News Archive

Cases are going down, vaccinations are progressing and concerts are slowly becoming possible again, starting with open-air performances. Concert-goers in Bremen can enjoy Romantic music in a romantic setting with a "Notturno" in the beautiful Bremer Bürgerpark, featuring music by Brahms and Herzogenberg for solo quartet and choir as well as a wild ride through more than one hundred years of songs for and about work and workers: "Locomotive Breath" presented by the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen. Click on the links or visit the calendar page for more details -- and hope for good weather!

The pandemic continues to rage around us and unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to live with it for a while longer. As a result, very few concerts can be scheduled, and those that have been planned have had to be postponed again - for example, the premiere of Watershed, which will now take place in March 2022.

In the hope that continued vaccination efforts and the rise of rapid testing will make cultural events possible again in some form, a few concerts are being planned for summer 2021, at least. Hang in there and we'll hopefully see each other (with masks and social distancing) then!

WAVE~LINKS is a new series of online videos exploring connections between music and artisanry, produced by Yonit Kosovske as part of the launch of H.I.P.S.T.E.R. (Historically Informed Performance Series, Teaching, Education and Research), a new organisation co-directed by Vlad Smishkewych and herself.

Many professional musicians perform or engage with other artistic genres, and these "outside" interests offer a lot of insight into the relationship between music and other art forms and the richness of creative process. WAVE~LINKS features creative artists around the globe sharing their insights into links between music and poetry, painting, pottery, photography, dance, knitting, weaving, fermentation, wood working, and more, and serves as a platform to discuss the shared spaces between music and these other fields.

Julie Comparini's contribution to WAVE~LINKS was included in the November 7th, 2020 H.I.P.S.T.E.R. online launch and is now viewable on Youtube. For links to the rest of the launch videos as well as forthcoming WAVE~LINKS contributions, visit H.I.P.S.T.E.R.'s web site, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Click here to see the video: Knitting is H.I.P.

Yonit Kosovske, with whom I performed the contemporary song cycles Poems of Love and the Rain and Games, has recently received an Irish Arts Council Music Commissions Award for composer Ailís Ní Ríain to write Watershed, a new song-cycle for Yonit and myself on poetry from the book And Say by Jessica Brown.

Ailís Ní Ríain is an award-winning Irish contemporary classical composer and published playwright whose works incorporate a wide spectrum of performing, visual and literary arts. The poems from And Say reflect upon the Irish lake Lough Derg near Limerick City, and other natural bodies of water throughout Ireland.

The world premiere of Watershed will take place in Limerick, Ireland in March 2021, with a recording and further performances planned in 2021 and 2022.

Although most concert activity remains on hold during the pandemic, some performances have become possible under strict safety regulations and new projects are being planned for 2021 which will hopefully be able to take place under more or less normal conditions.

The faster and more effectively we get the pandemic under control and the better we all follow the guidelines for reducing transmission (keep distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid unnecessary contact), the sooner we'll be able to resume performances, so stay healthy, stay sensible, and stay optimistic! It will get better someday.

As it said in the Bach cantata:

Now I weep, for the tumult of the world delights in my sorrow;
Soon the time shall come when my heart will rejoice...
How I will rejoice, how I will be restored,
when all fleeting sorrows have passed!
I will shine like the stars and glow like the sun,
and no sorrow, weeping or clamour
shall thwart my divine and blessed joy.

(BWV 146)

In order to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, concerts and theatrical performances of all kinds have been cancelled in most European countries until September 2020.

We understand that it has to be done, since large gatherings in enclosed spaces and choral singing are, unfortunately, extremely effective ways to spread the virus. At the same time, this is a terrible situation for us freelancers, who have extremely limited financial and legal resources to balance out the income we will lose.

Thank you to all the concert organisers, governmental agencies and other organisations who have promised and delivered financial help via cancellation fees, grant funds and the possibility to teach remotely.

We hope that at least some of the concerts will take place at a later date, when the situation has improved. Until then, stay healthy and let's hope we all get better soon.

And hast thou seen the castle,
The castle by the sea?
The golden clouds float o'er it
In bright-hued majesty...

