Passionate performers. Inspiring insights. Encouraging education. That’s what “Meet the Artist” is all about. The joint project of Gewandhausorchester, Teach For All and DHL is a shared vision aimed at putting the orchestra’s talented musicians in touch with children who might otherwise have little contact with classical music.
Making an impact
Gewandhausorchester, the world’s largest travelling orchestra goes on the road for around two months every year. As Official Logistics partner, we ensure every priceless instrument arrives safely, for each unforgettable performance. From point A to point B, from piccolo to double bass.
But the impact of our partnership, which dates back to 2005, goes far beyond logistics needs. We also work closely with the orchestra to make a difference in the community. “Meet the Artist” is one of the ways we do that. It’s a joint educational project that we support as part of our GoTeach program, which aims to improve educational opportunity and employability for socially disadvantaged children and young people.
“We travel with the Gewandhausorchester and plan such lessons according to their touring schedule.”Ralf Dürrwang, Head of Corporate Citizenship at DHL
Taking advantage of the orchestra’s tour schedule, Gewandhausorchester, Teach for All and DHL turned their shared vision into reality over three years ago in the UK, inviting students from Sydenham High School to visit the
world-class Barbican Centre in the heart of London. The Centre is the largest arts, cultural and conference venue in Europe and is home to the world-famous London and BBC Symphony Orchestras. This first “Meet the Artist” event sought to demonstrate the power of the music behind big concerts and inspire the young people to explore the wonderful world of classical music.
“We travel with the Gewandhausorchester and plan such lessons according to their touring schedule,” says Ralf Dürrwang, Head of Corporate Citizenship at DHL. “So far, we have organized similar programs in Houston, London, Vienna, Essen, Frankfurt, Berlin and Baden-Baden.
A once in a lifetime opportunity
“Meet the Artist” is essentially a private music lesson with some extraordinary music teachers. A group of students are invited to a meet-and-greet with members of the world-famous Gewandhausorchester ensemble. They get a tour of the venue, which includes going backstage and learning just what happens before the curtain is raised. The students are then treated to a short performance, after which they can ask questions and even try out the often priceless instruments.
“What a great opportunity it is for students to get to know musicians of a world-famous orchestra and learn about their work,” says Dürrwang.
It’s obvious the students couldn’t agree more. No matter where the event takes place, they are mesmerized by the music and curious as cats during the Q&A. Even teenagers sit still and listen attentively once the music starts. In Baden-Baden, viola player Matthias Weise is curious himself: “sAre you always this quiet at school,” he asks. “No”, say the students in unison. “Why are you so quiet now?” “Because it’s so beautiful!” the students cheer. The most popular questions are by far what it’s like to be a professional musician touring the world and how often they need to practice in order to get as good as they are.
“This experience will expose them up to culture and career opportunities that they would otherwise be unlikely to consider.”Ben Leitch, London School Lead from Teach First
The most recent “Meet the Artist” gathering was held this fall in London. DHL, UK Foundation and Teach First UK hosted an event for local school children from St Gabriel’s College at London’s Southbank Centre. The event gave school students a look behind the scenes at the famous venue and the chance to meet Gewandhausorchester musicians and try out their instruments.
“Meeting this world-class orchestra is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the students from St Gabriel’s College,” said Ben Leitch, London School Lead from Teach First. “This experience will expose them up to culture and career opportunities that they would otherwise be unlikely to consider.”
A story of inspiration, perseverance and self-confidence
“Meet the Artist” is more than meets the eye. It’s more than a meet-and-greet and a backstage pass. It’s a story of inspiration, perseverance and self-confidence – one intended to open young people’s eyes to the world of possibilities that awaits them when they dream big and pursue those dreams with passion and perseverance.
“We hope that the experience DHL and Gewandhausorchester are giving them will inspire them with possibilities,” says Ben Leitch.
“We hope that the experience DHL and Gewandhausorchester are giving them will inspire them with possibilities.”Ben Leitch
Indeed, that’s the feeling you get when you’re in the room. It’s unusually quiet as the musicians perform and the kids look on, capturing the moment on their smartphones. Their curiosity is obvious as they ask pointed questions and ponder the lives of the musicians. And their faces light up as they slide the bow across the metallic strings of a priceless instrument. The looks on their faces simultaneously say “wow” and “I could do this”.
Could this be the moment of inspiration that sparks a new success story? We certainly hope so.