In this section, we introduce members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and their extramusical passions. Today: Christoph Hartmann, who likes cycling.
“With no other invention is usefulness so closely allied with pleasure as it is in the case of cycling,” the automobile manufacturer Adam Opel once declared in his understated way. Christoph Hartmann agrees with him. For the Berliners’ oboist, cycling is more than just a form of locomotion. “For me it is always an incredibly wonderful feeling to get on my bike,” he rhapsodizes. “Long cycle rides are not just a form of pure training for me, they’re also a chance to enjoy the silence and the countryside.” Here it is a question of the journey itself being the goal, the fifty-five-year-old oboist insists. “When compressed into a few hours, cycling has the same recuperative effect as a short holiday would have.”
In Berlin Christoph Hartmann cycles practically everywhere. In keeping with the motto that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, he won’t be deterred by wind and weather. His wife and son are now avid cyclists.
It is sixteen years since Christoph Hartmann fulfilled a particular dream when he and a friend founded a firm that makes bicycles. The two friends remain convinced that cycling is a source of tremendous fun and that it affords genuine enjoyment if the bicycle is perfectly adapted to meet the owner’s individual needs. The vision had taken shape, but what was the child to be called? “The name was intended to express our passion for classical music but also for beautiful bicycles,” Christoph Hartmann recalls the firm’s beginnings. After a certain amount of indecision, inspiration finally struck, and the brand took its name from Antonio Pasculli, the “Paganini of oboists”. What other solution could have been possible for a musician?
All Pasculli bicycle frames are initially designed in Berlin before being handmade and lacquered in Italy. Each bicycle takes two months to make, and this naturally costs money. A custom-built Pasculli bicycle costs a basic 5,000 euros. As a silent partner, Christoph Hartmann has nothing to do with the way in which orders are processed, a process controlled by his business associate, who also runs a business in Friedenau.
Christoph Hartmann’s love of cycling dates back to his schooldays, when he and his friends used to explore the region around his home town of Landsberg am Lech. He was thirteen when the oboe first entered his life, a development that he owes to his piano teacher since it was she who suggested that he should try this particular instrument. Within a year he was already studying the oboe at the Augsburg Conservatory. On leaving school he continued his studies at Munich’s University of Music and Performing Arts. He has been a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1992.
And what do playing the oboe and riding a bicycle have in common? “Fortunately, nothing at all,” says Christoph Hartmann with a smile. “Of course, the stamina gained through cycling helps me when I’m playing the oboe, and the breathing exercises that I need for playing the oboe are also invaluable when it comes to riding my bike.” But he is reluctant to overstate this aspect. Cycling provides him with a counterbalance to his profession as a musician. It is his hobby and his passion. Nothing more – and nothing less.
From the current issue of Phil – Das Magazin der Berliner Philharmoniker.