Top orchestras honored by American trade body | Music | DW | 31.01.2014
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Top orchestras honored by American trade body

The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany has honored the Berlin and the New York Philharmonics with its Transatlantic Partnership Award.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra on stage (c) Getty

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra

For the first time, the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany honored two orchestras, the Berlin and New York Philharmonics, with its Transatlantic Partnership Award on Tuesday (29.01.2014).

"Through the universal language of music and mutual efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, they build bridges and tie continents together," the trade body's representatives said in a press statement.

The Berlin orchestra founded in 1882 has performed regularly in the function of German cultural ambassador in every prestigious US concert hall. Its achievements have been honored repeatedly with Grammy Awards since 1970.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra is among the world's oldest symphony orchestras. German conductors such as Walter Damrosch, the eminent Bruno Walter or, most recently, Kurt Masur (1991-2001) have each had stints at the renowned orchestra's podium.

Alan Gilbert (c) AP

Conductor Alan Gilbert

"I fully embrace the belief that music does have a power to speak in a universal language which spans borders, languages, and cultures," said Alan Gilbert. The current principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra went on to say that cultural organizations have many ways to act as cultural ambassadors and bring different people together, discussing the 'warmth and friendship' he has sensed while performing for various international audiences.

'Warmth and friendship'

"The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, on the one hand, and the Berlin Philharmonic, on the other, have a fixed and special place in the hearts of their respective cultures," German President Joachim Gauck said in his opening speech, in which he reflected on the deep symbolic value of the award: "The Transatlantic partnership - indeed, the friendship between our two countries - is not about minorities or fringe groups; it's at the heart of our cultures."

In reference to the heated discussions about NSA surveillance in Germany, the president continued, "If we know that, then we can also withstand and even overcome strains, like the ones that have emerged recently. I am confident this is possible even in times such as these: We will remain in dialogue and find our way back to each other."

The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany hit the mark with its award for the top orchestras from Berlin and New York, Gauck concluded, saying, "After all, it is especially important that something fascinates and excites us about our counterpart."

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