Glacier Music Festival in Central Asia: 18 May to 16 June 2013


18 May to 26 May 2013
Glacier Music Festival: Venue Bishkek
On May 18 2013, Gurdun Sraega, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kyrgyzstan, opened the Glacier Music Festival. The opening ceremony marked the beginning of a week of concerts and performances organized by the Goethe Institute in Bishkek.

The artistic program centred on music, contrasting traditional tunes with experimental sound art. Kyrgyz jazz band “Salt Peanuts” played with a traditional ‘Manaschi’, who recited 1,000 lines of the nation’s historic Manas Epic.  This epic, the most important work in Kyrgyz classical literature, tells the story of the mythic hero Manas and his descendants and followers. Berlin-based electronic musicians the Brothers Teichmann (Gebrüder Teichmann) played in concert with Askat, a Kyrgyz ethno-musician. Pianist Soojin Anjou and Lillevan, the Glacier Music project’s artistic director, jointly performed a Morten Subotnick composition on the Festival’s closing night at its first Central Asian venue.

The Glacier Music exhibition saw almost 1,000 visitors in Bishkek alone, mainly teenagers and young adults. High school students actively participated in the exhibition by creating their own paintings and adding their own ideas. The exhibition also showed for the first time the works of the artists who participated in the Open Call. Bishkek was the only Festival venue to show the burning glaciers of Meka Muratova and Nikolaj Tscherkasov.

As well as regional artists, the exhibition provided a platform for local artists. Art group “Doha” created a Styrofoam glacier that hung from the museum roof. They created this “Glacier City” from recycled packaging waste. From Berlin, the award winning works of the Glacier Music Design Competition were put on display.

The contrasting juxtaposition of tradition and innovation was a unifying thread running through the Festival program. Many performances explored the relationships between humans and nature. Traditional tunes represented the original connections between people and their environment, while experimental works questioned these connections and investigated the broader dimensions of our understanding of ‘nature’.
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