Music without borders

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-22

Music without borders

Photo Provided to China Daily

"They are all united, not only by music but also by the idea of being an international community," Nauen says. "People accept and embrace each other in the orchestra." Nauen recalls past international conflicts, when she wondered how the multicultural group would respond.

"I didn't see any negative feelings toward anybody," she says. "They were even discussing what was happening and thinking of possible solutions for the problems." Nauen says members of the orchestra come and go but attitudes never change.

"New members are met with warmth and kindness," she says. "We see people - not passports."

Besides performing, Nauen's other great passion is teaching. She currently gives private music classes at the German embassy school in the capital. Nauen says she cannot decide whether she prefers teaching or performing, but she admits teaching is more difficult.

"Being a performer is easier because you are just responsible for yourself," she says. "When you are teaching, you are responsible for somebody's life."

She repeats to every one of her students what a teacher once told her: "If you give up now, you will make it a habit in your life, and every time something difficult happens in your life, you will give up. By the end of your life you will be nothing because you gave up every time."

Nauen never gave up on music, which has opened doors to many opportunities and offered glimpses into different worlds.

And the influence of her orchestra is brought to life during a Sunday afternoon performance and charity fundraiser, as one by one the musicians from all over the world take their seats beside one another.

Nauen, her long mane of blonde hair flowing behind her, follows them and takes center stage as conductor. Weaving her hands gently through the air, she summons each instrument to sing a universal language, and it speaks to the soul until the very last note.

Kurt Nagl contributed to this story.