There really is a castle by the sea - or at least, by the waterside - in the little town of Poppenbüttel near Hamburg: Burg Henneberg. Built by two local members of the Henneberg family in 1887 as a small-scale replica of a medieval fort, this "world's smallest castle" is now partially open to the public and presents a wide variety of concerts and cultural events.

In order to suit the size and atmosphere of the castle's concert hall (the former throne room), Julie Comparini adapted the program Meeresleuchten to be performed by one soprano, one alto and piano. Like Meeresleuchten, Das Schloss am Meere explores the magical worlds and fantastic creatures of the deep sea, as expressed in the music of the Romantic era. Lush and poetical at the beginning, the mythical fantasies gradually evolve into ominous and realistic images of the sea's hidden perils.

Admission is with ticket reservation only. You can reserve tickets here.

Anna Terterjan, soprano
Julie Comparini, alto
Suwon Kim, piano

Sunday, March 29th, 4:00 pm
Alsterschlößchen Burg Henneberg, Marienhof 8, 22399 Hamburg (Poppenbüttel)

Good things come in threes -- or more!

Some of the most successful projects of the last few years are returning to the stage in the spring of 2020, starting with repeat performances of Thomas Larcher's opera Das Jagdgewehr. Two years after its world premiere at the Bregenzer Festspielen, it is now being produced by the Dutch National Opera at the Opera Forward Festival in Amsterdam on March 17th and 19th. The Meeresleuchten will bring Romantic visions of sirens and otherworldly underwater realms to the seafarers of Bremen-Vegesack on April 5th, and the ever-successful Brechtliederabend Denn für dieses Leben ist der Mensch nicht gut genug is traveling to Worpswede on April 25th, with further performances planned in and around Bremen in autumn and winter.

For details and tickets to all performances, click on the links above or check the calendar page.

Die Schwärmerei für die Natur kommt von der Unbewohnbarkeit der Städte.
(Bertolt Brecht)

Bremen's popular Brecht-Revue Denn für dieses leben ist der Mensch nicht gut genug returns with four performances in the 2019 season. Under the direction of Peter Schenk, Julie Comparini, Evelyn Gramel, Manja Stephan and the Bremer Kaffeehaus-Orchester perform arrangements of songs by Paul Dessau, Hanns Eisler und Kurt Weill along with new musical and theatrical settings of selected texts by Bertolt Brecht.

The season starts with a performance at "die theo" in Bremerhaven on June 6. Details (in German) are here. Further performances follow on August 31 and November 2 and 23. More information and ticket reservations are available on the website of the Bremer Arbeitnehmerkammer in the weeks before each performance. Ticket reservations are recommended!

"Bert-Brecht-Chansons at their best." (Nordseezeitung, 8.5.2017)

"Soprano Manja Stephan, American expat Julie Comparini and jazz-savvy Evelyn Gramel were impressive in their acting talents and the strength and clarity of their singing." (Weser-Kurier, 20.2.2018)

Who hasn't dreamed of someday being a star? Celebrity life promises success, riches, and the adulation of millions -- but it comes at a price. The fourth Musikfilmfestival Bremen will explore the dark underbelly of fame from February 7th to 13th, 2019 in ten biographical, documentary, feature, silent and experimental films.

The title of Saturday's "surprise" film has to be kept secret for now, unlike the lives of its protagonists, who succumb to the pressures of fame (Feb. 9th.) An 11-year-old singer wonders if her new friends are really interested in her, or just latching onto her new-found status (Bente's Voice, Feb. 7th), while an elderly playboy realizes that his reputation has made aging gracefully impossible (Casanova Variations, Feb. 9th). Gloria shows what happens when systematic abuse in the music industry is taken for granted (Feb. 8th). The musicians in The Great Hip Hop Hoax (Feb. 8th) and Korla (Feb.7th) find themselves forced to make radical changes in their public identities, with very different outcomes, while Mathangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Feb. 9th) risks her success in order to stay true to her message. German singer-songwriter Gundermann was also an idealist, but one who ended up working for the wrong side (Feb. 10th, with screenwriter Laila Stieler). All of these themes come together in the special screening of the original 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera in St. Stephani, accompanied live by church organist Tim Günther. In the end, like the children in Russlands Wunderkinder (Feb. 7th and 8th), we may find ourselves asking: Was it worth the price of fame?

