Charity concert on the Telegraph Hill: The sound of the forest

09/02/2014 - For the second time, soloists of the renowned Staatskapelle Berlin and singers of the State Opera gathered for an exceptional charity concert on the Telegrafenberg (Telegraph Hill) in Potsdam. In the suspenseful darkness of the Great Refractor, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber - Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - spoke of the reason for creating and promoting this unique mix of music and science: "Science can appeal to the the mind of man, but music can win over his heart." Complemented by short presentations of PIK researchers Hermann Lotze-Campen, Susanne Rolinski and Christopher Reyer, this year's concert focused on "The Sound of the Forest" and included both classical and contemporary compositions.
Charity concert on the Telegraph Hill: The sound of the forest
Singers of the State Opera during the charity concert with PIK scientists and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Photo: Chang/PIK

The historic observatory took the center stage when the soloists of the Staatskapelle Berlin and the chamber choir "Apollini et Musis" led by conductor Günther Albers breathed new life into classical pieces by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Reger and Herzogenberg and performed modern stochastic compositions of the architect and musician Iannis Xenakis. In 2009, members of the Staatskapelle established the charitable foundation NaturTon. The climate protection initiative "Orchestra of Change" is part of their ongoing commitment to channel environmental and cultural efforts as well as raise awareness of related issues through music.

"Deforestation has been continuing on a global scale," said Schellnhuber, a member of the Board of Trustees of the NaturTon Foundation. PIK research shows that there are very few natural forces such as the great forests that have the innate ability to counteract anthropogenic climate change, said Schellnhuber. "It is a bitter irony that mankind has been trying to tear this safety belt into pieces at such a relentless pace." In their brief presentations, the researchers acknowledged the importance and history of the forests and their critical impact on the climate – ranging from the challenges of agriculture in view of a rapidly growing world population to the mutual influence between deforestation and climate change.

All proceeds will go to the NaturTon Foundation and will be made available to a charity project in Madagascar. The goal is to foster sustainable cultivation of ebony and rosewood, both of which are endangered and used for making string instruments. To this end, the orchestra musicians have established an association named "Eben!holz e.V." in collaboration with violin and bow makers. Within ten years, local residents of the Makira region will plant more than 30 different kinds of native trees in a previously destroyed forest area of approximately 100 acres and manage it in a sustainable manner.


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