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Whoever uses music publically should pay the authors for the use of their music. Music authors comprise of composers and lyricists. 70 000 authors and publishers are united under GEMA. However these authors are not on the receiving end of the applause for their music as vocalists frequently sing songs written by other people whether it is at a live concert, club on the radio or retail sector, the public use of music is of benefit to the user whether it is event organisers or broadcasters. It is only fair that authors also profit from the value added for their music provided and receive payment for their work. But, it would be a laborious task for individual authors to draft all the necessary licences and agreements themselves for every single user in Germany, Europe and across the globe. Furthermore most of the time music is used publically without the writer even being aware of it.
As early as 1903, music authors in Germany came together to form the first German collecting society. Just like back then GEMA's task today is to conclude contracts with music users. These users notify GEMA of their music use and pay the corresponding licence payment which GEMA passes onto its members as royalties. Thanks to its various sister companies GEMA is able to operate on an international level. That means it passes on royalties to German authors from abroad as well as collecting compensation for German music users to pay to foreign authors. As a society GEMA makes no profits. After its costs are deducted all its income is distributed amongst composers, lyricists and publishers both in Germany and abroad. GEMA ensures that the authors receive fair payment for their work and allows them to concentrate fully on their creative output. Thus GEMA helps enable a vital music culture both within and outside Germany. www.gema.de
Gema collected more than 1 billion Euros for its 70 000 members and rights owns last year. And our operation costs are down to 12.6%: a plus of nearly 15%. 81.6 million Euros was yielded in terms of online music use-age which was double of 2015.
The agreement of the Central Collection Agency for private copyright rights (ZPU) with the association of hardware industry – smartphone and tablet products allocated a share of the income to GEMA which increased to 97.9 million from 16.3 in 2015.
Turnover trends from regional offices 370 million Euro, Radio and TV 286.2 million Euro, International royalties, 73.5 million Euro increased. 5% decline in sound recordings to 104.9 million Euro.
Harold Heker, “We focus on asserting authors rights in music marketplace subject to dynamic change, and to realise a stable earnings trend in future, compensating for financial losses in national and international sound recordings markets by increasing the income from live music and online exploitation.”
Arndt Weidler, Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
I try to give you a short clue to how public funding in Germany is structured which is very important for jazz music because jazz music couldn't exist, as in many other countries, without public funding by Federal or State governments. So it is important to know what types of federal entities are present in Germany to support jazz.
Cultural sovereignty of the states means, that cultural funding and administration is a task, widely located at the state policy level - not on the national level but on the different states; like Bavaria, Lower Saxony or Berlin.
Policy tends to delegate responsibilities and the administration of cultural issues to the next lower level - this is what the states do. Cities are largely autonomous to create their own cultural profile because they are funding most institutions. And we have many local cultural institutions in Germany like many concert houses and theatres on the local level funded publically. But: Money relationship is based on the rule: who places the order, pays the bill. This means the federal government might have a good idea how to support the local scene, and they have to pay for that. They can't tell the local government or city government. If they suggest a project they have to support it financially to.
Culture and music at community level: Cities and municipalities are responsible for maintenance of cultural institutions and their facilities. Museums, libraries, theaters, opera-houses, public music schools are fundamentally funded by the cities. They share costs for major institutions with the states. They support local and private cultural initiatives, like venues, clubs, groups, artists. If someone on the local level has an idea for a project the first addressee is the city administration.
Communities covered a share of 45.4 percent (4.5 billion Euros) of total public subsidies for culture in 2013. These include salaries for actors in theatres and salaries for musicians at the symphony orchestras and museums.
Culture and music at state policy level means the same thing. State ministries for education or culture or sciences and the arts are responsible for maintenance of cultural institutions (museums, libraries, archives, theaters, opera-houses, universities, orchestras, etc.) They delegate major music projects to “Landesmusikrat” (state council for music). They are the carrier of certain projects. They also have project related support of local initiatives. If you need support for a tour abroad they sometimes support these activities. 16 States covered a share of 41 percent of national expenses in culture in 2013.
One part is covered by the cities, the other part is covered by the state and the rest only 13% is covered by the federal government.
Public entities on the federal level that have an impact on cultural policy: The Federal Foreign Office, out of their budget gives a lot of money to the Goethe Institute which is responsible for the presentation of cultural life abroad. We have a Federal Ministery of Economic Affairs, they have certain inititaives for creative industries where you can apply for money. And we have Federal Government Commissioner for the Culture and the Media which is a department of the Chancellery here in Berlin. It is a part of Angela Merkel's responsibility. And that is what we are talking about when we talk about Federal funding of music and culture in Germany.
Major institutions on the federal level and funding programs reffering to jazz music in Germany: We have the Federal Government Commissioner for the Culture and the Media. And then we have three major institutions, like the Federal Cultural Foundation, Initiative Musik and the Deutscher Musikrat. All of them have different projects they support and different adressees. They work on different major groups who can apply to their funding.
First of all there is the Federal Cultural Foundation: The purpose of the Foundation is to promote and fund art and culture within the framework of federal responsibility. Preservation of the national cultural heritage and support of cultural excellence to strenghten the reputation of Germany abroad. Support of innovative cross-cultural programs and projects within all art forms : If you have someone in your home country that wants to realise a project together with a German partner and you need support for that – a cross-country poject - the Federal Cultural Foundation could be a goood addressee with their f ocus on cultural exchange and cross-border cooperation.
The German Music Council is an umbrella organisation for more than 100 member associations and institutions. It has millions of single members in Germany. It contains the choirs, orchestras, amateurs, professional organisations, composers, music schools and all kinds of organisations. And for that reason it has a strong political power in Germany. It s erves as an advisor and competence centre for politics and civil society . It also creates its own projects to promote young musical talents. And for jazz music there are two main projects of the German music council - BuJazzO , a German national youth big band and Jugend jazzt!, a promotion for young talent that builds talent up to a final competition at the national level. They develop the greatest talents in jazz music. It o ffers a platform for cross-linking information and documentation. It is the founder of the www.miz.org
Initiative Musik is an agency to execute and administrate support programs that aim to strenghten the pop, rock and jazz scenes, funded by the federal commissioner. It inititates national platforms and net-working opportunities for various players on all levels, which means they bring together representatives of the states and cities administrations together with the federal responsibility. It combines both cultural and economic development of artists and music companies. It is c o-funded by GEMA, GVL (association of Rights Holders) and German Music Council.
We have a new funding assoccitaion, “Musikfonds des Bundes“ since 2016, funded by Federal Commissioner. There are seven different organisations as founding members (among others, Initiative Musik and Union deutscher Jazzmusiker.) There purpose is to improve all kinds of avant-garde music through all the genres contemporary, electronic, improvised and jazz with special consideration of audience development programs. It is not only appliable for organisations but also private projects and projects for musicians. They have an annual budget 1.1 million Euro. No projects have been realised yet. The first rounds for applications ends this month.
