Borletti-Buitoni Trust
10 October 2012

The adventure of trying things out

by ATOS Trio

The BBT has enabled the Atos trio to fulfill longtime dreams: to organise a concert series with everything that belongs to it, and to combine this effort with outreach work in schools. The series is organized now, the programs are decided and printed, the school work is well underway, but what a journey it has been!

On a summer morning a few months ago we walked into a classroom of a so-called problem school in berlin´s neukölln district. 30 kids, ages between 8 and 12, look at us and almost immediately start asking questions. There are two Russian children, one Polish and one German.  All the others are either Arabic or Turkish. We sing with them, we play for them, we ask questions, we discuss. The kids paint pictures of the instruments. They try out an old cello which Stefan brings with him, and the piano. How to describe the glow in the eyes of Fatima, 11, when Thomas tells her that she managed to get the quietest sound out of the piano yet, of all the kids? (Alas, even a baby can bang loudly on a piano, but to play soft, you have to concentrate, and listen…) The trio continues to visit the class on a weekly basis, until the concert day, when they will hopefully bring all their families and friends to the Heimathafen, and we will play a special noon concert for them.

Berlin’s Heimathafen Neukölln

The Heimathafen! In the middle of Karl Marx Strasse in Berlin Neukölln, surrounded by one Euro shops, kebab booths and cheap coffee stores, one steps through an archway and finds oneself in a quiet oasis, the Heimathafen Neukölln. This beautifully restored hall seats around 400 people. There is a lovely restaurant, a bar built into the hall, heavy red theatre curtains. An atmospheric place, a hidden gem, smack in the middle of a bustling city street! It was quickly decided: the Atos trio wants to build its concert series here, and nowhere else.

The concert series! Musicians know how to practice. They know their music, read, go to concerts, theatre, museums, but precious few of us know how to organise. To build your own series, you need to organise the programs, have them publicised, think about all details. How many people to work on the door? Who takes tickets stubs? Where do we put up posters, flyers, pictures? Who calls the newspapers? Do we offer food, or champagne? 1000s of questions, and we quickly decided to get professional help for most of these matters. Still, there are many hours every day we spend simply on organising stuff, writing emails, making phone calls.

So, one learns every day, learns what to do and how to do it, and  – just as important – what not to do. We learn from the kids in the school – we are not teachers, and learn by doing. At the Heimathafen, we learn how to organize, how to keep oversight, we get ideas and store them for next season.

All of this makes our lives rich and our job as freelancing musicians a wonderful one. Then, on stage, performing the music we love most for people that came to listen, the circle is complete and we can´t sleep for all the excitement and happiness after the concert… and all made possible in the beginning by a grant from BBT.

The Atos Trio’s first Heimathafen series included concerts on 22 November 2012, 11 January, 22 February and 26 April 2013.