THE Gewandhaus orchester ON A JOURNEY TO ASIA

The Gewandhausorchester once again on tour in Asia and DHL is there with the Tuba Cam

For 14 years, DHL has been the official logistics partner to the world’s largest symphony orchestra.

They started playing music early. Very early. When they were in kindergarten. And then they practiced, practiced, practiced. And they kept seeking out better and better teachers. They gave it their all at talent competitions and won over audiences everywhere. And of course they kept practicing, practicing, practicing. No pain, no gain. They studied at the world’s best music schools and gained experience playing with famous orchestras. Until they finally dared audition for the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.

“The musicians of the Gewandhausorchester are of course virtuosos on their instruments,” says Benedikt Noormann, Head of Value Added Logistics at DHL Global Event Logistics. “At the same time, they are just people like me and you. People who don’t want to have to worry about whether their things are stored properly while touring and whether they arrive on time and intact to the next concert.”

The Gewandhaus Orchestra

How many orchestras can say they've premiered works by Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Wagner? Based in Leipzig, the Gewandhausorchester is the world’s oldest professional symphony orchestra. With over 190 musicians, it is also the largest touring orchestra– in addition to its three “home” venues Gewandhaus, Leipzig Opera, St. Thomas Church. The musicians spend about a third of the year on tour throughout the world.

As official logistics partner since 2009, DHL makes sure that everything arrives on time and intact. “We do everything to make sure the musicians can just concentrate on their job onstage,” explains Benedikt Noormann who regularly supports the Gewandhausorchester on its world tours.

From one venue to another

It’s a very complex job, especially since the touring schedule is always very tight. That goes for the 2023 Asia tour, too – the orchestra’s first major tour after Covid. The first stop is Taiwan. On November 9, the Gewandhausorchester performs in Kaohsiung, on November 10 in Taichung, on November 11 and 12 in Taipei. The next stop is South Korea. On November 15 and 16, the Gewandhausorchester will be guests in Seoul. And the tour continues from there – for nearly a month in total. From one day to the next, the orchestra – the people, instruments and all the equipment – picks up and moves to the next venue. The instruments range from the triangle and piccolo, to the big, heavy double bass. And since these are world-class musicians, the cargo also includes a number of rare – and very valuable – instruments.

Then there’s the musicians’ performance attire, their private luggage, their sheet music, music stands – and even the conductor’s baton. In all, there are several thousand individual pieces to move. Adding to the challenge is the fact that the six tonnes of heavy, highly sensitive equipment must not only overcome large geographic distances, but also customs checks. All on a tight schedule when every minute counts!

Precision and perfection

DHL brings a ton of logistics experience to the task. Successfully transporting cargo of the Gewandhausorchester relies on the comprehensive know-how and dedication of the DHL team. Doing the job right also requires the right technical equipment. The valuable wood instruments, for example, are transported in shock-proof and temperature controlled crates, with the internal temperature continuously monitored.

All in all, DHL has put together a complete, no-stress service package for the Gewandhausorchester. And if any issues arise, DHL has the people in place to resolve them. “We have dedicated contact persons, so there is always someone available to offer immediate assistance with any problems that might arise,” explains Christian Fanghänel, Head of Fundraising for the Gewandhausorchester. “The musicians really appreciate it, because they don’t have to worry about their equipment. They can just focus on making world-class music.”

The Asia tour through the Tuba Cam

As logistics partner to the Gewandhausorchester, DHL came up with something special for the Asia tour. The tour will be filmed from the perspective of a Wagner tuba using a Tuba Cam developed specially for the occasion. The Wagner tuba in question belongs to Clemens Röger, who has played with the Gewandhausorchester since 1990. The specially formed tuba was developed by composer Richard Wagner around the year 1800.

For logistics pro Benedikt Noormann, the collaboration with the Gewandhausorchester is a great working relationship characterized by mutual appreciation: “Perfection is always the result of desire and ability. That goes for both the orchestra on the big stage and for the logistics team behind the scenes.” And that’s why Noormann is so excited about the Asia tour. “It’s good for everyone that the orchestra is getting out again – and that we’re getting out too. Music is like logistics: it connects people to each other.”

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