On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Donaueschingen Festival in 2021, the Federal Cultural Foundation will finance an extensive three-year research and concert project on music from the Global South in addition to the annual funding it regularly receives as one of Germany’s cultural institutions of excellence. This additional funding represents a unique opportunity to commission a four-person team of international experts to conduct extended research on three continents, the results of which will shape the artistic profile of the commemorative festival in 2021.

The Donaueschingen Festival was established in 1921 and is the oldest and perhaps best-known festival of contemporary music in the world. The festival has presented the world premieres of numerous contemporary masterpieces by such internationally renowned composers as Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The Donaueschingen Festival has always been a place of experimentation, a laboratory which advanced many 20th-century developments, e.g. live electronic music and sound art. Unconventional programmes and overwhelming public acclaim have allowed the Donaueschingen Festival to establish itself as the most important festival in the area of New Music.

Like many other institutions of New Music, the Donaueschingen Festival spent many years focusing on European and Western trends instead of addressing global developments in New Music, gaining respective expertise and cultivating international contacts. For this reason, the commemorative concert project aims to present composers, ensembles and genres devoted to New Music and its related forms but have only attained limited visibility in the international or European scene. The project coordinators will focus on South East Asia, the entire African continent and the relatively unknown musical terrain of Latin America, e.g. Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.

To this end, the artistic director of the Donaueschingen Festival, Björn Gottstein, will appoint a team of experts comprising four distinguished, international scouts from institutions which are well-acquainted with issues of non-European experimental sound cultures. Following research trips and numerous interviews, the scouts will apply their newly gained insights and impressions to develop concrete concert projects together with the artistic director of the Donaueschingen Festival and a festival dramaturge. The aim is to invite three ensembles to the commemorative celebration in 2021 and commission a total of ten new compositions, all of which will be performed during the festival.

The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated 385,000 euros to finance the concert project “Global South” from 2018 to 2021.

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Städtisches Kultur- und Verkehrsamt Donaueschingen

Karlstraße 58
78166 Donaueschingen
Tel.: +49 (0)771 857 266
Fax: +49 (0)771 857 228 
Donaueschingen Festival Website