It has been a while since I posted and it is continually on my “to do” list. I had wanted to keep countries together when I post, but since I’ve been traveling to England and am currently traveling through South Korea, perhaps it is time for me to step outside of my plan and just share some of the wonderful experiences that I have been having (thus the reason I haven’t been writing about Germany in the last few months.) I just returned to my hotel room from a lovely choral concert by the Gyeongju City Chorale. It was energetic, colorful and a wonderful cultural exchange between Gyeongju City and the College Music Society.

I am in South Korea for the College Music Society’s International Conference this week and have really enjoyed learning more about Korean traditional music (the changgo especially!) and also eating wonderful food! I will post more about the particulars in a few days, but wanted to just share that these types of exchanges and gatherings refill my passion and beliefs about how music plays such a large role in our identity and communication with others. I have met not only wonderful and creative musicians this week, but wonderful and creative people! (many times they are the same people!) I love just observing the day to day life of those around me and seeing what they value, what they are passionate about and how they perceive the world around them.

Just a few thoughts….more details, stories and *hopefully* photos to come.

I have quite of extensive research to do about the rest of Germany, but seem to keep unearthing interesting aspects of musical life in Berlin! This post isn’t very musical, but is a follow-up to the last post on Berlin in which I started to talk about unique places to stay in the city. Here are the details!

Eastern Comfort Hostelboat

Mühlenstraße 73-77

Prenzlauer Berg

+49 6676 / 3806

A floating hostel moored near the East Side Gallery. Perhaps a little “party-centric”, but well worth a look. Quarters are quite tight unless you book “first class”.

Propeller Island City Lodge

Albrect-Achilles-Straße 58

Charlottenburg

+ 49 891 / 9016 (8am-12noon)

+49 0163 / 256 5909 (12noon-8pm)

Craziness…..explore for yourself and at your own risk!

Art Luise Kunsthotel

Luisenstraße 19

Mitte

+49 284 / 480

Called “a gallery with rooms”, each room in this hotel is a unique experience, including a bed for a giant in one suite or the boudoir “Cabaret” in another.

Arcotel John F

Wederscher Markt 11

Mitte

+49 405 / 0460

A hotel that pays tribute to John F Kennedy! Rocking chairs and lamps inspired by Jackie O’s dresses are just some of the touches.

If you want to explore the area around Berlin for some fun day trips, these three cities are wonderful and not as touristy (save Potsdam’s San Souci Palace and Park). I know that Halberstadt is a little out of the way, but it is such an amazing experience that you should make the effort to go out and see the performance. I guess the reason that I put it with “around Berlin” is that we went to Berlin after spending the day in Halberstadt!

Potsdam

Easily accessible by train or bus (over 29 trains per day!), Potsdam is a beautiful Baroque town and has been referred to as “Germany’s Versailles”. Although not too terribly musically rich (outside of the traditional German offerings), this is a time to find those small chamber performances with some up and coming musicians who are many times approachable. As I have mentioned before, the collaboration and connection to musicians around the world can sometimes be just, if not more powerful than hearing a polished/perfect performance.

Nikolai Saal

Wilhelm-Staab Straße 10/11

14467 Potsdam

+49 0 331 / 28 888 28

Ticket Office: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-2pm. Also 1 hour before curtain

Variety of performances from chamber music to small opera works.

On a side note: If you do choose to stay in Potsdam, splurge and stay at the

Steigenberger Maxx Hotel Sanssouci Potsdam

Alle nach Sanssouci 1

14471 Potsdam

+49 0 33 / 9091909

which specializes in fun movie-themed rooms while keeping with the original flair of the city.

To pay homage to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, you can also stay at

Schloss Cecilienhof

in Neuer Garten (on the Heiliger See, about .5 km northwest of the San Souci Palace). Take tram 94 or 96 or Buses 605, 606 or 695

This Scloß is in the style of an English country house and was built for Crown Prince Wilhelm by Kasier Wilhelm II. This was also the headquarters for the 1945 Potsdam Conference with Truman, Stalin and Churchill and the table on which the agreement was signed is still there.

Rheinsberg


Schlosstheater Rheinsberg

c/o Musikakademie Rheinsberg

Kavalierhaus der Schlossanlage

16831 Rheinsberg

+49 03 39 31 / 7 21 0

Connected with the Musikakademie, the performance schedule includes local chamber ensembles as well as guest performers.

Halberstadt

This small and somewhat forgotten city has been put on the map due to the John Cage “As Slow as Possible” project. Located in St. Buchardi Church in Halberstadt, the piece began in 2000 and will last 639 years. It started with one year of silence and each note is added when the pipe on the organ is built. The staff was very friendly and also let us explore the area on our own. If you visit, make sure to walk around the space completely. The changes in timbre as well as perception of pitch is quite amazing.

St. Buchardi Church

Am Kloster 1

D-38820 Halberstadt

The church is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am-5:30pm in the months of April to October and from 12pm-4pm from November to March. When we visited, it was hard to locate the church and the town itself was quite deserted. Look for the few “John Cage Orgel Projekt” signs near the town center to help guide you. There are 3-4 trains that run from Berlin to Halberstadt each day and the journey takes appoximately 3 hours. The walk from the train station to the church is approximately 2.5 miles through the center of town.

Known more for it’s destruction than music at this point, Dresden is rebuilding both architecturally and artistically. There are some wonderful musical offerings in the area and it is definitely worth the trip.

Semperoper

Theaterpltaz 2

+49 0 351 / 4 91 17 05

Cost: €20 to €120, but tickets are very difficult to obtain, so plan accordingly.

Richard Wagner premiered quite a few works here, including Tannhäuser and Richard Strauss had over twenty-one premieres in this space( Salome, Der Rosenkavalier and Elektra among them). It is the home of the Saxon State Opera Dresden and the Staatskapelle Dresden. The Staatskapellle Dresden was founded by Carl Maria von Weber in 1817. The opera is off from mid-July to mid-August for a summer break.

