Transatlantic Festival Overture - Opening the Schumannfest

Martin Grubinger does his incredible stuff!
Photo ©Petra Weiss

The 'Transatlantische Festovertüre' at the Tonhalle, opening the Schumannfest last week, was such an incredible experience  had a lot of trouble starting this write-up.
It's very difficult to find the words that can mirror that feeling of pleasure I experienced that evening. Trusty to the programme's name, the musical travels I experienced were far-reaching and exhilarating. 

The Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet opened with a wonderfully romantic piece from Schumann, many warm pictures of nature's joyful peace and playfulness came to mind. After the break, the Quartet pushed forward the concept of crossing over new boundaries to undiscovered territories; for example, I later found out that Samuel Barber's heart wrenching composition (recognizable from a war movie's soundtrack) was a regular at funerals for high dignitaries. 

The highlight of the evening: watching 'the Conjurer' call forth evil spirits, remains indescribable for me. Casting his magical spells, one of the world's fastest percussionists, Martin Grubinger, had the entire audience spellbound as he raced around the stage playing an undefinable number of instruments. If I distanced myself from the depth of the music for a moment, his enraptured playing was enthralling in itself. With his incredible talent and passion, he successfully charmed forward the glassy-eyed smiles of everyone there.

Martin Grubinger
photo ©Felix Broede

Ending the trip, the young and enthusiastic Salzburg Camerata performed the swirling 'West Side Story' suite, that city-bustling, emotional journey of the heart and mind. There were numerous charming surprises in this performance and the encore had the audience singing "Amen" in true gospel style. Another truly unique magical moment.
Here, the transatlantic destination to the new world had been reached. The influential Robert Schumann was the beginning of a new romantic revolution, and being so, this concert was the perfect way to begin this festival. I'm looking forward to many more pathways at the Schumannfest to journey along to. 

Tim D. Morand for RhineBuzz

RhineBuzz offer discounted tickets to all concerts of the Schumannfest up until 
June 4. 
Email for details.

CAG e.V. present Jesus Christ Superstar

CAG e.V present Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar on 
Saturday 30 June at 8pm
Sunday 1 July at 2pm
Sunday 1 July at 6pm
at the 
Neanderstraße 63 
 40699 Erkrath 

in aid of MS-Treff Erkrath, a group for the benefit of suffers of multiple sclerosis and 
Hephata Am Schellenberg in Mettmann, a home for the handicapped.

Tickets €20 and €15.00 available here

Düsseldorfer Salons - Up Close and Personal

I will hold my soul tender

Valentin Radutiu

The biennial Schumann festival starts this Thursday May 24. To get us into the Romantic mood, in the run-up, there is a series of so-called Salon concerts.  But if you think that Romantic means candlelight, kitsch and corn - think again!  With its emphasis on subjectivity, individualism as well as a fascination with the past it is, in fact, a mood whose time has come - again.

The Salon concerts have all these ingredients and more.  The first in the series, held on Saturday May 19, was in a charming, old private house near the Hofgarten.  Visitors were welcomed very warmly and generously by the owners.  The house itself has a history going back more than 100 years (there was even a Byronesque ivied ruin in the garden).  Music has always been a feature of the family who has now lived there for three generations.

On Saturday evening the visitors, gathered cosily around the piano on an assortment of chairs, sofas, armchairs and benches, delighted in the exquisite music played by Valentin Radutiu, on the cello, and Per Rundberg, on the piano.  On the programme, of course, music by the Romantic composers such as Schumann himself and Chopin, pieces that would have been played at these type of social gatherings in the 19th century. There was also very dramatic music by Albéric Magnard who could be described as a bit of a rebel in the Romantic tradition. Bird song, floating in from the open windows in the airy conservatory where the piano was placed, punctuated the dreamy, relaxed atmosphere.  All in all it was a wonderful, Romantic evening.

Jadwiga Bobrowska for RhineBuzz

Feedback from some of the concert goers last night:
"Wonderful concert in a beautiful home last night!
Thanks again for letting me in on this.  We enjoyed it very much."

"Caroline THANK YOU! I'd never had known about this without RhineBuzz, it was a very special evening" 

"The Salon was utterly delightful.  Thank you so much for telling me about it and for sorting out the tickets"

Please contact for discounted tickets for this incredible festival May 24 - June 4 

Intimate Salon Concerts, a taster for the Schumannfest

"I will allow myself to be intoxicated by the power of my feelings"

I'm often asked about secret spots in city, places no one knows about where extraordinary things take place ....

Valentin Radutiu in the salon of Rosenstrasse 49, Pempelfort
photo @Susanne Diesner

It's true, the Altstadt is very a huge part of life in Düsseldorf and it's easy to hang out there and never venture further afield, but if you do scratch the surface, do a little research, there are some absolute treasures this city has to discover! Yes, some behind otherwise 'closed' doors ....

The theme of the bi-annual Schmannfest 'Get Romantic' isn't about hearts and roses, it's about taking time and creating peace, allowing your senses to be tickled, inspired ... it's a time to escape from the hustle and bustle of industry and commerce. To sink into another world.

Along the theme of historical ninetieth century 'Salon Concerts' when Chopin and Liszt entertained the gentry in grand city palaces a created a place were politics and philosophy were discussed with musicians and writers, a series of very intimate concerts are being played in exceptional locations in the city in the lead up to the Schumannfest.

