A „Faltenradio“?

When I attend a classical music concert, I am usually still one of the younger members of the audience. Not so this concert: I finally was at the upper age limit and believe me: it felt really good! The Mozartsaal of the Vienna Konzerthaus was buzzing with life: this was the season’s last concert of

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“music4u”, a subscription series for tweens. Opening the doors of concert halls to young people and inspiring them to discover and make music themselves is something that Konzerthaus Intendant Bernhard Kerres deeply cares about. The Vienna Konzerthaus offers a subscription series for children 6 years and older called “Piccolo”. Children over 9 years have their “Concertino” series, and for the 12 year olds it is “music4u”. The next season, Vienna Konzerthaus’ 100th, even 3 year olds will be treated to their very own subscription series called “Triolino”. And if you wondered about newborns – yes, next season one of the hugely popular sing-along events at the Konzerthaus will be dedicated to lullabies. “Faltenradio”, which translates into “Pleated Radio”, is a group of four full-blooded Austrian musicians, each of who plays clarinet, saxophone, accordion, percussion and also sings. When they aren’t travelling on school trips all over Europe, inspiring children with their down-to-earth music making, they play solo-clarinet with the Vienna Philharmonic or the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Why can clarinets sing so beautifully? Why do so many grown-ups think Mozart was poor? And what in the world is a “Faltenradio”? These were some of the questions the four brilliant musicians posed their young audience. The program began with Mozart and ended with music by the Austrian rock legend Falco. The musical journey took us from Eastern Europe to South America. What all these pieces had in common were their roots in traditional folk music. Alexander Maurer, Alexander Neubauer, Stefan Prommegger and Matthias Schorn made their clarinets, saxophones and accordions sing, whisper, scream and cry. Not a color of the musical spectrum that they were not able to reproduce. They serenaded, jazzed and rocked the Mozartsaal – always at the highest professional level. Their commentaries between the pieces were age appropriate but never talking down to the kids. “Those who know about music can learn even more from “Faltenradio”, those who don’t, will be able to enjoy, learn and enjoy”. This was how the show’s creator Lukas Beck described the evening. Besides enjoying the music thoroughly, I was able to come a little closer to understanding why Austria is quasi synonym with classical music: music making here is deeply rooted in traditional folk music. Music making at home, in the family, in the community, is something kids do even before they read and write. “Faltenradio” inspired us to make music a more integral part of our everyday lives.