Wunder-barn! Violinist transforms an old stable into a cozy concert hall with a Berlin chamber orchestra – The First News
A German violinist who turned a barn into a concert hall in a Polish border village is enjoying growing popularity with his community concerts led by top international classical musicians.
Inaugurated in 2018, the now regularly sold-out concerts are held in Michael Winker’s renovated 160 square meter barn at his home in the village of Czachów, near the historic town of Cedynia.
Just 20km from the German border, their growing popularity draws fans from near and far to hear international musicians play Chopin and Beethoven in the cozy village setting.
Winker, violinist of the Berlin Opera, ‘Deutsche Oper Berlin’ first bought a house in Czachów 20 years ago and while looking for accommodation with a Polish friend, he fell in love with a huge abandoned farmhouse.
Deciding to make it his main residence, he then undertook to renovate it, as well as the animal barn which he decided, after reflection, to transform into a concert hall equipped with his own piano.
But it was only through a chance conversation with the village mayor that Winker decided to organize his first public concert for the local community in 2018.
Winker told TFN: ‘I was at Cedynia town hall and we were just having a friendly chat with the mayor and she asked me what I did for a living.
“I said I was a musician and she was like, ‘Why don’t you play for us?’ I said ‘I don’t know, is there an audience?’ and she said ‘There is, there is, play’. So that’s what started.
Organizing his first concert soon after, he then decided to develop the idea by inviting some of his colleagues from the Berlin Opera to create a small chamber orchestra.
With space for 100 listeners, the concerts, featuring musicians from Germany as well as Poland, usually take place during the warmer months, around April to September, but the last of the concerts this year took place on October 2 with a repertoire by Rossini, Beethoven, Debussy and Mozart.
Winker told TFN: “I love putting on the community concerts in Cedynia. In my daily work, I’m not my own master, but it’s my own project and people are very curious and it’s wonderful.
“I am very happy to be able to do it here in Poland as a German. At the beginning, I was very apprehensive and I was not very comfortable because of the Polish-German history and the way people would react towards me as a German, but people are very open.
Cedynia is historically significant in Polish-German history as it was the site of the first chronic battle of the newly formed Polish state during the reign of Duke Mieszko I in 972, a battle which Mieszko’s army won from decisively over the forces of Hodo or Odo I of Lusatia in Saxony.
With the popularity of Winker’s “Kameralne Koncerty” (chamber concerts) in Cedynia continuing to grow and people asking when the next one will take place, Winker also plans to expand the concerts to include those specifically for children.
More details can be found on the ‘Sala u Kinala’ event page on Facebook.