Christiane Tewinkel takes away the fear of classical concerts | NDR.de – Culture

Status: 01/15/2022 10:58 a.m

Many people are afraid of misbehaving in classical concerts. Christiane Tewinkel wants to counteract this. The musicologist breaks down prejudices and lowers the threshold for non-experts.

by Linda Eiger

“The Magic Flute” by Mozart is played in the concert hall of the Lübeck University of Music. Christiane Tewinkel does not need a program for this. Even though the professor has only recently started working as a musicologist at the Lübeck University of Music, she has long felt at home in the world of classical music.

The idea for the book came from going to a concert with a friend

The idea for her book “Am I normal when I’m bored in a concert? A musical manual” came to her when I went to a concert: “A very important situation was when I went to a concert with a friend many years ago. This friend had nothing at all to do with classical music,” says Tewinkel. “I saw the whole situation – being in the foyer, looking at the buffet, going into the concert hall, the order of applause, the pieces, the program – with her eyes. I suddenly thought: ‘That’s strong stuff for someone who is not introduced at all.’ It takes a lot of mediation to get behind why concerts are like this and to experience concerts as beautiful and fruitful.”

Children’s concerts are a way of counteracting the prejudice that classical concerts are only for “older people”.

Her job is to bring concert life closer to others. Nevertheless, not everyone finds access, as a survey shows: “Sometimes I find classical music really beautiful. It is so moving and so are the instruments that often appear there…: I think it can be really beautiful.” Or: “I don’t think I would go in voluntarily, but if someone invited me, I would go.” And: “I think that there are more older people there because children might not be interested and that you dress smartly because it’s something special when you go there. I think it’s nice to listen to and I like that too.”

Fear of faux pas and false gossip

The musicologist suspects that what keeps many people from going to a classical concert is not the music, but the fear of making a mistake. And in the classical concert there are some – including clapping after a quiet and slow movement. Anyone who clap at this point is insensitive, says Christiane Tewinkel. It wouldn’t be so bad “if people are totally enthusiastic and just want to express their enthusiasm after a quick sentence,” says Tewinkel. “We encounter that, for example, at youth, festival or benefit concerts, when there is an audience that usually doesn’t go to the concert, but then just sits there and thinks it’s great. And then people start clapping.”

For 17 years, Christiane Tewinkel has been trying to mediate between the worlds that meet in the concert hall. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Those who have found their taste also feel more comfortable in the concert halls and that is the case with all genres: “I would say music speaks to all of us. If I like listening to gangster rap or Helene Fischer, then I relate to it directly and I think I don’t need any previous education. But a fan club will say that I need the previous education. Otherwise I don’t understand how Helene Fischer got from that song to the other,” explains Tewinkel. “Depending on the field and expertise that is required, people have their expert knowledge. If I want to understand an English rapped text, I also have to have a lot of prior knowledge.” The musicologist wants to get a broad audience interested in classical music – together with her students in Lübeck, with whom she will be working on the topic “Music and the Order of the World” in autumn.

Further information

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View of the large concert hall of the Lübeck University of Music © Musikhochschule Lübeck Photo: Gulliver Theis

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