As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Cello con affetto 5: Cello & Comic Puppetry – Sonja Lena Schmid & Oskar (Germany)

Today I bring you the cellist of the world renowned quartet Salut SalonSonja Lena Schmid.  We focus on the many comic puppetry acts that happen around the cello thanks to the group’s regular visiting performer named OSKAR.


The Salut Salon
(L-R)- Sonja, Anne-Monika, Angelika & Iris
Photo by Thorsten Wingenfelder
via the Salut Salon photo gallery

Everybody loves them – the Salut Salon ! I will have to do a different feature on this remarkable group of female artists – but for now I give you some description of the phenomenal four..Angelika Bachmann (violin), Iris Siegfried (violin & vocals),  Anne-Monika von Twardowski (piano), and Sonja Lena Schmid (cello):

“the quartet know more than practically any other chamber musical ensemble how to win their audiences the world over, not just with virtuosic mastery of their instrument, but also with their sense of fun, instrumental acrobatics, charm and humour.’ Source 

“They are virtuosic soloists yet unbeatable as an ensemble of musicians each of whom perform an essential part to create the perfect interplay of virtuosic classical prowess peppered with cabaret-style show with artistic sketches, effortless flair and disarming self-irony.”  Source

Today we focus on the quartet’s cellist – Sonja Lena Schmid and some of her scenes with Oskar.

SONJA LENA SCHMIDportrait_240x120_schmid_02

Sonja was born in Tübingen. She studied cello and chamber music in Hamburg, Amsterdam and DenHaag with Ramon Jaffé, Bernhard Gmelin, Niklas Schmidt, Dimitry Ferschtman und Troels Svane. She has been awarded numerous prizes, including 1st prize in the competition Elise Meyer, 1st prize at the Chamber Music Festival “Charles Hennen”, Netherlands, and a special prize at the competition “Schubert and Modern Music” in Graz.

She recieved the Huygens Scholarship provided by German trust Musikleben. In 2006 she was chosen for the Dutch programme “Top Talent” and awarded sponsorship by the Villa Musica. As passionate chamber musician she participates at festivals in Germany and abroad. With the Ensemble Intégrales she played several premiers of contemporary chamber music. Her special interest lies on the connection between music and theatre. She worked for the Hamburg Thalia Theater and the Biennale Munich.

In conjunction with Anne von Twardowski, she is guest lecturer at the university Hochschule der populären Künste Berlin where she gives performance training workshops. Image & Info Source



Oskar was born in Hamburg. His dad is a puppet maker, his mother a wandering Muse who disappeared shortly after Oskar was born. Oskar grew up in the artistic atmosphere of his father’s puppet making workshop and began to play the xylophone at a very early age. Later his musical ambitions developed and he moved on to other musical instruments. Now he is not only a master of the xylophone but also a virtuoso pianist, cellist and violinist. With regard to academic stage performance, Oskar cut his teeth at the famous Swiss circus school of Clown Dimitri, where he also learned the art of the puppet show. It was this accomplishment that finally won him the role as honorary man with Salut Salon and which enables him, what is more, to perform with effortless flair with the four lady musicians. When Oskar is not touring the world with Salut Salon, he is busy writing his memoirs, which are to be published in time for the Frankfurt Book Fair in autumn 2015. Image & Info Source

What Sonja says about Oskar..

“Our Oskar hides in an old cello case. He loves the cello. When he comes out he is determined to play with Iris and me.” – SONJA LENA SCHMID, in an interview, “Night of Destiny” trailer

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Sonja, Oskar and Iris performing together on the cello

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Sonja and Oskar
Salut Salon China Tour, 2009

Watch this video of their China Tour where Sonja and Oskar play together. I’ve never seen this much laughter in a classical concert. Salut Salon and the many comic scenes of Sonja and Oskar really give classical music performance a new twist.

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“We’ll Meet Again” Quartet with Sonja playing the cello like a guitar with Oskar
(i guess they’re a quintet whenever Oskar plays too)

Watch the actual video from which I did a screen grab of the image above. So these talented artists are not only virtuosi, they’re also funny, know how to have a good time and as you will see in this video– CAN sing too!

Learn more about the Salut Salon

Watch more of the quartet’s performances

Click here to see “Wettstreit zu viert” or the “Competitive Foursome”, considered by many as Salut Salon’s  funniest performance yet…

image for headerSo do…enjoy the fruits of your many years of musical training. Try to have as much of a good time and rewarding experience as the people watching your performance. Let’s learn from Sonja and Salut Salon – it doesn’t hurt to add a little humour on stage when you can, hahaha

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2014 by in Collaborate, Explore and tagged , .
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