Discoveries: Obengül Polen Gezmis

July 9th, 2013 by d.b. - 

Follow us and discover a remarkable young woman who jumped straight from ballet school right into one of the most pres­ti­gious ballet companies in Europe. We had the opportunity to meet Obengül Polen Gezmis right after rehearsal in the ballet studio of Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth

You just finished your education at “Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin” last year – and immediately got a job in the ensemble of Staatsballett Berlin. A dream career start for a young dancer. How did it come true for you?

It was my dream since four years to dance in Vladimir Malakhov’s Staatsoper Berlin. It was of course not easy to get a job there. In summer 2012 I participated in the Istanbul International Ballet Competition and won second prize there. I was very lucky that Mr Malakhov was also there as a member of the jury. He saw me and after the competition he asked me if I wanted to dance in his company. Finally my dream came true.

 

So this particular competition had a special impact on your life. How do you feel about competitions in general?

The ballet competitions are important for me. A competition is very different from a performance. You have to be strong and you need a good preparation. I personally like this felling; to be excited, to be nervous and get a little stress. For me, the time I spend preparing is the most important part. Because I feel that I learn many things and I can improve myself. It is a great experience to do a competition. And usually there are a lot of directors of ballet companies, so you have the chance to get an engagement.

 

Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth

 

Speaking today with first experiences: how well does school prepare you for the life of a dancer in a big company?

I feel I had a good education at State Ballet School of Berlin. But now in the company, I can see that there are some differences between ballet school and professional life. You usually get a lot of time at school to learn a new piece. In the company, you have to be a lot faster. Sometimes, you have only two rehearsals to learn all the steps. This is new for me. It is really exciting to learn how to become a professional dancer.

 

A transition lies ahead for Staatsballett Berlin: in August 2014, Duato will replace Malakhov as artistic director. Did you have any personal experiences with Duato, yet?

No, I didn’t have any experience with Nacho Duato yet. But I hope I will. He seems to be a good director. I already saw some of his pieces and I really liked them. His choreographies tend to be more modern in style, while the State Ballet Berlin is so far more on the classical side of ballet. We are all very excited how it will be to work with him.

 

Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth

 

You moved from Istanbul to Berlin to study there. What are your experiences with the turkish dance scene?

The classical ballet in Turkey is quite good. We have six big companies and they are getting better. There are a lot of great and talented dancers. Unfortunately, these kinds of art like theatre, opera and ballet are not really as important in Turkey as they are here in Germany. For example, we have a rather small stage in Istanbul and generally not too many possibilities. But nevertheless, we have good dancers.

 

These days, Turkey receives an unusual amount of media attention. How do you experience the events around Taksim square and the ongoing demonstrations?

I am really sad about these news in Turkey. I cannot believe how aggressive, brutal and non-human the police is. Every day, I try to follow the news from the turkish newspapers I find in Berlin, from the internet and from friends and family in Turkey. A lot of my friends participate in the demonstration, too. I am really proud of them. They are trying to keep Turkey as a democratic country and I am really proud how brave they are! There were also some solidarity demonstrations here in Berlin, which I joined, too.

 

Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth

 

What are your upcoming projects and productions?

I am very excited for the new version (by V. Medvedev and Y. Burlaka) of nutcracker this season. I hope it will be a good season and a nice, ‘last year’ with Vladimir Malakhov.

 

Get in touch with Polen
and other great artists
from around the world.

 
Photography by Daniel Barth.

Discoveries: Lucasonic

June 12th, 2013 by d.b. - 

artoporta ist die Plattform aller Stile und Genres, auch wenn die klassische Musik derzeit stark dominiert. Vielfalt wird wachsen und uns alle bereichern. Schön, dass auch jetzt schon Perlen wie “Lucasonic” zu entdecken sind. Wir sprachen mit Band­lea­der Lukas Fröhlich über das Arbeiten in der Band, die Be­deu­tung der eigenen CD und musikalische Kooperationen.

Lucasonic Liva @ Bar Tausend, Berlin

Die Beteiligten von Lucasonic sind in vielfältigen Projekten aktiv und stark eingespannt – wie hält man unter diesen Beding­ungen eine Band zusammen?

Wir sind mit Überzeugung und großem Enthusiasmus dabei. Die Frontline besteht aus Lars, Philip und mir – also drei Bläser und Sänger – wir haben uns verpflichtet, der Sache Priorität zu geben und andere Gigs dafür abzusa­gen. Bei der Rhythmusgruppe gibt es die Stammbesetzung, wenn die nicht zur Verfügung steht springen aber auch andere Musiker ein. Da greifen wir auf ein Netzwerk von Musikern zurück, die aber nach sechs Jahren quasi auch schon zur Band gehören.

