Archive by Author

An Evening of Royal Song – The Queen’s Six

British flair from Windsor Castle in Munich. The Queen’s Six Concert at the Theatinerkirche last Friday was the crowning finale of the British Ensemble’s successful Germany Tour. Oxford Alumni Society Members and their guests were delighted to be there. From the front rows of a spectacularly crowded church, we could fully engage in a both captivating and sophisticated musical performance. The repertoire ranged from Renaissance polyphony to folk songs – each piece with its individual style and yet always impeccably in tune. The pieces were interspersed with announcements giving enlightening background as to the history of the Ensemble and the chosen tunes. Each Q6 member had a say – all in perfect German and perfect British humour. The audience was delighted.

The concert ended with enthusiastic applause and long queues to sign up for ordering the Ensemble’s latest album. The evening was however long not finished. It was our honour to meet the Ensemble for a drinks reception and to jointly celebrate the spectacular end to their 2015 tour. Quite a few beers were drunk that night, but we surely remember the Q6 promise to be back in 2016.

Christmas Dinner 2014

This was undoubtedly one our most British Christmas Dinners to date. Over 90 Oxonians gathered at the Kaufmanns-Casino on 8th December for the annual Christmas Dinner of the Oxford Alumni Society in Munich. After the drinks reception, happy reunions and the first lively discussions, the doors were opened onto the beautifully decorated dinner room, which indeed resembled more a festive College Hall at Christmas time than a Bavarian restaurant or club.  

This year, we were lucky to have the British concert pianist Bonny Palm with us, who played some wonderful English Christmas songs and eventually invited everybody to sing along.  The blend of Christmas carols, Christmas crackers and silly crowns was reminiscent for some of their time at Oxford, when the last essays were just about to be handed in, the last bars to be “drunk dry” and the bags to be packed for the Christmas break ahead. Everybody at the dinner for sure started getting into the mood for Christmas and we joyfully rounded off the evening at the bar with the mandatory port and mince pies.

As one of our members from England said: “I actually felt a little bit homesick in this pre-Christmas time. But this evening, I really felt like I was at home.”

Oxford Goes Oktoberfest 2013

Fifth Season in Munich: the Oktoberfest is not just one of the largest festivals in the world but also one of the biggest events in the Bavarian social calendar. Of course, the Oxford University Alumni Society – Munich Branch did not miss out!

30 Alumni held up the Oxonian flag in one of the most traditional beer tents at Oktoberfest. While some just enjoyed the great variety of typical Bavarian dishes, others already climbed up the benches to revive their Oxford dancing skills blended with the obligatory “Schunkeln” to the sound of German brass music. Others still even managed to fit in some rides on the most thrilling Wiesn roller coasters before returning back to their beers.

The event was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends but also to meet plenty of new fellow Alumni, some of which travelled long distances from London and Oxford to attend this unique and fun-filled event.

Gallery Tour through Schwabing

A secretive courtyard in the heart of Schwabing was the rendezvous of 30 OUS Munich members, who met up on May 2nd, 2013 for an exclusive guided tour through some of the most delightful galleries ofMunich’s thriving art district.

Dr. Florentine Rosemeyer, a well-known German art expert, guided us through hand-picked galleries and fascinated the group with her insights and explanations.

We started off at Barbara Gross Galerie – one of the most relevant platforms for female artists in Europe– and moved from one highlight to the next when visiting the galleries De Martino, Wittenbrink and Barbara Ruetz – all exhibiting upcoming and established artist from all around the world.

A highlight for everyone were the paintings of the contemporary Finnish artist Petri Niemelä with their aesthetically meaningful depiction of the human being in the modern world. Niemelä strips his protagonists of all social attributes to represent them in their pure humanity, just by themselves or “itsekseen” as he calls it.

Who would have thought that, hidden in backyards of downtownMunich, the world of art is happening!

Yet not only the artworks held the attention of our group. Also Florentine’s invaluable insider’s insights into the world of contemporary art, current artistic trends and what happens behind the scenes in the art business raised great interest. There was much to be learned about art trading, art prices and the journey upcoming artists have to make on their way to fame.

The tour ended with drinks and dinner in one of Munich`s stylish restaurants, La Baracca, where the fellow Oxonians had time to meet and catch up.

Splendours of the BSB (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München)

Thirteen members of OUS Munich had the chance to explore this season’s cultural highlight at the Hypo Cultural Foundation, “Magnificent Manuscripts – Treasures of Book Illumination from 780 through 1180”. The exhibition, held under the patronage of Federal President Joachim Gauck, shows 75 of the most precious examples of German book illumination from the Carolingian, Ottonian and Romanesque eras.

Not only were the visitors amazed by the beauty of the works of art. The guided tour by OUS Munich member Dr. Bettina Wagner (Library Director at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München) was also truly enlightening, giving deep insights into these thousand-year-old testimonies to our cultural heritage.

Dinner and drinks then allowed the group to wake up to the present again and to spend some more time discussing both past and present facets of the written word and the arts.

OUS Munich – Oxonian World Premiere – Theatinerkirche

After Friedrich Nietzsche famously proclaimed the death of God back in the 1880s, can there be Sacred Music today? The Theatinerkirche München has commissioned the award winning Oxford Composer Alexander Campkin (St Catherine’s College 2002) to tackle the question.

Earlier this month (October 13-14th) saw the long-awaited World Premiere of Alexander Campkin’s new mass “Missa Magister Bone” and OUS Munich was delighted to co-host this unique event at the Theatinerkirche. Prior to the World Premiere on Sunday, OUS Munich Members had the opportunity to join for an exclusive soirée, where the opus was presented to an audience for the first time. The artist’s talk, which was chaired by P. Robert Mehlhart (Director of Music at Theatinerkirche – Blackfriars 2006) and Annemarie Grandke (Club Secretary OUS Munich – New College 2004) was most enlightening and offered plenty of space for captivating teasers of the new piece. After that, over 20 Oxonians joined Alexander Campkin and the brothers of Theatinerkirche at the Pfälzer Weinstube for a congenial evening and some further musical debate.

The World Premiere on Sunday, October 14th then indeed surpassed all expectations. As truly moving as powerful in effect, “Missa Magister Bone” swept the audience off their feet. An overwhelming success for all those involved.

Campkin studied Music at the University of Oxford, where he was Choral Scholar, Assistant Organ Scholar, and conductor of the Oxford Chamber Choir and Arcadian Singers of Oxford University.

The Soirée with Alexander Campkin was recorded by the Bayerischer Rundfunk and will be broadcast on November 5th at Bayern 2 (9pm CET). Download the podcast.