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Oxford Alpine Excursion

A few days after the last Oktoberfest songs had been sung and the last tankards of beer had been emptied, the Oxford Society Munich gathered for a slightly more sober and sporty activity, to burn those calories from the previous weeks. On 13th October around about 20 Oxonians braved a7amstart on a Saturday to hike up to the Fockenstein, one ofMunich’s Hausberge (“home mountains”) at the nearby Tegernsee (“LakeTegern”). Despite a cold and rainy morning we were motivated by our secretary’s rally cry “that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear”. Our courage was rewarded by a sudden change of weather that provided us on a blue-sky afternoon and a beautiful view over the Bavarian landscape from the 1564m high peak. After our uphill travails all the way from the lake (800m altitude) to the peak, we were greeted by the first 30cm of snow of the season, and an entertaining downhill descended that involved most of the group sledging down the mountain on their snow-soaked bottoms. Who said sledging was only for kids? In addition, Oxonians would not be Oxonians if the physical part of the day wasn’t topped off by some sort of banterous drinking activity. So on our way down we ran into an unexpected party by Radio Charivari, had free beer at the mountain hut “Aueralm” and were greeted by the generous hospitality of our committee member Leonie, who invited us for coffee and home-made cake to her parents house by the lake. Leonie, we really appreciated and enjoyed your family’s generosity. Overall, the Alpine Excursion was a fantastic day with many highlights and many of the qualities that madeOxfordspecial: motivation to make things happen, courage to overcome an initial challenge, and the esprit de corps of the dark blues. We are looking forward to our next event in the outdoors.

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.

Christmas Dinner 2012

To celebrate the end of an eventful Oxonian year, the Munich branch of the Oxford Society again hosted its annual Christmas dinner. Due to the high level of interest in the year before, the committee opted for a much larger venue with fabulous views of the Munich State Opera House. The attendance of over 90 Oxonians exceeded all expectations. Nonetheless our members enjoyed the very cozy atmosphere of the wood-paneled rooms of the Spatenhaus on this snowy winter day.

Apart from a delicious 3-course formal-hall style Christmas menu with plenty of wine, there were a number of other highlights for those who traversed the snow blizzard to attend this fine occasion. The main highlight of the evening was the presence of the new British Consul-General Paul Heardman, who gave a humorous review of the year 2012 from a British-German perspective. He emphasized the Olympic Games, the Diamond Jubilee and Kate’s Royal Baby as the events that will be remembered on both sides of the channel. Furthermore the president of the OUS in Munich, Marco Janezic (SEH, 1989) provided a brief account of the early days of the Society, which had been dormant for a few years, and introduced his diligent new committee, now consisting of 11 members. His inspirational speech showed that Oxford’s influence and friendships are a life-time asset and extend far beyond life at the university.

If nothing else, the Christmas dinner at the Spatenhaus was a great occasion to meet old and new friends and exchange stories of the shared time in Oxford. One thing that we did notice though was the inexplicable absence of black-tie and port – two Oxford traditions that shall hopefully be reintroduced at the next dinner to complete the immersion into old times.

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.

Oktoberfest Outing 2012

About 30 Oxford Alumni donned their best Dirndl and Lederhosen outfits at this year’s highly popular “Oxford goes Oktoberfest” event at the traditional Armbrustschützenzelt. Thanks to an abundance of beer and good music, everyone was soon on their feet and dancing in true Oxford style on benches and tables.

Besides letting Oxonians enjoy the culinary and visual delights of the Wiesn, the event also offered the opportunity for some casual networking and long-overdue catch-ups. It goes without saying that our group was amongst the last to leave the tent at the end of a hugely entertaining evening.

We look forward to a fun-filled Michaelmas Term with more exciting events – most importantly our traditional Christmas Dinner to be held on December 10.

OUS Munich – Cultural Highlight in Munich

The OUS Munich branch recently kicked off a series of events in Munich with a guided tour of Thomas Ruff’s exhibition of his art work (painting and photography) in the Haus der Kunst. Demand for this event was strong and the 30 available spots were filled up quickly. The exhibition was the first comprehensive presentation of the works of Thomas Ruff (b. 1958) in more than ten years. It showed works that had made Ruff famous internationally in the 1980s, as well as some of his more recent paintings and photographs, which all stand out for their size and technique. The tour was guided by Florentine Rosemeyer from Rosemeyer Art Advisors in Munich, who gave inspiring insight into the artistic concepts and techniques used by Thomas Ruff.

The evening was concluded with a reception at the adjacent lounge bar, the Goldene Bar, to allow for networking and the reunion of former classmates.

This event was only the first of a series of others that are planned until mid-2013. Within the next months, The Oxford Society – Munich Branch invites to the following:

  • “Oxford goes Oktoberfest”
  • Oxford Mass & Concert: World Premier of new church mass composed by Oxonian composer Alexander Campkin
  • Christmas Dinner with high profile keynote speaker
  • 2 additional Speaker-Events with two top managers of listed German corporations
  • Guided tour through Munich Opera
  • Valentine’s Day Event

For dates and further information please contact