Focal points of the Month of Contemporary Music

Musiker spielt Trompete
©Kai Bienert

The programme of the Contemporary Music Month has been shaped by the independent scene itself: ensembles, festivals, and artists have been called on to contribute to the lineup with their own events. The resulting variety is impressive: With around 90 events on 45 stages in just four weeks, the Month of Contemporary Music is jam-packed, serving as a reflection of current trends in Berlin's contemporary music scene and beyond. As an overview, here are some of the prevalent common threads within composing and music-making that run through the wide-ranging programme:


One key aspect of Berlin's independent scene is its eagerness for collaboration. The trio Contagious is even dedicating a whole new series to this approach with the evocative title »Partners In Crime«: On 10 and 11 Sep, they will be joined respectively by percussionist Andrea Belfi and vocal artist Sofia Jernberg. On 17 Sep, »Circle Sounds II«, a project decidedly designed for collaboration and communication, will take over the courtyard of the BHROX bauhaus reuse on Ernst-Reuter-Platz, its second public intervention following an edition in Spandau. Zinc & Copper are also seeking dialogue: For the events »Saitenklänge« and »Autonomex«, they are cooperating with Julia Reidy and Fredrik Rasten as well as Juan Felipe Waller and Marisol Jiménez on 21 and 22 Sep at KM28 to widen the sonic spectrum of their low brass ensemble through the addition of guitars and electronics. On 24 Sep, Ensemble Apparat bring together the likes of soprano Olivia Stahn and Ensemble Adapter for »Guild Music« at St. Elisabeth Church to perform new compositions for a large brass ensemble.


Although the festival is a Berlin affair, it's not only about making local connections but rather national and international ones, too. Together with MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle musik, Tim McCormack will present two premieres on 15 Sep at KM28: a piece for prepared bass drum and one for solo voice. With a new issue of its sound magazine»listening cities«, KNM Berlin turns to Taipei on 16 Sep for an evening of interviews and live music in Teilelager Fahrbereitschaft. On 25 Sep at KM28, the New York vocal ensemble Ekmeles will reinterpret »verfluchung« and other works by the composer Mathias Spahlinger. And on 29 Sep, the Zafraan Ensemble will welcome the Bremen ensemble New Babylon to the Theater am Delphi to celebrate the fourth edition of its collaboration project with international ensembles, »Cells«.


During the month, there will also be interaction among various genres and art forms. With »Listen to what remains unspoken« at ausland on 2-3 Sep, sOojung Kae and Biliana Voutchkova will present an encounter with various musicians and the live writer Noah Kae Choi. At the launch of the new series »Pulses and Proteins« on 8 Sep at Atelierhof Kreuzberg, LUX:NM will be conducting a completely different cross-media dialogue in which music and sculpture are woven together. The trio Dell-Lillinger-Westergaard explores the boundaries of experimental jazz in their release concert of the current album "Beats II" on 15.9. at the Musikbrauerei.The fourth edition of »Labor Sonor« on 18 Sep will focus on the coexistence of different artistic perspectives: Rabih Beaini, Maikon K, and VanProject bring dance, music theatre, and techno to the stage of Ballhaus Ost. At the 26th edition of the »Cluster« series by Labor Neunzehn, the guitar duo santorsa~pereyra will soundtrack an experimental film on 19 Sep at at KM28. On 23 Sep in Teilelager Fahrbereitschaft, Theo Nabicht's »Circle Line Project« will take its audience on a virtual ride on the Tokyo Ringbahn. And on 29 Sep, Maulwerker will set up at Ballhaus Ost, expanding their vocal capabilities with the aid of megaphones, microphones, loudhailers, and hand-held loudspeakers.


The music theatre genre, which already bridges the gap between art forms, is constantly being reimagined and expanded upon by Berlin's contemporary music scene. The duo gamut inc has undoubtedly been leading the way in this respect in recent years, and for the Month of Contemporary Music, Maciej Sledziecki and Marion Wörle are bringing their robot trilogy to a brilliant conclusion with »Zeroth Law – Das Nullte Gesetz« at the Tischlerei of the Deutsche Oper from 27-29 Sep. Also of note is »Die Harmonielehre #2 OpernCall«, digital/physical installation for the glass facade of the Akademie der Künste at Pariser Platz, taking place on 28 Sep with the ensemble Dissonart along with many other musicians and performers.


The beginning of the month coincides with the reopening of the exploratorium berlin. The new location at Zossener Straße 24 was inaugurated by an opening ensemble and with a festive buffet, and now, a full programme awaits us with greats from the field of Echtzeitmusik and free improvisation. On 15 Sep at Kühlspot Social Club, the fourth edition of the »city signals« series, focussing on improvised music from Europe, will put the spotlight on musicians from the Netherlands. Meanwhile, ausland remains a central hub for the scene: On 15 Sep, Paoxysm and Das B. will meet there as part of »biegungen im ausland«, before Hiccup present their new album on 16 Sep, joined by Viola Yip playing a solo set. Then on 22 Sep, the trio Zapparoli/Hofmann/Lorenz will meet Anaïs Tuerlinckx.


Electro-acoustic music has long been a tradition in Berlin, and it continues to gain new inspiration. As part of »Edison Noside« on 23 Sep at KM28, Magda Mayas and Nicolas Collins will present their work for inside piano, Collins' wondrous !trumpet software system, and fingertip feedback, including a new interpretation of David Behrman's classic »Wave Train«. Over the past ten years, the Academy of Arts has remained a central source of ideas for electro-acoustic music: »sample and hold #5« celebrates the anniversary of the studio for electro-acoustic music located there. On 27 Sep, the programme will include works that were created at Hanseatenweg and whose composers are still closely connected to the studio today.


