In its 20th year, Ultraschall Berlin remains true to its mission of presenting significant developments in contemporary music, establishing relationships between composers and performers and presenting contemporary works in standard-setting performances.
An important hallmark of Ultraschall Berlin is the balance between world premières and first performances and the examination of works from the recent past in an altered, contemporary context. Thus world premières of Isabel Mundry, Márton Illés and Birke Bertelsmeier are performed alongside works by Frederic Rzewski, Heinz Holliger and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, whose 100th birthday is celebrated this year and whose works for two pianos and their orchestral prelude “Photoptosis” are performed once again.
New Music has produced a wealth of instrumental compositions that had previously been neglected. What had initially been conceived as an experiment grew together into permanent ensembles which, due to the natural lack of literature, encouraged composers to get themselves involved in new sound possibilities. Ensembles such as Nikel with a line-up of electric guitar, saxophone, drums and piano or LUX:NM with saxophone, trombone, accordion, piano and two cellos made unprecedented tonal variations possible.
We continue our long-standing traditional collaboration with the DAAD Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme with a series of portraits by young Israeli composer Yair Klartag. Many of his ensemble and orchestral works form the central theme of several concerts at the festival.
String solos are one of the main focuses this year. Violinist Carolin Widmann explores the dimensions of her instrument in a tense arc from major works to miniatures, as does violist Christophe Desjardins, while Caleb Salgado explores in a surprising manner the undreamt-of possibilities of the double bass, including a version of Helmut Lachenmann’s cello piece “Pression” for his instrument.
As a forum for the new, Ultraschall Berlin is located in one of the most important cities, above all also for contemporary music. Internationality is one of Berlin’s trademarks, and so the artists, as well as the composers, are represented both on an international level and through their own intercultural signature. One ensemble led by clarinettist Nina Janßen-Deinzer dedicates itself to the music of the East Asian region. Other composers come from the USA, Israel and Slovenia.
The large orchestra is once again represented by the two roc ensembles. The Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin is conducted by Heinz Holliger and Evan Christ; Enno Poppe is the conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin.
The communication of New Music is a central objective of Ultraschall Berlin. This year, discussions with musicians, composers and the student project of the UltraschallReporter will be complemented by the collaboration with the Institute for New Music of the two Berlin music academies, Klangzeitort.
Ultraschall Berlin – Festival for new music
Berghain, Heimathafen, Radialsystem V, Pierre Boulez Saal & more.