Konzert der Audi Jugendchorakademie im Maison Symphonique de Montréal

Audi choir creates flash mob atmosphere

Audi Young Persons’ Choral Academy inspires in Montréal

The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy has been taking on the stages of the world for nearly ten years now. Audi Blog author Sandra Bildmann reveals how star conductor Kent Nagano lured the audience in Montréal from their chairs with the “Audi Choir”.

Kent Nagano dirigiert die Audi Jugendchorakademie im Maison Symphonique de Montréal
Is everybody in sync? Under the special direction of conductor Kent Nagano, Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach and the oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns is performed.

I had a lump in my throat, because I wasn’t expecting that. Initially, I found the service of Canadian restaurants to provide their guests with tap water for no extra charge to be quite remarkable. But even several days later, we could not get used to the Canadian tap water. The reason for this? Stay tuned.

In any case, the fact that menus and price lists were always indicated in their net amount and consequently suggested a hefty amount of taxes and tips, eventually became second nature to us. And even the cool temperature doesn’t seem to bother any of the Audi choir singers. Whereas in Germany any temperature below zero leads to gasping and wheezing, the Audi singers can only smile with gritted teeth.

Working with Kent Nagano is matter of habit

Decembers in Montréal do seem to toughen up. The minus 20 degrees Celsius wouldn’t even really be a bother, if it weren’t for the icy wind… People in Montréal on the other hand warm up with Poutine – a true calorie bomb of fries, cheese and gravy. We Audi musicians know this not out of our own curiosity, but because Kent Nagano shared this with us after rehearsals.

For many in the choir, the collaboration with the star conductor is not a matter of habituation, but one of habit. We are honored by the regularity with which Kent Nagano wants to create music with us. Nonetheless, nobody in the choir would speak of routine. Each and every encounter with Nagano is a new and amazing experience.

Audi Jugendchorakademie beim Konzert im Maison Symphonique de Montréal

A harmonic overall appearance: The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy at the concert in the Maison Symphonique de Montréal. The Young Persons‘ Choral Academy was founded by the Audi AG in 2007 and has since been awarded multiple awards.

Standing ovations for the Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy

The choir accompanied him to the Pope in the Vatican and in Singapore among others. Most recently, he entrusted us with the premiere of Jörg Widmann’s oratorio “Arche” as part of the opening of the Elb Philharmonic Hall. And now in Montréal, where the American conductor has been directing the Orchestre Symphonique since 2006.

For the two concerts in the Maison Symphonique, one of the best concert halls in the world, he has chosen the Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns. Extraordinary: The vocal soloists were from the choir, so they were “our people”. The concert program also included four Christmas songs which we sang in German and were conducted at the request of Nagano by our choir director Martin Steidler. Hence, a huge share of the concert went on the account of the Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy. 

Even in a foreign country, where no one knew us, both of our concerts were nearly sold out, and this during the week!

Around 2,000 visitors came per performance.  In the end, we were even honoured with a standing ovation, which according to Nagano, is a rarity in Montréal. We would have had every reason to celebrate afterwards. But our main priority was to go easy on our voice. Another performance was on our to-do list, namely at the Christmas party of the Goethe Institute in Montréal.

And if a party is thrown for Christmas, what do we sing? You guessed right: Christmas songs. Of course, not in a unanimous or devious version – when the Audi choir tackles something, it always aims for the best. We sang the Christmas songs with the same meticulousness and design awareness with which we would work elsewhere. A habit, but not a routine. This is why I wasn’t the only one with goosebumps during “Silent Night”.

Probe der Audi Jugendchorakademie für Auftritt im Goethe-Institut Montréal
Practicing diligently: The musicians rehearse studiously for the third performance during the journey, taking place at the Goethe institute in Montréal.

Speaking of routine, I would finally like to reveal why we could not get used to the Canadian tap water even several days after our first sip. Drinking water is something like the life insurance of every singer – going without it is just not an option. There is a small, but subtle difference between drinkable and palatable. Because: Canadian tap water is chlorinated…

Flash mob atmosphere at the airport

With the final chord at the Goethe Institute our mission in Canada was eventually over. After a busy week including a jet lag – with which some had to deal with all week – we sat wearily at the gate. But just before the departure, music grabbed hold of us once again. In the airport hall, we lined up around a piano placed there and sang “Come, o ye believer”. A flash mob atmosphere was in the air – especially as more and more people joined us and pulled out their smartphones. This was when we really felt the presence of the Christmas spirit.

A warm mood in spite of the icy cold

A successful project for young talent: The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy offers 80 young singers between 16 and 27 the possibility to gain experience in singing and choirs under professional guidance.
The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy has gained some stage experience before their performance in the Canadian Montréal: During the autumn of 2011, the choir performed for the first time with conductor Kent Nagano. The performance took place in Rome in front of Pope Benedict XVI.
Rehearsing for the big performance: The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy that is usually under musical direction from Martin Steiler, prepares with Kent Nagano for the concert in Montréal.
Star conductor Kent Nagano is in his element during the rehearsals for the big performance. Since Nagano is the the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the concert will be a home match for him.
The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy made an appearance here: In the city of Montréal in the Canadian Province of Québec.
The musicians won’t be stopped by -20 degree Celsius from enjoy the view of Montréal from the Mont Royal.
On the Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy travel there is also time for sightseeing: For example, at the Notre Dame de Montréal.

A successful project for young talent: The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy offers 80 young singers between 16 and 27 the possibility to gain experience in singing and choirs under professional guidance.

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The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy has gained some stage experience before their performance in the Canadian Montréal: During the autumn of 2011, the choir performed for the first time with conductor Kent Nagano. The performance took place in Rome in front of Pope Benedict XVI.

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Rehearsing for the big performance: The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy that is usually under musical direction from Martin Steiler, prepares with Kent Nagano for the concert in Montréal.

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Star conductor Kent Nagano is in his element during the rehearsals for the big performance. Since Nagano is the the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the concert will be a home match for him.

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The Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy made an appearance here: In the city of Montréal in the Canadian Province of Québec.

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The musicians won’t be stopped by -20 degree Celsius from enjoy the view of Montréal from the Mont Royal.

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On the Audi Young Persons‘ Choral Academy travel there is also time for sightseeing: For example, at the Notre Dame de Montréal.

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Audi and classical music – a long-standing and fruitful combination. Whether in Salzburg, Bayreuth or Schleswig-Holstein, world-famous festivals are built upon a strong partnership with Audi. Audi also possesses extensive festival know-how as as an event organizer, as has been demonstrated since 1990 with the Audi Summer Concerts. But music is not limited to just large festival stages – it is also supported among employees. The employee orchestra known as the Audi Philharmonic Wind Orchestra has existed since 1962. And the Audi Youth Choir Academy was founded in 2007 to enable today’s young talent to develop into the...

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