Flight Plan

Lufthansa’s Orchestra: Flying high on music

ASHWINI PHADNIS | Updated on January 11, 2018

Hitting the notes The Lufthansa Orchestra performs in Frankfurt   -  Gregor Schlaeger

The 60-member group includes pilots, technicians and flight attendants

Some of them fly planes. A few of them greet you with a smile and ensure your comfort on a flight. Others make certain that the plane is fit to fly.

But when you put all the 60 of them together, they make music.

Lufthansa Orchestra, a group of 60 employees from the airline, have put up live music performances in different parts of the world. Each one of them is as passionate about music as he or she is about the aviation industry.

Drawn from airline’s technicians, pilots and cabin crew, the Lufthansa Orchestra was founded in 2011. Its first public performance was a concert of HelpAlliance — a charity founded by Lufthansa’s employees — to help victims of the 2011 Triple Disaster in Japan.

Susanne Koss, a Lufthansa flight attendant who plays the clarinet and was one of the first to join, recalls that the Orchestra initially had up to 20 people. Adds the Orchestra’s Deputy Chairman Quirin Seitenberger: “In the Orchestra, we get to meet colleagues whom we otherwise wouldn’t have. It also requires us to listen to each other carefully, a thing that is sometimes easily overseen in our daily work.” Seitenberger manages the Orchestra with three other colleagues.

A passion

Given their hectic work schedules, which includes long-haul flights, the Orchestra usually does two projects a year. Seitenberger explains that a project consists of two rehearsal weekends, and a concert. “Additionally, there are one to two special concerts a year,” he adds.

Practising during the weekends means that all the rehearsals “are happening in our off time,” Seitenberger points out. However, the members prepare individually as they have to be fully prepared with their parts for the full-rehearsal weekends. What is it that attracts these people to the Orchestra? In an interview to German Television, David Schubert, who is a pilot and plays the French Horn pointed out that flying and playing are similar as they involve air flow. “It may sound trivial but it’s the essence of both,” he said pointing out that landing (an aircraft) is very much like playing a horn because it has to do with sensitivity. “It takes a bit of practice and is a bit different every time,” he added. The airline uses the Orchestra for various purposes. Recently media from around the world and senior executives of many of the 28 member-airlines of Star Alliance got a first-hand experience of the Orchestra at the Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch. The occasion was the Alliance’s 20th anniversary.

Since its inception, the Orchestra has regularly performed in Frankfurt am Main, and also travelled to Puerto Rico for the official opening of the new hangar of Lufthansa Technik. The 60-member group also went to Bulgaria where the concert helped raise money for flood victims. It was also a part of the festive jubilee concert on the 10th anniversary of Terminal 2 at Munich Airport.

Published on July 11, 2017

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