A general rule in Germany is if you apply for public money you always have to bring your own money from private sponsors or your company.
Now, we have some major non-governmental players on a jazz level. These are not all of them but some of them, the most important. Bundeskonferenz Jazz (BK Jazz) was established in 2003. It is a loose association of representatives from different fields of activity in the jazz scene, agencies, labels, media, clubs, musicians, research, education, festivals and so on... Some of the members represent certain institutions and organisations and some of them are private representatives of media, agency or festival. It is a lobbying organisation and serves as a political advisor. It is the initiator of sustainable projects to improve and develop jazz life in Germany such as the German Jazz Meeting now German Jazz Expo at Jazzahead and the APPLAUS-Club Award for music clubs in Germany that present live music. There is no money in this group. It is a voluntary network and very efficient.
Union Deutscher Jazzmusiker is a musicians organisation in Germany founded in 1973 . It is a p rofessional interest group of jazz musicians in Germany aiming to improve professional working conditions of jazz musicians. Last year they published a first study of working and life conditions of professional jazz musicians in Germany ( www.jazzstudie2016.de ) which was very successful within the scene. It r epresents professional musicians in various boards and committees (Music Council, KSK which is socila insurance for artists in Germany and BK Jazz). And it awards the German Jazz Award (together with GEMA, GVL and Composers Association.) It is also called the Albert Mangelsdorf prize.
We have the Deutsche Jazz Föderation since 1954. It is the association of jazz clubs and local jazz initiatives in Germany. It aims to improve the conditions for smaller and non-profit jazz clubs. It is challenged by the LiveMusikKommission which is a similliar organisation for all kind of music clubs. Many of the younger jazz clubs tend to become a member of the LiveMusikKommission which leads to the point that the Deutsche Jazz Föderation has a hard standing at the moment.
Jazz and World Partners and the association of record labels and distributers, represents the interest of bigger labels and many one man companies. They promote activities on the major spheres liek Womex and Jazzahead! It is a partner for ECHO Jazz-Award and German JazzExpo .
Jazzinstitut Darmstadt is where I work. It is a public archive, documentation and research centre for jazz music, funded by the City of Darmstadt. It collects and provides information about jazz worldwide. We have a database on the internet ( www.wegweiserjazz.de ) if you are looking for adresses and people in the jazz scene worldwide you may use this tool as a finder for this information. Jazzinstitut Darmstadt applies to scholars, music professionals, and jazz enthusiasts equally. We provide different services such as a Jazzindex, huge collection of literature about jzaz music from the beginning up to today and a weekly newsletter JazzNews providing information about jazz worldwide every week. We promote workshops, conferences, concerts and inititate and support national and international co-operative projects in the field of jazz research, archives and information centres for music
Public Radio in Germany is very important for the development of jazz music in Germany. It is a c consortium of 9 regional public broadcaster (ARD) plus one national (Deutschlandfunk) . It has a h uge impact on perception and distribution of jazz because they have nationwide radio-airplay for jazz music. They are also a major promoter for festivals - Jazzfest Berlin, Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt, the oldest festival in Germany since 1953, organized and promoted by the regional radio. They also sponsor highly endowed prizes for musicians like the SWR- or WDR-Jazz prizes and many others. They maintain four renowned professional big bands - NDR, WDR, HR and SWR-Bigband. This gives professional engagements for musicians but are also known for special productions with other musicians abrod or from Germany.
The jazzahead! Market place in Bremen had its premiere in 2006 with mainly national representatives. It was a national market place for the local jazz scene but it has had steady growth since then. It had international aspirations from the beginning. The German jazz meeting was one way to develop these international aspirations where we presented the German jazz on a showcase festival and invited international guests. They have partner countries since 2010. You will meet there thousands of international qualified visitors. It is a place for exchange of ideas, meeting point, place to freshen contact – and business is a subsequent effect. It is an opportunity to meet and talk to people. It is becoming bigger and bigger.
Julia Hülsmann, Berlin University of the Arts
What, Where, When, How and Why?
I was teaching in Hannover at the University for quite some years and I have been teaching at the University in Berlin and last year I had a guest professorship at the Jazz institute in Berlin which is the school where you can study jazz in Berlin. We have two because Berlin was divided in two parts. Only the jazz department was forced to get together so there is one jazz institute now located in West. This is where you can study jazz in Berlin.
What can you study in Germany? You can do a bachelor of arts and a master as well, with different subjects. You can study your instrument. You can study composition. There are only in a few schools that offer a bachelor of jazz composition. You can have an educational or only artistic part. For the masters programme they vary. Most are for two years. There are a few one year masters. In Berlin you can do composition and arrangement. You can have lots of exchanges all over the world. Berlin or Cologne and then you can go for one year to Barcelona, or as a student you have to find the city and the school that provides this. Or you can do a European Jazz Master, EU Jam. Only 5 schools in Europe do this – Paris Amsterdam, Trondheim, Copenhagen and Berlin. It is a two year programme. You have one school where you start. First semester is in this town and then you to a different country for another semester and another town for another semester and then you come back. This is a new programme and I think very interesting because of this networking idea and mixing with these different scenes.
We have 18 schools in Germany, state schools where you can study jazz. Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Essen, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Leipzig, Lubek, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg, Zubruk, Stuttgart, Weimar, Lutzberg, Meins, Osterberg.
The quality of this jazz education is very high. I am doing a lot of preparation courses for people who want to apply for this. There are a lot of people who want to study jazz. It is very international. In Berlin you have people from many countries. I have a project tonight with 14 different women from 8 different countries, Hungary, Turkey, Denmark, Netherlands … and we have applicants from the US for EUjam. It is very international. This also means that the quality is very high. It is a very inspiring young crowd with lots of visions and ideas – great musicians.
In Germany most of the schools have an age limit. You can't start to study over 27, but every school is different. When you want to do a master there is no limit. In Germany we have preparation courses. In Berlin it is enormous in every music school to have lessons for theory, instrument, ensembles and history just to be prepared to apply to study.
When I wanted to study nothing like this was in existence so I bought all the books and listened to music but at the moment it is really organised. And that also means it is necessary to be prepared to know what you have to do.
How? If you come from another country you have to do a German course and be able to talk German. You have to have a paper. At the jazz institute the language is English - everybody is teaching in English. You have to apply for the audition. In some cities you pay 30 Euro and you are invited. And they have 100 – 140 people that come and play. In Hamburg you have to apply with a recording and then the professors decide who they will invite and just 30 to do the audition. When you do the audition you have different programmes. Normally the main thing is you have to play with students. You have to bring 3 standards, different kinds of standards and you have to do a theory test; harmony, ear training and history. And sometimes if you don't past this you are not allowed to play. You have to know theory.