The space was built between 1871-1878 by Manfred Semper.

The Carl Maria von Weber Museum is located at

Dresdener Straße 44

01326 Dresden

+49 0 351 / 261 8234

Opening Hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 1-6pm

Cost: €3

Carl Maria von Weber and his wife spent summers here from 1818-1819 and 1822-1824. The operas Der Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon were composed here. The collection also includes manuscripts and letters. There are events and performances here sporadically.

If you would like to get out of town for a little while and explore the area where Richard Wagner spent his childhood, head to the tiny town of Possendorf south of Dresden. There is not train service to Possendorf, but there is a bus service from the Dresden Hauptbahnhof to the Schulestraße (Bus 360). Although undocumented as to the exact location, Wagner attended Pastor Wetzel’s School in Possendorf from 1820-1827.

For a more comprehensive look at the life of Richard Wagner, make sure to head to the small town of Graupa, south of Dresden. There is not train service to Graupa with a direct route from the Dresden Hauptbahnhof to the Am Scloß, Pirna-Graupa(Bus 66 or 63).

Richard Wagner Museum

Richard-Wagner-Straße 6

01796 Pirna OT Graupa

+49 0 35 01 / 54 82 29

Email: wagnermuseum@pirna.de

Opening Hours:  Tuesday-Sunday and Holidays: 9am-12noon and 1-4pm

Called the Lohengrin Houst, this museum houses many artifacts from Richard Wagner’s life and career as well as has a regular concert series with lectures.

The Dresden Philharmonic is housed in the ultra-modern Kulturpalast

Schlossstraße 2 (Altmarkt)

01032 Dresden

Tram: 3 or 5

Ticket Hotline: +49 0 351 / 48 66 666

Ticket cost: €14-€50

This facility is also used as one of the main conference and performance centers for out of town performances. Summer concerts are also performed from June-August in the courtyards of the Zwinger.

For something a little lighter, the Staatsoperette presents light opera, musicals and Gilbert and Sullivan style productions.

There performance space is at:

Pirnaer Landstraße 31

+49 0 351 / 2 07 99 29

The space is located approximately 5 km southeast of the city center.

Tram: 4

Other light-music options are:

Dresden Kabarett-Theater “Die Herkulskeule”

Sternplatz 1

+49 0 4 92 55 55

Tonne- Jazz Club

Am Brauhaus

+49 0 8 02 60 17

Brauhaus am Waldschlösschen

Am Brauhaus 8B

Neustadt district

+49 0 351 / 65 23 900

Tram 11 or Bus 91

Reservations required.

Traditional fare with live music Monday-Saturday from 8pm-midnight. In house brewery as well.

The many churches of Dresden have excellent music programs. Some of them include:

Kreuzkirche (Evangelical Lutheran)

An der Kreuzkirche 6

01067 Dresden

+49 0 351 / 43 9 39 20

Ticket office: +49 0 351 / 496 58 07 / konzertkasse@kreuzkirche-dresden.de

Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday from 10am-2pm

The famous Boy Choir, numbering over 400 singers, is housed here and they have regular performances at 5pm on Saturday. There are also five organs and a cembalo in the space.

Katholische Hofkirche (Cathedral)

Schlossplatz

+49 0 351 / 48 44 712

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 8:30am-6pm, Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday from 1:30-4pm

Tours (German Only): Monday-Thursday at 2pm,  and Saturday at 1pm and 2pm

Cost for tour: €3

Interesting 18th century organ which was the last and biggest project of Gottfried Silbermann (see Silbermann museum information below)

Frauenkirche (The Church of Our Lady)

Georg-Treu-Platz 3

01067 Dresden

+49 0 351 / 656 06 100

Email: stiftung@frauenkirche-dresden.de

Tram: 1,2, 4 or 12 at Atmarkt or 3, 6, 7 at Pirnaischer Platz

Bus: Route 75 at Prinaischer Platz

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 10am-12noon and 1-6pm

Tram: 4 or 8

Guided tours(German only): At the end of every devotion or vesper, which is usually Monday-Saturday at 12noon and Monday-Friday at 6pm. The tour last approximately one hour and is free. Attending the devotion or vesper is required to participate in the tour.

Dome tours: Pre-booking only with a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 25 people (€10/person). The tour last approximately one hour.

Built in 1726 and destroyed in the attacks on February 13, 1945, the Frauenkirche stood in ruins as a reminder/memorial for the events of World War II. Restoration began in 1993 and the consecration of the new building occurred on October 30, 2005.

There are regular concert performances throughout the year by both the church ensembles as well as outside musicians.

Gottfried Silbermann Museum

Am Scloß 3

09623 Frauenstein/Erzgebirge

+49 0 37326 / 1224

Email: fva-frauenstein@frauenstein-erzgebirge.de

Opening Hours: May-October: 9am-5pm

November-April: Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm and 1-4pm /  Saturday and Sunday, 10am-12pm and 1-4pm

Silbermann was the state organ builder for the Duke of Saxony and there are 31 Silbermann Baroque organs in original condition in Saxony. Some of the churches are located in: Rötha, Schweikershain, Ponitz, Reichenbach, Zöblitz, Fraureuth and other locations.

I would say that Halle will be the main focus of this information, with a side trip to Köthen. The joy of traveling through Germany (and most of Europe) is that many of these town are accessible via train, so there is no need to rent a car…unless you want the thrill of driving on the autobahn. The few tiny villages that I have visited that have not had train service have had excellent and comfortable buses (save Southern Spain…sorry Costa Del Sol). So on we go, via train, car or bus!

