Catalyst artists Doron Sadja and Samaquias Lorta will be joining Berlin's Radio Symphony Orchestra for the first collaborative concert of the Mensch, Musik! series on October 7th.
The first concert of the season, titled Grenzfragen: Eine Erkundung (Border Issues: An Exploration) will be led by conductor Tarmo Peltokoski, performing the work of composers who touched the boundaries of their respective times. It will feature our first two Catalyst creatives on the roster - Samaquias Lorta and Doron Sadja. Inviting artists to electronically, videographically and philosophically push the boundaries of classical performance practice, the orchestral event promises to cross the borders of symphonic music. Expect new and resolutely contemporary perspectives.
Mensch, Musik! #5 Border Issues – an Exploration
Catalyst alum Samaquias Lorta will be following Kagel’s pieces with four interludes throughout the evening, reinterpreting Kagel’s parody of authoritarianism in a contemporary setting. Lorta samples the sounds of social media, placing his analysis of authoritarian abuse of power and populist ideas firmly in the 21st century. The compositions will be varied; one looking at political leaders around the globe who promote divise rhetoric and racist ideas, the next commenting on social media as an unnerving link between refugees struggling to survive and detached privileged influencers. While one interlude might seek to break through the noise of border constructs, the closing interlude will give space in which to contemplate political divide. The most pertinent issue Lorta wants to address is the social, cultural and political divides that exist today bringing contemporary flavour to ideas which have been expressed musically much further back into the past, integrated with music from the past 200 years.
In the foyer of the legendary Haus des Rundfunks, artist, composer, instrument designer and Catalyst tutor Doron Sadja will be presenting "Silent Whispers". The centrepiece of Sadja’s kinetic sound installation at Mensch, Musik! is an extra-high stand with custom-built motorised ultrasonic speakers that emit a highly directional laser beam - potentially only one person at a time in the foyer will hear the sounds, words and phrases being broadcast. The central idea is that people can interpret the same information in radically different ways and have very different experiences. In this way, Sadja will explore the invisible boundaries between people.
Many composers featured on the programme are writing at a time of war, in response to dictators or migration. Much of Schostakowitsch’s work for example, was written under the pressures of government-imposed standards of Soviet art. Romanian-born Greek-French Iannis Xenakis was an avant-garde composer whose ideas often crossed interdisciplinary borders. German-Argentinian composer Mauricio Kagel’s "10 Märsche, um den Sieg zu verfehlen” (10 marches to miss the victory) is a radio play that processes the typical rhetoric of a political demagogue. Segments will be played from the ten part score, which uses satire to take a highly critical stance of an anonymous dictator.
A shared piece of history
Now located in Haus des Rundfunks (Funk in German meaning radio), Berlin’s historic radio symphony orchestra and Catalyst share a little piece of history. During the GDR, the RSB moved from its early home in Haus des Rundfunks to the Nalepastrasse Funkhaus on the East side of Berlin - on the same site our school calls home. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Haus des Rundfunks has been regenerated and the RSB returned to their original home. Fast-forward 30 years and the historic institutes have reconnected. Today we are exploring new ground by bridging old and new music practices.
An unprecedented collaboration
The partnership between Catalyst and the RSB focuses on the role of technological interaction between established and contemporary art institutions. The goal is to develop new artworks, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, and bring life to music educational advancements. The partnership includes the projects HyperSynth:Orchestra and Mensch, Musik! which roll out over the 2022/23 season.
“Mensch, Musik!” is the RSB’s new series of concerts in the Großer Sendesaal of the Haus des Rundfunks, which uses music and interdisciplinary art elements to address issues such as the climate crisis, borders, visions of the future or migration, and is intended to encourage greater reflection and shared responsibility along the way.
Different artists from Catalyst will collaborate with RSB in a selection of concerts throughout the 2022/23 season.
Approaching the orchestral ensemble as a form of Hyper-Instrument (synthesiser), the HyperSynth project is a series of workshops marrying the sonic innovation of electronic music with the established acoustic timbres of a classical orchestra, producing a horizon-opening shared language for composition and performance.
The goal of these workshops is to nurture the unexplored spaces of music creation which overlap both the orchestral and electronic musical spheres. To foster this collaborative relationship, faculty and students from the Catalyst Berlin’s Electronic Music Production and Performance Degree will engage in a series of exploratory workshops focusing on how sound is creatively produced, and interacted with, in both electronic and acoustic domains.