Project Info

The Wil (helms | liams) burg project is a two-year exchange with composers from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Hamburg’s Wilhelmsburg with intended concerts at established festivals in Hamburg and Brooklyn, in both 2017 and 2018.

Hamburg and New York, in addition to the historic HAPAG line and a direct flight route, also connect two districts with similar-sounding names on the “wrong” side of the Elbe and East rivers: Wilhelmsburg and Williamsburg. As Williamsburg has now become a cultural center of Brooklyn, Hamburg’s Elbinsel is now ready to do the same. Some parallels between the two neighborhoods are indeed striking: long-forgotten workers’ quarters on the outskirts, port industry and immigration influences, and the popularity of the districts both Wilhelmsburg like Williamsburg have developed into. This is accompanied by strong contrasts among the makeup of the population, gentrification, an industrial aesthetic, environmental problems, and new urban development, as well as cultural and artistic challenges increasingly posed by artists on both sides of the ocean. As composers of the younger generation are influenced by their physical environment and cultural contexts as much as by the diverse nature of the compositional material they deal with, this project seeks to bring together representatives of contemporary music from both continents in order to jointly create an evening-filling multimedia program. This is ideally to be presented in the context of festivals now established in each of these districts.

The concerts themselves will be preceded by an artistic research phase in which specific local acoustics and sound ecologies are to be explored. Here, both the common connecting elements as well as those that differentiate the locations will be contrasted. One-week stays and concerts in both Hamburg and Brooklyn are scheduled for 2017. During this time, the participants will work out the prerequisites for a second premiere concert of new works, scheduled for June 2018, in an open discussion with a workshop character. The resulting work is to be documented on a specially created website, on which the recordings of the concerts will be shown. These are to be organized within the framework of established festivals: 48h Wilhelmsburg (honey factory or the long-standing waterworks) and ideally the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (held at National Sawdust, the new cultural center in Williamsburg, the perfect venue for this project). An advisory board of internationally leading artists will accompany the project in an advisory capacity and, if possible, be present at the artists’ stays.


Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg Artists:
Carlos Andrés Rico, Daniel Dominguez Teruel, Jacob Sello, Xiao Fu
Brooklyn-Williamsburg Artists:
Dafna Naphtali, Hans Tammen, Howie Kenty, Maria Chavez