up2date. Das Onlinemagazin der Universtiät Bremen

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!"

At the end of the winter semester, the University of Bremen orchestra and choir will be presenting the German premiere of Monty Python’s “The life of Brian” as a comic oratorio.

Campus Life

“Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy! A Comic Oratorio by Eric Idle and John Du Prez” is the title of the piece that the University of Bremen orchestra and choir will play in a large ensemble in the Glocke on February 1, 2020.

“Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy! A Comic Oratorio by Eric Idle and John Du Prez” is the title of the piece that the University of Bremen orchestra and choir will play in a large ensemble in the Glocke on February 1, 2020. Eric Idle, a founding member of the Monty Python group, and the composer John Du Prez created the “Not The Messiah” oratorio using material from the classic “The Life of Brian” film. The first German performance will take place in Bremen. Even those who are not familiar with the Monty Python film know that fun is promised! This may be the first ever comic oratorio of music history and it also ends as the film does: With the song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Der Chor der Universität Bremen. Foto: Michael Bahlo

Music Creates Happiness

Dr. Susanne Gläß, university music director since 1996 and the head of the University of Bremen orchestra and choir, knows that music is good for the soul. We can confirm this after having watched the musicians and singers during rehearsals.

Students of the “Music4all” music seminar are accompanying the orchestra’s and choir’s semester project and are enthusiastically supporting the work connected to the debut performance. “Such events do not only enrich the day-to-day life at the university, but also the cultural landscape of Bremen,” says the history student Julian Wesch. He is aware that such projects require a great deal of background organization and work; “For this reason it is a great feeling to be part of it and to help a whole university choir and orchestra to stand on stage at the end and present the piece to the audience. The world would be quite dismal and bleak without music and culture!”

Photo credit: Michael Bahlo

Discipline and Creativity

Students from all faculties can acquire three credit points by participating in the seminar. The course promotes and develops soft skills, such as teamwork, discipline, and creativity. Those who do not sing in the choir or a play an instrument in the orchestra can take part and use their points for “General Studies”. The seminar participants write the programs for the projects and develop the introductory talk for the public. Said talk will take place at 11:00 a.m. on January 18, 2020, at the Haus der Wissenschaft (House of Science). An insight into the orchestra’s and choir’s work will be given and entry is free.

Photo credit: Michael Bahlo

Professional Interaction

A special highlight for the University of Bremen orchestra is the cooperation with the Bremer Philharmoniker (Bremen philharmonic orchestra members). Once a semester, the professional musicians coach the sectionals for strings, brass, and woodwinds.

International interaction is also fostered: Regular cultural cooperations and concert trips are planned with contacts from around the world.

Taking part

Not only University of Bremen students and staff can participate in the orchestra or choir. External persons should contact Susanne Gläß (sglaess@uni-bremen.de) if they are interested. New members can join at the beginning of the summer or winter semester and if you are new in Bremen, you’ll make new contacts quickly. The joint work connects people and many lifelong friendships have already been formed.


The orchestra and choir – with around 85 members each – rehearse separately on one evening per week at the beginning of the semester. The groups then come together for intense rehearsal weekends and the final work is assembled entirely during the last rehearsals shortly before the big performance. Not long to go now: Tickets are already on sale! Maybe a good idea for a Christmas present?


Tickets for the concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, 2020, in the Glocke in Bremen can be purchased directly at the Glocke and via the the common ticket providers. Direct link to the ticket service of the Glocke

Tickets can also be purchased at lunchtime in the mensa (cafeteria) of the university on the three days prior to the concert (29. – 31.01.2020).

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