On Tour in Asia 2011

29 Nov 2013

Shangzhuang Zhongxin Primary School

A group of musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker performed with schoolchildren of Shangzhuang Zhongxin Primary School on 9 November 2011. In their capacity as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors the musicians visited the school in Beijing to highlight the challenges faced by migrant children in China. 76 per cent of the children in this school are from migrant worker families. There are 82 million children affected by migration in China, many of whom lack access to basic services. 

The photo shows the musicians Christophe Horak, Krzysztof Polonek (violin) and violist Micha Afkham performing with schoolchildren at the Shangzhuang Zhongxin Primary School. 

Open rehearsal

 For their concert at the National Center for the Performing Arts on 11 November 2011, the Berliner Philharmoniker invited 50 children of migrant workers to their final rehearsal. Some of the audience members already knew the musicians. They came from the Shangzhuang Zhongxin Elementary School, which some of the orchestra members had visited two days before. It was a joyful reunion for musicians and students alike. 

The Philharmoniker were rehearsing Mahler's Ninth Symphony. Afterwards, Sir Simon Rattle, the musicians and the UNICEF children met each other at the so-called "Meet and Greet" on the concert stage. Great fun for all involved, as the photo shows. Finally, there was also a Berliner Philharmoniker T-shirt for the students and they went home with the feeling: What a unique, wonderful experience! 

Philharmonic Wind Quintet in Sendai

On 21 November 2011, the Philharmonic Wind Quintet visited the town of Sendai, 90 km from Fukushima. Following the earthquake in March 2011, it was overwhelmed by a 20-meter high tsunami wave. Even today, the remnants of cars, motorbikes and other debris can be seen everywhere. The people, especially the children, are traumatized. The members of the quintet were very affected by the extent of the destruction. “You know the pictures from TV,” said oboist Andreas Wittmann, “but when you are actually here, the effect is very different.” 

As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, they came on a special mission: to perform in the gymnasium of the elementary school in Sendai for children who have not yet come to terms with the shock of the catastrophe. The students enjoyed the music enormously, and showed their enthusiasm after the concert. The musicians happily said, “We are pleased that we could bring the children a little joy”.