Part 2 // City Guides
Some of the smartest classical concerts, as well as experimental performances, spill out at music festivals upcoming in March. Text: Nadja Sayej
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ome could say techno is the religion of Berlin. The repetitive beat and bass has made Germany’s sexy capital a hub for electronic music, especially since some of the most legendary nightclubs were born in Berlin’s central district of Mitte in the 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While Berlin’s Berghain still holds the hot ticket as one of Europe’s most popular nightclubs, every Easter in Berlin calls us all to listen a little deeper. If you’ve never seen a classical concert in Berlin, it will take you back to imperial times. Festtage Berlin (Festival Days Berlin) is an opera festival kicking off with classical opera and concerto premieres from 27 March to 6 April at the Schiller Theater, the festival’s temporary home (the original Unter den Linden venue is still under renovation). As the audience sits closer to the stage than before, it has been said to create a heightened sense of drama and the operas are more intimate to watch. Since 1996, the Festtage, spearheaded by German conductor Daniel Barenboim, is a pioneering festival showcasing A-grade musical theatre and concerts. This year’s festival pays homage to Pierre Boulez, a great French conductor and composer who is celebrating his 90th birthday on 26 March, while focusing on pieces by Wagner. Boulez has been a collaborator of Barenboim for over 50 years and has also been a guest performer in the Berliner Staatsoper and in the Staatskapelle concerts. For the conductor, three orchestras will pay tribute, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Berlin. What to look forward to? All of their opera productions, which will be conducted by Barenboim, focus on Richard Wagner with a revival of Sasha Waltz’ Tannhäuser alongside a new staging of Parsifal by Dmitri Tcherniakov, which connects to Boulez’s career as a conductor. If you haven’t already guessed, Boulez is a rock star in the classical scene. He has directed some of the world’s most important symphony orchestras since the 1950s, from the New York Philharmonic to the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He isn’t only old school, though, having collaborated with rock icons like Frank Zappa and his style is unconven-
FLYDOSCOPE // 2015 — \1
Photo : Moritz Schell
tional – Boulez is known for not using a baton, he conducts with only his hands. Will there be birthday cake? A birthday song with a long, loud drumroll? The festival hopes Boulez will attend, but they’ve yet to confirm his attendance. Experimental music If you’d rather see cutting-edge, contemporary works, März Muzik (March Music) is a new music festival focusing on modern 20th century classical, chamber and experimental music. Organized by the Berliner Festspiele, this year’s festival, opening on 20 March, reflects on time – the passing of time from past to present and the musical vision of the future. Sound art always plays a role in their pro-
Berlin. Photography by I heart berlin.