All films will be screened in City46 (Birkenstraße 1, 28195 Bremen) except The Phantom of the Opera in the Kulturkirche St. Stephani.
More information and the complete program available at the Musikfilmfestival Website.

Bertolt Brecht was one of the most influential German poets and playwrights of the 20th century. Collaborative projects with musicians and composers were an integral part of his work. Many of Brecht's texts question the role of the individual in society. What is a person worth? From what source do people draw their sense of self-worth? What happens in a society where people's worth goes unrecognized? "Auf ein Wort" features song settings by Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau on these and related themes.

Julie Comparini, voice
Alexander Seemann, piano and accordeon
Felix Patzelt, guitar

Friday, November 23, 2018, 20:00
etage° Bremen
Herdentorsteinweg 37
28195 Bremen

Admission: 14 € / 8 € pre-sale, 18 € / 12 € at the door
Tickets available from Nordwest Ticket and Eventim.
More information

The postwar years were a period of economic and social mobility. Radio and television broadcasts brought music from around the world into German homes and new technologies made it possible to travel around the world in style. And so the German "Nachkriegsschlager" -- and the German tourist -- were born.

Bremerhaven became not only a port of exit for transatlantic passage, but a tourist destination -- which it still aims to be today.

Fernweh Bremerhaven explores Bremerhaven's past and present role as a tourist destination in interviews, discussions, and a musical journey through the "wonder years."

Forum der Arbeitnehmerkammer
Barkhausenstraße 16, 27568 Bremerhaven

Michael Frost, Superintendant of Education and Culture, Bremerhaven
Dr. Marion Salot, Economic Policy Consultant, Arbeitnehmerkammer

Julie Comparini, voice
Eva Huck, cello
Susanne Peuker, guitar
Matthias Entrup, percussion

Dr. Dominik Santner, Arbeitnehmerkammer

Free admission
More information

In the garden of the imperial court in China, a nightingale sings and enchants all who hear. One day, a toy nightingale comes to the court as a gift, and the real bird is chased away. But when Death comes to fetch the empress, only the real nightingale is able to oust him.

Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Nightingale inspired this "opera in a nutshell" for children and their families. Using music by Georg Philipp Telemann and a newly-commissioned libretto, Ensemble Sospiri Ardenti revives the baroque tradition of the pasticcio opera for modern audiences.

The Nightingale will be making its debut at the Leipziger Bachfest in June 2018 with three performances (in German) presented by "bach für uns" and the Leipziger Schulkonzerte.

Friday, June 15th, 9:00 und 11:00
for schoolchildren and Bachfest visitors
Saturday, June 16th, 11:00
for everyone age 8 and up
Musikschule Leipzig
Petersstraße 43, 04109 Leipzig
Tickets: €11,00 adults, €4,50 children (-12)

Ensemble Sospiri Ardenti
Ellen Delahanty, soprano
Julie Comparini, alto
Geert van Gele, recorder and harpsichord
Jurgen Debruyn, lute instruments

More Information and Tickets

By Eileen Jahn

The 1925 silent film The Light of Asia (Prem Sanyas or Die Leuchte Asiens) was the highlight of the 2017 Musikfilmfestival in Bremen. India's first international coproduction as well as the first ever German-Indian co-production, the film offers a unique look into the long-vanished world of India in the 1920s. For the 2017 festival, the Musikfilmfestival Bremen commissioned a new soundtrack by celebrated world musician Willy Schwarz and composer Riccardo Castagnola that combines classical Indian music with contemporary electronics and creates a musical bridge between history and cultures.

The project has now found its way "home": on January 18, 2018, the film was presented with the new soundtrack and live music by Willy Schwarz at the Goethe Institute in Chennai (Madras) in India to an audience that included professional musicians, film critics and Dr Helmut Schipper, director of the Goethe Institute in Chennai. Further performances in India are in planning. We at the Musikfilmfestival are thrilled that this project is traveling around the world. The next chance to see the film will be at the international Berlinale film festival. Willy Schwarz and Julie Comparini will be present for the screening on February 17th.

