Christophe Schreiber is organising concerts in a unconventional new venue as a way of encouraging new audiences to discover classical music. Until 2006, the industrial building in Berlin’s Wedding district was a tram repair workshop for Berlin Transport Services.
He says that the idea is for people to get up close and personal with the musicians: “The obstacle that has to be overcome in order to go to a concert should be as small as possible. Here there is no membership, and no dress code. You don’t need much money, and you don’t need an education. You can just come here, really spontaneously, and have this experience.”
The venue is called the Piano Salon Christophori, in honour of Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori who is often credited with inventing the piano. It is a fitting name; the whole venue is a celebration of pianos and the music they make.
Christoph Schreiber, a neurologist by trade, restores pianos as a hobby. And he now has over 200 of them, but they are not for sale. Instead, he likes to share the music they create with as many people as possible.
Julien Quentin, a pianist, enjoys working in the new venue: “I think it is really special to be in a place where you fit like home and it is still a concert place, a place to perform. And I think it is a special atmosphere and I think the public feels it as well. They are a bit closer to us than in general. So, we feel near to the music and near to the people. So it feels really good.”
There are three to four concerts a week, all year round. People reserve the free seats online, and can make a donation at the end of the concert if they want to.