The percussionist Burkhard Beins develops individual playing techniques as a composer-performer, including various sound objects, analog synthesizers and live electronics. On this basis, he has created numerous sound installations, both solo and in collaboration with artists such as Sven-Åke Johansson, John Tilbury and Charlemagne Palestine. Burkhard Beins is a member of various ensembles, has been Artist-In-Residence at EMS Stockholm, Muong Studios in Hoa Binh/Vietnam and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Florida. In addition, he has appeared in international guest performances and toured at festivals for experimental and new music in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. He is co-editor and co-author of the 2011 book “Echtzeitmusik Berlin – Selbstbestimmung einer Szene” and curator of a subsequent CD compilation.
Michael Vorfeld is a musician and visual artist who plays percussion and self-designed string instruments and realizes electroacoustic sound works in the fields of experimental and improvised music. He develops site-specific installations and performances with light and sound, and works with photography and film. Michael Vorfeld is a member of various formations and cooperates with artists from various artistic fields. In addition to installations and exhibitions at home and abroad, concerts and performances have taken him to Kassel, Munich, Brussels, Prague, Chicago, Melbourne and Brisbane, Rio de Janeiro and Hanoi. Site-specific works were created for planetariums, the water reservoir Prenzlauer-Berg, a swimming pool in Copenhagen, the border station Nordhorn-Enschede, the Botanical Garden in Metz and the former Kindl Brewery Neukölln.
Born in Iceland, Thorbjörn Björnsson studied singing at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. He worked as an actor in numerous productions with the music theatre director David Marton, among others at the Schaubühne Berlin, the Dresdner Staatsschauspiel, the Schauspiel Hannover, the Schauspiel Stuttgart, the Volksbühne Berlin and the Münchner Kammerspiele as well as at the Opéra de Lyon. Together with Annika Stadler he made his debut in 2014 as director, theatre maker and performer with the plays “Das Verein” (Neuköllner Opera) and “Holzfæller” (Sophiensæle). Together with Julia Marx Thorbjörn Björnsson developed in 2018 the music theatre play “Replay” at the Schlossplatztheater Köpenick as well as the outdoor video installation “Insider”. He works closely with the music theatre collective HAUEN UND STECHEN, for whose productions he has appeared at the Opera Stabile of the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Sophiensælen Berlin and the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Julia Marx studied literature and cultural studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, UNAM in Mexico City and Bogaziçi University in Istanbul. She has worked with the director Julia Lwowski of the music theatre collective HAUEN UND STECHEN as dramaturge and performer on several occasions, including for “Die Fledermaus” at the Neuköllner Opera and the opera performance “Das letzte Loch, Vol. 3” at the Galerina Steiner. Together with Thorbjörn Björnsson she developed in 2018 the music theatre play “Replay” at the Schlossplatztheater Köpenick as well as the outdoor video installation “Insider” and wrote the texts for both productions. The next collaboration between Björnsson / Marx will follow in autumn 2019 with the performance “Wer nichts macht, nichts falsch”.
Gianfranco Celestino and Annalisa Derossi both come from Turin, are both studied pianists and professional dancers and composed solo pieces for dance and grand piano, initially independently of each other, before joining forces for their “Duo con Piano” (2014). Gianfranco Celestino studied music in Turin as a pianist at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and dance at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Venice and Vienna. He toured with the company Les Ballets C. de la B. and worked with Bernard Baumgarten and the Arazzo Tanztheater Köln. Since 2002 he has devoted himself mainly to choreography. Annalisa Derossi studied parallel in Piano and Dance and has lived in Berlin since 1991. Guest engagements have taken her to major theatres such as the Volksbühne Berlin and the Burgtheater Vienna. Until 2012 she had a long-standing collaboration with the composer Ruedi Häusermann. Annalisa Derossi works as a musician, dancer, choreographer and composer mainly for interdisciplinary theatre projects, site-specific performances and scenic concert programmes.