Musikfilmfestival Bremen
Berlinale Screenings

Multimedia concert
A Fotokunst Bremen production
Sunday, October 1st, 2017, 7:00 pm
Kultursaal der Arbeitnehmerkamer, Bürgerstraße 1, 28195 Bremen

Long unconquered by humankind, the sea is the birthplace of a rich multitude of myths and legends. Its more sinister side inspired many Romantic-era poets and artists, both serving as a metaphor for unpredictable and often brutal emotional states and being a source of very real danger. Sailors, fishermen, adventurers and travellers alike often perished in its depths, as the vast number of shipwrecks still rotting on the ocean floor can attest to. There live, according to ancient legends, the fantastic creatures of the deep: nymphs, mermaids, sea monsters, or kings and queens of sunken continents in their glass-walled underwater palaces. These eerie and mythical worlds illustrate, in abstract form, our primal fear of the sea.

At the beginning lush and poetical, the musical works in this programme gradually evolve into ominous fantasies and realistic images of the sea's hidden perils.

Andrea Lauren Brown, Manja Stephan, Anna Terterjan, soprano
Nina Böhlke, Julie Comparini, Kerstin Stöcker, contralto
Barbara Kler, piano
Musical Direction: Julie Comparini
Visuals: Peter Schenk

Reservations: 0421-3 63 01-970 /
More information

Website renovations have been finished! Here it is with a new look, new photos, and new features (projects and video). Have a look around and if anything doesn’t work, please feel free to send an email to Julie Comparini. Thanks!

N.B. If you're using an antiquated browser (i.e. Internet Explorer 8, 9, or earlier), some site features will work sub-optimally or not at all. If that is the case, we highly recommend switching to a modern browser -- not only to use this site, but in the interest of your own Internet safety in general. If you're using a recent version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer and are experiencing problems with this site, we would love to hear about it so that we can correct the problem. Thank you!

The "Stadtteil-Oper" Menuchims Reise

Osterholz-Tenever may not be Bremen's most glamorous neighborhood, but it is home to an extraordinary opera project that brings the students of the Gesamtschule-Ost together with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the women of the Mütterzentrum, refugees living in temporary housing, faculty of the Gesamtschule-Ost, students and professors of the Hochschule für Künste and international soloists.

This year's Stadteil-Oper focuses on the USA and Eastern Europe. It is the story (adapted from Joseph Roth's novel Hiob) of the Singers, a Jewish family in a schtetl in what is now Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Faced with poverty, oppression and conflict, they emigrate to America, but must leave their youngest son behind. As the Second World War begins, their daughter Miriam embarks on a dangerous journey to bring Menuchim to New York and reunite the family.

With music by Gustav Mahler, Sergej Prokoview, George Gershwin, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Erich Zeisl and other Eastern European composers who found a new life in America.

Stage Direction: Alexander Radulescu
Musical Direction: Barbara Rucha
Vocal Coach: Inka Neus
Costumes and Makeup: Christin Bokelmann
Stage Design: Sven Rose, Miriam Walter, Benedikt Jährling, Laura Baumann
Libretto: Lena Becker

With: Rafael Bruck (Mendel Singer), Julie Comparini (Deborah Singer), Pia Bohnert (Miriam Singer), Sheldon Baxter (Mac)
and soloists, choir und orchestra from the Gesamtschule Bremen-Ost

More information (in German) at the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie web site
or the Stadtteil-Oper Blog.

Bertolt Brecht was one of the most influential German poets and playwrights of the 20th century. Collaborative projects with musicians and composers were an integral part of his work. Many of Brecht's texts question the role of the individual in society. What is a person worth? From what source do people draw their sense of self-worth? What happens in a society where people's worth goes unrecognized? "Auf ein Wort" features song settings by Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau on these and related themes.

The concert location is the "Altes Pumpwerk", a unique space built in Bremen's former water works, now a water museum. It is possible -- and recommended -- to visit the museum before the concert.

Julie Comparini, voice
Alexander Seemann, piano and accordeon
Felix Patzelt, guitar

February 10, 2017, 8:00 pm (Einlass: 7:00 pm)
Altes Pumpwerk
Salzburger Straße 12
28219 Bremen

Admission: €15 / €10 students and seniors
Reservations by telephone: 0421 363636

More information

Where do musical traditions have their "home" and how can music define or create that home? Musicians from fourteen countries around the world show how different musical traditions can interact, influence each other and be a force for social and political change.

