Amelie von Gizycki is relieved. Concerts at “Live Music Now” are slowly getting back to normal: “Some of our partners are still reluctant, but our scholarship holders can finally perform again in many hospitals, old people’s homes and special needs schools.” Von Gizycki heads the Berlin branch of an organization that was founded in 1977 was founded by the violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin with the aim of bringing music to people who cannot come to music themselves.
At the same time, “Live Music Now” is also a support program for prospective classical music professionals. Students can apply and then receive fees for their concerts, which should be house music in the noblest sense of the word. Born in 1916, Menuhin, who had experienced misery and horror firsthand at a young age, developed a vision: Music as a comfort for all who are weary and burdened, offered by those who burn most for it, by young musicians. In the 1940s, the violinist gave concerts in military hospitals and for prisoners of war – and felt the effects of what is now called music therapy.
For the newcomers, the performances offer a great opportunity to gain stage experience. And often under improvised conditions. In addition, they have to moderate themselves, so they also learn how to impart music knowledge in a low-threshold way. Around 700 artists have completed over 4000 performances in more than 200 institutions for “Live Music Now” Berlin. The organization is well networked in the universities and regularly organizes auditions for the scholarship places, to which the professors send their best students.
The volunteers are currently being looked after by 90 young people. When the pandemic deprived “Live Music Now” of its working basis, when retirement homes and hospitals were sent into particularly tough lockdowns, the team pulled out all the stops to enable the grantees to at least perform via video. “Musicians have to keep practicing if you want to keep your level,” says Amélie von Gizycki.
The fee rate was raised, the videos were first created under adventurous conditions, but soon the technical quality was able to keep up with the musical quality. And in some retirement homes, extra tablets were purchased so that the residents could experience the performances. As soon as it was allowed, screen concerts took place in the lounges.
Amélie von Gizycki is proud when “her” protégés make a career. And she’s trying to get established alumni to join the fundraisers. Like now Jakob Spahn, the solo cellist of the Munich Opera, and Stephan Frucht, the head of the Siemens Arts Program, who also conducts. For the finale on June 12, the musicians will unite under Frucht’s baton at Friedrich Gulda’s concert for cello and wind orchestra, which mixes all musical styles from U to E in a witty and virtuoso manner.