Artistic director of MaerzMusik: The politics of listening are ‘pulsating in the core of the festival’


For 10 days, MaerzMusik will present its program of unusual musical experiences at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele and other locations around the city. This year’s edition is titled “Time Wars,” and explores our relationships with time through various artistic media and a conference, “Thinking Together.

The festival’s program is a reflection of current pressing issues – climate change, digitalization, migration – and opened on Friday with a German premiere of selected works by the African-American composer Julius Eastman. It’s an ambitious program, but Berno Odo Polzer, the artistic director of MaerzMusik, insists that the performances are not geared towards insiders, and contemporary music does not have to be elitist.

“The process of listening is much more than only an activity devoted to music,” says Polzer. “I think it’s a way of relating to the world, and this kind of attitude to the world is something I like to give space within MaerzMusik.”

Photo: “The Long Now” © Camille Blake.