A marathon concert from a legendary New York music initiative and a celebration of a forgotten pioneer of electronic music – these are just two examples of the multi-faceted program of MaerzMusik (19–28.03.2021) from the Berliner Festspiele. The 19th edition of the “Festival for Time Issues” comprises ten days of music and is, for the first time, exclusively available online for free. The daily lineup of live streamsincludes the expected concerts and talks but also a lot for the eyes, including film presentations and performances.
The program kicks off with a project that fits the current climate perfectly: Environment, a joint performance by Berlin solo ensemble Phønix16 and Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos that takes acoustic and cinematic elements and uses them to make the experience of last year’s lockdown palpable. Meanwhile, the exhibition Here History Began highlights the work of late Egyptian-American composer and researcher Halim El-Dabh. In live streams from Savvy Contemporary gallery and the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, El-Dabh’s position within music history is revisited via new works. Finally, if you’re in the mood for musical utopias, you should tune in to the Bang on a Can Marathon where for four hours, the legendary New York music crew will present a live version of a futuristic format developed especially for MaerzMusik. While there is additional distance between performance and listener at this year’s festival, the lineup still reminds us of how art, theory and current affairs are inextricably linked.
Text: Hanna Komornitzyk / Photos: Lukas Wenninger & Philippe Rebosz