Friday | 10. February 2023

Klangzauber der Romantik

HfK Bremen präsentiert das Hanze Symphony Orchestra am 20. Februar 2023 in der Glocke

A press release from Jens Fischer

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klosele

We are coming up on special highlights in the concert schedule of the University of the Arts (HfK) Bremen: Every other year our students band together with their Dutch cohorts at our partner university, the Prins Claus Conservatorium Groningen, to practice for nine days before performing a concert as the Hanze Symphony Orchestra. Now that occasion is due once more. Their appearances are scheduled for February, 20 at 8 pm at the Glocke in Bremen. Prior to that, they will perform on February 17 at 8 pm in Emmen at the Atlas Theater and on February 19 at 3 pm in Groningen at De Oosterport.  

The common effort is dedicated to two opulent works of the Romantic period by Sergej Rachmaninoff and Anton Bruckner. While both orchestras have performed the pieces routinely, they still retain a peculiar and capricious character.

By facilitating this cooperation, the universities offer their students an opportunity as a combined force to easily reach the size and the tonal heft of an ensemble that is capable to work out symphonic works for large orchestras from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. During rehearsals and concerts a student from Bremen is sitting next to a colleague from Groningen throughout the different instrumental sections. Their graduating concerts therefore offer audiences an unique opportunity to have themselves convinced of the prowess and commitment of these emerging artists. This year 44 students each from Groningen and Bremen are participating: 30 violinists, twelve violists, ten cellists, eight contrabassists, ten woodwind players, 14 brass players and four percussionists.

The Hanze Symphony Orchestra will perform the Symphony No. 4 by Anton Bruckner under the direction of Stefan Veselka, Professor for Orchestra and Ensemble Direction at the HfK Bremen. The Norwegian Conductor regards the Symphony as “one of his favorite works” but he begs to disagree with Bruckner, who had given the piece the nickname “The Romantic”, as he believes that there is “something mystical, almost meditative imbued” in the symphony. The musical magic resting in the piece is being awakened gingerly. During the pianissimo a shimmering tremolo rises in the string section, followed by the ever catchy and insinuating cantilena of the horn falling and then rising a fifth. This melody is wafting in like a sound from a faraway universe, incorporating all of the ensuing themes, motives and their further evolutions much as a germ cell. These find a solid foundation in the rhythm that is named after the composer: two quarter notes (crotchets) inter changing with three quarter triplets.

The concert will start off with the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. by Sergeij Rachmaninoff. Veselka: “Just as with Bruckner, it begins out of nowhere with the soloist at the piano. Large and soft chords built up until the orchestra sets in. In contrast to Bruckner, the beginning is rather dark and melancholic. The concerto has been written for a virtuoso soloist. But Rachmaninoff has woven the melodies and the accompaniments together in such an ingenious way that listeners experience an absolute togetherness of the soloist and the orchestra.” The soloist performing at the Glocke in Bremen is Beor Lee, a student at the HfK, who has won the Music Award at the University in the category soloist in 2022, among other prizes.

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (premiered in 1901)
Soloist: Beor Lee

Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major “The Romantic” (premiered in 1881)

Venue: Glocke Bremen

Time: February 20, 8 pm

Admission charge: 20 € / 10 € reduced.

Tickets can be bought in advance at the Glocke or at the box office.

February 17, 8 pm, Atlas Theater, Emmen

February 19, 3 pm, De Oosterport, Groningen

Beor Lee is a student for the concert exam at the HfK Bremen with Professor Patrick O'Byrne and Artem Yasynskyy.

He took up the piano at age 7 and gave his first concert at age 15 in 2008.

Beor Lee continued his piano studies from 2012 to 2017 at the Yonsei University in South Korea with a full scholarship and graduated summa cum laude. As a student he won numerous competitions such as the Steinway Förderpreis Hamburg, Hochschulpreis Bremen, CBS music Competition, Buam Competition, Korea Herald Competition and Samik Competition.

He has been supported by a DAAD scholarship in 2019.

His great passion being chamber music, Lee was a founding member of the piano ensemble “Y us”, as well as the ensembles “Herz” and “Pisces” and has composed and performed numerous works with them.

Stefan Veselka was born to Czech parents in Stavanger, Norway. He has studied piano with Christoph Lieske the the Salzburg Mozarteum before continuing his education with Hans Leygraf at the Berlin University of the Arts.

His numerous appearances as a soloist and a chamber musician had him travel throughout Europe, as well as to Japan and the U.S. Veselka was decorated at a number of international competitions for piano such as the European Piano Competition in Luxembourg, the International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna or the Artur Schnabel Piano Competition in Berlin. He started recording CDs in 1992, among them the complete works for piano by Dvořák on the occasion of the centennial of his passing in 2004. For this, Veselka was honored with the Classical Internet Award.

After having studied conducting with Kerry Taliaferro and Kazushi Ono, Stefan Veselka has been active as a conductor at appearances all over Europe. He has served as Substitute Director of Music (GMD) and First Chapel Master at the Theater Münster between 2014 and 2021, after leaving that same position at the Stadttheater Bremerhaven. His earlier stations were at the Badische Staatstheater Karlsruhe and the Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesbühne.

Among the highlights of his career have been concerts at the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Music Society and his debut at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Brabant Sinfonia, as well as a revival of “Katja Kabanowa” with director Harry Kupfer that has been invited to the International Leoš-Janáček-Festival 2012 in Brno. In January 2015 Veselka directed “Katja Kabanowa” at the Opera Dijon, followed there by “Jenufa” in 2018. The following year he gave a performance with the same work in Caen. In November 2022 Veselka gave his debut at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo as musical director for “The Riviera Girl” (“Die Csárdásfürstin”) by Emmerich Kálmán.

Starting in 2021, Stefan Veselka has been Professor for Orchestra and Ensemble Direction at the University of the Arts Bremen.