Let’s start in Köthen. Bach was employed as the Court Music Director here from 1717-1723. This is also where he married Anna Magdelena in 1721 after the death of his with Maria Barbara, who is buried in the Old Cemetery (Friendenpark).This time in Köthen was when Bach focused almost exclusively on instrumental music, partially due to the duties of his post at that time. It was here that the Six Brandenburg Concerti were written for Margrave Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg. There is a memorial to Bach in the palace (Historisches Museum und Bach-Gedenkstätte, Schoßplatz 4) as well as numerous performances in the throne room, where Bach used to perform for Prince Leopold. The museum is open from Tuesday – Friday, 1-5pm and Saturday and Sundays from 10am-1pm and 2-5pm From my research, there is a rumor that Bach lived at Wallstraße 25.

Bach regularly worshipped at St. Agnus Church (organ by Wilhelm Rühlmann), located at Stiftstaße 11.

Halle

Guess what? The main focus of Halle is not Bach, but rather George Freideric Handel. Halle is the birthplace of Handel and there are numerous events to celebrate the life and works of this composer. To start, there is a statue of Handel in the Market square and there are hints of Handel throughout the town.

Stiftung Händel-Haus

Große Nikolaistraße 5

06108 Halle (Saale)

+49 0 345 / 500 90 416

stiftung@haendelhaus.de

Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 9:30am-5:30pm

Thursday, 9am-7pm

Closed Sunday

Built in 1558 and is the birthplace of Händel. There is a wonderful recorded guided tour for the house (it starts right away, so use the WC before you enter!). Very nice and helpful staff. Nice collection of historic music instruments.

On the second floor there is an exhibition of the musical life of Halle. Along with Handel, Halle was the home of well-received composers such as:

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654)

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784)

Daniel Gottlob Türk (1750-1813)

Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814)

Carl Loewe (1796-1869). There is a Carl Loewe Research Center and Memorial in Löbejün (see information below)

Robert Franz (1815-1892)

There is a 130 seat chamber music room and a courtyard area that hold performances often. Many of these are sponsored by the Friends of the Handel Haus organization(Freundes- und Förderkreis des Händel-Hauses zu Halle e. V.). Another part of the Handel Haus is the restoration workshop which conserves and restores period instruments by using academic research and craftmanship to allow them to be played for performances.

The library of the Handel Haus in located at Kleine Marktstraße 5. It is open:

Monday and Tuesday from 10am-5pm

Wednesday from 2-5pm

Thursday and Friday from 10am-5pm

Saturday and Sunday are by appointment

For questions: +49 0 345 50090 253 / bibliothek@haendelhaus.de

Carl Loewe Research Center and Memorial

Am Kirchof 2

06193 Löbejün

+49 0 34 603 / 71188

Opening hours: by appointment and during performances

Located in the small town of Löbejün, north of Halle. There is bus service from the Halle Hauptbahnhof to the main area of Löbejün (Bus 311). The museum that highlights his work along with an archive and a performance space.

OpernHaus Halle

There is one main organization that support and runs the Opera and Orchestra (as well as Theater) in Halle. There are also additional orchestral groups, with most of them also performing at the Opera House complex.

Bühnen Halle

Universitätsring 24

D-06108 Halle (Salle)

+49 0 345 51 10 777

Email: theaterkass@buehnen-halle.de

In addition to opera, ballet and orchestra, the Bühnen supports a New Theater, Puppet and Traditional theater company. A gentle reminder that most performances are in German, even if they are originally in English. With that said, I have had very enjoyable nights out at the theatre with my very limited German language comprehension, so if it is a production that interests you, go and enjoy!

There is also the Philharmonisches Staatorchester Halle

which performs at the Staatstheater:

Joliot-Curie-Platz 27/28

06108 Halle

+49 0345 / 22 13 001

Email: philharmonie@halle.de

For a variety of performers and performances, head to

Konzerthalle Ulrichskirche

Kleine Brauhausstraße 26

06108 Halle (Saale)

Ticket office: +49 0345 / 221 30 21 or 26

Local musician venue for swing bands to classical quartets.

Check out performances at Händel-Halle (Salzgrafenplatz 1) as well

And now for something completely different (but well worth the visit):

Beatles Museum Halle

Alter Markt 12

06108 Halle (Saale)

+49 345 / 290 39 00

Email: BeatlesMuseum@t-online.de

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday and Holidays: 10am-8pm (last entry at 7pm)

Price: €5

Originally in Köln but relocated to Halle in 2000, this museum has over at 10,000 item collection plus interactive exhibits, shop and cafe.


I believe that Mendelssohn might have felt a little bit this way for a while. Then he thought, “If you can’t beat him, join him” and became one of the main promoters of Bach’s music and many have thought single-handedly brought Bach back into the general public’s consciousness. Besides Bach and Mendelssohn, Leipzig shaped the musical lives of Telemann, Grieg, Schumann and Wagner as well.

MUSEUMS

There is a lovely museum dedicated to Mendelssohn in Leipzig:

Mendelssohn-Haus Leipzig

Goldschmidtstraße 12

04103 Leipzig

+49 341 / 1 27 02 94

Email: IMS.@mendessohn-stiftung.de

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm daily and Sunday for the 11am concert

Price: € 4.50 for the museum, €12 for the concert with every 2nd Tuesday of the month free.

It is the only remaining house of Mendelssohn and where he lived with his family from 1845 until his death. The house has been restored to the way it looked during the life of the composer and there are also letters, sheet music and paintings by Mendelssohn to represent his work. The Insitut für Musikwissenschaft (Institute for Musicology) is also housed in this building. It was started in 1908 by Hugo Riemann as a Collefium Musicum and is still an important organization to this day. It is part of the University of Leipzig program. +49 0 341 / 9730 450 / muwi@rz.uni-leipzig.de

Edvard Grieg Memorial (Edvard-Grieg-Gedenk-und Begegnungsstätte Leipzig e.V.)

