Preparing for Departure

Interdisciplinary music theatre project

Im Schnee mit Irm Herrmann, Foto: Jakob Klaffs

Neurological research has shown that music has the ability to reactivate areas of memory which had been thought to be lost. Especially for older people who largely define themselves by their experiences and past relationships, music can serve as an important means of communication. “Preparing for Departure” wished to tap the potential of music in order to lend a voice to the generation of 75- to 85-year-olds. During a four-month research phase, the organizers in cooperation with social organizations in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Rotterdam, conducted 100 audio interviews with senior citizens about their past experiences and particularly their musical memories. This “archive of voices” was made publicly accessible through a website ( (external link, opens in a new window)) and an installation in public space. It also served as the basis for a commissioned composition for orchestra with chorus and soloists by the Italian composer Manuela Kerer, which has been performed by a 60-member “Chorus of Elders”.
“Preparing for Departure” directs the spotlight to those who are frequently cared for in social welfare facilities and who are rarely seen or noticed in the public sphere. The hope was to use music to present the past and present living situations of these protagonists to a broader audience. Performances of the new composition have been staged in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Berlin and Dresden.

Artistic director: Maria Magdalena Ludewig
Composer: Manuela Kerer (IT); Musical director: Daniella Strasfogel (US)
Participants: Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Jochen Neurath, Jörg Kiefel and others

Hamburg, Kampnagel, 16 – 18 May 2013
Berlin, Radialsystem V., 28 – 30 Jun. 2013
Dresden, Hellerau, 27 – 28 Sep. 2013


Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop

Prenzlauer Allee 175a

10409 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)