Mittendrin – At the Heart of the Orchestra

Berlin, May 2015 Iván Fischer, Konzerthaus Orchestra

I have spent much of my life sitting in orchestras and well understand that a concert sounds very different from the ‘inside’ than it does from the ‘outside’ as the audience hears it. But why not let the audience discover what music sounds like it for us musicians on the ‘inside’? All kudos to Maestro Iván Fischer and his Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin for this great idea – to sit ‘Mittendrin’, meaning ‘right in the middle’, of the orchestra during a concert.

It was my first taste of Mittendrin and we had a great day filming in the beautiful Konzerthaus in Berlin as the orchestra rehearsed and then performed Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’. My seat for the concert was next to a desk of first violins which gave me a very different perspective on the piece and was a whole new acoustic journey. It was also wonderful to watch the audience’s very visible reaction as they sat among the musicians and it was good to see that the audience was made up of all ages.

But, as my wonderful cameraman Henning said during the filming of this episode, the Mittendrin concept is easy to convey visually but it’s very difficult to capture the true audio experience. For that, you really have to be there to hear with your own ears. Our editor Kevin, who had not been present at the shoot, was so impressed at what he saw in the editing studio that he has booked tickets for his family for the next Mittendrin concert. What a great result! I really do think this is a fantastic concept and hope you have the chance to go try it for yourselves. Let us know if so!