The Berliner Ensemble DieOrdnungDerDinge, founded in Berlin in 2011, is dedicated to the design and testing of new musical theatre formats. Their projects turn compositions of sounds, objects, light and movement into music. The programmes follow a scenic dramaturgy in which the ensemble members do not act as music interpreters in the classical sense, but as theatrical figures on the basis of musical forms and rules. The name of the ensemble – TheOrderOfThings – marks its aesthetics: Principles and structures, order and disorder are examined in a playful and pleasurable way. In Berlin, the ensemble most recently worked at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (“Bestiarium”, 2018) and the Heimathafen Neukölln (“If You Know What I Mean”, 2017). In cooperation with Deutschlandradio Kultur, it developed its own radio format in 2017. Since 2014 a regular cooperation with the PODIUM Festival Esslingen has developed. Guest performances have also taken the ensemble to Zurich, Basel, Bern, Bilbao and Budapest.
The music theatre collective HAUEN UND STECHEN was founded in Berlin in 2012 by the directors Franziska Kronfoth and Julia Lwowski with the aim of creating a contemporary music theatre that transcends borders and genres. The focus of their work is to examine classical works of opera and to translate them into disparate art spaces and the polyphonic, wild sound world of a collective. The ensemble has performed in established institutions such as the Hamburg State Opera (“Orpheus”, 2016), the Bavarian State Opera (“Zeig mir deine Wunder, 2018”) and the Deutsche Oper Berlin (“Aus dem Hinterhalt: Il viaggio a Reims”, 2018) as well as in independent production houses such as the Sophiensaele (“Fidelio – Ein deutscher Albtraum in vier Folgen”, 2017/2018), the Neuköllner Oper, the Ballhaus Ost, the Münchener Schwere Reiter and the Schwankhalle Bremen. The collective often also works site-specifically, for example at the Grießmühle in Neukölln, the Wilden Renate open-air grounds or the house of the Schoeck family of artists in Brunnen (Switzerland).
Johannes Kreidler studied composition, electronic music and music theory at the Musikhochschule Freiburg and the Konservatorium Den Haag and teaches multimedia composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg and composition and theory at the Hochschule für Musik Basel from autumn 2019. As a composer, conceptual and media artist, he always works at the interfaces between composition, performance, visual art and video art as well as digital forms of presentation, and in the field of music theatre, including the music theatre performance “Audioguide” (2013/14) and the opera “Mein Staat als Freund und Geliebte” (My State as Friend and Beloved), which was created in 2018 at the Opera House in Halle. His works have been shown at the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, the MaerzMusik Berlin, Ultraschall Berlin, the Biennale de Musique en Scène Lyon, Wien Modern, Ultima Oslo, Peripheryberry Reykjavík, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Warschauer Herbst and the Goethe-Institut Chicago.
PHØNIX16 is a collective of singers for contemporary and experimental vocal music founded in Berlin in 2012 under the artistic direction of Timo Kreuser. The repertoire of the twelve singers includes a capella works for 1 to 16 voices as well as works with electronics, instruments, machines and moving images. In close collaboration with composers and the constant research of singing techniques the collective developed a homogeneous and at the same time flexible overall sound. PHØNIX16 curated and produced the two concert series “D.O.A. (dead on arrival)” and “POPPEN | ARBEITEN | ERSCHRECKEN | SHOPPEN” in Berlin. The performances of the two series are designed as concertante spatial situations, intermedial musical interdependencies and the ensemble’s critical examination of the social present. In addition, PØNIX16 is constantly in contact with other groups such as Poing, Ensemble Mosaik, Zafraan Ensemble, Kwartludium and S.A.F.T. for projects and performances at home and abroad.
MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle musik was founded in 2010 by scholarship holders of the International Ensemble Modern Academy out of enthusiasm for new forms of playing contemporary music. In addition to cultivating a contemporary repertoire, the musicians feel a particular commitment to alternative and experimental playing practices at the interface between performance, improvisation and the interpretation of composed music. In its concerts, the ensemble regularly contrasts music of different origins, epochs and disciplines. The ensemble has collaborated with composers such as Mark Andre, Hans-Joachim Hespos, Neo Hülcker, Jagoda Szmytka and Simon Steen-Andersen and appears at numerous festivals, including the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, the AchtBrücken Festival in Cologne, the Klangwerkstatt Berlin, the klub katarakt festival Hamburg and the ECLAT Festival neue Musik Stuttgart.
The German composer of Chinese origin Hang Su works in the intermedial field of contemporary music, sound and visual arts. He studied at the Minzu University in Beijing and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig. Hang Su was a scholarship holder of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, the Künstlerhaus Lukas and is a founding member of the Verein forma Leipzig e.V. While his early works were based on a phonetic analysis of the Chinese language, he has been experimenting with contemporary playing techniques on the traditional Chinese zither Qin since 2015. Spatial scores combine improvisational processes with spatial sound movements, video projections are translated into musical gestures as part of a performance, sound becomes notation and image. Hang Sus works have been performed in Germany, Great Britain and Austria by ensembles such as Trio Sostenuto, Ensemble Handwerk, Ensemble forma Leipzig, Ensemble MAM and others.
NOVOFLOT is an independent opera company in Berlin. Since its founding in 2002, the group has developed various project formats with the aim of exploring the genre of opera with regard to its production processes and contemporary aesthetics. In addition to Krenek’s “Glockenturm” and Traetta’s “Antigone”, the ten-part opera saga “Kommander Kobayashi”, the trilogy “WAS WIR FÜHLEN”, “Das Weihnachtsoratorium” as well as the multi-part project series “Der Sieg über die Sonne”, “Nationaloper”, “Die Bibel” and the “T-House-Tour” have been created so far. Collaborations have taken place with the Sophiensaele, the Radialsystem V, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, the Volksbühne Berlin, the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Warsaw Autumn, the Théâtre National du Luxembourg and the Trafó Budapest. In 2014 NOVOFLOT were awarded the George Tabori Prize.
Opera Lab Berlin, founded in Berlin in 2013 by composer Evan Gardner and director Michael Höppner, sees itself as a laboratory for voice and instrumental playing. In its works, the ensemble, consisting of a directing team, musicians and singers, seeks to confront its own reality of life. For its music theatre series “Im Feld”, Opera Lab Berlin brought together composers and directing teams from 2015, who together with the ensemble realised smaller productions in rehearsal phases of one to two weeks each. In addition, the ensemble has developed numerous new productions of existing works from the field of contemporary music and music theatre, including Mauricio Kagel’s “Staatstheater” (2017), as well as its own premieres such as “Gunfighter Nation” (2018) and “Lonely Hearts Bus Tour” (2019). Opera Lab Berlin has collaborated with established music theatre institutions such as the Munich Biennale for New Music Theatre, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Staatsoper Berlin.
Ensemble Garage was founded in 2009 by the composer Brigitta Muntendorf and the composer Rodrigo Lopez Klingenfuss. The ten members of the ensemble unite seven nations and focus on the works of young composers and joint rehearsals. The inclusion of transmedial works and music-theatrical elements are essential components of their work. Numerous concerts in Germany and abroad have taken the musicians to the AchtBrücken Festival Cologne, Ultraschall Berlin, Tonlagen Festival Hellerau, Donaueschinger Musiktage, De Bijloke Gent, Eastman School of Rochester and the Darmstadt Summer Courses. Since 2013 the ensemble has been organising concerts with the series “Frau Musica (nova)” between club culture, experimental music theatre, performance and electronic extensions.
