A musical taste of Berlin with 2MBS Fine Music Sydney
Professor Michael Field talks Berlin and all things music and travel
First Class Magazine’s Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan sits down with 2MBS Fine Music Sydney’s Professor Michael Field to talk all things music and travel.
Michael Field AM, MD, FRACP has retired from various highly regarded roles in medicine but not from music. A former Professor of Medicine (now Emeritus) at the University of Sydney, his own instrument is the flute. While he once performed regularly in the Australian Doctors Orchestra and the NSW Doctors Orchestra, he has farewelled his flautist days and it is now his vocal chords that can be heard over the airwaves at 2MBS Fine Music Sydney (where he is also Chair of the Presenters Committee.)
An early subscriber to 2MBS, Michael’s love of the station continued over the decades. Thus when he retired ten years ago, he made a bee line for the station to become involved as a programmer and presenter, which has been an incredibly rewarding part of his retirement years.
The musical city of Berlin
Michael’s lifelong passion for classical music has resulted in seeking out the finest of classical music around the world. While it is difficult for him to give a favourite overseas musical destination, when pressed he says Berlin delivers on so many musical accounts. (It’s in his top three of London, Vienna and Berlin.) It’s a place he describes as a musical hub with no less than three opera houses: the Deutsche Oper, the Staatsoper and the Komische Oper. He goes on to sing the accolades of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra which he says has had so many star conductors. He also appreciates the vast array of chamber groups in Berlin.
If visiting Berlin, Michael recommends both the Hotel Adlon Kempinski for a luxurious stay (as recommended to him although he hasn’t yet stayed there) or the hip NH Collection Berlin Mitte Am Checkpoint Charlie.
The finest hotel in Berlin
First Class Magazine reveals that a truly elegant stay at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski can be had in one of the top-level suites. There are three presidential suites of 2000 square feet each and have bulletproof glass windows (for our MI5 readers) and round-the-clock butler service. The royal suite where QEII once stayed also offers a grand piano for a truly musical holiday. Or if you can do without the piano, the smaller Pariser Platz Suite which is just 900 square feet features direct views of the Brandenburg Gate.
Michael loves the NH Collection Hotel because of its incredible location. It’s close to Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstrasse, historic museums and remnants of the wall.
When in Berlin, Michael recommends Museum Island for a concentration of great art, architecture and antiquities whose buildings house collections ranging from prehistory to 19th-century art. Museum Island is located between the Spree Canal and the Spree River. It offers five museums in one destination set in historic buildings offering some of the finest architecture in Berlin.
A tip from Michael is that you can’t experience everything in one trip to Berlin, so it’s best to have a focus; either art or music and you need to be selective. Berlin is a city that warrants many returns.
London for music lovers
London was the beginning of a life of travel for Michael where he opted to study part of his medical degree. He visited during a wonderful cultural boom time which allowed him to feast on experiences such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the theatre scene, and the premieres of a variety of performances.
In his last 20 years, Michael has worked in the Asia Pacific and travelled extensively from Japan, China and Korea down to Singapore and Samoa. He has lived in Connecticut in New Haven as well as travelling to a wide range of destinations based on his medical work. These are as extreme as Iran to Ireland and Cyprus to Switzerland. The most exotic place for his work travel was Ulaanbaatar the capital of Mongolia where he was presented with a scroll with his name written in gold.
Sydney’s iconic Opera House
Domestically, Michael loves his home city of Sydney for musical experiences, with the opera being a regular drawcard for both Michael and a variety of international talent. Michael went to one of the Opera House’s very first concerts with his wife-to-be and appeared in a newspaper photo of the event the next day. A slice of history he fondly remembers.
Sydney is also the place where Michael would host his top three musical dinner party guests of all time. They’d dine on barramundi at his home on the Lane Cove River, with the kookaburras gently cackling in the background.
Rachmaninov and Barramundi
But who would he choose to attend this exclusive dinner party? He settles upon Rachmaninov, perhaps the greatest pianist of all time, with Murray Perahia, an American born and London-based pianist, and the late Charles Mackerras, Australia’s greatest conductor. He’d put Beethoven and Brahms on the reserve list if the others weren’t available.
For more of Michael’s choice in music, tune in to 2MBS Fine Music Sydney for his Drive program, from 4-7pm on the third Monday and fifth Wednesday of each month.
For more information on 2MBS Fine Music Sydney visit 2MBS Fine Music Sydney
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