a warm welcome to the 2011 edition of Cologne's Musiknacht!
The human voice is a remarkable instrument. It can be soft or harsh, bright or dark, sharp or sweet. Regardless of whether it be high, low, swift or slow, however, it is always, thanks to all of its different shadings, the ideal tool to express our feelings and different situations in life, capable of taking on tender, sad, demanding, shy, factual or angry qualities all at once. Our voice is accordingly both a thermometer of our inner life, while simultaneously connecting us with our surroundings. The same, of course, applies for music in general. It, too, constitutes a galaxy onto itself, a space of universal mean- ing marked by an infinite array of temporal and local nuances – not without reason do all musical cultures around the world root in human singing. And the sheer size of this global connection is dizzying. We just have to open our ears and listen.
The individuality, flexibility and diversity of Cologne's free music scene is second to none. And you can now experience its vivacity, dare, qual- ity and global outreach first hand at the over one hundred concerts of the Musiknacht. While previous editions dealt with early, contemporary and improvised music and thereby highlighted particular musical directions and scenes, this year's focus is on the voice in all of its different guises, featuring intimate Lieder, eccentric arias from the world of opera, hypnotic choral chant, lusty jazz and noisy vocal performances. And that's not all, as these forms will be further enriched by various collaborations between the human voice and ensembles, electronics, computer and video. In some cases, the voice will even entirely disassociate itself from singing and turn into an instrumental part.
The Kölner Musiknacht is organized by the Initiativkreis Freie Musik (IFM). The latter is home to more than 400 self-employed professional musicians, ensembles and organizers from Cologne, who have joined forces to improve their working conditions as well as public perception and appreciation of their chronically underfinanced services. Our (medial) partners include KölnTourismus, local newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and cultural radio station WDR 3, which will record performances and broadcast them on the next day between 8 pm and 2 am. The Musiknacht is further supported by the mayor, the Stabstelle Events and the cultural office of the city of Cologne, the SK-Stiftung Kultur, the Landesmusikrat NRW, the Sparkassen Kulturstiftung Rheinland as well as the RheinEnergie-Stiftung Kultur. Free bicycles will again be available for visitors.
All of the support we've received so far is an encouragement for us to keep pursuing our main goals: To improve relationships between different musicians and strengthen their ties with the city and the federal state to make "music city Cologne" even more attractive to audiences.
Dr. Rainer Nonnenmann