Talstraße 10, 1. etage

04103 Leipzig

+49 (0) 341 / 993 96 61

info@Edvard-Grieg.de

Opening Hours: Wednesday-Friday from  2-5pm, Saturday from 10am-2pm

Museum is housed in the form rooms of the C.F. Peters Publishing House.

Schumann House: Robert-und-Clara-Schumann-Verein Leipzig e.V.

Inselstraße 18

04103 Leipzig

+49 0 341 / 393 96 20

info@schumann-verein.de

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 2-5pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm

Guided tours on Sunday at 3pm from an addition €1,50

Cost: €3

Concerts held regularly in the Schumann-Saal. Call +49 0 341 / 3939 222 or email: kartenreservierung@rahndittrich.de for ticket details.

There is a statue to honor the time that Richard Wagner spent in Leipzig, it is located in the Augustplatz near the swan pond. He was also a student at the University of Leipzig, which has extensive music study and research programs. An overview of the school and the program can be found at:

Büro der Leipziger Universitätmusik

Attn: Christina Balciunus

Goldschmidtstraße 12

04103 Leipzig

+49 0 341 / 97 30190

Email: unimusik@uni-leipzig.de

Some of the wonderful public facilities and archives include:

Grassi Museum für Musikinstrumente at the University of Leipzig

Johannisplatz 5-11

04103 Leipzig

+49 0 341 / 97 30750

Email: musik.museum@uni-leipzig.de

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday and holidays from 10am-6pm

Cost: €5 with an additional €1 for an audio guide.

In addition to the instruments, there is also a library, lecture series, sound lab and concerts.

For additional research, you can visit the Hauptbibliothek at the University of Leipzig:

Beethovenstraße 6

04107 Leipzig

+49 0 341 / 97 30577

auskunft@ub.uni-leipzig.de

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday from 8am-10pm and Saturday from 10am-7pm

There is also the Leipziger Städtische Bibliotheken, which houses the second largest public music library in Germany. There are many autographs in the collection, including the Andreas-Bach-Buch.

It is located at:

Nennenstraße 44

04229 Leipzig

+49 0 341 / 123 5343


PERFORMANCES

Gewandhaus zu Leipzig

Augustusplatz 8

04109 Leipzig

+ 49 0341 / 12 70 28 0

The information line (German) is +49 03 41 / 12 70-480

Email: ticket@gewandhaus.de

Box office hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm and performance days until the concert begins. Saturday from 10am-2pm.

Tours: €3.50 with the starting place in the Mendelssohn Foyer. On Saturday, you can stay to hear the organ concert in the Great Hall at 5pm after the tour concludes. For more information on tours, contact Dr. Jürgen Friedel (juergen.friedel@web.de / +49 341. 480 44 96)

Besides the house orchestra, there are numerous performers from around the world and a variety of repertoire. The Gewandhaus Orchestra also pairs with the St. Thomas Choirs each week to perform the cantatas at St. Thomas. The Gewandhaus also houses the Opera and the Ballet as well as special performances from the music schools and composer archives. Depending on the concert (both popularity and time of day), there are some great deals for ticket as low as €4.50.

Oper Leipzig / Leipziger Ballet

Opernhaus

Augustusplatz 12

04107 Leipzig

+49 0341 / 12 61-0

Phone service: Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm, Saturday, 10am-4pm. Cheapest tickets start at €12, but are located quite a ways from the stage.

Email: service@oper-leipzig.de

Leipzig Opera is a repertory company with the standard repertoire being represented each season. They also have premiere productions of both standard repertoire and also more obscure works (they are currently doing Brecht/Dessau Deutsches Miserere). The history of opera in Leipzig is very strong and George Philipp Telemann was the director of the opera house Opernhaus auf dem Brühl in 1702.

Brühl is one of the oldest streets in Leipzig and has a rich history. Richard Wagner was born at No. 3 (The House of Red and White Lions) on May 22, 1813, although his birthplace has since been demolished. One of the main squares in Brühl has been renamed Richard-Wagner-Platz.

There is also a musical comedy (Operetta, Musical Theatre and Revue) company that is housed in the same location.

Some performances are at Haus Dreilinden, located at Dreilindenstraße 30. The box office is open from Tuesday-Friday from 4-9pm

For a change of musical pace, head out to hear some jazz after a great hearty meal of schweinsbäckchen und kartoffel. Check out who is playing at www.jazzclub-leipzig.de. Another wonderful jazz resource is Leipjazzig. If you have questions, you can contact them: post@leipjazzig.de / +49 0341 / 2 61 03 30. Most of their performances are at the Alte Nikolaischule /Kulturecafé, which is located at Nikolaikirchhof 2, 04109 Leipzig.

Besides the Gewandhaus, which seems to have jazz performances quite frequently, other venues in the area include:

Der Anker

Knopstraße 1

04159 Leipzig

+49 0341 / 912 8371

Email: info@anker-leipzig.de

Moritzbastei

Universitätsstraße 9

04109 Leipzig

+49 0341 / 70259-0

Email: info@moritzbastei.de

Spizz Jazz and Music Club

Markt 9

04109 Leipzig

+49 0341 / 960 8043

Email: spizz-office@web.de

COFFEE AND HISTORY

Two places in Leipzig that are steeped in music and food are:

Thüringer Hof

Burgstraße 19

+49 0 341 / 99 44 999

Daily: 11am-midnight

Entrees between €10-€13

Reservations recommended

A well-established dining place for such luminaries as Robert Schumann, Martin Luther and Goethe.

and

Coffe Baum

Klein Fleischergasse 4

+49 0 341 / 96 10 060

Open from 10am-7pm daily

This is where Wagner, Schumann and Lizst were known to come to drink coffee and discuss thoughts.

