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The Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra in Tehran


By Syma Sayyah and Paul Sanford, Tehran


For the first time in years a foreign orchestra played in Tehran this week and they received a rapturous welcome.  After a visit to Germany last year by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, the Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra played a concert in the Vahdat hall.   Although it was not well publicized, we were lucky to get some good seats.



There was a great deal of press interest in this event, and the hall was full.  Due to an oversight, the program notes did not contain the details of the pieces that were to be played, so for most people it was a mystery.   The audience were young and old and from all backgrounds, and it just showed the immense thirst for good live classical music in Tehran.  The orchestra, about 60 in numbers, were augmented by six members of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and there were about ten ladies.   The conductor was Hermann Baeumer.


Conductor, Hermann Baeumer


The first piece, not unnaturally for a German orchestra, was Beethoven's Leonora Overture number 3.  The overture was played with great spirit and vigor, although the background noise of clicking cameras detracted a little from the performance.



Then came the soloist, a young cellist, Julian Steckel.  We knew that the next piece would be a cello concerto but which one would it be? Dvorak, Haydn, Barber?   The cellist paused.  Someone’s mobile rang briefly.  Then the first note - Elgar!    Surreally, (as many things are in Tehran) the music of the Malverns was played, with great passion, under the watchful portraits of the leaders.  The audience applauded loudly after each movement and there was an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end.


Cellist, Julian Steckel


After the interval, the third piece was the lush and romantic Brahms Symphony number 4, played beautifully.  The audience greeted this with rapturous applause, too, and were rewarded by the encore, Hungarian Dances by Brahms.



The following night, we were privileged to be invited by our dear friend Sunil to see the orchestra in a concert at the Aseman hall in Zafaranieh, where they performed the same program to an invited audience. The same pieces were performed but what a luxury to enjoy great music.   It was the first time we had been to this cultural center but we are sure to go there again soon.



It was so wonderful to have a foreign professional orchestra here.  They only had time to do two concerts in Iran, but it is a start.   Much hard work went on to get the orchestra to Tehran and to play these two concerts and on behalf of all those who had the pleasure to enjoy either of the two concerts would like to can only thank the many people who made this possible, including Dr Ahmadi and Martin among many, and we hope that their efforts and successful results of their hard work will encourage others to invite other orchestras to come to perform here soon.


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