Still from 'Piano Concerto', Photo: Simon Steen-Andersen
This year Ultraschall will take place for the 20th time, and the festival stays true to its mission of presenting significant developments in contemporary music. The two Edition·S-pieces that will be performed at the festival are great examples of the variety in the field.
First performance of 'Piano Concerto' in Berlin
Since the premiere in 2014 a number of European orchestras have performed Steen-Andersen’s ‘Piano Concerto’ in cities like Tallinn, Gothenburg, Luxembourg and Aarhus. Now the time has come for the German capital to set the stage for the spectacular work, when Enno Poppe conducts Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and soloist Nicolas Hodges in a sold out Pierre Boulez Saal.
It is not the first time works by Simon Steen-Andersen will be presented at Ultraschall Berlin. In 2015 he was featured composer with no less than eight works performed during the festival. Rainer Pöllmann, one of the directors of the festival and music editor at Deutschlandradio Kultur, has a great interest in Steen-Andersen’s work, and when the Danish composer received the Kagel Music Prize in 2017, Pöllmann held the laudatory speech, praising Steen-Andersen for his ability to truly capture the audience:
“But more important for this success is the immediate perception of his music. The audience called to constant vigilance, is fascinated by the technical perfection, stunned by unexpected twists, captured by the wit of these works, and often of their inherent comedy.”
‘Piano Concerto’ was premiered by SWR Symphony Orchestra and now, when it is once again a radio orchestra performing the work, the concert will be broadcast at two different broadcasting stations: Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Kulturradio rbb.
Ensemble hand werk picks up the neonlights
The young Cologne-based ensemble hand werk will perform Simon Løffler’s ’b’ in a concert programme with the title Hand Werk Unter Strom, investigating physical processes in the music.
’b’ i written for 3 musicians, 3 neonlights, effectpedals and a loose jack cable, and Løffler explains the intention of the piece: “In ‘b’, three musicians play with two parameters: guitar pedals connected to modulate each other, and fluorescent lamps whose static electricity the musicians pass on to each other by touching. My intention was to make one single instrumental body in which the musicians connect through the simplest of body movements (hands and feet).”
’b’ was commisioned by Curious Chamber Players in 2012, and since then, the piece has travelled the world from Luleå to New York in the hands and feet of a great number of internationally renowned ensembles.
Simon Løffler: ’b’
Saturday 20 January 22:00
Radialsystem V, Berlin
Simon Steen-Andersen: ’Piano Concerto’
Sunday 21 January 17:00
Pierre Boulez Saal, Berlin
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Nicolas Hodges, Enno Poppe