Hayden Chisholm from New Zealand explores the landscape of German folk music in "Sound of Heimat" (D 2012; in German, Thursday. 26.Jan / 19:30, with guests Hayden Chisholm, Loni Kuisle and Peter Schenk from the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen). "Blackhearts" follows Black Metal fans from around the world who have found their spiritual home in Norway (NOR 2016, 83 Min., orig. with English subtitles; 27. Jan. / 22:30). Crossover projects and new directions for old traditions save the careers of the musicians in "Song of Lahore" (USA 2015, orig. with English subtitles; 27.Jan /18:00.), make 19th-century opera contemporary in "La Bohème am Kap" (SA 2015, Xhosa with German subtitles; 28. Jan. / 18:00), drive political movements in "Sumé - The Sound of a Revolution" (Greenland 2014, orig. with English subtitles; 29. Jan. / 18:00) and fight for freedom and peace in the face of repression in "Mali Blues" (D 2016, French with German subtitles; 28.Jan / 20:30 with director Lutz Gregor) and "Electro Chaabi" (Egypt/F 2013, orig. with German subtitles; 28.Jan. / 22:30). Globalisation and the practically endless possibilities afforded by the digital era play a central role in "Presenting Princess Shaw" (ISR 2016, 80 Min., in English; 29. Jan / 20:30.)

Highlight of the festival: the 1925 Indian-German co-production "The Light of Asia" ("Die Leuchte Asiens") with a newly composed live soundtrack. Celebrated Indian and world music expert Willy Schwarz and composer Riccardo Castagnola combine classical Indian music with contemporary electronics and create a musical bridge between historiy and cultures. (27.Jan. / 20:30 * with live music. Made possible with the generous support the Indian Embassy in Berlin.

All films and events take place in Bremen's communal cinema City 46, Birkenstraße 1, 28195 Bremen. For more information about the program and the festival, visit the MFF website.

Alan at Fugue for Thought was so happy with my contributions to the René Leibowitz article that I was asked to be a guest on his podcast! We talk about my musical (and non-musical) background, working with early and new music, the piece "Explanation of Metaphors", the "Cabaret Voltaire" operetta and musical life in general. It's a wonderful interview and you can listen to it on iTunes or via the Fugue for Thought blog.

By the way, the Cabaret Voltaire operetta was recorded on video and we are currently crowdfunding a DVD production. The DVD is planned for limited, non-commercial release, so if you want one, please donate to the crowdfunding effort at the link below!

World Premiere of a new operetta by Peter Stangel (Music) and Jürgen von Stenglin (Text).

Zürich in 1916: the avant-garde art movement DADA opens the Cabaret Voltaire, a new establishment for the advancement of DADA art and performance. At the same time -- and on the other side of the street -- lives Vladimir Ilitsch Lenin in Swiss exile. Tristan Tzara and Lenin, James Joyce and Emmy Hennings, love, spies, nobles and a butler all have their appearances in Cabaret Voltaire. A musical-theatrical homage to Zürich at a time when even the strangest artistic meetings were possible, with a tip of the hat to Offenbach and Weill.

Dominik Wilgenbus as narrator and nine singers, along with the taschenphilharmonie and video projections by Cornelia von Seidlein bring the audience on a wild ride through the world of avant-garde intellectual entertainment.

With Adam Sanchez (Graf Emanuele di Pedroso), Julian Freibott (Hugo Ball), Andrea Lauren Brown (Monique-Fleur Schneidegger), Peter Pruchniewitz (Vladimir Lenin), Julie Comparini (Emmy Hennings), Giulio Alvise Caselli (Tristan Tzara) u.a.

More information on the taschenphilharmonie website!

There's a great article on René Leibowitz's work Explanation of Metaphors up at the blog Fugue for Thought. A sample excerpt of the live performance of this work can be found on my Audio page, but it's worth buying the piece, or the whole album -- "René Leibowitz Compositeur" -- on iTunes or as a beautiful double-CD edition from Divox.

