ZIWA



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Full day hikes  -   Some photos from Barbara's Spring hike to Schloss Mörsburg
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Monthly Events  -  MarketPow – How to create, design and launch a website
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Discovering Zürich and Switzerland  -  Behind the scenes at the Tonhalle
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Zürich has a world-renowned concert hall and a boasts a star American conductor, but regular concert-goers rarely get the chance to look behind the scenes or to witness one of the occasional conducting classes.

Last Thursday, thanks to the Discovering Zurich and Switzerland group’s chairlady Rowena, 22 people were able to do just that. After a fascinating tour front of house and backstage from the orchestra’s resident tuba player, we sat in on David Zinman’s class when eight young aspiring conductors had a chance to try out their skills and learn some tips from the maestro. It was a pleasure from start to finish.


The Tonhalle story
German composer Richard Wagner conducted at the Zürich Opera House, and made Zürich his home in 1849. But the original concert hall in the Alte Tonhalleplatz in front of the Opera House was a modest wooden construction and former granary. However, in 1830, the city decided to build a new concert hall, and a competition was held to design a new, more prestigious building. Austrian architects Fellner and Helmer won the chance to design the current edifice, and plans were drawn up by Swiss project manager Wehrli.
The modern-day hall was inaugurated by Johannes Brahms in 1895. Tall pillars grace the main hall and the foyer, the ceiling and the surrounding frieze are decorated in the Baroque style, and the acoustic enhances the works of Beethoven and Brahms. Names of composers featured in the orchestra’s repertoire – Schumann, Mahler and others – are displayed around the walls. The frieze was originally gilded but the gold paint and ceiling artwork have been overpainted, and now a restoration project is in progress. The Kleiner Saal has already been restored to its former glory but the main hall awaits further renovation.

Our guide, Simon Styles, the orchestra’s sole tuba player, told us that the Tonhalle Orchestra, which was founded in 1868, has a repertoire comprising symphony concerts and concerti. Other chamber concerts and choral works are performed by guest musicians.

Simon mentioned that the steep stage was barely large enough to accommodate the full 100-piece orchestra needed for a Mahler symphony and other major works.

In order to enhance the sound, every aspect of the 1455-seater concert hall design has to be optimised, such as the seating and the curtains, and the floor is hard.

The Tonhalle now backs onto the Kongresshaus which was added only in 1939 after a large part of the concert hall was demolished, and in 1988 a splendid new organ was installed in the main hall.

A sculpture of the second musical director, Andreae Volkmar, graces the first floor reception room.

After climbing onto the stage to see where the musicians perform, our guide took us backstage to see the corridors and stairways, the wardrobe rooms and rehearsal rooms and the galleries and cellar.

When the orchestra goes on tour, a major logistical exercise is required to transport the clothes, shoes and valuable instruments. Fifty percent of the current orchestra is Swiss with 14 nationalities represented. The tours take them to Europe, Asia and America, and everything apart from the piano has to be transported.


Maestro Zinman
American David Zinman took over as conductor of the Zürich Tonhalle in 1997, and rejuvenated the orchestra and its reputation.
As well as making annual concert tours and inviting guest conductors to Zürich such as Haitink, Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra have recorded a large number of CDs.
At the age of 86, he is retiring in July 2014, to be replaced by a young French conductor, Lionel Bringuier.
After our guided tour, we sat in on one of Zinman’s occasional conducting classes. Eight young aspiring conductors from six different countries had the chance to conduct a 50 piece orchestra in a movement of Haydn’s G Major Symphony No. 88 or Bartok’s Divertimento.

The veteran conductor gave hints on timing, connecting with the players, and feeling the rhythm      Read the full report
Off the Wall  -  A Picnic in the Snow
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Monthly Events  -  A talk on Self Sustainability
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Swinging Sixties Group  -  One year of culture, art, music, tradition, nature, gastronomy, conversation and fun ...
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Full day hikes  -  A perfect day hiking ....in Zurich!
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Monthly Events  -  ZIWA Christmas Lunch 2013: a wonderful afternoon that so many ZIWA members could share
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Off the Wall  -  Christmas Lights Pub Crawl
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Monthly Events  -  ZIWA's 28th Birthday Party: an evening of fun
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Swiss Festivals  -  Carrots, carrots …...and yet more carrots!
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Full days hikes  -  A perfect day for.....hiking!
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Reachout  -  English Around the World 2013
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Monthly Events  -  Heavenly Delights from our own creation
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Off the Wall  -  Off the Wall goes to Aarburg Castle
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Full day hikes  -  Klosters hike to the Fergunhutte
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Latin American and Spanish Group  -  Get to know us better
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Monthly Events  -  Kick-Off 2013
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Experience Zürich  -  ZIWA had a busy stand at the Expat-Expo
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Monthly Events  -  Farewell Picnic
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Off the Wall  -  Llama Trekking
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