Rising Star drums up interest in classical music from local school children

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After performing at Birmingham’s iconic landmark venue, Town Hall, ECHO Rising Star Christoph Sietzen and the Wave Quartet presented a free percussion workshop at Oasis Academy Foundry in the Ladywood district of Birmingham on Tuesday 30 January.

The workshop enabled Key Stage 2 pupils to learn about rhythm and the range of musical percussion, showcasing a series of hand-held percussion instruments. The European touring artists lead the class in an interactive music making session using their own newly created instruments made from found objects.

It was a great experience to be visiting the school today. The kids were very attentive and very interested. They prepared their own instruments and we could play together. They could improvise a little bit on our instruments. It was just fun, playing together, getting together and interacting with them. I think it’s important that they feel the joy of music. I hope it might be inspiring for them.

Christoph Sietzen

Acclaimed by the press as a “rare talent” and praised for his “refreshing musical naturalness, technical mastery and dazzling feeling as well as ... powerful stage presence,” Christoph was nominated by Philharmonie Luxembourg to be one of the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) Rising Stars. The selected Rising Stars receive professional development support and perform a concert tour across the halls of the ECHO network.  

Christoph Sietzen, a citizen of Luxembourg, was born in Salzburg, where he made his performing debut at the age of 12 at the Salzburg Festival. He started learning percussion at the age of six and later attended the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz, where his teachers were Bogdan Bacanu, Leonhard Schmidinger und Josef Gumpinger. He also studied double bass and harpsichord, taking a special interest in baroque repertoire. Since 2014 he has held a teaching post at Vienna’s University for Music and the Performing Arts.

The Wave Quartet came into being when the world-renowned marimba player Bogdan Bacanu was making an adaptation for his instrument of JS Bach’s three concertos for two harpischords. He teamed up with his former pupil Christoph Sietzen – a prizewinner in the 2014 ARD International Music Competition and a Rising Star of the European Concert Hall Organisation for the 2017/18 season – and with Emiko Uchiyama and Vladi Petrov, who had won a number of international competitions as a marimba duo.

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Oasis Academy Foundry is an inclusive, multi-award winning, one-form entry primary school in Birmingham.  The Academy provides a safe and welcoming environment where the children are encouraged to enjoy learning, respect one another and strive to achieve their full potential.  The Academy was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in January 2017 with ‘Outstanding’ personal, social, and moral education provision, and was named the National Centre for Diversity’s UK School of the Year for 2017. 

Every year, THSH connects over 15,000 young people and adults to a world of music and performance and are firm believers in the importance of enabling children to explore the world of classical music in a relaxed and accessible environment. Classical music has the potential to inspire children and young people alike offering an opportunity to become a regular listeners or even plant seeds of future careers as composers, performers or maestros. As part of this initiative THSH has the Birmingham Classical Kids Go Free scheme, which enables one young person under 16 to attend for free with every adult ticket purchased.

Later this year, Town Hall welcomes more Rising Stars to perform in Europe's youngest city including Swedish viola player Ellen Nisbeth (Wed 14 March) and Hungarian Trumpeter Tamás Pálfalvi (Mon 26 February).