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Saul William and Arditti String Quartet on stage

Saul William and Arditti String Quartet at KunstFestSpiele 2012

KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen

Festival Facts

General information about the festival.

Outstanding artists from the realms of theatre, music, sound art and the visual arts have been invited to participate in the KunstFestSpiele 2013 in the Herrenhausen gardens in Hanover for the fourth year of the festival.

The KunstFestSpiele does not commit itself to particular artistic forms but instead provides space for the interaction between different artistic genres. The festival location in the Herrenhausen gardens including the newly re-opened Herrenhausen Palace provides ample space for these encounters which this year focus on the topic HOMELAND UTOPIA. At least a third of the 21 performances are productions and commissions created and issued by the KunstFestSpiele, the majority of which are specifically planned for the special features of the relevant Herrenhausen venue.

As in previous years, the festival begins with a world première involving the soloist ensemble Kaleidoskop from Berlin: “ATLAS – Islands of Utopia” is the new theatre project by the Spanish composer José María Sánchez-Verdú and the director Sabrina Hölzer. The same evening, Ms Hölzer will be presented with the Belmont Prize, one of the highest endowed awards for artistic achievement in Europe which is presented every two years by the Forberg-Schneider Foundation. The official opening festival speech will be given by the architect Wolf D. Prix. The co-founder and spiritus rector of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has for many years been a mastermind and creator of a vision of modern life in an urban environment.
The Artistic Director of the festival Elisabeth Schweeger comments: “The motto HOMELAND UTOPIA raises issues relating to contemporary self-definition and provides international artists with the opportunity to approach these topical areas. Each artistic work creates an alternative draft to the quotidian image and permits dreams of a utopian nature for which we frequently have far too little time but which are essential for social development.”
The landscape architect Florian Otto remarked appropriately: “Each garden is a utopia in itself as it is conceived as an alternative draft to the quotidian image”. He will be undertaking activities with children for an entire week in theGroßer Garten within the framework of the “Academy of Play”. Elisabeth Schweeger sees this youth project as a significant element of the KunstFestSpiele as it upholds the tradition of the philosopher Leibniz who was closely involved with the history of the Herrenhausen gardens and palace. Ninety schoolchildren will encounter renowned international artists, spend a whole week engaged in visual artistic activities (with Tamara Grcic, Folke Köbberling, Florian Otto) or composition (Daniel Ott) and experience the vital importance of aesthetic education.

Several Hanoverian universities and colleges will be involved in cooperative festival projects. Students of the Hanover University of Music, Theatre and Media for example will be presenting works composed specially for the festival under the supervision of Rebecca Saunders and Oliver Schneller and Scenography students from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts will create thematic designs for the Arne Jacobsen Foyer and parts of the gardens.

As in previous years, KunstFestSpiele events will also take place in the Herrenhausen gardens: the public will be able to stroll through theGroßer Gartenand be amazed by unexpected cuckoo-calls and musical carriages created by the artist Erwin Stache. Further artistic highlights include the evening concerts which revolve around the festival motto in their focus on location or non-location and spatial sounds. In addition to Sánchez-Verdú, musical works will be presented by the composers Simon Steen-Andersen and Katharina Rosenberger and composition students from Hanover.

Alongside the extraordinary music theatre production “A-Ronne II” from Belgium, international ensembles such as the brass ensemble Mnozil Brass with their humorous contribution to Wagner’s bicentenary and Jan Lauwers & Needcompany will be taking part in the KunstFestSpiele. They will be augmented by renowned local artists such as the celebrated pianist Igor Levit, the orchestra musica assoluta and Ensemble S in unconventional concert formats.