A chance meeting one sunny winter day in Santa Catalina in late 2005 between Christian Auer, horn player for the German Symphony Orchestra (DSO), and Tina Horne, Vice President of Sa Taronja at the time, was the first step in the creation of the series Serenata Berlin.
Sa Taronja is a cultural association that brings together art and culture lovers of all nationalities in the south west of Majorca. Based in the Finca Ca'n Burgos, a small, independent cultural centre that was once a chicken farm, Sa Taronja now has a full program of activities all year round, including gallery exhibitions, theatre, popular music, jazz, performance, new media, and evening classes. Classical concerts were few and far between, and most music lovers had to go to Palma if they wanted to enjoy a top quality program. All this changed when the idea for Serenata Berlin was born.
It was Christian who came up with the title Serenata Berlin, combining sensual southern traditions with the image of northern Europe. He was seduced by the beautiful weather, the scenery, the cuisine, and the laid-back life he found in Mallorca. He knew his hard-working, pale, stressed colleagues in the orchestra would also like a little sunshine in their lives. So the idea was born: a free holiday on the island, all expenses paid, in return for a concert.
In 2006, with sponsors like Air Berlin, Estudio D4, Profi Konzept, Auto Gerd, the Ayuntamiento of Andratx, Santa Catarina and the Xaloc restaurant of San Telmo, the costs were covered and the series took off. Six concerts between April and November were played to a full theatre. The musicians, who arrived at the ex chicken farm looking a little skeptical, found that the acoustics were fantastic, the audience enthusiastic, and the atmosphere was magic. Warm summer nights with the scent of jasmine and orange blossom on the air, the windows of the theatre wide open, glorious music pouring through, days on the beach or in the mountains…. Very soon, there was a line-up of musicians begging to take their turn.
In the beginning and now, in year ten, 2015, the enthusiasm has not diminished. Organised now by violinist Kamila Glass, a veteran of the series, the members of the DSO, all young, bright, prizewinning musicians, juggle their schedules to make room to come to Sa Taronja. Usually a different group comes each time. They know that they will eat well (they have fallen in love with our restaurant Limón y Chelo), play hard, make friends and relax, and go home with many good memories. And know that they leave wonderful memories for those who attend the concerts, for whom Serenata Berlin has become one of the good things that happen in Andratx. Slowly, new people are coming to the concerts; one of Sa Taronja's goals is to create new audiences, to entice young people away from their digital games, and bring older ones out of the confines of their houses to share the richness of the classical repertoire. We have a flexible pricing policy and children, students, pensioners, musicians, and those who cannot afford regular concert prices know that they are always welcome at the Sa Taronja theatre, because culture is made to be shared: the members and friends of the DSO come and share their talents with us, and we share with the community. The long term goal of the Serenata Berlin series is to find enough serious sponsors to be able to offer the concerts free to all; a goal that gets a little nearer each year..
In 2007 and 2008 new sponsors like Hasso Rent-a-Car and wine makers Macià Batle joined the list of businesses that support this splendid cultural offering, and we began to offer occasional concerts in other parts of the island. To date the chamber ensembles of Serenata Berlin have played in Son Servera, Felanitx, Santa Maria, Valldemossa, and the Ayuntamiento de Andratx as well as at Sa Taronja, and we are delighted to organise a concert anywhere on the island if it fits the dates when the orchestra is visiting.
A couple of years ago, despite Sa Taronja's finances being, as usual, in a precarious state, we were made an offer we couldn't refuse by Faust Fine Pianos. We now have a very good Bechstein piano which we are still paying for..... by "selling" (for 88 € each) its keys one by one to music lovers, who finance our piano and enjoy free piano concerts all year. This has meant a greatly expanded repertoire for the chamber orchestras.
Times are harder now than a few years ago, and our sponsors themselves are feeling the pinch. It is more difficult to find patrons who can afford to offer us the free services that have helped so much in the past. So now Sa Taronja is looking for new benefactors, private and public, to help make this series a permanent event in the Majorcan cultural calendar. There is still a long way to go in ensuring the future of this exceptional musical series. The pleasantest way of supporting SERENATA BERLIN is to come to the concerts, joining the thousands of music lovers who have been held spellbound on the benches of our little theatre.
In 2016 we welcome the eleventh season of great music. We are looking forward to a scintillating programme again, featuring some extraordinary talents playing some of the most beautiful music in the world.
President of SA TARONJA
Vice president of SA TARONJA