I come back to what? The content: That's too much to tell you all. You have instrument. During the 4 years if your main instrument isn't piano you have to do piano. If your main instrument is piano in Berlin you have to do classical piano, and or another instrument. When I studied I skipped the classical piano and had drums and vocal lessons. You have ensembles. In every semester you have to do one ensemble at least. You have to be part of the big band for one semester. You have arrangement, theory, harmony and ear training and music history lessons. And you have business - about promoting yourself - which is getting more and more important. In Berlin this is not the biggest part. So, in most schools you also have workshops. This is also the typical model thing when stars are on tour they might come by the school and do a workshop.
Why? When I have young musicians sitting next to me thinking about studying jazz I always ask them why? It is important. All they can think of is - they want to become a musician and they will do it anyway. And if the urge is so big then they should do it. It is the right thing to do. If people hesitate I say don't do it. Think about it for one year. When you are in, the school is the perfect place to meet other musicians and network and develop and learn. But you don't only learn the normal stuff but you learn who you are and what you want to do. You have to learn who you are and what you want to tell people and why you want to play music. I always say to the students this is like a present that you have time to work on your own music for four years – what a paradise. But then you have to open to all the information and see what it does to you.
When you are in a city like Berlin the jazz institute is a school where you meet lots of other musicians, not only the ones who study there. In the room they are 24 hours available. Every student has a key and students can go in there whenever they want and they can practice. I see lots of musicians from all over the world meeting there and playing. Sometimes they have concerts there. And there is a studio where you can record and make your first recording in school.
Wolf Kampmann, Jazz Institute Berlin
As Duke Ellington used to say there are only two kinds of music – good music and bad music. Everyone has to decide what music is good and what is bad.
The history of jazz in Germany started right after jazz in the United States. The first jazz activities started after WW1, but the funny thing the term jazz arrived in Germany before the music arrived. Everyone wanted to play jazz but no-one new what jazz is. But they did play the music without knowing what it is. After WW1 many American musicians came to England and to France because of the solid currency in these countries. But in Germany, it was completely different. We had hyper-inflation and no-one could earn any money in Germany. So, it wasn't possible for American musicians to make their living in Germany and it was absolutely useless to send records to Germany. I would sell it for 1 million Mark and the next day 1 million Mark was a few pennies. It made no sense to make any music exports.
Musicians played the music how they thought they should play it. They got some stories from prisoners of war so they knew that there was something like syncopated music or improvised music. It must have been completely chaotic but there are no recordings left. It wasn't called jazz it was called eccentric. There were many eccentric bands and the first recordings of jazz in Germany were eccentric bands. They destroyed their instruments on stage and they shot their pistols and they had a lot of kitchen gear to make music. There are only a few newspaper articles left, but it was some kind of early free jazz. Hyper-inflation ended in 1923 and the first real jazz musicians arrived in Germany: Germans who learnt music in America and returned to Germany to play this music. One of those guys was a clarinet player Julian Voels. He went to America before the war and returned to Germany in 1924 and had the first successful jazz band. The situation in Berlin today is the same as the 20s where musicians from all over the place came except from America. It was still unattractive for American musicians to play in Germany but there were many musicians from Eastern Europe coming and one was a violin player Efim Schachmeister. He was a Jew from Odessa and he became a big star of German jazz. He was called King of the café of the violinists. He sold many records. He made the first classical jazz recording in the world in 1927. He played a classic infused version of the St Louis Blues. Efim Schachmeister was a famous womaniser and like many jazz musicians of this period he had to leave Germany in 1933 because he was a Jew. Julian Voels also had to leave and other jazz musicians as well because they were Jews.
In the US it was impossible that black and white musicians would play together in the 1920s and it was even more impossible that white musician would play in a band lead by a black musician but in Germany it happened. There was a black trombone player in Hannover by the name of Albert Wing and he had many white American jazz musicians. Germany was a good place for integration back then.
Jazz was not completely forbidden in the Nazi period. It was dangerous to play jazz and jazz musicians easily came under suspicion of being lefties or friendly with American culture, but there were also jazz musicians in Nazi Germany. Jazz concerts were not called jazz concerts but “TantsT” which means T for dance. They played until midday fashionable dance tunes and after midnight the jazz tunes.
When they realised that they are going to lose the war, they used some of these recordings to drop them on allied troops to show: ‘we are like you – and let's fight against the Russians'. Of course it was stupid. But not the most stupid things Nazi's did.
After the war jazz was American music and it became popular in Germany but was mostly copying American idols. German jazz was American jazz played by German musicians and lasted a while. One of the first famous German jazz musicians was actually a woman, Jutta Hipp, piano player. She came from Liepzig. German consisted of two states, the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. She came from Liepzig and moved West and became famous in Frankfurt and an American music writer discovered her and invited her to live in New York to make some recordings for Blue Note. Leanord Feather was his name. Jutta Hipp became an interesting part of the New York jazz scene making a record with Zoot Sims.
The jazz capital of Germany in the 50s and 60s was Frankfurt, and Frankfurt had a very strong scene playing American cool jazz but at least there were some characters. One was "Coco" Schumann who also played with Jutta Hipp and had musicians like saxophone player Emil Mangelsdorf and trombone player Albert Mangesldorf in the band. One of the famous musicians was the clarinet player Rolf Kühn who is still alive and still very active. He had another exponent of the later German jazz scene in his band - Klaus Doldinger. It was a step further, a combination of American jazz German schlager mentality and a little bit of soundtrack composing, and it was popular back then.
We still can't talk about a genuine German jazz language back in the 50s. But that was not the reason to play this music. They didn't want to establish their music they wanted to discover the music. After the Nazi period they wanted to get behind what American jazz is. Some of the exponents of the scene in Frankfurt started to find their own language.
Albert Mangesldorf was one of the first musicians who said I am unsatisfied with the situation of German jazz. We have to find our own language. We can't copy for our entire life. We have to do something new. He was sent to East Asia by the Goethe Institute. He got infused with Eastern Asian music and tried to translate that into jazz to find something like a global jazz language. It is not so much to find a German idiom, we Germans are responsible to find a global language after all those things we did in the 30s and 40s. His record ‘Now Jazz Ramwong' was really a turning point in German jazz. It was the first example of something completely independent from American jazz. He incorporated Asian scales into his opinion about jazz. It started to become something independent. That was 1963. Mangelsdorf worked on his tone and perfected it and became a remarkable trombone player and one of the most famous in the world and one of the main figures of German jazz. He encouraged many musicians to find their own language.
In the mid-60s you see musicians in Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt and other cities like Wuppertal, playing their own music. The music became more and more free. The saxophone player Peter Brötzmann was a sculptor and played a music called Kaputspiel jazz. They wanted to destroy the post war society with music. It was the generation of '68 and that all started in the late 60s and went along with the students' movement. It was kind of brutal, for example their version of the Einheit … that was musical civil war, total opposition to the society. The trumpet player Manfred Schoof was also part of this circle and did interesting things. The name of the drummer was Jaki Liebezeit , the most famous jazz drummer back then. After playing with the Manfred Schoof Quintet he stopped playing jazz completely because he said I can't be fre-er then free. I played free jazz and liberated myself completely, but what now? So he started another band with students of Stockhausen called Can which became one of the most influential German rock bands. With rock music they wanted to liberate themselves from the English American dominated market and try to play rock music without rock n' roll and blues, and influenced many musicians all over the place. A British radio DJ John Peel called the music Kraut-rock. It became influential in Germany because what followed was a certain kind of Kraut-jazz.
