In times when concert halls are closed and public performances are cancelled, it is more important than ever to bring music and cultural experiences to people's homes via the internet. The German cellist Jan Vogler, director of the Dresden Music Festival, has launched the initiative "Music Never Sleeps NYC": Together with 60 other musicians and ensembles, the New York-based Volkswagen cultural partner will be playing in a 24 hour livestream free of charge for everyone. The concert begins on 27 March 2020 at 11 pm Central European Time (6 pm EDT). In our interview, Vogler explains how the idea came up and what the challenges of this livestream marathon are - for the technology and for the artists, who all play alone at home.
Interview with Jan Vogler
Creating a cultural experience without an audience: Volkswagen cultural partner and star cellist Jan Vogler and 50 other musicians will be playing live and online for 24 hours on 27 March 2020.
How did the idea for the 24-hour concert come up?
At the beginning of the Corona crisis I got many requests to approach my audience via livestreams. But I didn't think that this was appropriate for the situation. Covid-19 creates a feeling of togetherness among all people, we are all in the same boat. So, I had an initiative in mind that strengthens the collegiality, cohesion and joint creativity of the musical community instead of playing a concert all alone.
You have managed to mobilize dozens of musicians for this project! How did they react to your idea?
Very enthusiastic! There are now over 50 musicians and ensembles participating in the marathon. The young musicians are very happy to perform in a joint concert with well-known artists. The stars, among them Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Midori, Béla Fleck or Chris Thile, enjoy taking part, because they are sitting at home at the moment and can neither tour nor go to the studio too. Typical for New York, there will be a lot of very cool music and there will also be humour.
What is the challenge as an artist to be not on a real stage but on a virtual one?
In concert we often react to our audience. We prepare ourselves at home but create the performance as a reaction to the moment. For the livestream we are in virtual space, we are alone and reflect our own ideas exclusively.
“What is truly special is if you miss this livestream concert, you can never hear it again, not even on recording.”
A question that many people are currently facing: How do you technically solve the virtual concert?
This is very complicated, especially in times of Corona. We connect many apartments together, hand over live to other presenters who announce the artists, and of course hand over to the musicians themselves, who are in their apartments. It doesn't work without preparation - some artists are already recording videos that they send us. But everything is recorded originally and only for this concert. What is truly special is If you miss this livestream concert, you can never hear it again, not even on recording.
How will the current situation change our way of receiving music and art?
We will return to normality, but it will take time. Until then we will experiment, seek contact with our audience and show our love for music, which will not die even in this crisis.
Why is it now more important than ever to remain creative and culturally active?
Because we need culture to breathe, to live. Music is hope, comfort, energy, love!, In a crisis like the current one, people have a feeling of free fall, there are fears, nothing to hold on to, daily routines that have been practiced for years are no longer necessary. Music supports emotional stability and helps to manage our feelings.