Is the EU a housing syndicate or a house full of roommates? Robert Griess' latest program is a cabaret frenzy of comic figures: do-gooders hunting down privileges, the superrich straddled between tax evasion and charity galas, artists haunted by the threat of creative prostitution, and "Alfons von Ascheberg-Aldenhoven", Germany's craziest financial consultant.

With cabaret artist Robert Griess, singer Julie Comparini, physicist Dr. Felix Patzelt, the Bremer Kaffeehaus-Orchester and Peter Schenk from the Arbeitnehmerkammer.

Pay at the exit - as much as you want!

Saturday, November 28, 2015 Kultursaal der Arbeitnehmerkammer Bürgerstraße 1, 28195 Bremen

Reservations: 0421-36 30 19 70 or

Two song cycles by Ned Rorem (USA) and Ian Wilson (Ireland)

Julie Comparini – mezzo-soprano, Yonit Kosovske – piano
Featuring photo projections by media artist Piet Wessing

Poems of Love and the Rain is a thirty-minute song cycle by Ned Rorem (b.1923–). In this cycle, Rorem takes us on a round-trip poetic journey by way of a palindrome, featuring texts by poets such as W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roethke, Jack Larson, e.e. cummings, and others. Rorem writes:

I selected poems by several American authors and set each one to music twice, in as contrasting a manner as possible. None of the music is repeated, although there is one recurring motive throughout. And the order chosen for these seventeen songs is 'pyramidal': the sequence works toward the Interlude, then backtracks, as in a mirror." He also says that his choice of poems "deal principally with requited love against a backdrop of constant rain," and adds, "The cycle tells no story per se; it seeks rather to sustain a uniform mood with as much variety as the terms of this mood permit, with an occasional flash of light through the black cloud... if a poem is 'good' there is more than one way of musicalizing it.

Games, by Ian Wilson, is a thirty-minute song cycle on texts by Vasko Popa (1922–1991), one of Serbia's (formerly Yugoslavia) greatest poets. Popa fought as a Partisan during World War II and spent time imprisoned in a German concentration camp. Long after the war ended, Popa's poem cycle Games was published in 1965 as part of his collection "Unrest-Field." Ian Wilson's song cycle, premiered in 2004, reflects on these poems, to which he felt inspired to set to music. Wilson writes:

To me, these surrealist texts, superficially about strange and uncomfortable games, are very likely a way of processing and reflecting on his war-time experiences.

The projected photographs by media artist Piet Wessing (Essen, Germany) provide a stage setting for the songs. In his collection "Inferno", Wessing explores the fascination with scenes of horror that has been one feature of Western art since the MIddle Ages. His work features collage techniques similar to the sampling techniques of modern music, using images from historical paintings, film scenes, and press and documentary photography.

Piet Wessing and composer Ian Wilson will be attending the concert. A production of the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen with the support of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.

Friday, September 11, 2015, 8:00 pm
Concert Hall, Music Department, Hochschule für Künste Bremen
Dechanatstraße 13-15, 28195 Bremen

Free admission

Jacob a Labano fugiens
(Johann) Simon Mayr (1763 – 1845)
Conducted by: Franz Hauk

The long-awaited recording of Simon Mayr's Jacob a Labano fugiens was released in February 2015. Mayr's highly operatic oratorio tells the story of the biblical patriarch Jacob (Julie Comparini) and his wives Leah (Andrea Lauren Brown) and Rachel (Gunhild Lang-Alsvik), who are forced to flee from Jacob's father-in-law, Laban (Siri Thornhill). Leah, the peacemaker, tries to stay optimistic while Rachel's loyalties waver between her husband and her father. Jacob, caught in a tactically and emotionally unwinnable situation, must prepare himself for the approaching conflict with his persecutor.

Jacob a Labano fugiens was Mayr's first oratorio. It was composed for the musicians of the Ospedale di Mendicanti in Venice and first performed there in 1791. Franz Hauk is Mayr's leading interpreter and "discoverer" and has performed many of his works for the first time in modern years.

Jacob a Labano fugiens is available on CD at all classical record stores and online shops, at the Naxos web site, or in digital download form from iTunes.