Klaus Doldinger founded Passport in 1970 and they tried to translate the experience of Kraut-rock into jazz with synthesizers. The drummer in the band became the most famous German rock singer Udo Lindenberg and sold zillions of records and was the first one daring to sing in the German language because the German language was the language of Shlager back then and no serious rock musician would dare to sing in German. Udo Lindenberg established a very special language and some of his quotes are part of German language treasure.
Other musicians playing this Kraut-jazz one of which was Wolfgang Dauner , piano player and he played a lot of synthesizer. It is very experimental and not free-jazz but way more infused by the Kraut-rock virus. They were very successful back in the day and ahead of their time.
There was also an East German jazz scene in the 50s and 60s. Jazz was not very well received in East Germany, but it changed in the early 70s when the state realised that jazz especially free jazz was a good opportunity to show Western European intellectuals how free communism is. They used the creative East German jazz scene for this political purpose. And they had other ingredients in East German jazz such as labour songs, Baroch music marches, folk music … There was the Workshop Band with Günter Sommer on drums …
Cultural officials of East Germany and the German democratic republic actually succeeded. The Dutch saxophone player Willem Breuker called GDR the holy land of free improvisation, which sounds absurd to me. Somehow it worked out. Some of the musicians in East Germany took an ironical view. For example we had the central committee of the communist party in East Germany and they called some of those musicians. Some of the exponents, piano player Ulrich Gumpert , saxophone player Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, drummer Günter Sommer and trombone player Conrad Bauer called their quarter Centralle Quartet which was quite a joke.
Germany had two ways to get international attention it was gold medals at the Olympic Games and free jazz. It all ended in October 1989 and we had a different kind of jazz scene. It was not easy for the two jazz scenes to come together. When the wall was there everyone was keen to play with each other but after the wall came down, there was a lot of competition between East and West German musicians. But, those fights are over and it doesn't matter at all.
In Berlin we have so many different musicians and I want to give you a short introduction to musicians of the younger generation. There is the piano player Michael Wollny . He has interesting projects with his trio Wunderkamer and other constellations. He came from Frankfurt to Berlin and is now in Liepzig.
There is always the question how can we involve our German cultural heritage into this global jazz music? The drummer Eric Schaefer has found a good solution doing a record of Wagner tunes.
We have a big problem in Germany, we have more and more young jazz musicians but less and less audience to listen to them. Part of the problem is that many of the jazz musicians pay jazz for the sake of jazz. One example is: we have a huge refugee thing in Germany and it was so difficult to put up a festival of jazz musicians for refugee aid. The rock musicians did something, the classical musicians did something and the philharmonic and the techno musicians did something and the jazz musicians played a benefit concert for a jazz venue. A jazz musician just made a record about all those issues, Niles Wogram a trombone player with his band Route 70 made a record titled luxury habits.
Sebastian Studnitsky (XJazz) said …
We wanted to open it up a little bit so we put together this festival. We are doing this festival in a very small neighbourhood in Kreuzberg, former Western Germany, but the geographic direction is East. It is a neighbourhood where you find all these electronic clubs like Waterberg. There is another club called Berghein which is not in Kreuzberg but is very close. It is a centre of the European electronic scene. So we decided to make a festival there to reach the audience because this is where the young crowd come to go to the electronic clubs. This is how I imagined jazz having been back in the 60's. It was the hippest thing. The hip young cool people went to a jazz concert. Now we have this vibe in the electronic scene so we wanted to bring it together.
From the first year we became the biggest jazz festival in Berlin. This year we expect 15 000 people. We do 70 concerts in 5 days. 3 main days, one warm up day and one chill out day. We play in 10 venues, most of them are electronic venues and indie-rock venues but we also play in a church. We are not going to jazz clubs we are going the other way because we are looking for that confrontation. We try to do electronic music in the church and a bebop jam in a techno club – that kind of stuff.
All that brought us a quite young audience which was quite remarkable for Germany because the average age for a jazz audience is something like 60. And at our festival it was 30 – so we were able to get a young audience and the interesting thing is these young people are super interested in jazz and super open. Somehow we can really feel there is a boom for jazz. If you go to a hip coffee place somewhere in the hipster areas, 90% play jazz in the background and all the hipsters with the beards are collecting jazz records. There is quite a hype and we managed to connect to this scene.
Besides the philosophy of opening up the genre a little bit, we also have a focus on the Berlin scene, which means also the international scene. Because, Berlin is so full of international musicians who are either staying here regular, temporary or a lot of people come here to produce their records, or their bands are from Berlin or they have friends here and stay for the summer. So, we are trying to show that scene. And it is quite smooth for us. If you look at the line-up it looks international but 70-80% of the musicians just live around the corner. They look international but actually they just moved to Berlin like two months ago. We managed to programme a quite international line-up without needing almost any airport shuttles!
There are so many connections between Berlin and all the countries. There are so many young musicians who come here to study or who come here for one or two years, a little bit like the European version of New York and we are trying to show all these threads, from Berlin but also to Berlin.
The organisation behind this we do it for the love and actually for fun. It is a non-profit organisation. The core team is doing everything without any payment. Which is tough but we are creating a creative energy.
We have the X Jazz festival in Berlin but it is now getting bigger. It is more like a network. We call it, X Jazz live, which means we are programming concerts in Berlin two or three times a month. We are also spreading it throughout Germany. We start with promoting and organising concerts under the brand X Jazz. Also we have a booking agency it is called X Jazz booking and this is where the whole idea is coming from. We had a booking agency and then started programming the festival with our friends and family and became quite big. This booking agency X Jazz booking we do international booking for German artists but also booking for international artists coming to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
From the first year we had the idea to always have a focus on one partner country. It was Iceland in the first year, Israel and Turkey, and Poland this year. Focus means we are inviting 5 or 6 bands from the country and most of the time there is collaboration with the cultural institute sponsoring. And we also try and organise an X Jazz festival in the partner country so we get two or three events in Iceland, Israel, Italy, Poland, and Finland and two weeks ago we did the most successful festival in Istanbul and Ankara. We are spreading the brand and doing something international.
With people building walls, this idea of connecting countries is more important than ever. It turns out that most of the countries we picked turned out to be political delegates, Turkey we did our festival during the election which was quite an operation. Poland and Germany also. It is very interesting and so nice to see how easy it is to cross a border with music. You put musicians on stage from different countries and immediately do it.
In each festival in Berlin and the partner countries we have one band called Ensemble X where we put together musicians from both scenes and they rehearse together and this is the creative heart of the collaboration.
