Labor Beethoven 2020.
Festival of Contemporary Music for the Beethoven Anniversary

12 – 18 March 2020
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin + Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin

Concerts – Laboratory – Installations – Lectures – Music Theatre

How experimental were Ludwig van Beethoven and his contemporaries, music theoretician Anton Reicha and physicist Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni, and what artistic experiments were triggered by how they were received? How do young composers in the 21st century compose and how do they reflect on the godlike figure that is Beethoven, to whom an entire year of anniversary events has been dedicated?

With "Labor Beethoven 2020", the Akademie der Künste presents a contemporary reading of the Beethoven Anniversary focusing on experimentation. A festival condenses the musical and interdisciplinary results of the four-year artistic cooperation by a group of young composers from the three universities of Basel, Tel Aviv and Thessaloniki. Together with historical and current experiments by Beethoven and Reicha as well as guests such as the Novoflot opera company, electronic composer Marcus Schmickler, sound artist Werner Cee and Beethoven expert William Kinderman, a kaleidoscope of concerts, experiments in sound and perception, lecture performances and music theatre are to be staged. There will be original works by Beethoven such as The Tempest sonata as well as the deconstructions of Fidelio (Novoflot) and Pastoral (Cee).

World première compositions, mediated by an exhibition and discursive elements, link the experimental spirit of the period around 1802 to current issues in composing regarding space, instrumentation and form.

Over four years, "Labor Beethoven" offered international composers, musicians and artists from Basel, Tel Aviv and Thessaloniki an open forum for artistic exchange and experimentation, allowing them to develop their own ideas for compositional works, new forms of work, formats and collaborations. Over the course of the festival, the participants in the laboratory and their guests will present the different facets of their work in several concerts and performances.

"Labor Beethoven" is a project by the Music Section of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, and is directed by Caspar Johannes Walter (artistic director, Basel, Akademie der Künste), Dimitri Papageorgiou (Thessaloniki) and Ruben Seroussi (Tel Aviv).

Further information

John Heartfield – Photography Plus Dynamite

21 March – 21 June 2020
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm, tickets € 10/5

Exhibition opening on Friday, 20 March 2020, 7 pm

John Heartfield (1891–1968) was one of the most important and innovative critical artists of his time. His political photomontages became icons in the fight against National Socialism. Even today, they are of European significance and have lost none of their explosive power.

The major retrospective “John Heartfield – Photography Plus Dynamite”, on view at the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz from 21 March 2020, highlights Heartfield's use of advertising and an informed perspective to break open the context of art.

The show is based on the recent comprehensive digitalisation of John Heartfield's artistic estate, which is housed in the Academy's art collection. His artwork and archival documents, film and acoustic materials by and on Heartfield, some exhibited for the first time, demonstrate the catalytic effect and international scope of his work. During an eventful life marked by persecution and exile, Heartfield maintained close ties to a number of his contemporaries in art, literature, and theatre, including George Grosz, Bertolt Brecht, Erwin Piscator, and Hannah Höch.

The exhibition showcases the interplay of the arts – from book and stage design to photography and animation. Selected pieces from Heartfield's collection of graphic satires and East Asian artefacts reveal hitherto unknown sources of inspiration for his work.

The accompanying programme focuses on John Heartfield's contemporary significance. A catalogue will be published by Hirmer Verlag. The exhibition will travel to London and Zwolle.

An exhibition of Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation