28 July 2021

Memories in Music
Festival of contemporary music from 6 – 8 August 2021 at the Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg

The Memories in Music festival is presenting a broad spectrum of contemporary music practice that challenges canons and aesthetic norms and contributes to the writing of history, the culture of remembrance and social transformation. The participating composers and musicians are members of the Akademie der Künste, activists of the Berlin scene and numerous international guests. While the first part of the festival in May could only be heard digitally, part two will take place live at the Akademie der Künste in Hanseatenweg from 6 to 8 August 2021. Two concert evenings and five sound installations will address the question: What is recollected in music and sound and what processes of interchange lie behind this process? The festival is part of the Akademie’s programme focus “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives”.

Programme details
The concert programme “Focus on Lebanon” (6 August) takes a special look at this politically and culturally crisis-ridden region. The project Voice Affairs of the Neue Vocalsolisten, a European co-production, is initiating artistic dialogue with the experimental music scene in Lebanon. Different approaches to the voice and its historical, religious and cultural implications give rise to an exploration of the diversity, contradictions, explosiveness and poetry of the Lebanese cultural sphere. Seven composers have created their own musical tableaux that encircle specific memories, have a political effect, disentangle complex cultural history and facilitate acoustic interaction between Arabic and European art music. With works by Panos Aprahamian, Dániel Péter Biró, Manolis Manousakis, Aya Metwalli, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Youmna Saba, Raed Yassin and Cynthia Zaven.
The evening will open with a sound installation by Tony Elieh, who sees in forgetting a chance to escape Beirut, the Lebanese city repeatedly ravaged by destruction, and whose installation is based on a jingle that announced the news broadcast in the Christian eastern part of Beirut during the civil war. The programme closes with the Lebanese band Calamita, whose songs explore ways of extracting classic Tarab songs from their origins and reshaping them in 21st century music.

The concert given by ensemble mosaik (7 August) presents the work of Walter Zimmermann as a commemorative act and performs compositions in which the composer refers to and reflects on pilgrimage routes to Sarajevo, Bosnian folk music and musical cultures that he documented on his travels. The Armenian composer Petros Ovsepyan recalls the language lost due to migration and genocide by embedding sound documents of the Armenian language from the sound archives of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in his composition. Annette Schmucki processes the favourite songs of the ensemble’s musicians. In her composition using a fiddle culture that has evolved in the territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin in northern Canada, Annesley Black spotlights the reindeer grounds there endangered by oil production and climate change. Leopold Hurt explores in his compositions the sounds of Alpine folk music, using shellac records from Lower Austria and Bavaria as acoustic objets trouvés.

The sound installations (7/8 August) in the grounds of the Akademie building round off the festival programme: Doppelbelichtung Carola Bauckholt is an installation with violins suspended from a tree in which bird calls are imitated live and with indistinguishable accuracy by the violinist Karin Hellqvist. In TRENZA the Bolivian composer Carlos Gutierréz explores the state of an “acoustic hallucination”, an indigenous sound practice. Lívio Tragtenberg is staging Guilherme Vaz’s long durational Sinfonia dos Ares with mechanical maracas. Finally, Walter Zimmermann’s composition Baile de la Conquista, which refers to a South American dance that ridicules the colonisers, can be discovered as a video installation.

Programme overview here
Further information here

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. The first part of the Memories in Music festival (6. – 9.5.2021) can be heard again on YouTube.

Project partners: 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

See press release of 21.04.2021
Press tickets from presse@adk.de, Tel. 030 20057 1514