Berlin's three main orchestras stage free concert for refugees

Berlin (AFP) –


Three of the world's top conductors, Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Ivan Fischer are teaming up for a concert by Berlin's three main orchestras next month which will be free for refugees, they announced on Tuesday.

The three maestri will each conduct their own orchestra -- Rattle the Berlin Philharmonic, Barenboim the Staatskapelle Berlin and Fischer the Konzerthaus Orchestra -- in a special concert on March 1 in the German capital's Philharmonic Hall, they said in a joint statement.

The concert, which will include performances of a Mozart piano concerto and symphonies by Prokofiev and Beethoven, will be free to all refugees and aid volunteers, the statement said.

"With this concert, the three orchestras and their chief conductors want to extend a welcome to people who have fled their home countries, as well thank the many helpers for their hard work and commitment," the orchestras said.

"Music is an international language which can reach and touch people everywhere," Rattle, Barenboim and Fischer were quoted as saying.

"As musicians, we feel welcome all over the world. We hope that this can also be true for people who have been forced to leave their homes by war, hunger and persecution.

"With our joint concert, we want to show a sign of welcome to the families who have fled and a sign of thanks and recognition to the volunteers."

The 73-year-old Israeli-Argentinian conductor and pianist, Barenboim, will both conduct the Staatskapelle and perform as soloist in Mozart's D-minor piano concerto KV 466.

The 65-year-old Hungarian conductor Fischer and the Konzerthaus Orchestra will perform Prokofiev's First or "Classical" Symphony.

And 61-year-old British-born Rattle will conduct the Berlin Philharmonic with the second and fourth movements of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

Around 1.1 million asylum-seekers arrived in Germany in 2015, seeking safety from war and oppression in countries such as Syria.

While the overwhelming majority of Germans initially welcomed them, a growing number now appear to be increasingly concerned about the social and economic consequences of the massive influx, with far-right and xenophobic parties seeking to exploit those fears.