Shall We Attack the Future or Dig up the Past?

Special projects marking the 70th anniversary of the Darmstadt International Summer Courses

© Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Foto: Daniel Pufe

The history of the Darmstadt International Summer Courses goes back seven decades – 70 years of music history. And today the “Darmstadt School” is still associated with such great names as Boulez, Nono and Stockhausen. Electronic music, progress, the avant-garde and musical theatre were subjects of intense debate at these summer courses and have significantly influenced aesthetic discourse since the beginning of the 1950s. Established in 1946, the International Summer Courses have always focused on visions of music production and performance of the future. Every two years, composers, musicians, performers, sound artists and academics from around the world convene in Darmstadt to discuss the latest developments in the field. At the same time, the public perception of the Summer Courses is strongly coloured by its own history and the tradition of New Music.
The anniversary edition of the 2016 festival wished to highlight both the history and future of the summer courses with a diverse array of events. The invited artists, musicians and researchers explored the history of the Darmstadt International Summer Courses and the history of New Music in concerts, lectures, films, videos and photo installations. For example, the composer Annesley Black had created an artistic re-enactment of early electronic music production, the composer François Sarhan and the guitar quartet ZWERM presented a fictional memory of the courses, and seven international artists collaborated with the archive in connection with the project “historage”. The festival organisers have also created two participative think tanks. The “Darmstadt Forum” think tank investigated historic discourse and Darmstadt-related topics, selected and developed by the participants. The think tank “Kritik” explored issues related to the self-image of New Music.

Artistic director: Thomas Schäfer

Artists: Arditti Quartet (GB), Annesley Black (CA), Distractfold Ensemble (GB), Ensemble Modern, Patrick Frank (CH), Ashley Fure (US), Lars Petter Hagen (NO), Ulrich Mosch (CH), François Sarhan (F), ZWERM (BE)


Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD)

Nieder-Ramstädter Str. 190

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