Sunday, 21 July 2013

Musical Exchange In Austria and Germany

Vienna City
 Hello, my name is Russell. My dear mother has asked me to share with her and you my two week long trip to Europe (Vienna & Berlin). Knowing the love she has for the details in a building – both the facade & interior – I have decided to be her guest blogger for this post.

The flight to Vienna, Austria was taxing: Having a flight at 2am local time, adjusting the body clock 6 hours back while enduring 17 hours of travel (inclusive of transit in Dubai) was no simple task. Upon landing, we were welcomed by the cool temperate climate; sunny yet chilly. The sky was a clear blue with clouds spread smatteringly across.
Part of the SMU Symphonia entourage at St. Stephen's Cathedral

Vienna - Konzerthaus Int

Our first half of the trip was intensively focused on the competition. The Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival invited music groups of many nations to participate in world renowned concert houses. Our engrossment in our task to perform good music however didn'’t stop us to bask in the atmosphere of the city. The adjudication took place in the ‘Musikverein’, home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. Our band was also blessed with the top tier achievement, granting us the chance to perform in an additional venue - the ‘Wiener Konzerthaus’ which houses several premier music groups. Vienna has a deep rooted music heritage, which they show by paying homage to famous names in classical music. To me the building archetype here was not something new as I have seen the likes of it in Singapore. However the sheer number of it all over town made the experience walking down very surreal.

Musikverein - Golden Hall

Ritter Sport Shoppe in Berlin
 Some scenery in transit through Czech
With competition out of our minds, the second half of the trip in Berlin took a much more leisurely pace. It started with a day long bus ride up north, out of Austria and through the Czech Republic. Prague, the capital of Czech Republic was a beautiful town. Escaping significant damages from WWII, buildings and monuments stood the test of time. Allowing you to see what was once admired by the Czech generations ago.

Berlin's Potsdamer Platz

Being the capital city of Germany, Berlin is a very metropolitan place to be. The cityscape is similar to the likes of many other cities but with its unique features, Berlin is awe-striking in its own way. Standing in the midst of the public square ‘Potsdamer Platz’ makes you ponder; you are standing where WWII and the Cold War once happened. Within proximity are remnants of the Berlin Wall as well as the Holocaust Memorial, which now serve as a testament to how far the people of Germany have progress onwards and a reminder to result of conflict.
Berlin Wall

Holocaust Memorial also known  as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe,
 is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust

Rehearsal for performance at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche ( landmark church )
Beautiful midnight-blue glass walls and a giant 'floating' Jesus.

Alas . . our two week escapade to Europe had finally come to an end and we return home bound to our families and friends. This trip was definitely an eye-opener to me, being in Europe for the first time. It also a much deserved vacation for me before I buckle down for further studies. I truly appreciate the opportunity given to me to share the sights of Europe with you all albeit brief. Hope you enjoyed reading this post. 

Russell Lim

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