Berlin g uided tour by Ralf Wollheim
The Berlin Zoo was founded in the middle of the 19 th C in the countryside. And the city grew all around, therefore for its territory, it is rather small but for the amount of animals it is big if you count insects and fish. And for East Berlin there is a second one.
We have a got a fantastic cultural life also because of the separation of the cities. We had new symphony orchestra's for East and West .
All the buildings here are mainly 1950s, like the Bikinihaus which really consisted of two buildings. The second one did not exist, it was helping ventilate the zoo behind.
The cinema you see used to host the big premieres for the Berlin film festival in February. But this has moved today to Potsdamer Platz which is another centre of Berlin. But for West Berlin the jazz festival and film festival were founded in order to have Berlin on the cultural map in the Western world. So, we inherited something positive from this.
You see two new high rise buildings showing the West is also on the move. Berlin is changing dramatically in a positive way but in the 90s for example, West Berliners were complaining that the more prestigious office addresses had been altered in the historic city centre. There have been changes going on in some famous café's, restaurants closed over there, but it is coming back and there are lots of discussions about this in the Berlin press. It is a bit more upmarket and much more expensive on the new ridge West of Berlin.
There is also a train station. International trains like the Paris Moscow used to stop there. But nowadays we have a new central station. There have been West Berliners writing petitions to the government that this should remain the international train station. Berlin had about 3.5 Million inhabitants for a very long time. In the 90s after the wall came down there were expectations that many companies would come back to Berlin, such as Deutsche Bank had been founded in Berlin and not in Frankfurt , but because of the insecure situation in the 50s, and 90s after the wall came down, so many companies moved away. Siemens for example is big in Bavaria. It was also founded in Berlin and was big here. The banks moved away. The fashion industry had been concentrated over here. Nowadays they are coming slowly back with some fashion fares. In the 90s the city of Berlin was expecting all these companies to come back which did not happen. Only Sony rearranged their European businesses and decided to go to Berlin - one of the few major companies moving to Berlin. In the last year we had a plus of 40 – 50 000 new Berliners. This is already changing the real estate market. Today it has been difficult to find an apartment. We were very lucky in the year 2000 as there were 1000 empty apartments, we had the choice, it didn't cost much and therefore Berlin was attracting so many younger people. Here as opposed to other European cities you could live as an artist or musician and really dedicate your life to your work and just having one job and not like in New York having several jobs in order to finance your life. This was first set for the creative industries and nowadays for some start-up companies and compared to London or Paris it is really rather cheap to live here.
Theatre of the West: this is a typical theatre from around 1900 and here in between is Quasimodo, a jazz club. This is one of the old ones. Here underneath the Delphi cinema which for me is one of the old traditional places, but Berlin doesn't have very old places. Something that has been founded in the 50s is already very old for Berlin standards, unlike Bavaria or Cologne where you have breweries which exist a few hundred years. This tradition was cut off by Nazi Germany because of the separation, so Berlin is a rather young city. There is a jazz scene up here - especially Charlottenburg is an intellectual area. In the 60s when all the companies moved away we didn't have any traditional elites in Berlin. Here in Savignyplatz there are some nice old houses, some of the bigger ones around Kurfürstendamm had about 500-600 M2. This was the luxury West. But when the families moved out late in the 60s 70s students moved in together into these huge apartments and there was more like an intellectual scene. In West Berlin society consisted more of professors, actors, artists less than bankers and politicians because they all moved away. Still today Berlin is a rather open society compared to Hamburg and Munich where there are still old families. We don't have this.
You will see with all the book stores that this is really the intellectual area of West Berlin. It is a bit older. The average age in Charlottenberg is 10 years higher than in Kreuzberg Friedrichshain . If you go to some of the traditional cafes and restaurants many of the people are white haired. It is a generation that got older but it also has a neighbourhood feeling to it. The village like feeling is very important for Berlin. It is a big city with a few million inhabitants but it always feels like a village or a small town.
A-trane is a rather new jazz club, '93. The tradition of jazz renewed.
This is now Kurfürstendamm, Main Boulevard of this area was done around 1900. Politician Bismarck wanted to extend the city of Berlin and planned it in a regular way and after the example of Paris. Here were the big revue theatres in the 20s. There are no revue theatres anymore. There is a private theatre. There also used to be huge cinemas for a few thousand people. There still are a few but many of them have been transformed into shops. There are still people living here, so the centre of Charlottenberg is not dead but it is still lively in the evening when the shops are closed and the offices are closed, there are still some theatres, cinemas, restaurants cafes and this is very typical of Berlin unlike some West Germany cities where the city centre is dead after shopping hours.
There had been this move toward former East Berlin or the gap between East and West like the government centre Potsdamer Platz. All this was done at once and nowadays it is the second wave of construction and I really gave up counting cranes. There are some companies reorganising their German business and moving their headquarters to Berlin, therefore there is so much construction going on.
The inner city is a circle line that makes one ring in one hour around the city centre. There is so much activity and changes going on that I am like a tourist in my own city. Sometimes I go to the district of Steglitz or Tegel which are not very central; it is like visiting a different town. There are always new people coming to Berlin discovering new areas.
My generation never liked Marzahn, it was a rather depressing area, former working class with lots of pensioners and people out of jobs. And then some internationals came and said no it is green, nice and cheap and central. And suddenly you have the new wave of people moving to Berlin especially in this Marzahn and there are some bars where no one is speaking German. There will be Japanese people speaking Spanish. It is a truly international mix. And compared to international cities it is cheap which is really welcoming people so you don't feel excluded.
Here in the middle of the street is a sculpture by Machinsky Beninghof, a couple of Berlin artists symbolising the two halves of Berlin, as you can see there is a gap in between. Here is the Ellington Hotel it used to be the famous jazz club Badewanne like the Bath tub. It was very important for the 50s. They were influenced by the American forces and the American radio.
Here to the right is KDV and it is rather surprising that in the poor West Berlin the biggest luxury department store survived. And they are redesigning it and it is becoming more and more exclusive. There is one 2000 M2 floor just for handbags and ladies shoes. They are redesigning it. We have increasing numbers of tourists. This is changing and making Berlin more lively. It is more international.
In between there are these nice neighbourhoods like Kurfürstendamm. In front of this is where the city was rebuilt in a more functional way. There was an amusement area and some famous revue theatres over here but destroyed in WW2 and rebuilt in a not so inviting style.
Berlin consists of many different villages and small towns and I have friends that never leave their part of the city.
We will go towards Potsdamer Platz along the Park Tiergarten which was originally founded outside the city limits of Berlin. And in front of us we will see the district with lots of embassies.
