumann hall, a purpose built concert hall for chamber music, is part of the museum kunst palast complex and can be found in the basement of the east wing.
It hosts all manner of events: films, concerts, comedy evenings, opera, jazz and accompanying programmes for the museum's exhibitions and guest events.
Eckart Schulze-Neuhoff, the head of the Robert Schumann Hall, presented the Hall's very own programme recently and was obviously very pleased and proud that several of the ideas that he had conceived together with Ulla Baumeister had been so well-received in the recent past, making it possible to extend the programme with the help of excellent sponsorship. 
One of the main focuses of this programme is to encourage more young people to give classical music a try with innovative concerts ideas such as partnering chamber music with techno, or jazz as in the 440Hz Series or giving extraordinary talented musicians the opportunity to explain their craft to the audience as the young charismatic Schumann Quartett do in the series ErstKlassik!
The forthcoming programme is an eclectic mix of astounding musicians from numerous genres and experience. The Schumann Quartett, who RhineBuzz enjoyed up close and personal in January, will perform on November 28 and again on Boxing Day, December 26. Incredibly popular so do purchase your tickets from the Tonhalle box office, or online, on time.

On October 31 at 5pm, Eva Mattes, one of Germany's most popular actresses will be presenting pieces from the bustling world metropolis of Berlin in the legendary twenties to forties, performing songs with lyrics in several languages that tell the tales of artists, immigrants and those returning home at a time when this city was bursting with vibrant creativity and energy.
I asked Eva Mattes if she felt that this concert was right for our audience, bearing in mind that many speak very little or no German. She smiled and thought you would indeed enjoy it. The tales are universal she told me and told with such passion and feeling, the readings are in German, but the whole atmosphere of the performance carries you along. Everyone can understand the stories that are being told here.
Anyway, "I am accompanied by such amazing musicians," she added, "no one will go home disappointed!"
Her smile was so warm I was convinced she was right.
Other highlights for the next few months also include Simone Kermes, presently Germany's most sought after opera singer, known as "The Crazy Queen of Baroque" a performer of 
passionate character with a crystal clear voice. Have a listen.
She will be interpreting arias from 18th century Naples on November 14, 
a date certainly not to be missed!
Students of the Robert Schumann Music School play on November 11. These concerts have been happening since 2002, but up until now have only been open to members of the Friends of the Robert Schumann School and E.ON who support these events. Due to great demand the Robert Schumann Hall will now be presenting the first of such concerts that will be open to everyone. For just €10 you can experience the great talents of tomorrow's classical music generation.
Do take a look at the entire schedule. There are some absolute gems there, and as an added bonus, the robert schumann hall can provide free child care if you wish to visit a concert on a Sunday afternoon at 5pm. You must register your child three days before the performance you wish to attend. What a great service! 

Nam June Paik at museum kunst palast

museum kunst palast Opening Nam June Paik
Final Week! Closing 21 November

museum kunst palast, in conjunction with Tate Liverpool, is currently showing an extensive retrospective of the ‘Godfather of Video Art’, Nam June Paik until November 21. The exhibition is then going to the Tate Liverpool to open on December 17.
Paik’s imagination and curiosity for what he could do with a tv screen paved the way for MTV and countless forms of creative workings on a monitor. He was one of the first to use the term 'electronic super highway' and much of which entertains us on our screens and that we take for granted today can be accredited to this Korean artist.
Mercury 19191 ©Nam June Paik Estate, New York, 2010/Kunststiftung NRW
Photograph: Sascha Dressler
At the press conference I was introduced to Ken Hakuta, Paik’s nephew and executor of the Paik estate.

He was an amusing man who gave me an intimate insight into his ‘crazy uncle’.
My father, Nam June’s oldest brother claimed his artist sibling was lazy - “Paik liked to sleep late and my father didn’t like that!” he told me gleefully. But we loved him as kids - he told my parents that they should buy us a better tv!
"He was my crazy uncle. He was always doing crazy stuff; he ate a copy of the New York Times during a performance in New York." 
When I asked how he would describe this exhibition to someone who knows nothing about Paik or video art, he instantly said “Imagine it’s 1970. This is Nam’s view of the future.”
Much of it still looks pretty contemporary and even futuristic all these years later.
Sook-Kyung Lee joint curator of the exhibition from Tate Liverpool, stood by Ken’s side and nodded. ‘Exactly’ she agreed.

Ken Hakuta and Sook-Kyung Lee
 before Paik's 75 Internet Dream
The next day at the opening, I ran into Ken several times. Each time he grinned and said ‘remember - it’s the future!’
Sook-Kyung Lee described the artist as the first person to combine fine art and tv. Trained as a cellist, Paik experimented with instruments, monitors, lasers, 3 D tv, robots and fish tanks.

Laser Cone
It’s kind of tricky to really describe the exhibition - it’s very diverse; includes a wall of tv’s that were Paik’s equivalent to ‘elevator music’ and for the first time in Germany you can wonder at the stunning Laser Cone on a teepee type construction from which you can see the swirling bright and shiny forms from both the outside and by laying underneath it. It’s very hypnotic.
The exhibition includes extensive photographs of Paik and his work with peers such as John Cage, Yoko Ono and Joseph Beuys.

Ken Hakuta also added that Germany just has so many old pieces as Paik spent much of his working life here in Germany. His first show was hosted in Wuppertal and from 1979 to 1996 he was professor at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy.
Definitely worth a longer look. I’d seen Paik’s work here and there at shows before, but in this depth and quantity it takes on a whole new meaning. 
There are 'Video Fish' and robots to gaze at; 'TV Buddha' and 3D TV ...
Paik’s mind sure was a colourful, whizzing playground.

Further images of the exhibition are also here on flickr
There is also an accompanying programme running with this exhibition including Hommage á John on October 24. 
And one other, very important fact - from an art historical point of view, we were told that this exhibition will be the last using the monitors that Paik actually used.
“What will be used in the future?” One journalist asked. The answer was a shrug of the shoulders by all concerned. So go and see this whilst you still can.

Nam June Paik at museum kunst palast until 21 November 2010
The museum opens late until 9pm on Thursdays
Wednesday Special, two for one from 2pm