There are only very few music festivals entirely devoted to solo improvisation. In the city of Berlin, curator Volker Meitz succeeded to establish an annual forum for this special and intimate format of musical performance, this year marking the fourth edition. The festival takes place in context of the local Monat der zeitgenössischen Musik („month of contemporary music“) framework.
The venue, Acker Stadt Palast, is a very special place in Berlin: Located in the now posh city centre, it still breathes the atmosphere of the early 1990’s, when the Berlin Wall had just come down. Sustained by a non-profit foundation, it has retained the flair of squat buildings, patina and makeshift culture that was not least a breeding ground to the internationally reknowned Echtzeitmusik movement – protagonists of which appear at the festival, too.
On three days, altogether 15 musicians will be performing, stemming from diverse musical universes. Next to drawing on an abundance of artists from the local community which Berlin is famous for, Volker Meitz also invited national and international improvisers, such as cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm from the USA, Danish trombone player Marie Bertel and Polish accordinoist Zbiginew Chojnacki. From different parts of Germany, John Eckhardt (bass), John-Dennis Renken (trumpet) and Enrico Sartori (clarinets) will be appearing. Each night, three Berlin based artists will be meeting one national and international performer each.
The evenings will kick off with a short podium discussion by all five musicians, after which they will perform solo for 20 minutes each. As a contrast, the finale features a collective improvisation, with the five artists reacting to one another, while they previously had been alone with themselves and the audience. Hence we get to know different faces of the musicians, which makes for an entertaining and diverse experience.
The line-up spans free jazz, contemporary and electronic music artists, partly falling under the umbrella term of the aforementioned Echtzeitmusik („real time music“), playing acoustic, amplified or purely electronic instruments – down to Nicolas Wiese who is listed simply under „samples & feedback“. Next to old stagers of solo improvisation by the likes of Andrea Parkins or Marc Schmolling, we will have musicians performing solo for the very fist time, such as saxophone player Philipp Gropper. Thus, we can expect three suspenseful everythings between melodious harmony and experimental noise.