SHOPPING

And finally, if you’re in the mood to shop for some music after hearing it, there is a great music shop in the area:

M. Oelsner Leipzig

Schillerstraße 5

04109 Leipzig

+49 0341 / 9605200

Email: musik@m-oelsner.de

I will definitely be BACH ( and be back ) to Leipzig in the near future. I had a glorious time visiting the city, but it was unfortunately cut a little short by the loss of Kate’s passport (see “the path” page for the back story). I can now personally say that the police at the railway station in Leipzig are very helpful, even with my limited German and their limited English. I can also share that Kate was able to replace her passport and return to the US without any complications.

Bach composed the St. Matthew Passion, Mass in b minor and The Art of the Fugue while in Leipzig. He was the city’s Director of Music which included being in charge of the St. Thomas Boys Choir as well as the music at St. Nicholas and other churches in the area.

When visiting Leipzig, I believe the best place to start would be at the

Bach-Archiv Leipzig

Thomaskirchhof 16

D-04109 Leipzig

+49 (0341) 96 44 1-0

Email: info@bach-leipzig.de /museum@bach-leipzig.de

This facility hosts a library with some manuscripts, the Bach Museum as well as the administrative offices for the Bach Concert Series and Bach Fest.

The Library Reading Room hours are: Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.

The Bach Museum is open daily from 10am-5pm with tours at 11am and 3pm and by appointment. Cost is € 6

There is a concert series at the Bach Museum with regular performances on Wednesdays at 8pm, every Sunday at 8pm in July and August, as well as performances for special services and events. Check for a brochure about upcoming performances at the entrance to the Bach Museum.

Once you have an overview of Bach and his history in Leipzig, head over to

Thomaskirche

Thomaskirchhof 18

D-04109 Leipzig

+49 341 9 60 28 55

Email: thomaskirche.leipzig@t-online.de

Opening Hours: 9am-6pm daily

Guided Tours: By appointment. Ask at the Thomas Shop. There is a € 1 fee per person for a tour.

There is also a tour of the church steeple during the months of April-November. They are at 1pm, 2pm and 4:30pm on Saturdays and 2pm and 3pm on Sundays. The cost is € 2 and it offers breathtaking views of Leipzig.

The Bookstore is located on Burgstaße 1-5 and is open Monday-Friday from 9:30am-6:30pm and Saturday from 10am-3pm.

Telephone: + 49 (0341) 960 11 43 / http://www.buchhandlung-thomaskirche.de

A beautiful late-Gothic building with a rich architectural and musical history. Began in Romanesque style in 1212, that portion of the building was renovated to the late-Gothic style in 1702 and has stayed in its present form since that time. Johann Kuhnau was Cantor and city Music Director from 1701-1721 and Bach was the Cantor here from 1723-1750. Mozart played the organ for a performance on May 12, 1789 and Wagner was greatly influenced my the music here in his youth.

Mendelssohn kept the Bach traditional alive after Bach’s death by initiating a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in St. Thomas on April 4, 1841 as well as supporting the development of a Bach Memorial on the site. There is a window honoring all of Mendelssohn work at St. Thomas which was installed in 1997 on the south side of the nave.

Although not originally buried at St. Thomas, Bach’s grave was moved to St. Thomas Church from a grave outside of the Johanniskirche in 1950 and remains there today. There is also a statue of Bach in the courtyard by Carl Seffner.

Richard Wagner was baptized here on August 16, 1813. He also studied piano and counterpoint with the Cantor of St. Thomas in 1828.

The Organs of St. Thomas Church

None of the organs in the church existed during Bach’s time. There are three organs in the nave (west choir loft, northeast balcony and north balcony). The west choir loft organ was built by Wilhelm Sauer in 1889 and has more of a romantic sound. The northeast balcony instrument (Alexander Schuke) was acquired from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fürstenwalde. Finally, the Bach organ(Gerald Woehl) was built in 2000 for the celebration of the Bach year. It was constructed to play the organ works the way Bach had intended in the Middle-German organ style of the 18th century.

There is also a small collection of Baroque instruments in the south Sacristy.

Concerts at St. Thomas:

There are regular performances on Friday evenings at 6pm and on Sundays at 3pm which alternate between organ and motet repertoire. These weekly performances attract more than 100,000 visitors each year.If you are lucky enough to be in Leipzig during holy week, there are Passion performances on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. The St. Thomas Boys Choir is internationally known for wonderful performances in the true style of Bach. It began in 1212 and Bach was the Choirmaster of this group from 1723-1750.

Nikolaikirche: Bach’s “Other Church”

Most people associate Bach and Leipzig with St. Thomas Church, but Bach was also organist and choirmaster at Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) from 1723-1750 as well as overseeing the New Church of St. Matthew and St. Peter. It is Leipzig’s biggest church and is known for the premiere of some of Bach’s major works, including the St. John’s Passion. It has been undergoing through an extensive renovation since 1968.

Information:

Nikolaikirchhof 3

04109 Leipzig

+49 (03 41) 12 45 38-0

Email: kg.leipzig_stnicholai_stjohannes@evlks.de

The church is open dails from 10am-6pm

There is a music and reflection services on Wednesdays at 5pm and an organ demonstration on Fridays at 4:30pm

On Saturdays there is an organ concert at 5pm. (www.bach-orgel.de)

Sunday services are at 9:30am, 11:15am and 5pm

Church tours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday at 5pm and Saturdays at 11am.

In Leipziger Kirchen “In Leipzig Churches” Performance Calendar:

There is a wonderful organization in Leipzig that promote performances and lectures in all of the churches in the area. Visit www.kirche-leipzig.de for the most up to date information. It also lists some of the repertoire that will be performed at most of the venues. The addresses for the churches are listed towards the back of the brochure. If you have any questions, you can contact: 0800-1110111 or 0800-1110222.

If you have a little extra time, you can swing by the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). In this location, Bach signed his contact of employment in 1723. There is also an original oil painting of Bach by Haußmann to commemorate this occasion.

