Backstage September 22 – Listen, Read, Look, Think with Kirsten Fehring

Discoveries about music, words and images, together with some related thoughts

In this update I am sharing a selection of my discoveries about music and words, together with some related thoughts. I hope you enjoy!


  • Listening to Haydn Sonata in C minor
  • Reading Compass by Matthias Enard
  • Looking at the House of Music in Budapest
  • Thinking of programming with Joy Guidry
  • Enjoying Virtual Baroque Sessions by Benedetti Foundation
  • This month’s Spotify playlist

In September I am …

… listening to

For this recording, Pawel uses a fortepiano, modelled on an original by Walter & Sohn, c.1805, expertly crafted by world-renowned maker Paul McNulty. The instrument allows for unparalleled transparency and clarity of articulation, at the same time showcasing the range of colours: from a rich bass, to singing trebles and a true una corda that, in this context, sounds like a human voice broken with tears and exhausted with sorrow.

For links to more platforms and further information go to the release page.


… reading

“I look at all these men, all these souls still walking around us: who was Liszt, who was Berlioz, who was Wagner and all the people they knew, Musset, Lamartine, Nerval, an immense network of texts, notes and images, … that links Beethoven to Balzac, to James Morier, to Hofmannsthal, to Strauss, to Mahler, and to the sweet smoke of Istanbul and Tehran…”

A dreamscape of a novel, in which a musicologist in a single sleepless night reminiscences over his difficult love for the Orient (and a colleague), whilst peeling away the layers of influences writers, musicians, artists and explorers have had on the idea, image and realities of the Middle East and its relations with the West.
A book so full of stories, comments and connections, that I was constantly looking up a poem, a piece of music or the biography of an explorer. This did not seem as an interruption but rather added to the joy of reading this book which is encyclopaedic and profound.

… looking at

… this gorgeous House of Music in Budapest, which I visited in the summer. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fuiimoto, it sits within the City Park and is as inspiring as it is inviting.

… thinking of

“I think, a perfect concert could consist of Brahms’ Tragischer Ouvertüre, an amazing piece. Then a piece by an indigenous person. A piece from a black artist, Asian, East Asian composer … show the reality, show how the world actually looks like!”
(Photo Verena Brüning)

Programming is an art form in itself. Pulling together artists, visions and stories to create the perfect synergy to engage and excite the audience is no mean feat.
Last week I read an interview in Van Magazin with American composer and bassoonist Joy Guidry, and their ideal approach to concert programming today (see quote above).

There are so many different and exciting new concert formats. And in order to move classical music out of its sometimes suffocating niche, we need to be daring, experimental and colourful. We sometimes need to meet new audiences on their turf, so we can share our passion and enthusiasm for so much brilliant music, old and new. We owe it to our established audiences to throw something surprising into the mix and showcase a well known piece in a completely different light.

There is so much to say about this subject, and to discuss. I hope you won’t mind if I come back to it from time to time. And I am sure you will have some thoughts on this matter too …

I also like …

A great initiative involving some of Bach Club’s friends and artists.

I hope you enjoyed our first post in this new format. If you like to get in touch or share some of your finds and ideas, please do. If you like to work with me and/or Bach Club, we love to hear from you. Just contact me or Bach Club.

And if you like to support our work, please pass it on to your friends. Thank you so much. Till next time,


Kirsten Fehring

Dr Kirsten Fehring is a music dramaturgist, producer, and project manager based in the UK, happily supporting festivals, ensembles and artists, making things happen. When being involved in curating a programme and working closely with artistic directors behind the scene, she researches, selects, edits, formulates and weaves stories around a concert programme. It is the interdisciplinary approach she loves the most about her work. Together with Bach Club she does exactly that.

Kirsten’s and Bach Club’s newsletters are separate, but they both provide inspiration, insight and sometimes invitations.

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