 

Dein Name steckt im Bandnamen, Du trittst klar als Bandleader auf. Was heißt das für Eure Arbeitsweise? Ist das Songwriting ein kol­la­bo­ra­tiver Prozess, oder liegt es ganz in Deiner Hand?

Das liegt tatsächlich in meiner Hand, wir spielen ausschließlich Stücke von mir. Vorletztes Jahr haben wir die Struktur ein wenig geändert, so dass wir die Band zu dritt betreiben als GbR mit besagter Frontline. Seitdem gehen wir durchaus auch nochmals gemeinsam über die Texte. Und weil die an­deren auch singen haben sie quasi ein Vetorecht, auf allen Ebenen. Manche Stücke ändern wir so nochmals gehörig, andere fliegen auch raus. Aber das Rohmaterial und die Musik sind komplett von mir.

 

Das heißt, wenn Du Stücke entwickelst, dann sind die bereits komplett gesetzt und sehr detailliert ausgearbeitet bevor Du damit in den Proberaum gehst?

In der Regel sind die in der Tat schon sehr ausformuliert. Ich produziere viele Sachen vor, mache z.B. schonmal eine Aufnahme mit programmier­tem Schlagzeug und Bass, spiele die Bläser selber drauf – damit alle einen Eindruck haben. Da ich die Musiker mittlerweile natürlich sehr gut kenne, reicht es aber häufig auch, z.B. der Rhythmusgruppe nur ein Riff mitzu­bringen und ein paar rudimentäre Notizen – und dann spielt jeder sein Ding. Das hängt auch sehr von der Stilistik des jeweiligen Songs ab.

 Exklusiv zwei komplette Songs vom neuen Album “Gib mir den Rest: Atemlos & Los. Jetzt genießen.

Los
Atemlos

 

Ihr präsentiert gerade Euer drittes Album “Gib Mir Den Rest“. Welche Rolle spielt die eigene CD aus Deiner Sicht heutzutage für den Erfolg einer Band?

Ich glaube, sie ist nach wie vor sehr wichtig, weil sie Visitenkarte ist. Und Andenken an ein Konzert. CD-Verkäufe laufen heute, von wenigen Top­stars abgesehen, nicht mehr über Plattenläden, sondern im independent Bereich in erster Linie über Verkäufe nach Live-Konzerten. Wir hatten da häufig eine sehr hohe Quote bei der letzten Tour, wo bis zu einem Drittel der Leute nach dem Konzert die CD mitgenommen haben. Was ganz über­wältigend ist, eigentlich. Weil die aus der Begeisterung auf dem Kon­zert heraus gesagt haben: “Mensch, da will ich mir etwas von mitnehmen!”. Über den Vertrieb hingegen läuft heutzutage fast gar nichts mehr. Es sei denn, man ist ganz stark im Radio vertreten. Aber selbst das verliert ja in Zeiten von Spotify, Simfy und Co. zunehmend an Bedeutung.

 

Verlosung: 3x das neue Album GIB MIR DEN REST zu gewinnen!

 

Wie habt Ihr das neue Album produziert? Habt Ihr noch ganz klassisch ein Label mit an Bord?

Nein, gar nicht. Das Album kommt raus bei CD Baby, das ist eine ameri­kanische Plattform für Indies, wo man die Rechte komplett selbst behält. Wir haben es natürlich auch verschickt an ein paar Labels, die auch durch­aus interessiert waren – aber dann eben doch nicht ganz die Markt­revo­lution von 2013 in dem Album gesehen haben. Insofern also wieder eine komplette Eigenproduktion. Über CD Baby sind wir natürlich trotz­dem in den großen Katalogen vertreten, von Amazon bis iTunes und vieles mehr.

 

Ihr spielt häufig mit musikalischen Gästen. Wie entstehen diese Kooperationen? Geht Ihr gezielt auf Leute zu, oder sind das eher zufällige Begegnungen?

In einem Jahr haben wir es zum Motto gemacht dass wir immer andere Gäste gefeatured haben in einer Konzertreihe. Das waren meist Bekannte aus anderen Bands, teilweise auch aus anderen musikalischen Kontexten, einmal zum Beispiel mit einer Opernsängerin. Also eine experi­men­tier­freudige Reihe, die allerdings beendet ist. Das zweite Album entstand mit Virginia Lillye, einer tollen australischen Sängerin. Die hatte ich auf einem anderen Konzert in Berlin kennengelernt, wo wir zusammen auftraten. Beim Feiern im Anschluss kam es dann zur Musikerlüge Nummer eins: “Lass uns mal was zusammen machen!”. Aber die Zusammenarbeit hat tatsächlich stattgefunden, und wir waren beide ganz begeistert. Daraus ist das Album “Bitchy” entstanden als “Lucasonic featuring Virginia Lillye”. Dazu gab es dann auch eine Clubtour mit acht Konzerten in Australien.