The first will be a grand city house in the Rosenstrasse in Pempelfort near the Hofgarten. The owners, a musician and dramatist, have kindly opened their beautiful home to host a recital for cello and piano with Valentin Radutiu and Per Rundberg.

Cellist Valentin Radutiu talked of how very special such a performance is, that a concert hall full of 1000 guests can be most powerful but one can also sometimes lose the sensual feeling of the music connecting with your audience. He was obviously looking forward to this salon concert on May 19 immensely.

Call the ticket hotline now, 0211 13 32 40, and reserve one of the very limited tickets for one of these very special concerts. Tickets for the recital in the Rosenstrasse are just €19.00. Certainly one of a kind and certainly an experience that will stay with you for quite some time.

There will be four Düsseldorfer Salons concerts, please see link for details.

RhineBuzz Special for the Schumannfest!

Win RhineBuzz tickets for the upcoming Schumannfest or purchase tickets to three different concerts at special group prices!

This festival is a real gem.
It's not the easiest to communicate, so courageous is the concept, but having researched what will be happening from May 24 to June 4 2012, I can only urge you all to study the varied programme, google the artists and you will be astounded to see the wonderful celebration of the forward-thinking Robert Schumann that Michael Becker has put together.

The glamourous and critically-acclaimed Katia and Marielle Labèque have performed with many of the world's greatest musicians; we are extremely fortunate that Michael Becker has invited them to the upcoming Schumannfest. 

We have a very limited number of discounted tickets, in excellent seats, for what promises to be an intriguing concert in the Tonhalle on May 29. Katia and Marielle Labèque have collaborated with award-winning film maker Tal Rosner, (whose recent work has taken him to London and work with the Pet Shop Boys), to create "A Video for Schumann", a concert for the eyes and ears in our city's stunning "planetarium of music."
We also have discounted tickets for the opening concert, 'A Transatlantic Celebratory Overture', on May 24 at the Tonhalle with Emerson String Quartet and for Tzimon Barto at the Robert Schumann hall on May 25.
Email for details.

You can also win tickets to Help! Beatles and Schumann, with Katia Labèque and the charmingly quirky Nadéah.

To win, take a look at the programme for Help! and name us three of the Beatles' songs to be performed on May 31 at the Tonhalle.
Email answers to: - first correct answer wins two tickets!

And if you are not lucky this time - we have more tickets to win, and discounted tickets for two more concerts .... watch this space!

RhineBuzz facebook admins may not take part - sorry!

White Horse Theatre presents The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew      
William Shakespeare 
reduced and simplified by The White Horse Theatre

on May 4 at 7pm
at the Weiterbildungszentrum, Hall 1,
Bertha-von-Sutner Platz,
behind the main station

€7.00 - just turn up!

Petition to help save the Deutsche Oper am Rhein

Massive financial cuts threaten the Deutsche Oper am Rhein!
Please sign the online petition: in aid of the preservation of cultural life in Duisburg, partner city of the German Opera of the Rhine Düsseldorf - Duisburg.

We need as much support as we can get and would very grateful if you could distribute the petition nationally and internationally. 
Many thanks for your support!

SingPause Benefit Concert May 3 at the Tonhalle


One of my most favourite people in the city just has to be Manfred Hill.
I met him at the Tonhalle at the benefit concert for Japan after the catastrophe in the spring of last year. He immediately offered his help with the preparation for the 'We Love Music' tour in a most generous and uncomplicated way. This man knows so very much about the music history of the city, he just astounds me!

Being chairman of the Städtische Musikverein, one of the world's oldest choirs and music organisations, just isn't enough for Manfred Hill! In 2006, he initiated the project SingPause, bringing the joy of singing to primary school children and providing them with much-valued musical education. Currently 54 primary schools take part in SingPause, this means some 11,000 children of the first to fourth grades receive hands-on musical education for 20 minutes twice a week. The young people learn a new song in a different language every month, so at the end of the four years they know 48 songs in a variety of tongues and rhythms.

SingPause is financed to two thirds by the city and one third by donations and sponsorship. Established music teachers are especially trained in the 'Ward method' and then they rotate around the numerous schools.
It costs just €50 a year for one child to be able to take part in this fabulous gift of music. 

Music, which not only brings such happiness, but it is also encourages an enormous feeling of togetherness. Teachers experience a more harmonious class, learning flows much easier, each child gains a real sense of achievement as no one is told 'you can't sing' and the pride felt in taking part in the concerts that happen throughout the year in the Tonhalle delight not only the young singers but of course their family and friends too.
It's a gift for life.

On May 3 at 8pm award-winning Martin Stadtfeld will be giving a benefit concert in the Tonhalle along with a children of the SingPause and the Orchestra of the Landesregierung Düsseldorf.
Martin Stadtfeld is an obvious choice of a benefit concert to be involved in; he strongly believes in the benefits of the involvement in music for children, especially as this is open to all children, not only those whose parents encourage musical education but those who may, quite simply without SingPause, might possibly miss out.
A musical grounding brings so many advantages in later life.

Tickets €25 - 45.00 are available by:
emailing, calling 0211 89 96 123 or from the box office at the Tonhalle.
Please join us not only for a spectacular concert but also be part of something valuable in your city for now and for the future.

To Manfred Hill and his team of volunteers who tirelessly raise money to train new teachers and put them into our schools, you deserve to be so very proud.

Martin Stadtfeld

The concert programme includes:
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Variations sérieuses op. 54 
Antonin Dvorak Concert for piano and orchestra op. 33

Ehrenhof 1
40479 Düsseldorf