Every November I find myself wondering what on earth made me move from New York to Berlin. As soon as Daylight Savings Time ends and the beautiful sunsets I see from my apartment in Mitte start to fizzle out at about five in the afternoon, I start looking for openings in the Singapore Symphony or the Sao Paulo Orchestra. Then I reluctantly return to my own reality and offer myself Berlin’s greatest consolation prize in the winter: cheap culture. And I don’t mean low-quality, I mean affordable, as all cultural institutions should be. A great André Kertész exhibit at the Martin-Gropius Bau, a visit to the always-amazing Emil Nolde Stiftung, and dozens of concerts and theater events are my substitutes for sunshine and warmth here in the north. When I contemplate the seventy dollars I’m going to pay to hear Chick Corea at the Blue Note in New York at the end of the month, it sure warms my heart to think of the five-Euro tickets I can get for the Berliner Ensemble, one of the greatest theaters and dramatic ensembles in Europe, and the only slightly more expensive tickets for loads of concerts at the Philharmonie.
November in Berlin is also not a bad time to just hibernate at home and read and mull over ideas for new projects, as I’ve been doing lately (when not seeking job opportunities near the equator). It’s a time to plant creative seeds that might just start to sprout when our hemisphere rotates back toward the sun, a time to think about the next novel, the next ensemble. But what am I saying? This is a time to get the hell out of here, so that’s what I’m doing: going on vacation until my next concrete projects materialize in December!
When I return, I’ll be a regular guest with the Bach Collegium Stuttgart throughout the month of December, playing various Bach Cantatas and the Christmas Oratorio in Essen and Stuttgart. I’ll also be playing a chamber music program in nearby Nürtingen on the 22nd with my great friend and wonderful pianist Fabiana Biasini in what has become a biannual tradition. Details on all dates will follow in the next post.