Although no longer in existence, you can walk down Katherinenstraße just off the Markt to see the area where  Gottfried’s Zimmermann’s Coffee House (Zimmermannsches Kaffehaus) was located. This is where Bach hosted his Collegium Musicum concerts each week, starting in 1729. There are some coffee shops along the street, so you can go in a have a coffee along the famous street. Zimmermann’s also had a garden for performances in the summer months. It was located through the Grimma gate on Grimmishcer Steinweg.

Another coffee house to visit is Kafe Richter at Petersstraße 43 for some wonderful coffee and a feel for the city.

Finally, there are a few commemorative plaques to honor Bach’s life located around the city. They are located:

1. Dittrichring, opposite No. 8. A plaque donated by Mendelssohn in 1835 to honor the contribution Bach gave to the musical life of Leipzig.

2. Schloßweg 3 to commemorate the performance of the Peasant Cantata

3. Thomaskirchof 18: The former location of the St. Thomas School

Besides the amazing musical experiences, Berlin is unique in it’s theatre and other cultural and food offerings. One of the most unusual dining experiences I ever had was at Unsicht Bar Berlin. A night of eating in complete darkness. Their motto is “Taste! Smell! Feel! Hear!” and it is truly a full sensory experience! When you arrive, you choose your menu in the bar area (in the light), but the price fix menu is themed rather than actually telling you what you will eat. For example, I chose the “Friends of the Field” menu offering….that’s it…..”Friends of the Field”. Well, that could mean ANYTHING! There were also “Friends of the Forest” and “Friends of the Sea” if I remember correctly. The reason for the ambiguity is to allow your other senses to be heightened through the lack of expectation. If I see beef, then I will be expected to taste beef. If I can’t see it, what will my sense of taste really perceive it to be????

The waiters in the restaurant are blind and we had a waiter in which English was his third language. Talk about truly trusting those around you. Here we were being lead into a completely dark room by a sight-challenged person who only speaks a basic level of our language (and I of his) to be served food that we did not choose. It was an amazing experience! My brain played some tricks on me as to what I was eating (I swore it was pears and it was apples), there were times I felt completely helpless(you have to wait for your server to come back to use the restroom and you can’t call him over through a visual cue) and you have a heightened sense of the conversations and activities of the dining patrons around you (yes, table 12 we could hear you making out all through dinner).

I highly recommend experiencing this. I have now learned that they’ve opened two more restaurants. One in Köln and one in Hamburg, so if you can’t make it to Berlin, there are other opportunities to go!

As for food on a regular day, I think that you can’t beat Mövenpick (I know some of you might cringe at this, but it’s good food and quite traditional in its offerings). There are two main locations in the Berlin area:

Mövenpick Europa-Center

and

Restaurant Marché, Mövenpick

Kurfürstendamm 14/15

http://www.moevenpick.com

There are also Mövenpick restaurants (and even hotels) throughout Germany and when weary from traveling, a fresh salad on the motorway is quite a treat!

Ensembles:

I’ve added quite a few musical ensemble listings to the page (see tab above). Although I don’t have much information about each ensemble, you can certainly google the name of the group and that will hopefully lead you to their pages for performance information and location.

Churches:

Many of the large churches/cathedrals in the area also have concert series. The ones that I have listed have hosted concerts in the past.

1. Deutscher Dom (Lutheran)

Gendarmenmarkt 1

Mitte, Berlin

U-bahn: Stadtmitte

Opening Hours:

October-April: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm

May-September: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7pm

2. Französischer Dom (French Calvinist)

Gendarmemarkt 5

Mitte, Berlin

U-bahn: Stadtmitte

Opening Hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 12-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Cost: 2 €

3.Berliner Dom (Protestant)

Am Lustgarten 1

Mitte, Berlin

Admission: 5 €

Opening Hours:

Monday-Saturday, 9am-8pm

Sunday, 12noon-8pm (until 7pm from October-March)

Organ: Wilhelm Sauer, 113 stops

4. Kaiser-Freidrich-Gedächtnis-Kirche (German Protestant)

Händelallee 22

Tiergarten

Opening Hours: 9am-7pm

Organ: Charles Schuke (Berlin). 3 manual, 40 stops

The bombed-out tower of this majestic church stands as an antiwar memorial. The re-constructed interior has wonderful acoustics and there are frequently free concerts given.

5. Sophien-Kirche (Protestant)

Große Hamburger Straße 31

Mitte, Berlin

6. Epiphanien Kirche (Catholic)

Knobelsdorffstrße 74

14059 Berlin

+49 30/3011600

Theatre:

For some interesting theatre offerings, check out the promotional materials that are left at cafes and in hotel lobbies. You might find some wonderful events and also some very memorable performances. For example, the Theater des Westens was performing “FMA: Falco Meets Amadeus” when I was visiting. Check out their offerings at www.theaterberlin.de as well as Renaissance Theater Berlin. Another venue to consider is:

Das Berliner Kabarett-Theater

Verwaltung Friedrichstraße 101

10117 Berlin

+49 030 / 20 30 00 0

Ticket Office: Monday-Friday from 12-6pm and two hours before curtain

Music Stores:

1. Cantus 139

Kantstraße 139

D-10623 Berlin

+49 030 31 10 23 61

Email: info@cantus139.de

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm

Saturday: 10am-4pm

2. NiK: Noten In Kreuzberg

Friesenstraße 7

10965 Berlin

+49 694 55 75

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm

Saturday: 10am-3pm

3. Musik Riedel/Bauer Hieber

Ulandstraße 42 (one website also says 38, so it is in that area)

10719 Berlin

Email: riedel.berlin@bauer-hieber.com / info@bauer-hieber.com

+49 (0) 6131 / 240 50 89

4. TonArt Klassik-CD

Dietmerstraße 7

12163 Berlin – Steglitz – Zehlendorf / Steglitz

+49 (0 30) 7 91 17 36

Opening Hours:

Monday-Friday: 10am-6pm

Saturday: 10am-4pm

Accommodations:

I am not making it a habit of writing about accommodations. People are very particular about what they feel is acceptable, so for most situations, I leave it up to the travels to choose what they need for the evening. I understand the feelings completely! Some days when I’m traveling, I can be perfectly happy with a cot-style bed and a bathroom down the hall, while other times I really need some creature comforts, privacy and maybe even a little pampering!

