Federal Foreign Office supports first major music festival at the British Museum

The British Museum hosts major music festival Europe and the world

The British Museum hosts major music festival "Europe and the world", © dpa

13.03.2018 - Press release

The festival ‘Europe and the world: a symphony of cultures’ held from 16 – 29 April 2018 in the British Museum galleries is organised by the British Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Performances and panel discussions will explore the idea of museums as diplomats of the 21st century, reflecting world cultures and exchange, centring on Europe’s interactions with the world. The Festival will strive to allow a dialogue between works of classical and contemporary music and the British Museum’s extraordinary objects from all over the world.

The festival is part of the German Foreign Office’s engagement to deepen the British-German cultural cooperation and to foster greater cooperation among our countries, institutions and partners abroad. In a global political landscape, it is important to facilitate access to culture and to champion European cooperation through museums as diplomats of the 21st century such as the British Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD).
Andreas Görgen, Director-General for Culture and Communication, German Foreign Office
Europe and the world hopes to encourage listening – to others, to ourselves and to the great symphony of cultures represented by the British Museum. With the generous support of the German Foreign Office, these performances will look at the role of Europe, and its relationship with the world.
Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum

Over two weeks the festival will feature seventeen different performances, some accompanied by panel discussions. Programmed by Artistic Director Daniel Kühnel, Director of the Hamburg Symphony, the festival features works by European composers such as Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen, Liszt, Messiaen, Strauss, Bartók, and Nono.

The world collections of the British Museum provide extraordinary opportunities for musical performance. […] This festival continues the work done in Jerusalem and Dresden exploring paths towards a European identity shaped by a new openness to the world at large.
Daniel Kühnel, Artistic Director of the Festival

‘Europe and the world’ places musical performances devoted to historic musical traditions from different parts of the world, including medieval temple music from China, classical music from India, Spanish colonial and flamenco music, Spiritual Japanese music from the 7th century and Byzantine choral music. The gallery setting invites visitors to perceive synergies between cultures and across centuries.

Performers include the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar, Accademia del Piacere, Zhang Jun and his Kunqu Ensemble, Kaushikiji Charkraborty and Ensemble, and Reigakusha Ensemble Tokyo.

Panel discussions will explore the role of museums in complex political times, continuing themes initiated in an international symposium held in Dresden in September 2017.

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