Ensemble Modern, Neuer Kammerchor Berlin

Catherine Larsen-Maguire, conductor
Cathy Milliken: “Night Shift – The Rehearsal” (WP)

With "Night Shift - The Rehearsal" Cathy Milliken composes an evening in which the audience becomes the actor. "Participation is the first duty of the audience", when they create a poetic world together with the performers on this evening, dreaming and overcoming boundaries.

Pierre Székely, Sculpture, Berlin, Symposium of European Sculptors 1961–1962

Igor Stravinsky playing lyre on a removed Citroën radiator grille, c. 1933

© Cathy Milliken

Past Dates

“When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer.” Bottom, the weaver with acting ambitions from Shakespeare's “Midsummer Night's Dream”, shows how it is: Participation is the first duty of the audience. So also in the projects of the “Connect” series of concerts by the Ensemble Modern, the London Sinfonietta, the Remix Ensemble Porto and the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, in which the fourth wall (Spalt) – the imaginary wall between stage and audience – is broken open and by more than a cranny! (Spalt)

Shakespeare's “Midsummer Night's Dream” is one of the first works that explicitly makes the subject of performing art by laypersons the focus when the artisans' entourage meets to rehearse and perform “Pyramus and Thisbe”. In “Night Shift”, Shakespeare's play within a play becomes the starting point for the rehearsal of a piece in which the audience becomes a protagonist alongside the performers, helping to form and create the final versions of this new piece as they go.

“Night Shift - the Rehearsal” is in preparation for its premiere. Michael Schiefel and Helena Rasker are the two soloists alongside the Ensemble Modern and the Neue Kammerchor. The audience is also equipped with sound making objects and all present enter the arena and fine-tune the progression of the rehearsal together. However where the “dreams” of the “Night Shift” will lead us no one can yet predict. Improvisation and action are required. What role can music play in a world in which environmental disasters and pandemics, in which borders and walls rule?

In a “night shift”, the couple - Helena and Michael together with all partakers, dreams a bottomless dream and works towards an art that can change reality. Or is it art that has already changed it unnoticed? According to Bottom: “Let's have the tongs and the bones.”

Patrick Hahn and Cathy Milliken

Concert Programme

Cathy Milliken
Night Shift – The Rehearsal (2021)
An evening for ensemble, soloists, choir and audience

World premiere


Helena Rasker voice/play
Michael Schiefel voice/play

Ensemble Modern
Neuer Kammerchor Berlin
Adrian Emans vocal coach
Catherine Larsen-Maguire conductor

Cathy Milliken composition/text
Patrick Hahn text/dramaturgy
Ulrike Becker translation
Robert Lehmeier scenic arrangement

A CONNECT – The Audience as artist project
CONNECT is an initiative made possible by ART MENTOR FOUNDATION LUCERNE in collaboration with London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Asko|Schönberg and Remix Ensemble Casa da Música Porto.

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event