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Bringing people and music together

Once a month, all Gasteig institutes meet to develop joint projects. The aim is to ignite enthusiasm for the arts in as many people as possible and to tear down their reservations. A chat with Katrin Beck, expert for music, literature and cultural management.

Conductor in action in front of orchestra and children audience
Copyright: Florian Ganslmeier

Katrin Beck, you are responsible for music education at the Munich Chamber Orchestra. How important is this aspect for the MKO?

This aspect is just as important as the next commission for a composition, planning of the season or the programmes for the next subscription concert. It is an integral part of professional artistic work. It’s not just about the young generation. Outreach also takes place in workshop discussions, introductions to works for pupils, adult education projects – for example together with the Münchner Volkshochschule – or at a club concert. “Education” in its widest sense is about bringing people together.


How do you get people excited about music?

The seeds of enthusiasm can be sown by offering opportunities for active, personal experience. It’s more about discovery than explanation, about encounters with and through music. Getting involved in listening to all kinds of music, consciously perceiving sounds and a direct discourse with musicians are essential for the seeds to grow. It’s not always about light-hearted fun and easy listening: Opening ears and senses to the unfamiliar sound of a contemporary work is a wonderful challenge and a task that is close to my heart.

Woman speaks to the orchestra
Copyright: Florian Ganslmeier

You work with different age groups. What can we learn from the youngest ones in dealing with music?

Children are especially attentive listeners and with their often immediate response they need a different presence in the room and a certain degree of improvisation. When planning activities for children, one realises once again the level of routine immanent in rehearsals and working processes. Translating these and decoding them for children, or questioning why things are done the way they are – these are enriching experiences.

Three children, the boy in the middle tries out a trumpet
Copyright: Andreas Merz/Gasteig

What are you planning or hoping to do together with the Gasteig?

What we are most looking forward to is to have the space and calm for long-term collaborative projects. By way of regular lab symposiums at the Gasteig, we want to develop ideas for visionary approaches. There are so many important issues that we haven’t yet been able to integrate in our work, such as inclusion and social engagement, intergenerational work or community music and community building. We would very much like to tackle these issues together.