Rebels and Revolution 2nd Musikfilmfestival Bremen

This January, the Musikfilmfestival Bremen presents ten films about musicians who use music as a vehicle for political change and resistance, as well as those who revolutionized their own genres.

With the use of noise, silence, visual art, everyday objects and chance elements in his compositions, John Cage (JOURNEYS IN SOUND) not only expanded the boundaries of what is considered "classical music", but the fundamental definition of "music" itself. His influence can be seen in Kimmo Pohjonen's groundbreaking accordeon playing (SOUNDBREAKER), Björk's undefinable mix of pop sound and multimedia nature film (BIOPHILIA) or Lisa Gerrards subtle film music revolution (SANCTUARY). Political movements can be supported, inflamed or even started by a rebellious musician, exemplified here by Mercedes Sosa (THE VOICE OF LATIN AMERICA) and Kathleen Hanna (THE PUNK SINGER). Or a work of music can be re-interpreted in support of revolutions worldwide (FOLLOWING THE NINTH). Or a child can learn music in order to rebel against parental secrecy and control (FINN UND DIE MAGIE DER MUSIK). Even films about music can be revolutionary, as seen in the expressionistic fantasy world of ORLACS HÄNDE or the experimentally allegorical interpretation of the life of Franz Liszt in LISZTOMANIA.

Featuring live performances and silent film accompaniment by Julie Comparini (voice), Ezzat Nashashibi (piano), Isabel Lipthay (voice, interview), Hans-Christoph Hartmann (saxophone), Christian Meyer (piano, percussion) and violin students of Matthias Fooken from the music school "Casa della Musica".

2nd Musikfilmfestival Bremen
January 22 - 28, 2015
City46 - Kommunalkino Bremen
Birkenstraße 1, 28195 Bremen

Julie Comparini and Alina Rotaru, curators
Karl-Heinz Schmid, City46

Complete schedule available online at the MFF web site or City46.

Johann Frederick Lampe's comedic opera The Dragon of Wantley (our version: Der Drache von Schrobenhausen) played to a full house and was a rousing success at the 2014 Tage der Barockmusik in Schrobenhausen. In addition to great print reviews (not reprinted here for copyright reasons), we were featured in two radio and TV programs. Here's one, from the Kulturkanal Ingolstadt.

The Bremer Arbeitnehmerkammer is gearing up to continue their wonderful work in a newly-renovated performance space! The "new" hall will re-open on June 14th with a fresh look, better acoustics, and a very special concert: settings of texts by Bertolt Brecht, performed by singers Julie Comparini, Stefanie Golisch and Evelyn Gramel, arranged and accompanied by the Bremer Kaffeehaus-Orchester, and moderated by Peter Schenk.

Saturday, June 14th, 2014, 8:00 pm Kultursaal der Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen, Bürgerstraße 1, 28195 Bremen Tickets: € 15 / € 12 reduced Ticket service: Tel. 0421 / 3630 1987

Love and longing, passion and pain are, if not the oldest, certainly the most fundamental emotions in all of human art and expression. Julie Comparini and Ensemble La Ninfea present a fiery and temperamental concert of seventeenthth-century Italian cantatas and instrumental music.

Ensemble La Ninfea specializes in chamber music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly modern discoveries of unjustly forgotten works and composers. The ensemble and its individual members have received multiple prizes and awards as is celebrated by critics and audience for its virtuosity and depth of expression.

Julie Comparini, contralto

Ensemble La Ninfea: Barbara Heindlmeier, recorder; Christian Heim, recorder and viola da gamba; Marthe Perl, viola da gamba; Simon Linné, lutes; Alina Rotaru, harpsichord

Saturday, November 9th, 2013, 7:30 pm Rathaus, Mühlenstraße 2-4, Ganderkesee, Germany

2013 is not only Richard Wagner's 200th birthday, but the centennial birthday of... René Leibowitz! Better-known (if at all) as a conductor than as a composer, Leibowitz was a student of Maurice Ravel and Anton Webern and went on to write an impressive collection of works in a wide range of styles and instrumentations.

Ensemble aisthesis and the Schola Heidelberg, under the direction of Walter Nußbaum, have recently released a new double CD of Leibowitz's chamber works, available in both a downloadable and CD version.

