Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich
The Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich comes with a double musical directorship: Mary Ellen Kitchens and Alexander Strauch lead the classical orchestra as two conductors who could not be more different. But it is precisely these contrasts that make the Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich so interesting and varied, because the different styles of the two conductors are unmistakeable, both in their choice of pieces and in their implementation. The repertoire has already grown to more than 30 pieces and includes well-known anthems such as “Rise like a Phoenix” as well as pieces by female composers who particularly Mary Ellen Kitchens loves to promote. They are performed by an orchestra that has grown to almost 30 members and with a great enthousiasm about performing together. Since its foundation, the Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich has already presented itself to the public and has thrilled the audience with two evening-filling concerts as well as on other occasions, such as the “Bavarious Voices” concert at the Gasteig or the first Rainbow Concerto, together with an ensemble from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich will take part in the opening ceremony, and will perform Richard Wagner's “Homage March” for King Ludwig II during their own slot at the festival. Other pieces refer to homoerotic motifs of the ancient Greek myths, and will let Munich shine as the “Athens on the river Isar”, as envisioned by the Bavarian kings in the 19th century: the overture to Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo”, which premiered in Munich, now with a new ending, “Memories of Patroclus” by the Belgian Lodewijk Mortelmans (Patroklos is the lover of Achill in Homer’s Iliad) and the world premiere of “Furies ...! Interlude for Orchestra” by Dorothea Hofmann from Munich.
“The Groove Sistaz” – now the name of the band initially known as Various Sounds Big Band – was born after many creative approaches. And it is more than suitable, because the ensemble consists exclusively of women. Under the conductorship of Daniela Steidle, 19 ladies play flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tenor horn, tenor and alto saxophone, electric bass, drums and recorder – although the latter is not necessarily part of a big band’s standard setup. The broad repertoire containing pieces from swing to pop to latin are all arranged by Daniela Steidle. The band fully lives up to its name on stage as well: you can immediately recognise the fun these colourful, humorous and talented “Sistaz” are having when performing their music, for example at fabulous gigs during Munich Pride 2017 or at the “Bavarious Voices” concert in October 2016. The Groove Sistaz have already decided that the Big Band will continue to exist and to perform together after Various Voices 2018. Together with the Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich and the queer choirs, the Big Band will musically entertain the LGBTI* community as well as the general public in Munich and hopefully many other places.
It is a tradition that a temporary festival orchestra is founded specially for Various Voices. The orchestra will consist of musicians from the Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich as well as other attendees of Various Voices 2018, who will for instance participate in the festival with their choirs, and who have experience in classical orchestras. Conducted by Mary Ellen Kitchens, the Festival Orchestra will perform as a large symphony orchestra on several occasions during the four days. It has rehearsed works by Leonard Bernstein, Franz Schubert and Ethel Smyth, as well as by the young Munich composer Verena Marisa.