Experience the 2020 Audi Sommerkonzerte live online
The classical open-air concert was held digitally for the first time. International musical talent met in the
Audi museum mobile and the GVZ hall for Audi employee assemblies and played their live concerts from there. In contrast to previous years, though, the public stayed in their own living room in 2020. The cancellation of many major events this year has made big music festivals an impossibility. With the digital concert hall, Audi brought their 2020 Sommerkonzerte to music lovers in their own homes.
Lisa Batiashvili once again took on the role of artistic director. The world-renowned violinist already directed the 2019 Audi Sommerkonzerte, and in 2020 she accompanied the online edition of the festival with high-caliber artists. Along with moderator Alexander Maza, she presented ensembles such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra led by Iván Fischer, the Camerata Salzburg with François Leleux and Maximilian Hornung, and Quatuor Ébène, Alice Sara Ott or Katja Riemann.
Additional small Audi Open Air Concerts in Ingolstadt rounded out the 2020 summer festival. Under the motto “Beethoven & Friends Outdoor,” the chamber music ensemble of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra played outdoor concerts. Fans of classical music from Ingolstadt could apply – submitting their garden or courtyard as a concert hall.
Audi Sommerkonzerte bring people together
International artists and classical music bring people together – that has been the mission for the Festival for 30 years. Since it was founded in 1990, they have brought more than a quarter-million visitors to the concert halls and transformed Ingolstadt into festival grounds.
The Audi Sommerkonzerte portray a motif. And at the Audi Sommerkonzerte something is created. This year, they were held under the motto “Together for Music”. Sharing music with people and bringing renowned classical musicians close to an audience. In 2020, the Sommerkonzerte kept this promise and fulfilled it digitally.
Lisa Batiashvili - artistic director and an exceptional talent
“Europe is not only the birthplace of classical music, but also a place where new, peaceful collaborations between different cultures occur consistently.”
“Music as a source of inspiration and imagination” is how Lisa Batiashvili describes her artistic approach for 2019 and 2020. The festival will follow its guiding principle: to delight people and bring them together with music from top-class artists.
The German-Georgian virtuoso Lisa Batiashvili, who the Financial Times credits with having “profound sensitivity,” is among one of the most important and sought-after violinists of her generation. She regularly works with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras and conductors, such as Daniel Barenboim, Yannick Nézét-Séguin, Alan Gilbert and Sir Simon Rattle.
Her new album, “City Lights” was just released and presents new musical pieces that symbolize cities. Katie Melua and Till Brönner can also be heard on the album.
Interview with star pianist Alice Sara Ott
We spoke with Alice Sara Ott about her experience with the digital Audi Sommerkonzerte, the energy that director Lisa Batiashvili radiates, and how she herself is trying to use her role as an artist to free classical music from its musty, outdated image.
The first concert of the Audi Sommerkonzerte 2020 was held under the motto “Power of Nature.” Why did you choose that?
Alice Sara Ott: Right now, topics like environmental protection and consumer behavior are on everyone’s mind. Many people are rediscovering their longing for the beauty of nature. And in the Romantic period [in the 19th century], when the Trout Quartet was written, it was no different.
Why does the Trout Quartet from Franz Schubert (1797–1828) fit so well with that motto?
With this piece, the listeners can ask themselves, for example: Am I the naive trout that swims into the trap? Am I the fisherman who is doing the damage? Or am I the observer who sees the danger but doesn’t intervene? I find it very interesting to view it as a metaphor for certain current social issues. All three characters can be found in many of us. I think that it is important to take a closer look at ourselves and our actions, to actively learn more, and to act accordingly.
The concert’s location was an unusual one. It took place in the Audi museum mobile with only 30 audience members. What did you find appealing about that?
At this point, we don’t know when we will be able to play in front of a full concert hall again. That makes an infrastructure where we can continue to play music and earn a living extremely important right now.
Of course a livestream concert can’t replace a live concert. But it gives us the chance to continue playing in front of an audience — an audience that is listening and watching, not just from one location, but from around the world. That’s why I was very excited about the Audi Sommerkonzerte. And: chamber music is one of the most intimate forms of playing music. I had really missed that feeling of closeness, trust, and mutual cooperation in music.
Was the physical separation required for social distancing a challenge for you?
Even if its only 1.5 meters: I can’t hear and see my colleagues as well as I usually do. But you get used to it, and I really had a lot of fun.
What opportunities do you think livestreaming classical music offers?
Personally, I really enjoyed the thought that so many people from different countries, in different time zones, were watching us right then. And it’s a chance to reach an audience that might otherwise not feel comfortable coming to a concert hall.
In your opinion, why is it that many people don’t feel comfortable going to a concert hall?
In our industry, there are many longstanding rules and etiquettes that, in my opinion, don’t actually have very much to do with music. Classical music isn’t old. Even if the composers lived a long time ago — we are playing their music now. We hear them now and experience them now. The only things that are musty and outdated are the presentation and the strict rules of etiquette that come along with it: the dress code, or the stipulations about when you’re allowed to clap...
How could classical music be made more appealing for a younger audience?
As artists, we can actively change the image of classical music with the way we appear on stage, the program design, and our communication with the audience. I want to feel happy and free on stage — which is why I play barefoot — and I want the audience to feel the same way. No one should dictate how the audience should enjoy their music and what they should wear.
This was your second time performing in the Audi Sommerkonzerte since 2005. How did that come about?
Lisa [Batiashvili], the director of the Audi Sommerkonzerte, asked me a few months ago if I would want to play “the Trout” with her in the Sommerkonzerte. I immediately said yes. What Lisa puts together every year, and the variety of wonderful musicians that she brings together, is just great.
Lisa is more than just an incredible musician. She is, most of all, one of the most warm-hearted and unpretentious people I know. I see that in the way that her friends, colleagues, and other people love and value her. And everyone can sense it during rehearsals and concerts. It’s just a different experience for me to get to play with people who I really cherish and have a lot of fun with.