Ensemble Musikfabrik

Archangel Michael

Johannes Kepler’s platonic solid model of the solar system c. 1600

Johannes Kepler’s platonic solid model of the solar system c. 1600

© Wikimedia Commons

  • Duration 1h 15, no interval

Past Dates

Work introduction 1 hour prior to the concert

In 2013, the New York Times announced the American premiere of the 2nd act of the opera Donnerstag aus Licht (Thursday from Light) by Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Lincoln Festival Center in New York as a “surefire box-office hit”. And rightfully so: the celebrated, Cologne-based 30-headed ensemble Musikfabrik’s rendition of “Michaels Reise um die Erde” (Michael’s Journey around the Earth) exceeded all expectations. It is not about Jules Verne’s adventurous spirit, however, but about the musical and spiritual life path of trumpet-playing protagonist Michael, an archangel bearing characteristics of the composer himself. The journey begins at the South Pole and eventually reaches Jerusalem via stations including Cologne (New Music of the 50s and 60s), New York (jazz), Japan (the temple instruments keisu, rin and the geisha bell), Bali (gamelan), India (harp and string instruments) and Africa (percussion music) with a hymnal ceremony. Indeed, “Michaels Reise um die Erde” is one of the craziest trumpet and ensemble concerts that has ever been written, and a fireworks display of live electronic sound projections. For the first time, the Fabrik musicians and their solo trumpeter Marco Blaauw bring this highly virtuoso travel adventure to Berlin: to the stage of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

As Marco Blaauw explains: “The trumpet will be amplified into the hall via six groups of loudspeakers. The sound of the trumpet will not, however, be electronically distorted, the projection will rather lend a greater aura to the sound and move it through the venue. For instance, at the very end of the piece, we will hear how the sound rotates above us in the venue and moves further and further away.”

Read more of what Marco Blaauw has to say about “Michaels Reise” on

Karlheinz Stockhausen [1928–2007]
Michaels Reise um die Erde
Act II of the opera DONNERSTAG aus LICHT [1977–1980]

Marco Blaauw trumpet
Merve Kazokoğlu basset horn
Fie Schouten clarinet, basset horn
Carl Rosman clarinet
Bruce Collings trombone
Kevin Austin trombone
Melvyn Poore tuba

Ensemble Musikfabrik

Paul Jeukendrup sound direction
Alain Louafi choreographer
Lukas Becker lighting design
Florence von Gerkan, Hwan Kim costume design

Ilan Volkov conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event
funded by means of the Capital Cultural Fund.
With the support of Aventis Foundation