Julie Comparini is featured as soloist in "Explanation of Metaphors" for Sprechgesang, harp, two pianos and percussion. See the "Audio" section for a sample!

According to the Gallup Engement-Index Germany, only 13 percent of German employees identify with the company they work for. The majority - 66 percent - just do their job. 21 percent feel no emotional connection to their workplace at all. Meanwhile, creative consultants are writing specially tailored company songs to boost employee morale. Will it help?

Thomas Ebermann, author of the musical "Firmenhymnenhandel", labor activist Frank Teichmüller and other guests discuss musical strategies of corporate identity with Peter Schenk from the Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen.

Musical and visual accompaniment: Schorsch Kamerun, Lisa Politt, Harry Rowohlt, Rocko Schamoni, "Tocotronic" singer Dirk von Lowtzow and others present their take on "corporate commercials", while Willy Schwarz and Julie Comparini of "Willy's Wunderbare World of Werbung" take us on a tour of 1950's and 60's American corporate advertising.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 7:30 pm Schwankhalle, Buntentorsteinweg 112, 28201 Bremen Free admission

This Christmas season, Julie Comparini will appear in five concerts with L'Orfeo Barockorchester, one of Austria's leading period intrument orchestras: J. S. Bach's Mass in B-Minor in Graz and Vienna and Christmas Oratorio in Salzburg and Ried/Innkreis.

Previous projects with L'Orfeo include Händel's Brockes-Passion at the Händel-Festspielen in Halle in 2012 and Orpheus, oder die wunderbare Beständigkeit der Liebe at the donauFestwochen in 2010.

On the second Sunday of every month, music lovers have the opportunity to hear a cantata by J. S. Bach, performed on period instruments, during the church services at the Kirche Unser Lieben Frauen in Bremen. As in Bach's time, each cantata is performed on the Sunday and in the liturgical context for which it was written. As of June 2012, we have performed more than 85 of Bach's 200 church cantatas and the project is still going strong.

Upcoming cantatas: (unless otherwise noted, at 10:30 am in the Kirche Unser Lieben Frauen, 28195 Bremen)

July 8th, 2012 um 12:00: BWV 75, "Die Elenden sollen alle essen" August 12, 2012: BWV 46, "Schauet doch und sehet" October 14, 2012: BWV 48, "Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen" November 11, 2012: BWV 52, "Falsche Welt, ich trau dir nicht"

Laudate-Cantate is a collaborative project, made possible by the work of many individuals and organisations. The church of Unser Lieben Frauen and the Stiftung Laudate-Cantate provide the structural and financial basis. Most of the vocal and instrumental soloists studied in the excellent Early Music department of the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen. The orchestra musicians, most of whom are amateurs, have nevertheless achieved a professional standard thanks to their dedication to this repertoire and the intensive preparation and coaching with their professional concertmaster. Individual donations ensure the continuing success of the project.

For more information or to support Laudate-Cantate, click here.

This spring marks the release of a new CD featuring Julie Comparini singing music from Baroque and Elizabethan theaters. It is available immediately, includes rarely heard gems or new takes on popular repertoire and makes a great addition to your classical or early music CD collection. Enjoy!

Some Strange Felicity

Ensemble Sospiri Ardenti

Julie Comparini, mezzo-soprano
Ellen Delahanty, soprano and recorder
Jurgen Debruyn, lute and archlute
Geert Van Gele, recorder and harpsichord

Kattenberg Recordings KA005
Buy here

Orpheus, oder die wunderbare Beständigkeit der Liebe By Georg Philipp Telemann

"The ancient legend of Orpheus, son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope, as preserved in Ovid's Metamorphoses, can justly be termed the mother of all opera plots..." — Telemann's brilliant and colorful adaptation of the Orpheus myth is a rare jewel from Hamburg's 18th-century Gänsemarkt theater.

Dorothee Mields, Orasia
Markus Volpert, Orpheus
Ulrike Hofbauer, Eurydice
Christian Zenker, Eurimedes
Barbara Kraus, Ismene
Reinhard Mayr, Pluto
Marelieze Gerber, Cephisa
Julie Comparini, Ascalax

L'Orfeo Barockorchester
Directed by Michi Gaigg

Sony Music/deutsche harmonia mundi.