That said, I will mention some of the very unique places to stay that are outside of the traditional bed, chair, TV and bath in a square room standard.

There is SO much in Berlin and I was almost ready to not write a post about this because it seems to be very accessible. Berlin has amazing tourist websites and assistance, so there is a wealth of information available. The best experiences I have had in Berlin is when I balance the traditional with the avant-garde. There is such a variety of performances (both in repertoire and in level of performers) and both these elements define what makes Berlin such a wonderful place for performing arts.

1. Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester (Berlin Philharmonic)

Herbert-von-Karajan Straße 1

10785 Berlin

+49 030 254 88-999

Subway: Potsdammer Platz

There are performances by both the Symphony Orchestra as well as the Chamber Orchestra. Also take the time to tour the facility…it is quite amazing both acoustically and architecturally.

Guided tours are offered daily (except for December 24-26, 31 and January 1)

Start time for the tour is 1pm

Meet at the Artist’s Entrance (doorman of the Philharmonic Hall), which you access across the parking lot from the main Philharmonie Entrance.

There are free lunchtime concerts on Tuesdays at 1pm (September to June)

Right next door is quite a treat at the

2. Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin (Berlin Musical Instrument Museum)

Tiergarternstrße 1

10785 Berlin

+49 030 25481-0

Website in German only

Open:

Tuesday-Wednesday, 9am-5pm

Thursday, 9am-10pm

Weekends: 10am-5pm

Admission price: 4 €

The museum contains a collection of over 3500 musical instruments from the 16th century onward and is one of the largest and most representative musical instrument collections in Germany. On a personal note, I spend hours in this museum just exploring the evolution of the instruments as well as seeing some unique instruments. They have a wide variety of concerts and lectures throughout the year and even perform on some of the instruments of the museum. There was a cembalo recital as well as a Latin America Baroque recital when I visited the last time.

3. Berliner Konzerte

The Berlin ticket hotline for concerts, opera, dance and festivals

+49 (0) 30 678 01 11

Box office information is open from : 9am-6pm

Location:

Concert Management Berlin

CM Reimann GmbH

Dörpfeldstraße 43

12489 Berlin

The German version of Ticketmaster, but for events only  in Berlin. Some events that were listed when I contacted their site included the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig at the Berliner Dom, La Traviata at the Staatsoper and numerous chamber style performances.

4. Staatsoper Unter den Linden im Schiller Theater

Box Office: Located in the lobby of the Schiller Theater

Bismarckstraße 110

D-10625 Berlin

Open daily from 12-7pm (closed on December 24th) and also one hour prior to curtain

Ticket hotline: +49 (0) 30- 20 34 45 55 / tickets@staatsoper-berlin.de

Open Monday – Saturday from 10am-8pm, Sunday and Holidays from 12-8pm

contact@staatsoper-berlin.de

Guided tours: General tours are in German, but you can contact the office to schedule an English tour.  Please email: besucherservice@staatsoper-berlin.de

Cost: 5€

Besides great opera, Schiller Theatre also hosts the ballet as well as the Staatskappelle.

The Staatsoper is a repertory company who is also branching out to do some great new and innovative works. The season for this year is a balance of the old standards mixed with some contemporary and even modern (bordering on musical theatre style) choices. For example, within one week, you can see performances of Aida and The Barber of Seville as well as Candide and Elecktra.

There is a wide variety of concerts offered with some being offered during the day in a brunch-style as well as many guest performers including Placido Domingo, James Levin and a Barenboim concert series.

5. Komische Oper Berlin

Behrenstraße 55-57

10117 Berlin

Subway: Branderburger Tor

info@komisch-oper-berlin.de

Ticket office:

Unter den Linden 41

10117 Berlin

Open: Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm, Sundays and Holidays, 1pm-4pm

Box Office is at the Behrenstraße entrance to the theatre and is open one hour before curtain

Tickets as low as 10€ for select performances.

The schedule is also a great balance of the standard repertoire as well as new and innovative works.

6.  Konzerthaus Berlin

Schausspielhaus am Gendarmenmarkt

10117 Berlin

+49 (030) 2 03 09-2101

ticket@konzerthaus.de

Ticket office open: Monday-Friday, 12-6pm (pre-sale)

Day of concert ticket sales: 1 hour before curtain at performance venue

A tremendous variety of performances at the venue. Chamber music, choral music, the house orchestra (Konzerthausorchestester Berlin) and visiting ensembles.

7. Deutsche Oper Berlin

Bismarkstraße 35

10627 Berlin

+49 (0) 30 343 84 01

Box Office/Tickets:

+ 49 (0) 30 343 84 343

Email: info@deutschoperberlin.de

Tours: Saturdays at 3:30pm in English. Cost is 5€

Tour covers the auditorium,  as well as costume and prop rooms.

More traditional repertoire overall with a heavy interest in Wagner and Strauss. This space also houses Ballet Berlin.

8. Neues Sinfonie Orchester Berlin

info@nsob.de

Tickets: Monday-Friday from 10am-4:30pm

+49 (0) 30 53 01 53 56

Website in German only

Performances throughout the city. Great balance of traditional repertoire with very eccentric programming such as “Flames of Classic plays Pink Floyd”.

9. Kammer Orchester Berlin

Kurfürstendamm 157

10709 Berlin

Tickets: + 49 30 3490 2520

ticket@kammerorchesterberlin.de

Lovely chamber orchestra with great programming! Players are young and energetic and the mix of traditional and unique is quite innovative. Performances are at either the Philharmonie or the Konzerthaus.

