Interview with Achim Klapp (EN)
What was it like for you as an artist to come to a new country - and a new city? Did this affect your work in any way, or were you able to continue as before?
For me it was like a dream, the first time in my life I was supported for one year just to be concentrated on my own compositional work, in a city which is a unicum from the musical point of view. This experience has transformed my way of working and gave me the chance and the energy to go on in my music theatre research and experimentation.
The daily life was also very special in Storkwinkel 12, the flat the DAAD gave me for that period, when the Czech poet Petr Borkovec, was living next door with his family. I liked so much their communicative happiness and fantasy, they really gave me and my daughter some unforgettable emotions. I especially remember one day when we were all lost into a gigantic labyrinth excavated in a Sonnenbaum's cultivation in the south of Berlin.
Did you work on a particular project during your time with the Artists-in-Berlin Program?
Rainer Põllmann, artistic director of Ultrashall Festival, commissioned me a new piece of theatre in concert for the Neue Vocalsolisten, Pinocchio, una storia parallela which was created on January 25th, 2006 at the Sophiensalen in a intense concert with my music and compositions by Mark Andre, as DAAD Porträtkonzert, featuring the violist Barbara Maurer, the Ensemble Recherche, the Neue Vocalsolisten and the Experimentalstudio of Freiburg. It was a great pleasure to listen to so many fantastic musicians that represented somehow my musical family.
The piece has been performed hundreds of times by the Neue Vocalsolisten since then, and I still consider it one of my best pieces. Another project, that was radically connected with the city, has been the creation of (Studio sulla luna da Ludovico Ariosto), a new piece for the Carillon of the Tiergarten and recorded sounds, commissioned by Folkmar Hein for Elektronisches Studio of the Technische Universität and played by the Berlin carilloneur Jeffrey Bossin. It was performed in june 2005 as part of the festival Inventionen, curated by Folkmar Hein and Ingrid Beirer. The black tall tower of the Carillon, situated near the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, with its 68 bells was resonating over the Tiergarten and the public was around, walking or lying on the soft grass and that was a magical musical event too.
Could you perhaps tell us about three of your favorite places in Berlin?
I think Berlin is a city with a kaleidoscopic and metamorphic ability, the continuous transformation leaving layers of tracks, and the perception of people change completely from the point of view of their topographic location within the city. So my favorite places are the area where I live and the sites where I could work, where I was able to discover details and decode some of the old and recent signs left by time.
Gartenstrasse 111, where I live since two years, is my Berlin favorite place and my special observatory. I spend time looking from my window at the historical Stadtbad made by Heinrich Tessenow in the 30ies, and I do go inside the building, even just to observe the free play of gold and green and the natural lights coming from the glass structure. Close to the Stattbad there is the ghost of the Kolibri Kabaret, founded by Dirk Moritz in 1905 and recently rediscovered that has brought me to some studies concerning the theatre experimentation of that period.
I also experience daily the progression of emptiness in the Gartenstrasse, going toward Bernauerstrasse and the space still perceivable in proximity of the Wall