Mihalj Kekenj was born in Braunschweig (Germany) in 1979, and he had no choice but to become a violinist with all his heart and soul, as the instrument had dominated his family for generations. From the age of six, he studied with various professors – for example, with Professor Jens Ellermann, or with Andreas Krecher at the Robert Schumann University in Dusseldorf (Germany) in 2007, from which he graduated and where he lives to this day. After his studies, his path took him through various professional orchestras, eventually becoming the first concertmaster of the Bergisch Symphony Orchestra in September 2008.
Since the age of fifteen, he has been pursuing his second passion – composing and producing soulful hip-hop works. In this regard, it made sense at some point to combine this musical world with classical music and realize them in “Opus1“. “I just do what I can. I produce tracks and play the violin. Nothing more… but nothing less,” he says today about undefined his debut work. He composed, arranged, produced, and performed music with guest artists who fit his musical concept. The merging of these two music worlds allows him to know where he stands creatively.
For MADE Space in Berlin, he left his hip-hop background and wrote several pieces of chamber music in the classical sense. Whether it was the “automatic waltz” – a piece for violin and piano, or the concert series “Moments at MADE“, where he and his string quintet dressed such great soul musicians as Aloe Blacc and Erykah Badu in classical clothes. Erykah Badu inspired him to create the concert format of “Takeover!“, the first performances of which always take place at the Essen Philharmonic.
Takeover! is the integration of musical pop culture into the classical space. Mihalj Kekenj reinterprets the songs of pop artists with the help of purely classical ensembles of different compositions. Other partners included artists such as Max Mutzke, Joy Denalane, Cassandra Steen, Bosse, Maxim, Joris, Curse, Namika and club DJ duo Moonbootica.
As a result, the extraordinary live concerts attended by a loyal audience that loves his Takeover! The ensemble extends beyond the Essen Philharmonic to the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Elbphilharmonie, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival or the Rheingau Music Festival.
His hip-hop classic fusions “Opus1” and “Opus2“, “Moonbootica Symphonic Experience” and “Reconstructing Debussy” with techno DJ Marc Romboy.
Orchestras such as the Bergisch Symphony Orchestra, Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra, SWP Konstanz, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and Munich Symphony Orchestra regularly trust his work.
The orchestra is always sincerely involved in Mihalj Kekenj‘s projects.
Everyone just does what they do best…
TAKEOVER! clubbing by Miki & Moonbootica – Miracle (feat. Jack Beauregard)
TAKEOVER! by Miki & Max Mutzke – Creep (Radiohead cover)