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Media reports, busking, concert, exchange – Our Left-Handers Day 2022

On 13 August 2021, International Left-Handers Day, went online: with two interviews, two photos, some links and historical information. The site was inaugurated with a street performance for two and a bright orange monster poster.

In a year of continuous development, 17 interviews with professional (and aspiring professional) lefty players in classical music have been added. Some conducted in writing, some as transcripts of hours of phone calls or face-to-face conversations. Considering that a large part of the population and wide parts of the internet still think that lefty players in classical music do not exist, this is quite an achievement (and Reinhard Goebel or Charlie Chaplin are not even included). ;)

In addition, there are countless other interviews, videos and statements by 'backwards' playing musicians from all over the world, blog articles, translations, info texts and social media conversations... – The result is what we wanted to achieve with Linksgespielt: An international exchange about left-handed playing and a network of lefty players, re-learners and interested people worldwide.

So we duly celebrated the first birthday on Left-Handers Day 2022 with a lefty music gathering in Frankfurt. All of us had never played music together with other lefty players before. For the very first time we were able to pass our instruments around, hear others play on our own instruments and explore purely left-hand ensemble setups.

If notes were taken somewhere, it was done with the left and also at the common meals it was an amazingly unknown feeling to always hold glasses, forks and ice cream cones in the same hand as everyone else.

The regular lefty player's seat on stage – on the far right as seen from the audience – became the most coveted spot in the room. That, too, was unusual. Because many conventional instruments are turned away from the audience in this position, they usually prefer to play on the stage left, so that the right-hand position is hardly contested in everyday life.

Fortunately, there was a lot of media interest in our project in the run-up to Left-Handers Day, so that we were invited to talk to the Frankfurter Rundschau, MDR, Hessenschau, HR2 Kultur, FAZ, Taunuszeitung, YouFM and Oberurseler Woche. Paganino published a post on Instagram and for Stretta's online journal we were allowed to write an article about left-handed string playing in orchestras.

The actual meeting started on Friday before the Left-handers Day. In a very short time we had to prepare two programs with cellos, gambas, violins, violone, flutes and double bass:

One for the busking on Saturday morning, during which we graced the city center with well-known melodies by presumably left-handed composers (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Niccolò Paganini and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach – we cannot historically substantiate all of these internet myths, but it's all about the gesture). We played in busy places, talking to bystanders and observing the reactions to our playing.

Conclusion: In fact, the sight of instruments held 'the other way around' seems to be generally tolerable even in a pack. Most of the people noticed it only after they saw the poster.

And that's all we wanted to prove... ;)

The second program was performed in the evening with mainly baroque solo and chamber music in the Andreasgemeinde in Frankfurt. The question about the percentage of left-handed people in the audience yielded a historically high result!

We were pleased to see numerous left-handed professional musicians who had learned their instruments conventionally, but who now attach importance to handedness-appropriate instruction. Others were first made aware of the topic through the reporting on our project. Prospective advisors for left-handers, converted left-handers and people who are not sure of their handedness were also attracted to the concert by the newspapers. So the event was followed by a vivid exchange that lasted for hours.

"I am still completely fulfilled and inspired by our meeting! I would have wished for something as motivating as this nine years ago, when I had ventured my first performance on the left-handed cello and was looking for new challenges. Unfortunately, at that time I didn't know anyone in the wider world who was pursuing similar paths, and I stuck to the familiar security of the right-handed cello. Since getting in touch with and knowing so many musicians through the website "Linksgespielt", I got a lot of pleasure in the subject again. It was a very exciting experience for me to play inverted together with others. Especially since it felt so normal and relaxed and had nothing out of the ordinary when viewed from the outside. After all, that's how it should be and be viewed – completely natural and self-determined!" – Laila Kirchner (cello)
"The Left-Handers Day still has a great impact and I am happy and inspired by everything that happened during these days. The most touching thing for me was meeting the other musicians and all the people so sympathetic to us, who met us at the street music and in the concert." – Sophia Klinke (violin)
"Normally I always stand out from the crowd and am asked about my left-handed flute in almost every project – sometimes more often, sometimes less often – and first have to explain why I hold it that way. Well, not in this setting. It was so familiar to make music only among left-handed players, although most of us didn't really know each other before. Also many interested or delighted people came by... A really awesome, empowering experience, showing that playing left-handed has come a bit closer to normality again. Thanks to all involved!" – Silke Becker (flute)
"For me it was a wonderful experience to make music with people playing according to their handedness. There was a relaxedness and naturalness that I didn't know and hadn't expected, since most of us as relearners are in a rather difficult situation. The word 'flow' suddenly took on a new dimension. The resonance and the exchange with the audience was also wonderful. Interesting conversations, new reports of experiences. Desire for more of this." – Renata Soraya Schoepflin (cello)


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