Maria Nauen talks about her life as a conductor, author and educator ahead of BICO anniversary concerts
As Beijingers know, Beijing offers some of the most spectacular cultural events in the world. Next month we will have another opportunity to witness the performances of a mainstay of Beijing’s arts and culture scene. The Beijing International Chamber Orchestra (BICO) will celebrate its 14th anniversary with two anniversary concerts on June 19 and 20 at the AC Embassy Hotel. The event will feature incredibly talented musicians performing masterpieces by Beethoven and Glinka, as well as contemporary compositions by BICO founder, conductor and artistic director Maria Nauen.
Chances are, if you’ve been in Beijing for awhile and been involved in the arts scene or charitable causes, the name Nauen, at least, is probably already familiar to you. Born to renowned Russian artists Liudmila Kartavaya and Nikolay Petrov, the multi-talented Maria Nauen was immersed in the exciting and glorious world of fine art, music and performance from the start. An accomplished violinist and songwriter with a formidable musical background, Nauen first arrived in China in 2003. She met her German husband while performing in Harbin, and both eventually returned to Beijing a few years later. Nauen’s first visit. They have since taken up residence in Beijing.
Nauen founded BICO in 2007 and has dedicated his life to community service through his work with the orchestra. BICO is a non-profit organization that aims to bring together Chinese and foreign amateur and professional musicians, with the aim of introducing classical music to audiences of different ages, backgrounds and musical tastes across China and in all of Asia. The Beijing International Chamber Orchestra is a true manifestation of Nauen’s passion for music, people, education and service, with the majority of BICO’s performances dedicated to supporting charities, fundraising and fundraising. funds and other non-profit organizations.
Nauen’s accomplishments are truly impressive. But of course, there is more to a person than an impressive resume. I wanted to get a feel for Maria Nauen as a person, so I spoke to her to find out a bit more about her life, her experiences as a musician and artist, her family, her motivation and what she finds most. rewarding. the work that is clearly so important to her.
I know your parents were artists. Are there other artists in your family? And what about your husband, is he also an artist?
“My husband? No, he’s actually the only person in the family who isn’t an artist! He works in a high-tech job, as a service engineer at an Austrian company, WFL Millturn Technologies. we got married, he is a strong supporter of art and music. As for the rest of my family, there are three generations of artists. My two grandmothers worked in the theater, the design, if you can use that word about that time [after World War II], sewing costumes for actors and actresses during stage performances. And my daughter is also an artist, who perhaps draws her artistic talent from her great-grandmothers!
So, do you think your daughter will be the next generation of artists in the family?
“Yes, Anastasia, my daughter, from early childhood was very talented. She began to learn music (violin and piano) from the age of four, as well as drawing, painting and sewing. So she was actually doing everything the previous two generations did professionally, but at the same time, and from just four years old. After graduating from the German Embassy School in Beijing, she moved to Berlin, where she has now graduated from two different universities, and obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fashion design.
So far, considering everything I know about you, it seems like your whole life is centered around the arts. Do you have any hobbies outside of the arts?
“In addition to being a conductor at BICO, I am also an author, educator and craftsman. And although most of my activities are in the arts, in addition to my artistic passions, “Charity” is my middle name and I am a soul of Greenpeace. I am deeply committed to helping others, giving back and doing what I can to save people and our planet.
Looks like you are some kind of symphonic superwoman!
“Sort of. There aren’t too many female conductors, because it has often been seen as a strong man’s job. It’s hard work, not just physically, but mentally as well. female conductors have no chance of being too soft, too feminine or having doubts about this [they’re] do on stage. Each member of the orchestra should have a feeling of complete confidence in the conductor. It doesn’t make me masculine, but it does make me believe my mind is strong.
What is your general opinion on the arts in Beijing?
“I think Beijing is an absolutely great city, full of possibilities and opportunities for all artists, musicians and creatives. Also, in my opinion, China is extremely supportive of all kinds of arts, and I find that extraordinary! Nowhere in the world can [an] the artist obtains such support. Beijing is a pretty great city overall, and a really great place for artists. Whether you make art, collect it, or just enjoy it, there is an incredible arts and culture scene here. So whether you are creating it, admiring it, or supporting it in any way, you are also a part of this unique, diverse and international Beijing art scene.
You have been in Beijing for 15 years. What do you think is the difference between the present and the past? And how has Beijing’s art scene changed?
“Wow! It’s a completely different China now. When it comes to the arts, Beijing and China as a whole are doing a great job of continuing to showcase more great Western artists; letting people experience it, understand it and love it. As an educator, I have also seen the change up close and personal. I think China has uplifted the new generation of connoisseurs, and [I think] that adding a western style education into the mix allows people to better understand classical and modern art. Additionally, many Chinese students go abroad to study music and art and return to China with first-hand knowledge of Western culture.
What makes this upcoming event so special? Why should people come?
“It will be a celebration of life! BICO is my baby, and it’s the 14th anniversary of the birth of this design. And after a year of no in-person performances, it will definitely be something to remember that you don’t want to miss! “
As you can see, Maria Nauen is quite a magnificent person, and the BICO anniversary celebratory concerts should not be missed. Be sure to mark your calendars for a stylish evening of music and come support these remarkable musicians, as well as our diverse Beijing community.
You can find more information about the Beijing International Chamber Orchestra at www.bico-china.com
Beijing International Chamber Orchestra Anniversary Concerts
Tickets available online only; scan the QR code on the event poster to purchase. RMB 88–388. 4 p.m. AC Embassy Hotel (English 158 1124 3143, Chinese 6415 3388)
Be aware that due to COVID-19 restrictions for public performances, tickets are limited.
To purchase tickets, please scan one of the QR codes on the event poster below.
AC Embassy Hotel 26 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
朝阳 区 东直门 外 大街 26 号 奥加 ط
Duration of the concert: two o’clock
Dress code: formal
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Images courtesy of Maria Nauen and the Beijing International Chamber Orchestra