Music-Lover with a Mission

Posted: May 5, 2014 in Music
Tags: , , , ,

My Twitter pal @orchestrasfan has been profiled in the Frankfurter Neue Presse:

Frankfurt’s Ulrike Schmid has tweeted her way into classical music.  Along the way, she has become such an enthusiastic orchestra fan that she has even set up her couch in the concert hall.

 

Ulrike at the Old Opera House

Ulrike Schmid saves a seat for her next guest in the Old Opera House. She herself is a sort of regular guest in the beautiful hall. Photo: Christes

West End.  She didn’t get it from her parents.  Ulrike Schmid, adoptive Frankfurter and freelance PR-consultant, discovered classical music for the first time in adulthood.  She’s fallen in love all the more intensely, especially with the sound of symphony orchestras.  Her enthusiasm is so great that she wants to share it with the whole world.  So Ulrike Schmid even takes strangers with her into the concert hall.

In a program called “Concert Couch”, she tries to introduce people who have almost no impression of classical music to the works of Bach, Brahms, or Berlioz.  As part of the process, she relies on her second great passion:  the Internet.  Because she doesn’t take just any stranger to the concert.  The prerequisite:  her companion must maintain a blog, just like she does.  It can be a blog about almost anything other than classical music.

“But my companions must write about their concert experiences afterward,” Schmid asserts.  That’s how it came to pass, that the discussion on Björn Habegger’s totally automotive-focused webpage or Frank Baade’s football blog unexpectedly turned to classical music and the pros and cons of going to a concert.  “So, together, we reach people who otherwise would not come in contact with music,” Schmid explains her motivation.

Ulrike Schmid invests multiple hours per week in her not-totally-private passion.  Along the way, she’s made a name for herself on the Internet as “Orchestrasfan” (www.orchestrasfan.de).

In this way, Ulrike Schmid is no ordinary music enthusiast.  Her favorite is the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.  She follows its activities with extra intensity, announcing them on her blog (which she operates as “Orchestrasfan”), and distributes news from the ensemble via Twitter.  She also occasionally interviews members of the orchestra, and answers the ever-newsworthy question of proper concert attire.  “To make it easier for other women, I post photos of myself in the concert outfit on the site.”

As “Orchestrasfan”, Schmid has even made it onto the radio.  In each “Frankfurt Radio Symphony Rendezvous” broadcast, she asks the orchestra rather basic questions.

More than 350 people follow the music enthusiast on Twitter, and she interacts with almost three dozen real or virtual acquaintances about music, musicians, or repertoire on a daily basis.  And it doesn’t bother the fan base that Schmid’s commentary isn’t always completely neutral:  with a wink, she lets it slip that the local Symphony Orchestra has been described as the best in the world.

Since the beginning of the month, the 45-year-old has been operating with restraint, because she’s now also doing professional PR for the Frankfurt Radio Symphony.  She has gone back to the Concert Couch, though.  This time, she was joined by the Frankfurt blogger Antje Blume-Grabow; the two women listened in on the Frankfurt Opera House and Museum’s Orchestra.

Schmid’s challenge is to seek out the appropriate guests and then find the concerts, take care of the tickets at the venues, and promote the guests on her blog.  You can practically hear how much she enjoys music.  Now and then even orchestras and concert halls contact her and offer tickets for her and her guest on the couch.

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