Whether you’re impatient for the big concert halls to reopen, or just curious and a bit intimidated by the formality of those venues, Classical Sundays are for you: take off your shoes and enjoy some high-quality concerts in a more relaxed setting.
It’s easy to label classical music as the most up-tight of art forms: Solemn performers dressed for a funeral quietly march on and off stage to regimented rounds of applause, and perform to a silent audience holding its breath for fear of inviting reproach for the slightest cough. At Classical Sundays you’ll find all the beauty of professional quality classical music freed from the stifling atmosphere of the concert hall, and in a low-tech space that is nevertheless sonically rich. Expect shoe-less performers and fold-up chairs, and a younger audience than at most classical concerts. Shasta Ellenbogen, the viola player and organiser, says she aims “to play music that can reach anyone, regardless of their cultural background or previous knowledge of classical music.” So far, Sundays have featured the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schönberg, and Dvořák, among many others. The event is as always held in Werkhalle Wiesenburg, a turn-of-the-century homeless shelter turned art studio in Wedding, a gorgeous building with crumbling red bricks and overhanging vines. While waiting for the show to start you can chill in the canal-side garden with a beer; or take a look around the room itself, which is dotted with paintings and sculptures by local artists. The €20 ticket price goes directly to the musicians and towards keeping the studio open. Each week they hire a new ensemble of pro-musicians (many of them graduates of Berlin’s Hans Eisler Institute) to perform a mixture of chamber music and solo pieces. Being one of the few places to hear classical music in the city at the moment, it’s worth booking a day or so in advance. For the time being they have limited the number of audience members to 30, ensuring proper social distancing. If this sounds up your street then you’re in luck, because post-lockdown they have increased the frequency of their events to once a week; and each week the programme is different, so you can come again and again without getting bored. The music starts at 8pm and doesn’t go on too late, so it’s perfect for those who need to work on Monday. On the other hand there’s usually some people who stick around for a post-show drink, and there are even spontaneous parties from time to time.
Classical Sundays Wiesenstr. 55, Wedding, Sun 20:00