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EUROPE AMERICA EUROPE was the topic of the ATLANTIC FESTIVALRhineland-Palatinate 2000, the third of its kind. It took place in Kaiserslautern and Koblenz, Landau, Grünstadt, Montabaur and Neuwied. Two composing personalities, who have significantly influenced the development of music, stood for the cultural exchange between the two continents: the European Arnold Schönberg, one of the initiators of modernity, and the American Philip Glass, one of the inventors of so-called minimal music; both composers have worked on either continent: Arnold Schönberg as an emigrant in America, Philip Glass, who had his breakthrough in Europe. In addition, both were experienced in connection with the visual.

Arnold Schönberg was presented as composer and painter in a double exhibition in the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz in connection with the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna: on the one hand with self-portraits in oil, water colours and stage designs in the context with paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, with whom he had a friendship of many years (concept Dr. Beate Reifenscheid / Ludwig Museum in the Deutschherrenhaus); on the other hand in an audio-visual exhibition with photos from his work, private life, original posters, letters, scores, film clips and a speech as a word-by-word quotation. (concept Nuria Schoenberg Nono and Lawrence Schoenberg). The exhibition opened with a concert by the ensemble MUSICA TEMPORALE, Saxony and Sigune von Osten, playing "Pierrot lunaire", while Nuria Schoenberg Nono, Arnold Schönberg's daughter, was present. This opening of the festival alone was a highlight. The Südwestrundfunk recorded the concert and the TV channel of SWR gave a detailed report on this remarkable double exhibition. Further chamber concerts with Schönberg's music ? the complete piano work (50') played by heart and even commented on by the phenomenal pianist Pi-hsien Chen ? as well as music by Schönberg and students with compositions by Hába in fifth tone and John Cage, as much as the adaptation of the waltz by Johann Strauss von Schönberg and Webern (Hába quartet), added to the live atmosphere in a congenial way.

Philip Glass was the festival's second highlight for the large crowds which filled the concert halls in Kaiserslautern, where he performed a solo recital and, in Koblenz, he presented a German premiere of the historical film classic DRACULA , played by himself and the Kronos quartet. Standing ovations for the German premiere, which stood out, in particular, due to the perfect interplay between film, music, and musicians behind the transparent screen and the artful light. Here there was also a heavy media coverage: the TV channels of SWR, ORF and ARD Nachtmagazin (nighttime magazine), interviews and features with Bayerischer Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Deutschland Radio, Deutsche Welle and the national press but, above all, an enthusiastic audience.


Moreover, there were other interesting and exceptional events:

for instance, Christoph Schläger's computer-operated sound sculpture-orchestra at the Wollmagazin der Kammgarn, Kaiserslautern: shapes made of metal and other materials, which look like sculptures and sound like uncommon musical instruments.

A completely different highlight was made up by the Jugendtreffen Neue Musik (gathering of the youth for New Music), which has basically become a tradition by now. This time it had immensely grown, with approximately 100 students from various cities of Rhineland-Palatinate (Landau, Grünstadt, Kaiserslautern, Koblenz, Montabaur, Neuwied, Trier) who got together to rehearse new works under the skillful guidance of Hans W. Koch as well as to professionally perform on stage what they had intensely practiced beforehand in study groups (AG Neue Musik am Leininger Gymnasium Grünstadt / Silke Egeler-Wittmann), AG Neue Musik am Auguste-Viktoria-Gymnasium Trier / Klaus Risch), Schlag-Art Pfalz / Armin Sommer). The memorable brio of these concerts stays with us, and is virtually asking to be continued.

Titles in the media: "Colour produces sounds, music paints" (Rhein-Zeitung), "Sounding medium for eerily beautiful things" (Allgemeine Zeitung), "Transylvanian night with modern music" (ARD Nachtmagazin) "Through laptop to sound" (Rheinpfalz), "Wondrous organ stop at the museum (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik). With good cause the hosts may be proud of this festival which has shown that new and uncommon sounds can also attract an audience.

February, 2001@ ART POINT