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20 October 2006

LINKS — The Heidelberg Contemporary Music Biennial from 3 to 5 November 2006

University of Heidelberg and Society for the Advancement of Contemporary Music announce this year's biennial festival: MusikSprachenGeflechte — West-eastern dialogues in contemporary music — Opening event on Friday, 3 November at 6.30 p.m.

MusikSprachenGeflechte is the motto of the third Heidelberg Contemporary Music, taking place this year from 3 to 5 November. The focus behind the motto is on the various concatenations that exist between music, language and culture. Is music really an international language that everyone understands, or are there just as many "musics" as there are languages? In addressing this question, the LINKS festival homes in on a highly topical issue with major political and cultural reverberations and concentrates its attention on the positive instances of mutual influence and enrichment.

Contemporary composers and performers at home in various different cultures draw much of their inspiration from an engagement with the question of how musical cultures can combine and mutually enrich one another. The LINKS Festival presents five concerts with internationally renowned performers playing contemporary, traditional and crossover works from South and East Asia, the Near East and Europe. Names like the Austrian Stadler Quartet, the vocal ensemble Singer Pur, the Omega instrumental ensemble, koto virtuoso Makiko Goto and the cellist Rohan de Saram promise unusual and exciting programmes.

Another key feature of the LINKS Festival is its concern for the connections between music, composition and musicology. This year the Department of Musicology of Heidelberg University will be hosting a lunchtime concert of works by composition students and a round-table discussion entitled "Monologue-Dialogue-Polylogue" at which composers, performers and musicologists will be talking about how different musical cultures can enter into fruitful contact with one another.

The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, 3 November in the Great Hall of the Old University will be the Indian composer and publicist Sandeep Bhagwati. His talk will provide an introduction to the Festival and he will also be sharing his first-hand experience of various different aspects of intercultural exchange. Bhagwati is not only a noted author but also a highly successful composer. He was the recipient of a grant from the International Artists' House in Bamberg, has devised broadcasts on contemporary music for various German radio programmes (essays, discussions, composer portraits), is a regular contributor to book publications and catalogues and works as artistic director and organiser of numerous festivals. Among his major works as a composer is the opera Ramanujan, first performed at Munich's Prinzregententheater in the course of the Munich Biennial. He has also been composer in residence of the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle in Bonn.

This year's LINKS Festival starts on a striking note with the opening concert at the Great Hall of the Old University at 8 p.m. the same evening (3 November). The Stadler Quartet from Salzburg is a string quartet that has made an international reputation for itself with its performances of contemporary music. The quartet was established in Salzburg in 1992 by the present leader of the Mozarteum Orchestra, Frank Stadler. Also, the members of the quartet (Frank Stadler, Izso Bajusz, Predrag Katanic, Peter Sigl) are all key players in the renowned Austrian Contemporary Music Ensemble (oenm), a versatile formation specialising, as the name suggests, in modern music. Accordingly, the engagement with new and contemporary music is central to the work of the Stadler Quartet. Since its foundation it has given the first performances of some 150 works, many of them dedicated to the quartet. They are of course equally well versed in the performance of the standard 20th century repertoire and of the great classical and romantic masterpieces forming the cornerstone of the string quartet tradition.

With its versatility the Stadler Quartet has made an outstanding name for itself on the concert circuit, not only with the aficionados of modern music. Of especial significance for the quartet is direct contact and collaboration with contemporary composers like George Crumb, Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Johannes Kalitzke, Petere Ruzicka, Jörg Widmann and Chaya Czernowin. Invitations to the Salzburg Festival are an eloquent testimony to the quartet's many qualities, as are its regular appearances in concerts and concert series in that city (Aspekte Festival, etc.).

One of the high-spots in the career of the Stadler Quartet was the spectacular performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Helicopter Quartet at the Salzburg Festival in 2003. They have also toured Holland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Norway, Italy, Japan, Korea and Brazil. For a documentary on Betty Freeman in 2005 the Stadler Quartet recorded a performance of Steve Reich's Different Trains. For several years now, the players has been intensively exploring the field of microtonal music and this has decisively enhanced the sophisticated sonic perspectives opened up by their performances.

In the summer of 2005 the quartet and the other musicians of the Austrian Contemporary Music Ensemble were awarded the "Prize for New Listening" of the International Summer Academy of the Salzburg Mozarteum. For LINKS the quartet has devised a programme of works by Sandeep Bhagwati, Shirish Korde, Jin Hi Kim and Stefan Pohlit. Alongside their usual instruments they will also be playing various flutes and the komungo, a traditional Korean stringed instrument.

MATINEE: 15 € (reduced 10 €)
FESTIVAL SUBSCRIPTION: 50 € (reduced 30 €)

heidelbergTicket (phone: 06221/58 20000)

Supported by the City of Heidelberg

Organised by
The Society for the Advancement of Contemporary Music, Heidelberg
president: Prof. Dr. Silke Leopold
Department of Musicology
University of Heidelberg
Augustinergasse 7
69117 Heidelberg

Society offices & contact:
Lemi Reskovac / Nicole Vollweiler
phone: 0177/8108103

Journalists can also address their inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

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