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Thinking Time Differently

MaerzMusik 2020 revolves around a simple and powerful idea: the beginning of time. A notion so common and naturalized, that its peculiarity, even strangeness, often goes unnoticed. Across geographies, times, and cultures, humans have tried to account for that which cannot be known. Whether in the form of creation myths or scientific theories, these governing narratives – that construct origins beyond human grasp – tend to reveal their inventors’ relation to the world, their philosophies, assumptions, imaginaries, as well as their politics.

The sixth edition of this Festival for Time Issues draws its energy from the poetics and the politics of ‘time immemorial’ – a temporality that eludes control and computability: music and practices rooted in cosmologies not circumscribed by a beginning and end; sounds that reach into the deep space of time, unknowable but sensible; voices that speak, whisper or scream untold stories past and present. Together, they form MaerzMusik 2020, ten days of interrelated concerts, audio-visual performances, film screenings, readings, public conversations and an exhibition that destabilise the notions of beginning and origin.

The opening night with the Bolivian Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos and PHØNIX16 explores common artistic grounds beyond cultural difference and the complex legacy of colonialism, bringing together the indigenous musical practices and sounds of the Andes with experimental musical approaches (20.3.). An evening of readings and intimate concert settings (21.3.) opens poly-perspectival landscapes of narratives of beginnings (of time). The third festival night with Pierluigi Billone’s new composition “FACE Dia.De” and Myriam Van Imschoot’s film “Le Cadeau” is dedicated to the deep space of the female voice (22.3.). Under the starry dome of the Zeiss-Großplanetarium, Éliane Radigue’s profound, three-hour deep listening experience “Trilogie de la Mort”, transcends the linear logic of “cradle to grave” (23.3.). The French composer’s music will reappear in two more concerts, with Quatuor Bozzini ( 25.3.) and Erwan Keravec ( 27.3.) in the impressive setting of the Parochialkirche. Both evenings present further sonic imaginations of timelessness: “Before the Universe Was Born”, Horaţiu Rădulescu’s fifth string quartet (25.3.) and Mark Andre’s latest ensemble piece “rwh. 1” played by Ensemble Resonanz (27.3.). Younghi Pagh-Paan’s work, which is committed to intercultural dialogue and an ethics of care, is subject of a portrait concert with ensemble KNM Berlin (26.3.). The retrospective “Here History Began” at SAVVY Contemporary pays homage to Egyptian-American composer, researcher and teacher Halim El-Dabh (1921 – 2017), whose significant oeuvre has vanished into oblivion (Opening 24.3.).

The Long Now, MaerzMusik’s grand, 30-hour closing event, activates the post-industrial cathedral of Kraftwerk Berlin with spatial interventions by Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Myriam Van Imschoot, Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos and PHØNIX16, amongst many others (28. & 29.3.).

The festival’s discourse format Thinking Together is holding and connecting the multiple threads running through the festival (21.–27.3.). Its lectures, public conversations and workshops are an invitation to think time and origin differently, and thereby open present practices for possible futures.

As an epilogue to this year’s festival edition, MaerzMusik presents in conjunction with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, Gérard Grisey’s major oeuvre “Les espaces acoustiques”, performed by Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Ensemble Modern conducted by Sylvain Cambreling (31.3.).

It is the deep pleasure of this festival to create moments of listening together and to provide space for diverse ways of being in time. Be our guest.

Berno Odo Polzer'
Artistic Director
MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues

Trailer MaerzMusik 2020. Visual and Audio from “Non-Face” by Robert Lippok & Lucas Gutierrez
Editing and Design: Eps51

© Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik

About MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues

MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues sees itself as a venue for experiencing art and thinking about how we deal with time. Contemporary music is its centre and point of departure for an exploration of the nature of time in life, art and theory.
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