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ECLAT Festival Neue Musik Stuttgart February 2 - 5, 2017

ECLAT 2017: Four days full of discoveries, meetings and remeetings, the spirit of adventure, provocation, insight, exhaustion, delectation, irritation and euphoria. Young composers will take center stage again, networking with pleasure, crossing boundaries, playing with genres, exploiting all medial possibilities, feeling the urge to convey and communicate.

The coming ECLAT Festival will focus on the ‘Generation Y’: over a third of the composers, writers, stage designers, directors, video and media artists participating in the festival were born around or after 1980. Their topics are self-optimization and self-staging, creativity hype and empowerment, overstepping boundaries, the dissolution of privacy and the dominant influence of digital media on humans. In a wide array of connections between virtual and real worlds, they virtuosically explore the possibilities of digital media, taking pleasure in interconnection, in playing with genres, in forms of multiple identity, in the dissolution of space, perspectives and functions. This results in idiosyncratic interdisciplinary formats located between music theatre, performance, revue, installation and concert presentation.

On the opening evening, the composer Jagoda Szmytka will become the protagonist of her music theatre work DIY or DIE. In a spectacular vaudeville revue, she will show the longings and the depths of the soul that accompany infinite freedom and limitlessness. After this, in FRIENDLY FIRE, Gerhild Steinbuch will send ‘a riot-grrl mutated into a soldier on a journey into the dark heart of the Deep Web.’

The second evening is also devoted to performative formats. In Brigitta Muntendorfs OUT OF THE DARK, the musician-performers will be physically isolated, playing inside black boxes and only perceptible to the eye and the ear via camera, thus turning the audience into voyeurs. Later that evening, Christoph Ogiermann’s INNER EMPIRE will push communication to its limit, and to the point of absurdity, in an equally dynamic and grotesque exchange.

The performers of these works – the ensembles Garage from Cologne, MAM from Frankfurt and 2e2m from Paris – represent major European cultural cities and lend expression to the urban context in which ‘Generation Y’ unfolds. There will be a special focus on New York, represented by the video artist Jenny Sabin, the Mivos Quartet, one of the most interesting young string quartets, and the Talea Ensemble, which will present Steven Takasugi’s internationally-acclaimed Sideshow (based on the freakshows at the amusement park in Coney Island some 100 years ago): a revue about entertainment, spectacle, business and ‘the sacrifices one makes to survive in the world’.

These projects, charged with multimedia and interdisciplinary energies, will be contrasted with aesthetic positions that seek a concentration of compositional means in choral, orchestral and chamber music. This can lead to a fragile magic, a cosmos of colours, but also to great sonic force and uncompromising artistic expression. ECLAT will thus become a multiple experience of media and scenic power – as well as a celebration of concentrated listening.

Once again, the pillars of the festival will be Stuttgart-based performers who have acquired worldwide reputations as leading performers of New Music: the pianists Nicolas Hodges and Florian Hölscher, the accordionist Stefan Hussong, the SWR Vocal Ensemble, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, ascolta and the Neue Vocalsolisten.

30 works in the festival – 25 of them world premieres – will stand, like solitaires, for each artist’s individual need for expression. ECLAT invites listeners to discover a multi-layered world of contemporary creation, full of different perspectives and sensual experiences.