10. Staatsbibliothek Berlin

Unter den Linden 8

D-10117 Berlin (Mitte)

+49 30 2660-0

Some great concerts offered as well as opportunity to visit their collections. The Staatsbibliothek houses many manuscripts that may be available to view, including the manuscript for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The library has over 23 million books, autographs and manuscripts in its collection. I would check with your local librarian if you have a particular manuscript (especially if it is rare) and see if they are able to write you a letter of support. That will sometimes help you get into the rare reading rooms. Also, try and contact the librarians at the Staatsbibliothek ahead of time if there is sometime in particular that you want to view. The process to view original manuscripts may take quite a few days, so plan ahead and be patient with their system.


Although it is somewhat of a wandering way, I’m trying to circle the areas around the more major cities. You may want to stay in a bigger city and take day trip, either by car or train OR spend a few nights in the quaint country.

Meiningen: A small town south of Eisenach that is home to the

Max Reger Archive – Die Sammlung Musikgeschichte

Schloß Elisabethenburg

Schloßplatz 1

03693-50 36 41

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm

kontakt@meiningermusen.de

Duke Georg II brought fame to the court orchestra and by focusing on recruiting new and young talent and two of the well-known past artistic director of the Meininger Hofkapelle were Richard Strauss and Max Reger.

Bach lived in Weimar on two occasions: as the court musician in the chapel of the Duke Johann Ernst in 1703 and as the court organist and concert master for the ducal court (1708-1717). This is where many of Bach’s toccatas were composed. The former Bach house is located at:

Markt 16

where he lived with the musician Adam Weldig. Although the house is not there, there is a memorial plaque at the location.

The Herderkirche (St. Peter and Paul) is where some of Bach’s children were baptized and Bach was organist and choirmaster from 1708-1717. Lizst also served as choirmaster here, starting in 1848. It is located on the Markt in the town center. There is a statue commemorating Bach’s time in Weimar  located on the Platz de Demokratie.

Weimar is also a town that many of the well-known composers came through and served in the royal courts throughout history. For example:

The Thuringian State Library holds an autograph of Mozart’s K450

Franz Liszt was director of music for the Weimar court and also conducted the first performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin in Weimar. There is a statue commemorating his service in the Park an der Ilm as well as the Musik Academie Franz Liszt (1872), which is located on the Platz der Demokratie.

There is also a museum that focuses on the  life and work of Franz Lizst. Lizst spent some time in Weimar and the museum  has several momentos from the composers life including the piano at which he played and taught lessons.

Liszt-Haus Weimar

Marienstraße 17

99423 Weimar

+49 03643 / 545401

Opening Hours: April-October, Wednesday-Monday, 10am-6pm

Closed November-March

Admission: €4

Bus: 1, 4 or 6

The famous Lizst School of Music is listed on the music school page. Please refer to it for more detailed information.

The Deutsches Nationaltheater, located on Theaterplatz 2A, is where Lizst and Richard Wagner once conducted. The premiere of Lohengrin was presented here in 1850.

Tickets: +49 03643 / 755334

Eisenach

Being the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach really put this town on the map! The Bachhaus in Eisenach is the oldest Bach memorial and for over 90 years has been a place of pilgrimage for musicians and music lovers.

Bach Haus Eisenach

Frauenplan 21

99817 Eisenach

+49 0 3691 / 79 340

Email: bachhaus@t-online.de

Opening Hours:

April-September: Monday  12-5:45pm, Tuesday-Sunday  9am-5:45pm

October-March: Monday  12-4:45pm, Tuesday-Sunday  9am-4:45pm

Cost: €6

Bus: 3, 7, 11 or 13

Among some of the highlights include two original organs with one that needs an assistant to pull the bellows as well as numerous period instruments. All displays and lectures are in German, but they do provide an English “cheat sheet” that summarizes them. The staff is very friendly and helpful!

St. Georgenkirche is where Bach was baptized on March 23, 1685 and the Bach family has a rich history connected with this space. There is a statue of Bach in the entrance hall. St. George’s  is located on the Markt and is open:

Monday-Saturday from 10am-12:30pm and 2-5pm

Sunday from 11:30am-12:30pm and 2-5pm

There are many performances held in the church (almost daily) and also recorded music playing during opening hours. A history of the Bach family as well as Pachelbel’s connection to the area is on display.

Another interesting collection in Eisenach is the Reuter-Wagner-Museum

Reuterweg 2

99817 Eisenach

+49 0 36 91 / 74 32 93

Opening Hours: Closed on Monday

Tuesday- Wednesday, 12-5pm

Thursday, 3-8pm

Friday-Sunday, 12-5pm

Cost: €3.00

The Reuter Wagner Museum is the second most comprehensive collection of material related to Richard Wagner. It was started as a private collection by Austrian Nicholau Oesterlein. It’s located in a beautiful area just outside of town. There is no parking directly near the museum, but the Prinzenteich Parkplatz is located a short walk away. There is a library in the museum, but is only open to musicologists through arrangement. Displays are in German with a condensed English overview sheet.

There are monthly chamber concerts given in the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday. Besides Wagners works, they highlight other composers as well as some jazz.

Many of the major performances in Eisenach are held at the :

Thüringer Landestheater: Haus Eisenach

Theaterplatz 4-7 /Sophienstraße 53

99817 Eisenach

Email: service-esa@thueringerlandestheater.de

+49 0 36 91 / 256 232

Box office hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, Saturday  10am-12noon

For general information on events in Eisenach: www.eisenach.de

If you are looking for jazz and pop music scores, the Lippmann and Rau Music Archive is a wonderful resource.

Palmental 1

99817 Eisenach

+49 369 / 1 61 25 25

Email: info@lr-musikarchiv.de