In between the canals and the Park Tiergarten there are mainly embassies and political institutions. It is a bit like an international building exhibition. There are several new embassies under construction. On the left the green building is the so called Nordic embassy, meaning there are 5 embassies on this corner, Sweden, Finland. And there is a sixth hall which they use as common for lectures and films. A small country like Iceland couldn't afford something like this but they really cooperate. It is unique. Most embassies have big public spaces for exhibitions. This generation of embassies is also a means of public relations for countries. There is even a day of the open door for embassies. East Berlin had embassies, West Berlin had consulates. There was not a big pressure on it so only step by step now the countries are opening.
Here is a foundation close to the conservative party. And here a modern Arabian building so it is a mix. The Japanese and Italian embassies are from the 30s. They had been ruins. They had trees growing out of the roofs in the 80s. There were some proposals to let the ruins fall apart like some romantic extension of the Park Tiergarten. Nowadays they are used but they are much too big and monumental, so they are renting some spaces as they don't need an embassy of this size. The geography is completely mixed up – Italy next to Turkey, then South Africa. The Indian one is done by a Berlin architect but after some examples of Indian architecture. The stone is also important. It is an open embassy. There is something special for the German Federal State, who also have something like an embassy: the white one. The Federal State with Stuttgart as a capital are trying to attract people, like during the film festival there will be receptions. They are trying to promote.
In front of us is the West Berlin Culture Forum meaning several sites where museums are concentrated. We see the back part of the museum of arts and crafts and the Philharmonic in front right with its tent like form. It is important for the acoustic inside. So, the orchestras in the hall of chamber music and the philharmonic are seated in the middle of the room. And therefore the outer shape is done by the acoustics.
They are trying to attract a younger audience so the Berlin Philharmonic are doing every Tuesday lunch concerts for free in the lobby and they attract about 1500 people. The average age of classical concert goers is about 60, meaning a range of 40 to 80 so they try to get a younger and broader audience and they are even doing concerts for kids 2 – 5 years old. The Berlin orchestras are trying not to be exclusive but opening up with casual concerts with the Deutsche symphony orchestra for 15 Euro and some nights where DJ's are playing after hours. Berlin Philharmonic is also doing late night concerts at 10:30PM with more modern pieces. This would be a nice example. Normally you see people at 1 o clock streaming to the Philharmonic.
Here we are at Potsdamer Platz. There are so many cinemas even with the original versions of some films. The films are always synchronised. Here there used to be a no-mans land. Potsdamer Platz used to be one of the very metropolitan places of Berlin. The big department stores are built here in Leipziger Strasse . Here were the empty space is in front there used to be a huge train station. All the people from West and South Germany arrived here and because of the train station there would be huge hotels and restaurants for a few thousand people. All this was completely gone in the 50s. Houses were in ruins. Older Berliners told me they went to cinemas in some of those ruins, but because water was going through the whole area, the ruins had been torn down in order to control the situation.
On the West there is a line of cobble stones on the pavement which is where the Berlin Wall used to be. And in front you see one of the old houses but from the old Metropolitan part of the city. Only 2 and a half houses survived. This area was a little like Times Square in New York. The massive inner city district suddenly looked like it was in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps you remember the film Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders? This was filmed when this really looked like a grey desert and not like an inner city district. Germans are obsessed by this area and all tourists are coming here in order to see how it is redone. The investors here were forced to include apartments in this new project. There are cinemas and restaurants. This mix of users really helped to make it lively in the night time and evening. Of course there is a shopping mall.
Here is the Marlene Dietrich square where there is the Berlin film festival. Premieres take place here. There will be a huge red carpet and the huge theatre is used as the cinema during February. There are some theatres and a casino. You see the mix with hotels and office buildings, but only 50%offices. I have been to the Docklands in London and was an alien not wearing a suit and tie. So this really became a lively part of the city centre. The investors called it the new centre of Berlin. With the TV tower and Potsdamer Platz, there are three city centres in Berlin
During the construction phase a third of what was built is underground. They kept the trees over here so therefore this street still has a rather traditional feel. This was done in the 90s so the gap between East and West had been closed. The Philharmonic was the last building on the Western side. There had been nothing until Berlin Wall. And then there had been a stretch of no man's land and then a second wall towards East Berlin and also this area was neglected. So this area was closed almost completely during the 90s. You will see how much is new and nothing had been torn down.
On the pavement on the square to our right side you could guess that there was a Berlin wall. And here in front of us there is the line of cobblestones coming to the right. The square in front of us Liepziger Platz did not exist. It is a dramatic change.
The blue pipes, I don't see them anymore. You have to imagine the ground water level in Berlin is quite high. After 2 – 3 Metres on a construction site you already touch the ground water so this has to be pumped away from the constructions site to the next canal and the next river. It is a contemporary thing, but they are everywhere for a very long time because once a construction site is finished then the next one starts. That is why I don't see them anymore. But you will see them all over town.
In front of us is Brandenburg gate which used to be the city gates. There had been a wooden fence, parallel to this street. Therefor by the right side there had been some Baroque palaces which were used as Prussian and later German ministries over here. And therefore this area was called Minister Gardens. The ministers had huge gardens because they were using Baroque palaces. The government owned this ground and therefore there are a few other embassies of the Federal states of Germany and of course the holocaust memorial. We had a private initiative in the 90s saying we had to commemorate the holocaust and the government said we had to have it here. It is very big almost out of scale, but today it is a success. So many tourists are coming for Potsdamer Platz and Brandenburg gate so everyone is confronted with it.
My parents' generation were dreaming about driving through Brandenburg gate because this became a symbol for the separation of the city. What used to be an entrance to the city where people were controlled, taxes were asked for and goods were brought, it became a symbol of the separation and it was not used as a gate for a long time.
Even though this is an exclusive address we see the sign in front Felix club and for the first time I heard Till Brönner was in there. Normally this is too up market. The music scene in Berlin is much more casual.
Here to the left you get the view over Potsdamer Platz and you see the tent like roof over Sony Centre which is lit in the evening from the outside. And there is the huge Park Tiergarten in front of us which is like a huge settle park and originally it used to be a hunting area for the Prussian kings in the 1700s. Here you see the Brandenburg gate and from the side that is the goddess of victory of course riding into the city. And as I said it stood for a very long time all alone and only the 90s this gap was closed. We are following the outline of the Berlin Wall, this line of cobblestones is to our left. Here this corner Reagan asked Mr Gorbachev to please open the wall. As a cold war rhetoric I thought it was a bit overdone but two years later it really happened. When you remember people standing on top of the Berlin Wall celebrating that it had been opened, it could only have been over here because here the wall was very thick as they were scared that tanks might break through.
When you came by airplane to Berlin you could see the difference between East and West by the density of cars on the streets. In front of us is the Reichstag Building which is the old seat of parliament done at the end of the 19 th C. But at this time we had three different classes of voters. Women were not allowed to vote, therefore we were not too keen to reuse it in the 90s when there was the decision to move the parliament to Berlin. We had to prove we were good Europeans so the German parliament was done by a British architect, Norman Foster designed this dome. And inside it is quite a modern very functional building. And the outside had been renovated but you can still see some traces where bullet holes had been. It was a way of renovating the building to show the traces of history as well.
