Subject – Musicianship

Madeleine Onwuzulike

Born 16 February 1998

Madeleine was born in Berlin, where she is currently finishing a bachelor’s degree in musicology while at the same time pursuing a second degree in music education. Despite her young age, she is a seasoned concertgoer and self-proclaimed opera snob. Her personal musical highlight of the 2018–19 season so far was a series of performances of works by Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

Subject – Musicianship


I believe it’s safe to say that music is more than just a part of my life. It is the first thing I hear in the morning in the shape of my ringing alarm clock (which is arguably not the sweetest sound) and the last thing I think about at night. It is a true marvel that unfolds its magic in the fragile, mysterious and yet incredibly powerful interconnection between composers, performers, listeners and the work itself – be it as the material black and white pages of sheet music, as an idea, as part of a specific tradition or as sound. There is no other art form that lets you switch so freely between different roles and allows for such an intimate discourse.
Music shapes the way I look at the world which is why I chose the sonata form for this essay.


First subject – Musicianship

Ever since I was a toddler, I have loved singing and begged my mother to let me learn the violin. I think that I instinctively chose two of the most intimate instruments in existence: The violin rests between your chin and shoulder and playing it not only places you close to the instrument and the sound but also sets your whole upper body in motion while with the voice, the body itself is your instrument.

Second subject – Scholarship

Along with my love for music, I developed an ever-growing interest in the history, theory and analysis of music which has lead me to pursue a degree in musicology. This has opened up a multitude of new perspectives on music to me. I love reading on and writing about music, analysing a piece to get a glimpse of its soul and a deeper appreciation for it as well as thinking about music practice and performance from a theoretical viewpoint.


My hometown Berlin has one of the best classical music scenes in the world and this is not limited to the town’s major orchestras, the three opera houses or the incredible music venues. I’m an avid concertgoer and for years now, I have been active in several amateur ensembles: The Sing-Akademie which was founded in 1791 and, under Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, started the Bach revival, as well as the Staatsoper youth choir which allowed me to perform at Philharmonie Berlin with Daniel Barenboim. I also play the violin in an amazing orchestra that plays symphonic concerts as well as operas and frequently performs with members of Berlin Philharmonic. To get involved with the institutional side of classical music, I work for Deutsche Oper and the newly opened Pierre Boulez Hall.


I’m very happy that the possibilities I have been given in life allow me to do what I truly love. I believe that all the different aspects of music that I come across with on a daily basis are absolutely wonderful. Together, they allow me to become a better scholar, a better musician and a better person.


Nothing will ever come close to the intimacy and the profound contemplation music lets me experience or its expressiveness that never ceases to overwhelm me and gives me a sense of finally being whole. Music is the love of my life.