“The wild animals in the Schönbrunn Zoo close their eyes, too: lions, donkey, flea. Dreams of children they’ll on the morrow see. When they take a walk in Schönbrunn”. (Lyrics to the melody from Au Clair de la Lune).
In early December 2015, the Wiener Symphoniker performed a classic of the repertoire for children and young people: Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals.
Markus Meyer, actor and member of the ensemble of the Wiener Burgtheater, was also on the Konzerthaus stage for this “great zoological fantasy”, as the subtitle puts it, and played the comical ape who acts as the master of ceremonies. His recital of the comedian Loriot’s well-known text really helped bring director Markus Kupferblums’s excellent production to life.
Loriot’s pointed descriptions were framed by a story set in the Schönbrunn Zoo. This led to a unique music educational project in the Schönbrunn Zoo. Some of the classes that had attended our school concert met up with two musicians of the Wiener Symphoniker at workshops in the elephant enclosure and together performed really wild music in the truest sense of the word. To round this off, a zookeeper took the children on a special tour through the zoo, visiting the animals that appear in the Carnival of the Animals.
At the concert, the children were given the chance to deepen their experiences: they depicted a whole range of animals and imitated the sounds they make. They joined in the singing and a further highlight was undoubtedly the moment when the children made the fish they had constructed dance to the music of the Aquarium movement.
The project, especially the school concert conducted by Lahav Shani in the Wiener Konzerthaus, was such a great success that, in September 2016, Young Symphony released its first CD on the Wiener Symphoniker’s own label. The help of numerous supporters on the crowd-funding platform Startnext made the production of the CD possible. Willi Weitzel, the well-known German reporter for children and young people wrote new, wildly entertaining texts for the CD.
“The concert was great. I was really hooked. Markus Meyer, in particular, was super. The young director was also very nice. The didactic preparation together with the programme was very professional and well prepared. Thank you!”
Stephanie Hechtl from the VS Rothenburgstraße
“My children and I were so thrilled! We liked it so much! It was a great pleasure for us! All in all, a great opportunity for us (in the zoo, too!), which we really enjoyed!”
Monika Seidl, VS Erdbergstraße, 1030 Vienna
"The concert was great! Kids, parents and teachers (including me) enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for this opportunity."
Ms Mabel Garcia, PYP Music Teacher, Vienna International School
“The concert was once again a very special experience for the children. Both the educational activities and the teaching notes were very helpful and informative. [...] The children were completely entranced. [...] After the concert, they couldn’t stop asking me when we would go to the next concert! [...] I can only emphasise, again, how grateful I am that our children had the chance to experience a concert in this way and take part in the city’s cultural life. It is also an incredible mark of your respect that the children could get to know not only a phenomenal orchestra, but also a rising star and exceptional musician (Shani) during the concert! I want to express my warm thanks for this!”
Yasmine Zwiauer, GTVS Halirschgasse, 1170 Vienna