Dirk Zöllner feat. Lucasonic // 13. Juni 2013
// Kesselhaus in Der Kulturbrauerei Berlin

Zum Abschluss: was sind Eure nächsten Projekte, was plant Ihr für die Zukunft?

Im Juni spielen wir – auch wieder in einer Konstellation, die sich über ein gemeinsames Konzert ergeben hat: wir waren letzes Jahr bei den Jazztagen Dresden als Headliner der Funk & Soul Night und wurden gebeten, dort Dirk Zöllner als Special Guest zu featuren, den wir natürlich vom Hören­sagen und von der Musik her kannten, aber nicht persönlich. Von dieser Zusammenarbeit war er total begeistert, und wir genau so von ihm. Und so hat er uns gleich eingeladen zu seinem Café Größenwahn zu seinem Geburts­tag am 13. Juni in der Kulturbrauerei. Da werden wir nun von ihm gefeatured. Da hat sich also über eine Buchung von außen eine ganz tolle Kooperation ergeben.

 

Das Interview führte Daniel Barth.

 

Get in touch with Lucasonic and many more great artists and ensembles:

Howto: Creating ensemble profiles

June 3rd, 2013 by d.b. - 

Ensemble profiles are great to illustrate your activities, to present your projects and to feature the wonderful artists you are working with. Setting up an ensemble profile is fast & easy. 

 

Create Ensemble Profiles.

1 Create the profile | If you have an artist profile, start right away: just click on “create ensemble profile” on your profile to the right.

2 Provide the name | Provide the ensemble’s name and chose the type of ensemble you wish to create. Click “Create”.

3 Add information | You end up on your shiny new profile. Simply add information and media content – just the way you are used to from your own profile. Write something about your ensemble, chose your genres, publish events, add galleries, videos and audio samples. Make visitors curious about your work and let them discover what you do.

That is it, you are done.

 

But wait: of course, there is more. In a professional network, things get most interesting when we actually – you know: connect! That is where the magic starts, the power of the network takes hold and relevant information is generated from a multitude of tiny actions and interactions.

So we encourage you to go one important step further:

4 Get connected | Let all the members connect with their ensemble. The individuals behind the ensemble are thus featured on the ensemble profile. Conversely, the ensemble is featured on every member’s profile.

Artists are discovered via their ensembles, ensembles are discovered via their individual artists. All in all, this weaves a network of mutual projects and collaborations that wonderfully illustrates professional activities.

Connecting members has other perks, too. For example, every new event you create for your ensemble automatically shows up on any member’s calendar as well. And if a member should not want a particular event on his or her calendar, it can of course easily be removed.

Right now, there are two ways to connect with an ensemble: invite or request.

Invite | Visit the profiles of your members and click on “invite to en­sem­ble”. Once the members confirm your invitation, they are connected.

Request | Let your members visit the ensemble profile and click on “artist request”. Once you confirm their requests, they will be connected.

 

Discussion: A question of terminology.

May 15th, 2013 by d.b. - 

Names should be chosen wisely, since the labels we assign tend to reflect our ideas and concepts of the very thing we name. Yet obviously, there are many valid ideas, perspectives and intu­itions. The name we would like to discuss stands for a network relation on artoporta that is currently labeled “Fan”. Is this appropriate? Read on, get involved, have your say. We look forward to your contributions.

 

A Question of Terminology.

 

THE FEATURE | On artoporta, the Fan relation is a unilateral connec­tion. Unlike Partners and Contacts, the Fan connection can be estab­lished by any member of artoporta without prior request and approval.

Fans receive updates about all the public activity of the artists, ensem­bles and institutions they follow, e.g. new events or media files. Whenever you post a status update, you can also chose whether to publish exclusively for your Partners and Contacts or for the general public. In the latter case, your status update will also appear in the news feeds of all your Fans.

To become someone’s Fan is thus a great way to stay up to date about the artists, ensembles and institutions you care about.

 

THE QUESTION | Besides being a useful way to stay up to date, we also intended the Fan relation to make a state­ment: It shows appreciation for someone’s artistic work. Yet, it has been brought to our attention that the term might be too strong, that there might be a certain hesitation or reluc­tance to call yourself someone’s Fan. What is your position on this matter?

 

THE DISCUSSION | We aim to create the best possible platform for all of us. Since this issue of terminology is basically a question of opinion, we put it to you. Would you prefer a more neutral and descriptive term like e.g. Follower? Do you appreciate the term Fan with all it’s connotations of affection and enthusiasm? Or would you suggest a different solution?

Use the comment section below to let us know what you think. Or take the discussion to our Facebook page, where we have set up a poll for this question. Get involved! We appreciate your input.

