An Austrian shares his passion for the clarinet in Beijing

Updated: 2016-10-17 08:01

By Chen Nan(China Daily)

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An Austrian shares his passion for the clarinet in Beijing

Clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer on his recent visit to Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Andreas Ottensamer, the principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic, just had a hectic 48 hours in China.

Shortly after landing in Beijing, the 27-year-old Austrian played tennis to relax. The next afternoon, he gave a 90-minute master class and sat for interviews, and then played another round of tennis. On his last day in the capital, he played in a concert with Argentine pianist Jose Gallardo on Thursday, during the ongoing 15th Beijing Music Festival, the city's annual event devoted to classical music.

"It's boring to just have one thing in life to express feelings and experiences. Sports and music are two things keeping me energetic," says the clarinetist.

The performance he gave in Beijing included his adaptation of a combination of jazz and folk, such as Piazzolla's tango pieces, Carlos Gardel's Por una Cabeza and Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dance No 6.

"In our time of fast entertainment and unlimited access to quick information and attractions, classical music sometimes seems dusty and strange. With my choice of program, I would like to speak to the younger generation in particular and show how appealing and attractive classical music can be," says Ottensamer.

"I always try to be authentic onstage. It's like an actor, who feeds emotion to the audience."

Ottensamer has been performing in China since 2014. He says he's always happy to return because Asian countries are enthusiastic about classical music education.

He says that music is the beginning of his life. His clarinet, he says, is like "the voice of my mother"-that's so familiar since his youth.

His father, Ernst Ottensamer, and his older brother, Daniel Ottensamer, are both principal clarinetists with the Vienna Philharmonic.

In 2005, the father and sons formed a clarinet trio, touring Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. This year, they have released the album The Clarinotts-Ernst, Daniel & Andreas Ottensamer, which includes pieces by Mendelssohn, Mozart and Rossini, and features the Wiener Virtuosen string ensemble.

"The process of learning music is not merely practicing skills. Music is always there. My family often plays music together, which is a lot of fun," Andreas Ottensamer says.

Clarinet was not his first instrument. He had his first piano lessons at 4 and his second choice-when he was 10-was the cello.

"One day, I picked up the clarinet at home and my father just let me go ahead," he says.

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