Zerberstender Konzertflügel (Foto: SWR, SWR -)

... 'and' ...

'either/or': composer or painter, poet or sculptor, essayist or media artist, performer or sound artist... everything, it would seem, follows the specialisations of our time. Horizontal specialisation has long been considered the ideal for working structures, an insignia of progress, a precondition for the automatisation, radicalisation and economisation of society – including the arts. 'Minimum effort, maximum result', as Wassily Kandinsky already knew almost 100 years ago. For him, the 19th century was one of secession, specialisation, fragmentation and segmentation: of the 'either/or'. And for him, the 20th century in art – despite the rapidly progressing independence of all areas of life and society – was one of the 'and', the new beginning of the synthetic arts. In the computer, this universalising machine of our time, we have a basic tool to control all medial forms of existence, whatever their contentual value, and thus to advance the reintegration of disciplines and the de-differentiation of society and the arts. Nonetheless, even in our digital world, specialisation in music is not a distant memory but an indispensable precondition for the highest achievements. This may be due to a certain persistence of the status quo, but more significantly to the nature of the matter itself.

This year, the Donaueschingen Festival will concentrate primarily on figures who, in addition to their musical work, also express themselves in other fields and profit from the interrelations between the various disciplines. The focus will not be the large new world of hybrid or interdisciplinary products, however, but rather those which rest very much on the autonomy of their respective artistic branch. Alongside the usual concerts, installations and performances, film and video showings are also planned, as well as an exhibition that will developed together with Kolumba, the art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne.

Compositions by the following have been commissioned: Peter Ablinger, Ondřej Adámek, Friedrich Cerha, Renald Deppe, Pascal Dusapin, Brian Ferneyhough, Hanspeter Kyburz, Michael Lentz, Kryštof Mařatka, Ole Henrik Moe, Chris Newman, Brice Pauset, Josef Anton Riedl, Wolfgang Rihm, François Sarhan, Salvatore Sciarrino, Simon Steen-Andersen, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Jennifer Walshe, Hans Zender and others. Alongside the SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, the SWR Vocal Ensemble and the SWR Experimental Studio, guests will include the Nobel laureate Herta Müller, Ensemble Modern and Klangforum Wien.