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The inauguration of the German Center took place on February 20th, 2013 at McClain Gallery. The German Consulate Houston promoted the reception. Consul General Hans Jochen Gühlke was in attendance and greeted the guests. Advisory board member Maestro Hans Graf expressed his gratitude to the founders for taking the initiative of creating a German Cultural Center -Deutsches Kultur Zentrum, and he hopes that the community will support it.
As entertainment, the Center presented mezzo soprano Sonja Bruzauskas and pianist Donna Stoering. They delighted the guests with Brettl-Lieder by Arnold Schonberg. Anne Leek played the Study II oboe solo composed by Heinz Holliger. We will make sure that the Houston audience will have the opportunity to enjoy these accomplished artists again in the future!
The following is an abbreviated version of the official inauguration speech given by the president of the German Centre Houston, Dr. Ute Eisele:
Welcome to the German Center Houston!
It gives me great pleasure to introduce the German Center to you, because all of you want to be part of the German connection. No matter your background, you all fell in love with German music, visual art, movies, traditional festivals; with language and literature.
To establish ein deutsches Zentrum has been a goal for many years but could not be realized for many reasons. Yet time and rapid advances in communication technology were on our side. Today, we all surf the web, and social networks instantly connect us to our field of interest and help us meet likeminded people.
We are a virtual center without a permanent location, but you will find us in many places. We are planning to set up a movie and video van that may pop up at the Houston International Festival or at your suburban fair, and our storytellers may come to your local library. Being a virtual center refers only to not having a physical home. We create real programs by real people; we present performances by real artists to you, as well other entertainment and educational opportunities. You can find details on upcoming events at the German Center website, germancenterhouston.org. It provides a wealth of information. The associated Facebook group gives you a forum to express your ideas and to participate.
So what do we do that is different?
- We inform you about German events in Houston, we promote them, and we also take an active role in the organization and support of events. How do we do this? There is no better example than this fantastic exhibit of Rosa Loy’s artwork. We were thrilled to personally meet Rosa Loy and Neo Rauch here in Houston; and we also participated in the moderated informal conversation with the artists at the Museum of Fine Arts. You are here as a guest at this reception to see Rosa’s work today, and we are now announcing a gallery talk with the gallerist from ArtScan Gallery, Volker Eisele, with the topic: Rosa Loy and the New Leipzig School. The date of this event is March 2nd, 2013.
- The German Center will offer a variety of programs created and organized by the German Center itself, like Liederabende, an almost forgotten German tradition, here in Houston. Also anticipated are highly acclaimed film and video shows and educational outreach programs called German Clubs that many inner-city schools are just waiting for. Furthermore, we are planning to participate in the Houston Art Car Parade. Keep an eye out for our red 1976 VW Käfer Cabriolet!
- Yet most importantly, we invite you personally, your university or your museum, your music society, your business, or your German association, to share your innovative ideas on how to enrich the cosmopolitan flair of our city with a distinct German flavor. We and your organization and all of us will benefit.
Where do we go from here?
Collaborating on many levels will give us an opportunity to be more active and relevant than we would be on our own. Let us join countries like France, Russia, Italy, Turkey, the Czech Republic and others who already have a center. Let us present our cultural heritage to our city! So, I invite all of you to be a part of this movement. Join us as a member, or if you want to be more active, be part of our advisory board. Make yourself available, share your expertise, and we will succeed.
Afterwards, board and advisory board members were introduced. You will find the names on our website. Dr. Ursula Münzel, founding board member and secretary, thanked everybody who came on board early to support the center und thanked all the guests for being there at the opening. She also reminded everyone that financial support is needed.