Over here is the new government district. There was this idea of having the new government buildings in one long line linking symbolically East and West. This is the Chancellery where Mrs Merkel has her office and also the visitors of State, Mrs Trump is in Berlin. On the right side the long building is for different committees. And on the other side of the river Spree, the former East Berlin bank is the scientific service of the library of parliament; so it is this long link between East and West. You see the dome of the Reichstag building by Norman Foster. It is only a hall of meeting rooms for the different parties. Office halls have been created all around. There is an idea of having 2000 working places around the Reichstag building.
You see the red flag in front of us is the Swiss embassy. You have to imagine this was a really up market neighbourhood over here. There had been some embassies and ministries. In the 30s Adolf Hitler and his architect Albert Speer, there had been ideas of building over here the biggest dome in the world, so they were buying up all the houses over here and destroying them. The dome would be for about 150 – 200 000 people and would be built at the top of the river Spree. Lots of houses were torn down but not much was built so the new government could create a new government district within the city.
In front with the DV sign is the new central station building. We never had a central station but a series of terminuses. This was opened in 2006. Only now where there is a change in real estate, suddenly all these new houses were built over here – mainly hotels with a view to the so-called New Berlin. On the other side behind the train station there are some high-rise buildings for offices and there will be big apartment complexes. It is one gap that will be closed between former East and West.
In summer when it is warmer, to the right on the banks of the river there will be some outdoor parties there will be lots of venues where people are playing music outdoors. I went for a walk through the park on the river and there were musicians everywhere.
If you look to the right you will see Potsdamer Platz and this impressive piece of land which was one construction site, a forest of cranes in the 90s when these former gaps were closed. It is still not finished. The rest has waited for a long time and over the last two years the rest has been done on this side of the river. Here you see the link, these two bridges in between the two parts of the government district.
Berlin is a patchwork out of different styles and different periods. Berlin sometimes you have the impression just when turning around that you are in a completely different city.
Here in front of us is an older part of the city which is early 19 th C with smaller houses and narrower streets. Berlin is 775 years old but you almost don't see it. It is rather small at the beginning and then slowly growing until enormously growing at the end of the 19 th C because of the industrial revolution. For example here to our left side we see lots of brick buildings and high-rise buildings. This was originally a hospital that was founded more than 300 years ago outside of the city and the city grew all around. Berlin had almost 700 000 inhabitants in 1870 and 1930 it had 4.5 million. Almost 4 million in 60 years, it was really a boom town at the end of the 19 th C. There are some nice narrow streets and some very special buildings; the former bomb shelter which was done in WW2 as a shelter. And then in GDR times it was used for storing goods like bananas which needed to be cooled and when the wall came down it became a famous place for some almost legal parties. The techno scene started over here and now it is privately owned by an art collector. He has his art collection and a penthouse on top of the building.
This is how much Mitte has changed. When I was in this area for the first time during GDR times, we encountered the time tunnel because we really felt like being in the 1950s and 60s and definitely in a black and white film. But nowadays all the houses are renovated. The whole street plaster was falling apart, the balconies were coming down. It was in a bad state. There had been some privately owned houses. Not much had been invested in it and therefore these houses had been really run down and only when the wall came down so many young people moved into these buildings. Older people preferred to live in pre-fab buildings and high rise buildings, therefore this part of Mitte was really the lively part for the younger generation. First artists or self-declared artists moved in here; musicians of course as well. It was a very artistic scene. There were lots of illegal places. There was one company appointed by the city of Berlin that was in charge of all these buildings. And they said it is better that these houses will be used instead of falling apart. There is a dance company called Sasha Waltz which is world famous. The Goethe Institute are sending them everywhere. They are collaborating with fashion designers and musicians. The theatre to our right side for example, this is Tagalis where you see graffiti. It was part of a former department store.
Passing the Musik Initiative offices! This is where lots of cultural agencies would rather move here and leave Kurfürstendamm where they could have sleek bigger offices but it there are lots of publishing houses and record companies over here. This company of the city of Berlin were giving away some empty spaces to artists who wanted to do exhibitions, some famous galleries developed out of this. Sasha Waltz became a famous dance company. Some people are programming music for them. We are having now computer companies up here. Big names fashion designers today had this kind of collaboration. You had to know where something was happening. There would be a Tuesday bar, a Thursday bar – places like this. All these people didn't have business plans it was kind of doing what they wanted. You could really live on a low budget. One of the guys from Sasha Waltz company told me they were living on 200 marks a month. I don't know how they managed but it was really the creative area of Berlin. People moved in, commercial galleries followed; the fashion scene and over here lots of advertising agencies.
Here we are close to the border which was neglected for quite a long time.
And nowadays the start-ups also came for the same reason that it was cheap, international and there is a critical mass of people. Suddenly there are big big companies taking over. There offices are over here so parts of Mitte are really becoming an office district, so some younger people are already complaining that Mitte is too chic and too expensive. But Berlin is big enough there are so many other areas which are very lively at the moment. Like we saw this one bomb shelter as a museum there are already several private museums in Mitte showing the contrast from poor artists to rich collectors. Nowadays if there are new houses being built it is for people making their millions with the internet and new media. It is the next generation here who don't want to live in a suburb and don't want to commute but rather want to live in an inner city. This part is also international so there are Americans, international schools, there is a Chinese kindergarten. And also a jazz club opened here in the 90s, Bb. They had to change their address because it is becoming more and more expensive and where there used to be a unique Berlin fashion design, nowadays you have Adidas. At the moment the new hipster area would be Kreuzberg .
You still see the traces of WW2, perhaps some houses have been built but not rebuilt. They can still be everywhere in every district. Nowadays all the gaps will be closed, we have 40-50 000 new Berliners in the last years, so the real estate market is changing so in 5 years the gaps won't exist anymore. It is still kind of a post-war situation that we still have to rebuild the city.
We go to see some authentic part of the wall. The same people who were building the wall, were also destroying it. The wall had been opened in '89 but the GDR was persisting for another and during this time, they were destroying the Berlin Wall and tearing it down without a clear plan. In some areas there are still some pieces and it is difficult to see where it used to be. There is this authentic part which we will visit which still looks like 80s. And there is another part called the East Side Gallery, so in the 90s after the wall was opened artists from all over the world painted some pieces of it, so it looks colourful and funny. But the Berlin Wall was nothing funny. And then there is a third one close to Potsdamer Platz where people in a cold war mentality tried to destroy it or tourists tried to take a piece with them. It hasn't been protected by a fence. It only has these three pieces.