Another leitmotif of the month is sound art and installations. From 1-10 Sep, Errant Sound is all about »CASH«: works by the Institut für Elektroakustik Hamburg West, Nico Daleman, the Psychedelic Choir, Max Joy, Mario Asef, Oliver Möst, and Georg Werner as they deal with the art of transaction. The gallery will also be home to the seventh edition of the »Sonic Art Bar« on 13 Sep, offering the opportunity to swap ideas about sound art – or to stay silent and listen attentively as half-hour excerpts of works are presented. Before that, on 2-3 Sep, Ignaz Schick will bring his »Mechanical Garden« to life, resonating on two evenings in the Morphine room together with a specially assembled ensemble, sound objects distributed around the room, and self-made instruments. For 8-10 and 12-19 Sep, singuhr – projekte have invited the duo Mouse On Mars to turn the silent green Kulturquartier into an acoustic parkour, where four interlocking installations will occupy the entire area. And on 21 Sep, Labor Neunzehn will host the opening of a solo exhibition by Rubén D’Hers: »My head sounds like that« seeks musicality in sounds heard in domestic settings.


Sustainability and the climate crisis are prevalent in this year’s festival programme. Following the conference »Time To Listen – The Ecological Crisis in Sound and Music«, we invite you to the Academy of the Arts and Otto Park for sound walks and daytime performances on 2-3 Sep as a finale to the festival of the same name. On 8 Sep at West Germany, Ensemble Algae will provide a live soundtrack to a video by the artist Carolina Böttner, a performance that puts a creative spin on the concepts of waste and leftovers. Climate change is also something that Kollektiv Atonale and guests will explore on 9 Sep at BHROX bauhaus reuse as part of the concert series »Ressources / Research«. Meanwhile, ecological questions shape the installation work »Frequency of Flowers« by Ana Maria Rodriguez, which can be viewed on 16-17 Sep in Teilelager Fahrbereitschaft: She takes nature as a model for intact communication based on the capacity for empathy and resonance. And when the Y-E-S collective kicks off their new series »Archaic Revival« at the Heizhaus on 30 Sep, Kaj Duncan David, Laure M. Hiendl, and Vica Pacheco will present musical works that draw inspiration from retrofuturist and sci-fi aesthetics, archaic forms of knowledge, and multi-species utopias.


As every year, several festivals take place during the Month of Contemporary Music. »Musikfest Berlin«, organised by the Berliner Festspiele and the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, starts on 26 Aug, featuring over 60 works by around 45 composers at various venues through 18 Sep. On 3 Sep, the »Festival für Selbstgebaute Musik« returns to the Holzmarkt with concerts, workshops, and installations centred on self-build instruments. On 22-23 Sep, »Pantopia« celebrates its fifth edition at Spreehalle Berlin, while »Future Soundscapes« brings audio-visual predictions to the stage at the silent green Kulturquartier.


  • 30 days
  • 90 events
  • 45 venues
  • 35 Ensembles

Participating groups, orchestras, collectives and ensembles:
Bayerisches Staatsorchester • Berliner Philharmoniker • Contagious • duo santorsa~pereyra • Ekmeles • Ensemble Apparat • Ensemble Dissonart • Ensemble KNM Berlin • Ensemble Modern • Ensemble Mosaik • Ensemble New Babylon • FrauVonDa • gamut inc • Lange//Berweck//Lorenz • Instantaneous Music Ensemble • Konzerthausorchester Berlin • LUX:NM • Marc Sinan Company • MAM.manufaktur für aktuelle musik • Maulwerker • Mouse on Mars • Novoflot • Paroxysm • Psychedelic Choir • Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin • SO SNER • Staatskapelle Berlin • Supernovæ • VanProject • Zafraan Ensemble • Zapparoli/Hofmann/Lorenz • Zinc & Copper • u.v.m.

Participating venues:

Akademie der Künste • Atelierhof Kreuzberg • ausland • Ballhaus Ost • BHROX bauhaus reuse • BKA-Theater • Cashmere Radio • Errant Sound • exploratorium berlin • Teilelager FAHRBEREITSCHAFT • Holzmarkt • Heizhaus • KM28 • Elisabethkirche • Kühlspot Social Club • Kulturraum Zwingli Kirche • Labor Neunzehn  • Morphine Raum • Philharmonie Berlin • Musikbrauerei • silent green Kulturquartier • Spreehalle Berlin •  Theater im Delphi • Tischlerei der Deutschen Oper Berlin • Villa Elisabeth • West Germany • u.v.m.

Participating festivals and series:

biegungen im ausland • Partners in Crime – Contagious Concert Series • Das Festival für Selbstgebaute Musik • Fluid Form Club • KNM’s sound magazine • LABOR SONOR • Musikfest Berlin • PANTOPIA FESTIVAL • Sonic Art Bar • Time to Listen. Die ökologische Krise in Klang und Musik • Unerhörte Musik

Media partners:

Arts of the working ClassCashmere Radioder FreitagDigital in BerlinEXBERLINER • Missy Magazinneue musikzeitungNeue Zeitschrift für MusikPositionen – Texte zur aktuellen MusikRBB • taz-die Tageszeitung