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Happy New Ears

This series of workshop concerts launches its 30th season! As was the case last season, two concerts belong to the ICCS (International Composer & Conductor Seminars) and their up and coming artists: the Lucerne Festival Academy have been invited along with selected composers who are involved with the rich in tradition Warsaw Autumn Festival. There are also two portrait concerts for the renowned conductor and composer Johannes Kalitzke and composer Brigitta Muntendorf, whose interdiciplinary output has earned her international acclaim. Come and hear them talking about their work, illustrated by exerpts of their music.

NOVEMBER 15 2023 : Große Saal, HfMDK Frankfurt

»Keep your ears open for the diversity of music in our century« – a reminder bolstered by a series of workshop concerts brought into being by the Ensemble Modern & Oper Frankfurt 30 years ago titled & »Happy New Ears!«. The idea came from the composer, conductor and professor Hans Zender, who died in 2019, to get people to be more interested in, and better understand, new works during a kind of open rehearsal during which pieces are discussed with the composer. The focus of the first one, on October 19 1983, was Schönberg’s chamber symphony no. 1, conducted by Hans Zender. Reason enough to celebrate Happy New Ears events with a special concert!

In 1916 Hugo Ball and like-minded artists founded Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich’s Spiegelgasse, where Dadaismus was born. He performed six Lautgedichte (sort of semi-chanted poems) which sounded like nonsense at first. Their aim: »To renounce a language that has been laid waste and made impossible by journalism with our tone poems. We must delve into the deepest alchemy of the word and abandon even the word’s alchemy to preserve its sacred domain for poetry.«

Hans Zender got to grips with Hugo Ball’s texts and set them to music. This »confirmed Ball‘s still relevant, basic concern« – said the composer – »and the quality of his verse. He had anticipated something that was later called ›structural thinking‹ in music.«

The conductor is Ingo Metzmacher, who played the piano with the Ensemble Modern from day one in 1980, until 1985, before working at Oper Frankfurt as a soloists’ coach, and later conductor. He and the flautist and co-founding member of the Ensemble Modern Dietmar Wiesner will discuss and analyse the work, looking back on 30 years of Happy New Ears events, and welcoming back the vocalist Salome Kammer, who took part in the world premiere of the work in 2002.