Podcast: inspiration for your lazy Sunday


This time around, we decided to run our bi-weekly podcast a day earlier – Sunday rather than Monday. That’s ’cause we want you to hear why you should head underground at Leipzig city center tonight. Some inspiration for you.

The organizers of the event, Klassik Underground, call it “a fantastic evening with poetry, music and vertiginous humor.” It’s the force unfolding in the belly of Moritzbastei this Sunday at 6 p.m.

Bear with me, ’cause there’s more to this Sunday audio feature. 23 minutes more, to be precise.

Tahlia Petrosian, the Gewandhaus musician who thought up Klassik Underground. (Photo courtesy of Tahlia Petrosian)
Tahlia Petrosian, the Gewandhaus musician who thought up Klassik Underground. (Photo courtesy of Tahlia Petrosian)

We should also know and try to understand what’s happening off-stage in our thorny neck of the woods. So we start with an important dose of political talk and analysis from LeipGlo’s Rachael Clugston and Daniel Leon. Then we head to the stage, so to speak. Meaning our podcast’s music section. (Pardon any technical mishaps; we’re still learning how to play with this online audio show thingy.)

Stage-center is Gewandhaus violist Tahlia Petrosian, creator and curator of the Klassik Underground concert series. Our producer was so excited about my interview with her, and the little music treat that came with it, that she put the segment on earlier in the podcast, when it was supposed to come in at the end. Talk about inspiration!

The event is literally underground in Moritzbastei, and literally classical, but also cool and relaxed. Get there early to grab your ticket and maybe a drink to sip on during the show. The chambers tend to fill up fast.

Be prepared to feel a whole range of emotions reverberate. A Gewandhaus quintet will play classical music. Also, renowned East German author and poetry slammer Julius Fischer will perform some of his own poems, and texts by Russian avant-garde poet Daniil Charms. “The texts are very funny; they are absurd, in the true sense of the word,” Petrosian says, referring to Charms.

The regular concert series has been happening for nearly two years now, about six times per season, and has thrived since its inception as Petrosian’s brainchild.

The hip, well-traveled Aussie wanted to bring classical music to younger audiences in Leipzig, rather than expecting them to sit still and rapt during regular orchestral gigs. Classically trained in violin from the age of 3, and viola since she was 14, Petrosian also worked as a lawyer in Australia before joining orchestras in Belgium, the UK and Germany.

“I think that in the 21st century, it’s very important that orchestras think outside the box, in terms of being able to adapt themselves to modern living,” she told me as we sat backstage at Gewandhaus. “People are constantly connected, they’re on social media. All these things need to be taken into account. People are also working longer hours. At the end of the day, if they have to choose between going out with their friends or being strapped into a seat for two hours, I think going to a symphony concert doesn’t always win out.”

Klassik Underground seeks to let people “not have to make that choice,” while also enjoying high-level classical music, she added. It has featured everything from orchestra soloists walking over and performing at Moritzbastei after their Gewandhaus shows, to scoring a Fritz Lang movie with a live symphony, to putting on a video installation.

Musicians in the Leipzig series always come from the Gewandhaus orchestra and play their usual music, says Petrosian. Although having different arts side by side, there is no fusion of music styles.

Our city is, of course, known for its long line of music legends, but is also not shy about experimenting with arts and entertainment.

And at least as far as Klassik Underground goes, others around the world are jumping on Leipzig’s bandwagon. The popularity of this concert series – home-grown by internationally-minded musicians – is taking it to world cultural capitals such as Tokyo, Berlin, London and Paris. The November 2017 event in a Tokyo club featured live painting and a video installation by a Japanese artist. The one planned for Berlin will probably happen “in the underground system of bunkers and caves… constructed for Berlin during the war.” They’re still working out the details.

More and more musicians and other artists based in Leipzig and abroad are becoming interested in participating. They enjoy performing in this different format, which is also a new venue of intercultural collaboration for them.

But don’t take my word for it: Let Petrosian tell you more of this success story via our podcast, and also share a bit of her viola playing. And take advantage of the fact that the series’s homebase is right here at Moritzbastei.

Besides organization, you can see Petrosian wearing different hats tonight at Klassik Underground. She’ll be performing with the quintet and picking the poetry slammer’s brain in front of the audience. Count me in.

OVER COFFEE SUNDAY MORNING: Kapuczino’s inspiration and tips for staying entertained

(look for more details in the podcast)

FEATURED EVENT: Klassik underground trifft Julius Fischer

Gewandhaus quintet rehearses ahead of this Sunday's Klassik Underground. (Photo courtesy of Tahlia Petrosian)
Gewandhaus quintet rehearses ahead of this Sunday’s Klassik Underground. (Photo: Tahlia Petrosian)

When: Sunday, 10 December, 6-7:30 pm
Where: Moritzbastei, Universitätsstraße 9, 04109 Leipzig
Tickets: 15 euros at the door
Facebook event

For more of what’s brewing right now in Leipzig, visit our events page.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

On location in Reudnitz with Sprachschule Paroli German language school. (Photo: Henk Otte)
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