Instrumentalists in the Spotlight

CANCELLED: The performances has been cancelled due to the corona pandemic.

It is written, black on white, that musicians in the contemporary sonic arts must have mastered their instruments to the point of incredible virtuosity and versatility. New playing techniques abound. And not only that. Music today demands from its instrumental protagonists the mastery of objects of everyday life, the use of the voice, whether speaking or singing, and additional physical techniques: pantomime, acting, in other words sports and acrobatics. The musical theatre piece ›Black on White‹ was developed by the composer and director Heiner Goebbels (b. 1952) especially for Ensemble Modern in 1995/96. In several months of rehearsals, he developed musical and acting scenes with the members, letting them play: with the familiar, with the unknown, with themselves, with hook, line and sinker, with each other. The result was one of Ensemble Modern’s most successful productions, performed more than seventy times all over the world. It is a milestone of contemporary musical theatre. During the rehearsals, Heiner Müller died, and Goebbels integrated a distinctive quote by the writer he esteemed highly. It is not the only sound of a stranger in this subtle web of music, light, text and action. »Thematically«, says Goebbels, »›Black on White‹ is a kind of farewell to Heiner Müller. But it is not a farewell that takes the form of a wistful requiem. The piece definitely has lightness and humour as well. And there is a balance between the charm of a live event and reflection. Such is only possible with outstanding musicians like those of Ensemble Modern, who not only pursue their actual profession, but also act, speak, sing etc.«

Schwarz auf Weiß