2023 was the year that we used our beautifully renovated Grand Hall to full capacity, creating many memorable programs, above all Times Echo Live: An exploration of Music, War, and Memory. This remarkable four-concert series hosted by Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler in October focused on his extraordinary book—Time’s Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance. Time's Echo Live at the Goethe-Institut was chosen as the best Boston musical event of the year by Musical America.
We continued old partnerships, like our collaboration with the Coolidge Corner Theatre on the German Film Series (now in its 17th year!), and Non Event, our experimental music partner of 15 years. Highlights included Boston debut performances by the Berlin-based trio Sawt Out , the experimental music group Beam Splitter from Berlin as well as sound artist poet and electronic music producer AGF (Antye Greie Ripatti). At the Coolidge, we screened the new film by Andreas Dresen, Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush followed by a live zoom interview with the director. In the fall we welcomed the star of Franky Five Star, Lena Urzendowsky live at the Coolidge. We also continued our partnership with the Boston Book Festival, this time highlighting the genre graphic novel, presenting German Comics and the Story of Rude Girl, with graphic artist Birgit Weyhe and German Professor Priscilla Layne, aka “Rude Girl”.
Renewed partnerships with MIT Center for Art, Culture and Technology and Berklee College of Music led to events like the conference celebrating the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and light artist Otto Piene’s 20 year leadership thereof as well as a transatlantic discussion on Jazz and Gender Justice with jazz greats Terri Lyne Carrington, Kris Davis and Johanna Schneider with Aja Burrell Wood, managing director of Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.
We started collaborating with RPM (Revolutions per Minute) festival, an artist run festival dedicated to experimental short films, hosting them for their annual festival screenings as well as a student-curated evening featuring the works of students in area colleges.
Our artist residency, Studio 170 ǀ Residency, featured two installations: Poly Pockets, an art installation in the form of a series of reconfigurable tent structures by artists/architects Aaron Powers and Stratton Coffman and Black Meridian by Shaka Dendy, an installation with sound and photography exploring what it means to be black. The call for 2024 brought in 55 applications from New England artists of all disciplines of which two were chosen.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of György Ligeti's birth, we presented two sold-out performances featuring highlights from Ligeti's chamber music repertoire. The Callithumpian Consort and Steve Drury performed the Horn Trio and selections from the Etudes for Piano. Choreographer and dancer Elisabeth Schilling presented her choreography to a live performance of the Etudes for Piano, once again by pianist Stephen Drury.
We also caught up with two Boston-based artists on their exciting projects in Germany recently. MIT professor and director Jay Scheib talked about his experience directing a production of Parsival at the Bayreuther Festspiele using augmented reality (AR) elements. BU professor Louis Chude-Sokei led an online conversation about his recent project “History is Listening. Re-Sonifying Nuremberg” in which he and collaborating sound artists turned the former Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally Grounds into an acoustic experiment.
We continue to offer virtual and hybrid programs on various topics, you can go back and listen to many of them:
-a conversation between two writers with Ukrainian roots talking about the war in Ukraine, Dmitrij Kapitelman speaking from Berlin and Askold Melnyczuk in Boston:
- “The Dis/Agreement Project”: a virtual interactive Discussion with choreographer and conflict mediator Dana Caspersen and artistic collaborators,
-“Dealing with Disenchantment: Aesthetic Enlightenment and the Art of Decolonizatiion”, a conversation on the role art can and should play in the face of rising social injustices with Thomas Mann House fellows Nikita Dhawan and Maria do Mar Castro Varela, artist Tania Bruguera and journalist Andrea Patiño Contreras.
Thomas Mann fellow Alice Hasters talked about who can dance with Berklee Dance Professor Kurt Douglas, watch it here:
Business Journalist Felix Rohrbeck talked with Tufts professor Evan Horowitz who was involved in implemting the Massachusetts millionaire’s tax about “How to tax the Rich”.
Rounding out our very busy year was a dance tribute to composer Ursula Mamlok with the New Chamber Ballet, a film series celebrating the 30th anniversary of the DEFA film Library at UMass Amherst (here’s Skylar Arndt-Briggs, former Executive Director introducing The Dove on the Roof ), workshops on Improvisation and Participatory Composition with composer Cathy Milliken at NEC and Boston Conservatory, and a screening of seven films by experimental filmmaker Marie-Pierre Bonniol (stay tuned, you’ll hear more from her in 2024).
Finally: our Sommerkino film series, outdoor movies on five warm August nights in the Goethe backyard was a big success and is sure to return!