21 April 2021

The festival Memories in Music presents new thematic approaches in contemporary music
Part 1: 6 – 9 May 2021
Digital & outdoors, Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg

The festival Memories in Music is devoted to new thematic approaches in contemporary music. In their works, a growing number of composers and musicians are processing memories and experiences, family histories, stories of migration, traumas and conflicts and addressing postcolonial reappraisal and indigenous or marginalised musical languages. Memories in Music offers a broad insight into a varied contemporary musical practice that is questioning canons and aesthetic norms and participating in historiography, commemorative culture and social transformation. The music programme brings together current works (world premieres) with pieces from the 1970s/1980s when composers opened themselves to the contemporary conception of music with similar intentions. The participating composers and musicians are members of the Akademie der Künste, protagonists of the Berlin scene and numerous international guests. The first part of the festival from 6 – 9 May, comprising a symposium, audio-visual installations, a live-streamed concert, first broadcasts of film productions and audio walks, is followed by the second part in August with public concerts (6 – 7 August).
The festival marks the start of the Akademie’s main programmatic theme “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives” with events and an exhibition from May to November 2021.

Memories in Music kicks off on 6 May with the digital symposium “What Does Freedom Sound Like? Curating Diversity, Part 2”, a cooperative event with the European network Sounds Now, the Ultima Festival and Field Notes / INM. As a continuation of the first symposium in September 2020 at the Akademie der Künste, the second participatory part is an invitation to explore Sounds of Freedom in a process of collective reflection and to discuss a renewal of curatorial approaches in contemporary music.

Opening concert and film productions
The opening concert “Leichhardt in Australia” on 6 May is presenting a live stream of world premieres by Kirsten Reese and Erkki Veltheim and by the Ensemble Adapter; Reese’s and Veltheim’s musical research into colonial history and indigenous culture are inspired by the 19th century expeditions of the Brandenburg naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt in Australia. On the following evenings, first showings of film productions will be presented as video on demand. In Avant Joik, the dwindling Sámi tradition of joik singing (Katarina Barruk) is contrasted with experimental vocal and video art (Maja S. K. Ratkje, Matti Aikio, 7 May). “Brazil – Europe” (8 May) and Indigenous Peoples (9 May) are work concepts spanning indigenous and colonial culture in South America. The programme features a film score of Walter Smetak's Anestesia from 1971, a new version of Thomas Kessler's Dialogues with Smetak instruments played by Ensemble Modern and Silvia Ocougne, and a film version of Carlos Gutierrez's installation Indigenous Peoples with the Bolivian chamber ensemble of the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos along with Ute Wassermann and Sabine Vogel.

Trail and audio walks
In addition to this digital programme, Memories in Music also offers the prospect of musical experience on site: on a trail through the many niches of the Akademie der Künste's outdoor space in Hanseatenweg, ten very different audio-visual installations and live performances by musicians are being staged (7-9 May, if permitted by the COVID-19 regulations in force at that time). In all cases it will be possible to download project-related radio compositions and audio plays onto smartphones via QR codes for a personal audio walk in the Tiergarten at the Akademie (6 May – 7 August).

Further information and digital programme HERE

Digital programme

6 + 7 May, 11 – 6 pm, ZOOM
What Does Freedom Sound Like? Curating Diversity, Part 2
Participatory symposium. Registration by 2 May, information and documentation: www.sounds-now.eu

6 May, 8 pm, live stream
Festival opening. Leichhardt in Australia
Concert of world premieres by Kirsten Reese, Erkki Veltheim. With the Ensemble Adapter

7 May, from 8 pm, video on demand
Avant Joik by and with Katarina Barruk, Maja S. K. Ratkje and Matti Aikio

8 May, from 8 pm, video on demand
Brazil – Europe
Works by Walter Smetak / Marco Scarassatti, Thomas Kessler. With GILU, Ensemble Modern and Silvia Ocougne

9 May, from 7 pm, video on demand
Indigenous Peoples by Carlos Gutierrez. With ECOEIN, Ute Wassermann and Sabine Vogel

9 May, 8 pm, ZOOM
Meet the Artists of the festival. Registration by 8 May: musik@adk.de


Programme on site
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin

6 May – 7  August
Audio walks
For free download onto smartphones

7 – 9 May (7 May, 4 to 10 pm, 8 + 9 May, 11 am to 10 pm)
2-hour slots bookable every half hour. € 13/7

Memories in Music is a project of the Music Section of the Akademie der Künste, curated by Julia Gerlach, Secretary of the Music Section, in collaboration with Akademie members Samir Odeh-Tamimi and Walter Zimmermann.

In May with Matti Aikio, Katarina Barruk, Maja S. K. Ratkje, Carola Bauckholt, Karin Hellqvist, Tony Buck, Tony Elieh, Ensemble Adapter, Carlos Gutierrez/ECOEIN, Jorge Villaseca, Sharon Mercado, Thomas Kessler, Ensemble Modern, Silvia Ocougne, Kirsten Reese, Marco Scarassatti, Annette Schmucki, Ernst Surberg, Walter Smetak, Guilherme Vaz, Erkki Veltheim, Sabine Vogel, Ute Wassermann, Daniel Wilfred, Walter Zimmermann and others

Project partners of Memories in Music: Berlin artists’ programme of the DAAD, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Goethe-Institut (Beirut, La Paz, São Paulo), Irtijal Festival, Beirut, Musik der Jahrhunderte, Neue Vocalsolisten, Onassis Cultural Center/Stegi, Athens, and Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival

Media partners: VAN, Digital in Berlin, taz

Funded by the Capital Cultural Fund,
the Pro Helvetia Swiss cultural foundation and the Berlin Senate

The symposium Curating Diversity is a project of the Akademie der Künste, Initiative Neue Musik Berlin, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival and the Sounds Now project. Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Press contact on behalf of the Akademie der Künste:
AMIONT Musik & Kultur, Dominique Schweizer
M +49 (0)176 96572527, ds@amiont.de