 

Discoveries: Berlin Counterpoint

May 4th, 2013 by d.b. - 

With horn, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, flute and piano, the sextet Berlin Counterpoint assembles a rather unusual set of musi­cians. This diversity is matched by a diversity of personal back­grounds – and results in an exceptional ensemble to discover. We had the pleasure to talk with pianist Zeynep Özsuca.

Interview

Berlin Counterpoint

 

Berlin Counterpoint consists of six musicians from six different countries. How did you end up together? And why this strong relationship to Berlin?

The six countries that we individually come from are England, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia and the United States. However, we all met here in Berlin. Some of us came here initially to study, and others came for jobs here in the city. Since Berlin is such a melting pot of people, especially musicians, we thought it appropriate to have also an ensemble that involves many different countries. This brings a great diversity also to our music making, bringing impulses from each of our respective cultures.

As for our strong relationship to Berlin, this is where it all started for us as a group. This is where we met, where we first made music together, which is why we also felt compelled to add Berlin into our name.

 

The combination of instruments is rather exceptional. Is there any original musical literature for this lineup, or do you mainly rely on your own compositions and arrangements?

There is actually some wonderful repertoire for this instrumentation, although it is not all well known. We have the Poulenc sextet of course, which is basically our most famous work, but then we have fantastic gems, like the Ludwig Thuille sextet , Gordon Jacob sextet, and Albert Roussel Divertissiment. Along side those, we do play arrangements, as with our flutist Aaron’s transcription of Till Euelenspiegels lustige Streiche, originally by Richard Strauss, and our clarinetist is in the process of bringing Elgar’s Enigma Variations to the sextet repertoire.

We also like to foray into the world of commissioning new original works. This summer, for the Istanbul Music Festival, we have a piece being written for us by the esteemed Turkish composer Kamran Ince, who is writing the work based on stories about the Turkish version of Till Eulenspiegel, called Nasreddin.

One other thing in which we take great pride, is varying the sound world with different combinations of our instruments. This means in any given concert we could have a huge sextet piece paired up with an intimate trio, sometimes even going down to duo or solo, if the program begs for that kind of sound. This then opens up vast other worlds of repertoire for us to explore.

 

In June you will be taking part in the Istanbul Music Festival. This is particularly interesting, because in Western Europe we know little about the classical music scene in Turkey.

This is actually a really exciting concert for us! Not only have we never performed in Turkey before, but also we get to play in a wonderful festival at the beautiful Süreyya Opera House. The classical music scene in Turkey is of course not as big or glamourous as it is here in Europe or in America. But there’s certainly quite a lot happening through festivals such as the Istanbul Music Festival or individuals who are putting a lot of effort into creating a high quality on-going scene. There are some wonderfully talented, intelligent musicians out there who have devoted their whole careers to make the classical music scene in Turkey move forward. It’s not easy what they do! But it’s the only way one can keep it alive in a place where the western classical music is not a part of the culture.

That being said, classical music is not a completely foreign concept in Turkey. There are many conservatories along with opera houses and symphony orchestras all over the country. There’s a wonderful mixture of musical personalities where the understanding of western classical music and traditional Turkish music come together and create such interesting sounds. This spans from Turkish composers who integrate unique rhythms, modal structures or instruments of their own culture into their classical compositions, to Turkish players who bring just that extra something into the way they interpret the works of the western classical composers.

 

The cultural community was recently shocked by the case of Fazil Say. Does this affect your expectations for your concert in Turkey?

I believe and hope that the only way this horrible incidence could affect us and our concert is that we get a big audience of people who are even more encouraged to support us musicians. There is a lot to say about Say’s case and staying silent about it will only encourage those who will continue and try to take away our freedom of speech. There’s something morally and fundamentally wrong there, no matter what country in the world. I think as musicians it is our duty to rise against such incidents, either verbally or through our music. We hope that the audiences in Istanbul feel the same and will join us in showing the world that we will not be silenced in the face of such bigotry.

 

Berlin Counterpoint Works by Roussel, Bach, Liebermann, Connesson, Sweelinck, Thuille
May 5th, 20h – Villa Elisabeth, Berlin

 

What are your upcoming projects?

Well, we’ve already talked about our trip to Istanbul, and the composition that we have there. One of our most exciting projects at the moment is our upcoming concert series in Villa Elisabeth. We have rented this beautiful hall and are planning to continue with three or four concerts a year. This is a chance for us to perform exactly the repertoire that we wish, and experiment with different ideas, hopefully working with guest artists and maybe managing to incorporate some different mediums into the mix, who knows! Our series kicks off this coming Sunday, the 5th of May at 8 o’clock. We’re really looking forward to it!

 

Get in touch with Berlin Counterpoint – and many more great artists and ensembles: