Since rebranding itself as a “festival for time issues” in 2015, the Berliner Festspiele’s annual celebration of new music has become more interactive – and, yes, trippier.
Last year Ensemble Ictus literally broke the fourth wall in “Liquid Room”; this year, for opening performance Time to Gather on March 11 (20:00, Berliner Festspiele), guests are invited to speak and even play with (or instead of) pianist Marino Formenti. Brush up on those rusty piano skills; your Flohwalzer rendition might come in handy this time.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to bring blankets and pyjamas to the world premiere of Max Richter’s Sleep (March 15–17, 22:00), an eight-hour performance specifically composed to sooth your neurons while counting sheep. Get comfy as Richter and his ensemble, supported by soprano Grace Davidson, play you the longest lullaby in history. In the four-hour performance Alif (Mar 18-19, 19:00, Radialsystem V), you get to explore an installation by visual artist Chiaharu Shiota while listening to Stefan Goldmann and Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s compositions, which move between techno, Arab music and Western avant-garde.
Saving the longest for last, the festival’s finale, The Long Now (Kraftwerk Berlin, Mar 19, 18:00; photo) takes you on a 30-hour journey into something called the “chronosphere”. You’re encouraged to explore the space, sit, dance, lay down or eat while concerts, performances and installations unfold around you. Take it seriously, and you might come out the other end with a revelation or two.
MaerzMusik, Mar 11-19 | Various venues, check website for full schedule