Traveling with the Bundesjugendorchester by Riley Mazey

This summer I have had the opportunity live and work like a local in Germany. My adventure started in Berlin where I studied at the Carl Duisberg Langauge Center. After almost two months of studying and soaking up life in Berlin, I started an internship working with the German Music Council. This experience has offered a unique internship experience and insight into German business culture. Every week this month I have worked on a different project within the Music Council.
For my first project, I had the unforgettable experience of traveling with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany (Bundesjugendorchester). I was able to spend two weeks on tour with the orchestra. For this project, we collaborated with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. We had three concerts throughout Germany, but before starting the tour we stayed at a music academy in Rendsburg for a week. During this time the orchestra rehearsed and the team worked diligently to ensure the tour would go smoothly. It was truly exciting during the first week to have the chance to make new friends and learn more about German and Ukrainian culture. I shared my meals and free time with the musicians and was able to practice speaking German. The German musicians exposed me to things like German food, games, and phrases and the Ukrainian musicians would teach me Ukrainian words, traditional dances, and tell me about their country. It was an especially meaningful experience because of the current war in Ukraine.
The Orchestra played pieces by Beethoven, Dvorak, and Grazyna. Our first concert was on July 3rd at the Berlin Philharmonie. The next day we performed at the State Opera of Hannover. The final concert was at the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne. By the end of the tour, I had formed irreplaceable friendships with people from the orchestras and staff. It was difficult to leave after two weeks of becoming so familiar with these musicians and their cultures. During these two weeks, I learned so much about what goes into managing such a largescale project, German and Ukrainian culture, and myself. My time with the orchestra was truly unforgettable and was a life and work experience I couldn’t have had anywhere else.

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