The International Hugo Wolf Academy in Stuttgart is devoted to preserving and promoting art songs – a genre which reached its height in the 19th and 20th century. How has the “song” as an art form developed since then? How does it rank in the cultural and musical environment at the start of the 21st century? The International Hugo Wolf Academy has addressed these questions during a four-day song festival which aimed to increase interest in this genre among participants and the public alike. The project “Do Art Songs Still Exist?” was comprised of workshops, lectures, podium discussions and concerts which investigated the significance of the art song today. Featuring a selection of compositions by such well-known composers as Aribert Reimann, Paul Dessau and Wolfgang Rihm, the festival examined the development of songs in Germany from 1945 to the present. The festival organisers also commissioned several song compositions for one vocalist and piano, and in some cases, an additional instrument (e.g. viola or clarinet). Each of the commissioned composers, e.g. Iris ter Schiphorst, Martin Smolka, Jan Masaetz and Steffen Schleiermacher, represent different generations and a diverse array of aesthetic traditions of song reception. Five festival concerts featured the world premieres of one to two new works together with historic song compositions. The project has been accompanied by a song composition contest for young composers under 30, whose works have also been performed for the first time during the festival.
Artistic directors: Steffen Schleiermacher, Axel Bauni, Salome Kammer, Alexander Muno, Dorothea Bossert
Artists: Claudia Barainsky, Matthias Klink, Holger Falk, Salome Kammer, Axel Bauni, Steffen Schleiermacher and others
Composers: Iris ter Schiphorst, Bernhard Lang (A), Jan Masanetz, Carsten Hennig, Oscar Strasnoy (F/ARG), Martin Smolka (CZ), Steffen Schleiermacher, Alexander Muno, Carola Bauckholt, Gordon Kampe.