In 1992, Litwin moved to Berlin and began teaching music at Hochschule für Musik Saar — the University of Music in Saar, Germany. In 2008, he signed a special contract that allowed him to work at UNC while still living in Berlin.
Emil Kang, UNC’s executive director for the arts, approached Litwin about performing with the Bremen philharmonic about a year ago.
Kang said that, though he may not be well known in the U.S., Litwin is an important figure in European classical music.
Litwin, who has played with the Bremen philharmonic once before, was a big factor in bringing the group to Chapel Hill, Kang said.
Litwin will lead the chamber orchestra for a few pieces from his piano.
Their international tour includes no other stops in the country.
“It’s not New York. It’s not L.A. It’s Chapel Hill,” said Ellen James, manager of marketing and communications for the Office of the Executive Director for the Arts.
For about five years, Kang has been working diligently to bring the small orchestra to UNC.
In 2003, while working as the executive director for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Kang saw the Bremen philharmonic for the first time.
“I had never heard a group so small make a sound so big,” Kang said. “The musicians are so enthusiastic and so raw.”
Since then, Kang said he has heard many orchestras, but none have had the same magic as the Bremen philharmonic.
“It’s what you think of when you think of classical music,” Kang said.
The Bremen philharmonic is an entirely self-governed and independent chamber orchestra formed in 1980. They are known for their approach to Beethoven.
Felix Woerner, assistant professor of music theory at UNC, said the Bremen philharmonic is unique in that they value each musician’s role equally.
“Every single player is equally important,” Woerner said. “You can feel the musical spirit.”
Despite flying back and forth between continents regularly, Litwin says that his work has never been intimidating to him.
“It’s my life,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like I’m busy.”
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