The German-Austrian composer Brigitta Muntendorf studied composition in Bremen and Cologne. During her studies she founded the Ensemble Garage. With her work as a composer, she pursues the vision of a music that not only refers to itself through transmediality and multi-layered contextualization, but also specifically seeks references to other forms of art and expression. Her project series “Public Privacy”, her music theatre “FIGO” for the Munich Biennale for New Music Theatre (2016) and her Social Media Opera “iScreen, YouScream!” for the ECLAT Festival New Music Stuttgart (2017) attracted particular attention. Brigitta Muntendorf’s work has been influenced by various scholarships, including the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris (2010), the Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie (2012) and the Villa Kamogawa Kyoto (2017). She has received numerous scholarships and prizes, in particular the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation’s Förderpreis and in 2017 the Deutscher Musikautorenpreis in the category of young musicians.
Sirje Aleksandra Viise is an Estonian-American vocalist, performer and artist. She studied visual arts and music in Indiana, New York, Boston and Berlin and specializes in advanced singing techniques, contemporary and experimental music, performance and sculpture. In her solo programs and performances she questions the character of female performers and the role of the singer in today’s society. Sirje Viise has worked with composers such as Vinko Globokar, Simon Steen-Andersen, Genoël von Lillienstern and Kirsten Reese as well as with Nico and the Navigators, Ensemble Mosaik, Zafraan Ensemble and Figura Ensemble Copenhagen. Her work has been performed at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, MaerzMusik Berlin, Documenta14 in Athens, Harbin Grand Theater in China, Teater Får302 in Copenhagen, Théâtre de la Ville de Paris, National Opera Estonia, Latvian National Opera and Carnegie Hall New York.
Club Gewalt is a music theatre collective from Rotterdam consisting of seven inter-disciplinary performers who all enjoyed an education in different styles of singing. The collective is committed to a powerful, loud theatrical language that combines opera and entertainment genres. Music and especially singing are always carriers of content and narration. In their work, Club Gewalt seeks to create an undisguised access to traditions and their current contexts, mainly through the use of new media. The ensemble repeatedly picks up on themes and biographies of 21st century society, for example in their play “YURI” about the failure of the Dutch Olympic athlete Yuri van Gelder, or in “MAN ON WIRE”, an intermedial music theatre performance about the French highwire artist Philippe Petit, and is inspired by a wide variety of artists such as Monteverdi, Marcel Duchamp, David Bowie, Andy Kaufman and South Park.
The Amsterdam-born composer Huba de Graaff has been working in the field of contemporary music theatre for around 25 years. She studied violin, sonology and composition with Louis Andriessen, Dick Raaymakers, Gilius van Bergeyk and Fredric Rzewski. In often interdisciplinary working contexts she deals with connections between analog and electronic instruments, also on the basis of the development of her own software and sound systems, as well as with technique and expression of singing, voice and noise as tools for singer-performers. Her opera “Apera” (2013), for example, is based entirely on recordings of monkeys, while “Pornopera” (2014) is based exclusively on sound spectra of moaning. Her important works also include “The Naked Shit Songs” (2017), a music-theatrical reconstruction of an interview with Theo van Gogh and Gilbert & George.
Sanne van Rijn is a Dutch director, dramaturge and producer. She studied classical ballet and photography as well as art studies at the conservatory in The Hague. She has worked as a director and actress for Zuidelijk Toneel and NTGent, among others, and has been a freelance artist ever since. Sanne van Rijn has specialised in theatre forms that function outside conventional frameworks. She has worked with ensembles and artists such as Forced Entertainment, Project Wildeman, Christoph Marthaler, Johan Simons and Huba de Graaff. Her works have been awarded several prizes.
In their works, the four performers of the Dutch music theatre ensemble Project Wildeman combine music, spoken word and performance art into interactive, mostly site-specific, improvisational and sometimes grotesque music-theatrical events. Rituals go hand in hand with contemporary art styles and performance practices. The performances are always aimed at a close proximity to the audience and direct communication with it, the music is often improvised live on practically unlimited instruments. In addition to the music and literature canon as for “Salomé” (2012), “Woyzeck” (2014) and “Heart of Darkness” (2016), the works of Project Wildeman refer to social situations in the balance between the modern world and its archaic counterparts.