Tanja Dorn: “MUSIC CONNECTS PEOPLE”
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF I PHOTO: PETER RIGAUD
Tanja Dorn, the CEO of Dorn Music, is known for breaking new ground and taking risks in order to make classical music accessible to a wider audience. With her achievements, she has become something of a success story from Hanover that has never existed before. DISCOVER GERMANY, Austria & Switzerland finds out more about her work and her love for Hanover.
DISCOVER GERMANY: You were born in Mainz, lived in New York and call Hanover your home today. What does ‘home’ mean to you? And why is Hannover your chosen one?
Tanja Dorn: For me, home is not necessarily a single place. I travel so much and feel just as at home in New York as I do in Hanover. I founded my office in Hanover before the second office in New York was added. When you return from the big metropolises of the world, you appreciate the understatement of the city all the more – the quiet, the green and the quality of life that is so typical for Hanover.
DISCOVER GERMANY: In 2016, you founded the artist agency Dorn Music, where you primarily represent international classical artists today. What do you love about classical music?
Tanja Dorn: We all noticed during the pandemic that classical music or music in general connects people. After all, our work consists of bringing people together – artists and organisers, artists and audience… Of course, it is also wonderful to sit in a concert and experience how the ideas that you had with the artists are born on stage, and that inspire audiences. The world’s classical concert halls are also unique structures, a more recent example being the Elbphilharmonie. It is always unbelievable to see how these architectural works of art also fascinate people far outside the world of classical music and then fascinate people when they go to a concert, those who at first thought they may not have had any interest in classical music.
DISCOVER GERMANY: How is your agency’s approach different from others in the same field?
Tanja Dorn: We represent almost all of our artists worldwide, so we work with an incredible number of partners from different cultures, which is fascinating for both me and my team. In addition, we follow a very holistic approach that does justice to the artist as a whole, offering a tailor-made management concept for him or her. Our goal is always a sustainable career for the artists, as well as a long-term, trusting relationship with them. When the moment is right, we’re also up for ideas that others may find insane – e.g. renting the Great Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York to stage a sold-out concert there, or producing a feature-length concert film that ultimately ends up premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Sélection officielle, closing the festival.
DISCOVER GERMANY: How has dealings with artists changed since the pandemic? What are you paying more attention to? Or less? And what new things do you need to look out for?
Tanja Dorn: Despite all the difficulties, what I noticed being very positive and what I absolutely want to keep is that there was much more open communication with business partners during the pandemic. We all got closer together. It was important, as the hub between artist and organiser, to think about how we can master this challenge together without anyone falling behind. For example, the frequently used solution for halls that cannot be fully occupied, namely letting the artist simply play a whole solo evening twice in a row, is neither artistically nor in any other way conceivable for every artist, let alone sustainable. It took a lot of talks to connect interests and protect our artists.
DISCOVER GERMANY: What is your personal highlight of your career and why?
Tanja Dorn: A personal highlight for me is always when you can open the doors for an artist and realise a long-cherished dream. Getting projects off the ground against all odds and finally seeing that it was worth taking the risk and taking the leap and creating something life changing – simply because we didn’t give up and stuck to the vision we had.
DISCOVER GERMANY: Thanks in part to you, the New York Philharmonic will be coming to Usedom for a week in May. What can visitors look forward to and what symbolic value does the trip have?
Tanja Dorn: We are really pleased that we were able to contribute to making the long-cherished dream of the festival and its director Thomas Hummel come true and to be able to bring the orchestra to Europe and Usedom exclusively for these concerts. The residency comes against a significant historical background – with the New York Philharmonic, a top American orchestra comes to a place where the Nazis once built weapons intended to destroy cities like London or New York. Again, it’s the classical music that brings us together, transforming this sombre place into something new and helping us cope with this sense of impotence in the face of war. One of the concerts will be broadcast on 3sat, and we will donate this broadcast to Ukrainian television. So we’re creating a transatlantic synergy here, and it’s coming full circle for me personally – one of my first projects was, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in cooperation with the Atlantic Bridge and the German Consulate General in New York, to set up a piece of the Berlin Wall in New York’s Liberty Street. You can still find it in this exposed position today.
DISCOVER GERMANY: And finally: You have already achieved a lot. What dreams and desires do you still have for your life?
Tanja Dorn: I wish to continue to maintain the strength, calm, energy and inspiration without which it would not be possible to bring these projects to life. Of course, my wonderful team helps me with this, without whom these projects, plans and their implementation would not be conceivable.
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