Once every summer, researchers from different Leipzig research institutions gather to meet each other and learn something new about Leipzig. Despite the heavy rain in the hours prior to the event we took over the Old Stock Exchange in the heart of Leipzig. The Old Stock Exchange is Leipzig’s oldest baroque building. In 1678 Leipzig merchants constructed it right next to the old town hall. The building was used as a prestigious place of assembly for 200 years. Dr. Anselm Hartinger – the new director of the Museum of City History – introduced the researchers to the history of the venue and the city.
The main event of the evening was an educational concert. Four international musicians from the University of Music & Theatre performed Robert Schumann’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41 No. 1. The musicians elaborated on the history of Schumann’s work in Leipzig and the origin of this piece. The Hungarian composer Franz Liszt encouraged Schumann in his letter from June 5th 1839 to write a few chamber works. In 1842, almost three full years after receiving the letter from Franz Liszt Schumann began his work on string quartets. As is common for Schumann, he wrote all of his three contributions to the field of chamber music within one year. The piece serves as an example of the rich musical history of our city that followed the encouragement of international colleagues. The piece was followed by one of Astor Piazzolla most important works. The Argentinian composer Piazzolla started his musical education by learning the bandoneon – an instrument with origins tracing back to Saxony. He took great interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and in jazz music. In his career he created the nuevo tango, a new style incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. The piece Oblivion has become one of Piazzolla’s most popular work. The piece was chosen by the film director Marco Bellocchio as the central theme of his film Henry IV (1984).
After the concert, the researchers enjoyed a meal together in the forecourt of the venue. They took the opportunity to get to know researchers from different Leipzig research institutions. Just as encouragement and inspiration play a crucial role in the creation of new music, they are also vital to new research enterprises. The summer event fostered new research collaborations by connecting these researchers with each other. The event was supported by the Altenburger Brauerei and organized with substantial financial support from the Leipzig Stiftung.
report by Pascal Martin Schaefer