Tuesday 20 September 2022

Heiner Goebbels at 70: Ensemble Modern celebrates the birthday of its close collaborator

Heiner Goebbels in 2022 (Photo: Mara Eggert)
Heiner Goebbels in 2022 (Photo: Mara Eggert)
German composer Heiner Goebbels was 70 last month and the Ensemble Modern, with which he has been a close collaborator for more than 35 years, is celebrating with performances of three of Goebbels' works in various European cities.

Goebbel's A House of Call. My Imaginary Notebook (2020) is being performed at the Alte Oper Frankfurt as part of the FRATOPIA festival (14/9/2022) and at Vienna's Volkstheater as part of Wien Modern (19/11/2022). The work is an evening-length cycle, a large-scale work developed in collaboration with Ensemble Modern which is acoustic “life diary” featuring sounds from all genres and voices from all over the world.

Ensemble Modern will also be returning to Goebbel's first music theatre piece, Schwarz auf Weiß (1995/96), at the Festival Musica at the Théâtre du Maillon in Strasbourg (23 & 24/9/2022) and at the Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt (4,5 & 6/11/2022). This latter is the location where the work was first performed. The work was tailored to the Ensemble Modern. The ensemble itself is the protagonist, the musicians are the actors; tennis balls land on a gran cassa drum, sounds of a koto are heard, a kettle whistles along with a complex flute melody. Scenes and events continuously flow into one another.

Goebbel's latest work, Liberté d’action (2021) is a staged concert, a contest between the performer David Bennent and Ensemble Modern’s pianists. The work focuses on the oeuvre of a maladjusted maverick and outsider: Henri Michaux, an outstanding painter and also a highly modern poet. It was premiered at the Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen in 2021 and will be revived on at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome (25/9/2022), at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (28/9/2022) and in Cluj, Romania (27/11/2022)

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