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Born in the snow

January 1987 – my brother ArnoLeon was born in Zurich Switzerland – awakening to a snowy winter night. It is no surprise to me that for him a fulfilled year is one associated with snow in one form or another, after all he is a winter’s child.

A house full of music

What truly defines ArnoLeon is his passion for music. It’s difficult to pinpoint one specific origin to this, after all, music was everywhere. Music was often listened to in the house. When this wasn’t the case, the notes of our father’s saxophone would fill the musical vacuum the record player had left behind. Although the first time ArnoLeon witnessed this, he took it upon himself to save his father from this brass beast – it quickly became a source of inspiration, of passion, of bonding between a father and son. Classical music and Jazz, quickly became an integral part of this boy’s life.

First musical steps

I remember back to our summers, my then 5 year old brother running around in his underwear playing an old violin – albeit to the best of his then untrained ability. As a result soliciting some perhaps less favorable responses from our younger brother at the time. These responses had changed their tide as ArnoLeon’s focus changed from the violin to the piano. It was a good choice, he had already tinkered with the piano a little before, playing to himself; waking up the neighbors, it was all the same, music, a performer and an audience. To this day I might add, his relationship to the keys, he has remained true and vice versa. So often he would sing a song he had composed in his then young mind. Yes, we his family and friends were more than privy to many, many premiers of his compositions and performances. It wasn’t just a child performing at random, establishing his contribution or place within the social dynamics of our family. He had a clearly defined start and end. It was a performance, a deliberately planned act to a gathering of persons.

First steps in performing arts

And so, some could say it was natural progression and others would say it was destiny for ArnoLeon to discover the stage. It was through Christine Hay’s classes, which ended with an annual performance, that would evolve Arno’s love to musicals and theater. From that very first performance Arno realized that his passion was not whole without a clearly defined path in this world he loved so much. The next few years would see ArnoLeon concentrate on acting and especially singing. At the age of 8 years old he joined his mother once a week and started his first singing classes with French sopranist Chantal Dubarry.

Family Picture (1999)

German concert pianist Franz Eichberger (1919 – 1991) played an influential role ArnoLeon’s life and based on his advice in 1997, my brother joined the world renowned Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles in France. That snowy winter night had happened only 10 years before, this milestone in ArnoLeon’s life.

Experiencing a brittle dream

As the years at this school passed by, ArnoLeon would perform on many stages, the next bigger than the last. Between the tender ages of 11 & 13 ArnoLeon experienced classical fame, touring France and neighboring Europe; singing roles at the opera, solos at concerts, with highlights such as the recording of the Stabat Mater of J.B. Pergolesi (in choir and solo). My brother was exactly where he should be: learning, performing, singing…

Picture by Robin Davies (2000)

His voice broke in the year 2000 in front of a full opera audience. It was a merciless ending to, what can be considered a surreal life lived and dream of a child soprano torn apart.

For the 12 years that followed, my brother’s relationship with music was no longer the same. It never fully departed, it lingered around uncertain of its purpose but simply too invested in one another to simply die away. In the autumn of 2012, ArnoLeon responded to a casting he discovered by chance in a local newspaper. Enter Benjamin Stückelberger, a playwright and director looking to put together his first musical. Little did ArnoLeon know at the time, that this encounter would mark his comeback into the world of performing arts.

Back into life

ArnoLeon was cast by Benjamin Stückelberger and Dorien Wijn in the male lead in the production of “The Story of Christine”. This small production had a fair success and sold out most of the representations. More importantly this new found friendship would lead to a second Musical “Lost and Found” from the same Author. ArnoLeon started concentrating exclusively on his professional business career and Benjamin Stückelberger quit his job to build his own company – but the seed had been sown.

Realizations and Rebirth

In spring 2018, Benjamin Stückelberger, who established himself as a musical producer with his company BeSt Productions GmbH, asked his friend, ArnoLeon if he would agree to lend him the story of his early life as an inspiration for his next musical and, if possible, take the lead for this special role. It is this seasoned collaboration that has resulted in the musical “StageCall!“, running from the 16.11.2018 to 2.12.2018.

Since the first rehearsal for “Stage Call!” ArnoLeon realized that Music was indeed a deeper love within him. Not something he could ever dismiss, but something that will accompany him through all of his life. Whether it pleases you or not, you will hear more from him, from my brother, ArnoLeon…

Read more about ArnoLeon and “Stage Call!” on the Blog!