Where we go is an official wall memorial. There is a documentary centre and films and photographs illustrating this very strange situation of East and West Berlin and you have to imagine during a conference in Yalta in WW2 between allied forces they said they will divide Germany in different zones, and Berlin in different sectors, so the historic became East Berlin and the former Berlin suburbs in the West became the French, British and American sector, and during the 50s you could still walk over to East Berlin. There had been people working in the East living in the West or the other way round. It is impossible to divide an intact city but in '61 they really did it. In the 50s 2 million people left the GDR illegally, pretending to visit relatives or go to the West Berlin, they just took a bag with them and left their households behind. It was the brain drain. Well trained people like doctors and engineers were leaving the GDR and therefore the Berlin Wall was built in order to keep the old people in.
The subway line was a Western one crossing East Berlin underground and there were train stations closed in '61 with border patrols standing there sometimes. We call them the ghost trains.
In Bernauerstrasse you can still read it and see it where some houses were torn down in order to make a controllable border.
In front of us the first part of the Berlin Wall is rough, people were picking at it trying to get a souvenir, but we get one piece which is closed off by two steel walls, it is the official memorial, there is no graffiti on it. And you can see this stretch of no-man's land with some watch towers for patrolling cars. It is completely preserved.
In Berlin we have lots of nice parks which have been former train stations or terminuses that have been out of use because of the separation of towns and the Berlin Wall, so the train stations were not used for 30-40 years and now both of them are transformed into nice parks. And we have more beach volleyball here then Rio but it is just importing tonnes of sand for having the beach parks. It is a new fashion.
In front of us is the Berlin Wall and a steel element where they depicted where the Berlin Wall used to be. And you see some photographs on the houses to our right. And there were two walls one towards the West and an improvised one towards the East. But the area was heavily controlled you needed a special permit to visit someone who was living close to the Berlin Wall. This is the official memorial with its two steel walls closing it off.
Here is Mitte former East Berlin. They were completely run down but you got tax reductions if you invested in here. A new generation moved in and there are already German newspapers making fun of this area. Like there is one square Kaiserplatz which is meant to be the most fertile area in Germany. Students moved into this area, and not having good jobs, academics started here with their families. It is a very homogenous area; a French correspondent, an American scientist, some Turkish Arabian people like in former West Berlin District. It is more of a mono-culture. You would have yoga courses for babies, organic food – a whole infrastructure came with it.
Bobo is Bohemian Bourgeois and a bit more in between. It is very nice, an old area from the 1900s and has very nice areas. It is a bit more like a cliché of itself so we like to make fun of it. There have been so many artists, musicians moving into this area. Nowadays it is rather difficult to find some things as it became quite expensive. This will be typical of Berlin. All around the inner city districts there is a ring of neighbourhoods from around 1900 and they are quite nice. And there is lots of street-life going on. Some streets are quite lively with lots of bars, restaurants cafes and the side street might be purely residential. This neighbourhood life is typical for Berlin and quite special. Savignyplatz would be middle aged about 30 something. The next generation students or younger people would go to other districts like Kreuzberg because they are cheaper and you can start something up there like a new club or concert venue and also for classical music there are private venues nowadays.
Berlin is very famous for its temporary spaces. People don't have to invest much money but they can use it for a certain time. And we had lots of exhibitions in some of these houses.
In Mitte there is a café on the corner and years ago it was the first place that had free wireless. You always saw some people with their laptops sitting there. So, lots of start-ups started here in this area when it was quite cheap. An American journalist called this street Torstrasse, Silicon Allee because there had been so many start-ups beginning here like Zalando which is a really big fashion retailer and they started in the basement here very small and now they have thousands of people working for them. Today if you start up it would be rather expensive to rent over here. But there are still lots of offices Mozilla, Soundcloud have their offices here. But we could say it started with St. Oberholz café on the corner. The café was much too big as a café so the other floor was rented out as a co-working space. You can rent a space there. This is Mitt and here there were lots of clubs.
Friederichstrasse used to be more like an entertainment district. It became the newspaper district close to Checkpoint Charlie. And it is changings its character from block to block. When the Wall came down this was one construction site even though the facades have been all done in new. The Westerners were thinking of Prada and Gucci coming here and now we have H and M and some bakeries. But it is very lively because of so many tourists coming up to Berlin. It is a bit like Kurfürstendamm, an upmarket area, lots of luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants with Michelin stars. The character is changing from block to block. There is even one house with a fancy jewellery store on the ground floor but if you go inside you think you are in a cultural palace, there would even be a Russian cinema in there.
Here on the left is the first gallery La Fayette outside of France. They started with a regular programme not too expensive, not too luxurious. We are coming to Jean Damme Martz. We have a French name for a German square. In the 18 th C Berlin had a population of up to 20% foreigners. They would be mainly refugees from Europe that moved to the not to densely populated Prussia which was even attracting all those people so skilled craftsmen and from the Netherlands there would be refugees and Huguenots from France and therefore we have a French dome over here, and also there are many German words in the German dialect where people would say it is typical Berlin but it has a French origin like Boulette and the whole area used to be the Berlin banking district. But because of the insecure situation all the banks moved to Frankfurt which is now the financial capital of Germany.
Here is the French dome it is also nowadays a museum for the French Huguenots. In the middle it is called Konzerthaus, so this is the East Berlin concert hall. It used to be a theatre but there are photos from the 70s when it was still in ruins and was renovated in the 80s. It is smaller than the Philharmonic. It is really nice, there would be open air concerts, students playing outdoors. The Theatre has a cinema. If you take this view it looks like an 18 th C square but there are modern buildings all around. There is the school of music and we have two in Berlin, for East and West. Germany you don't have to pay for study so the schools of music are really attracting people from all over the world.
There is a statue of Frederick the great. His idea was extending this park and under his reign this square was built which was also used for the burning of the books in 1933, organised by people from the university. For example if you go into the Egyptian museum, from the old stair case you can see the enormous bullet holes because they have also preserved these traces of our history.
I grew up in West Germany and it looked like nothing ever happened over there: whereas here in Berlin we are always confronted by our own history. In front of us is the pavilion to provoke the project of reconstruction of this palace which was a decision by the German parliament. When it was torn down it was done overnight and there had been no protest. This side used to be the so called Palace of the Republic, which was the seat of the GDR parliament – parliament with a 99% decision. This was torn down later on because too much asbestos had been used in there. Already in GDR times there were people protesting against unhealthy working conditions and therefore when the wall came down, there was a decision to tear it down, under protest, as it was quite popular amongst East Berliners. Now it is completely gone, the steal of the skeleton was sold to China. And now with the dome and the brick façade this is the reconstruction of this former palace. Inside it will be modern and used for different events with scientists and the non-European collection. We had a fantastic South American collection.
Behind that you see the official seat of the GDR government. There is an older part integrated into it. This is one of the entrance gates to the old palace. This balcony was preserved because from there it was proclaimed a socialist republic in 1918 and this piece of the royal palace was worth keeping in the eyes of the GDR government. To the right we see the twin towers – the whole area is called Nikolai quarter. This was done in 1987 during the 750 th anniversary of the city. Some journalists made fun of it calling it a socialistic Disneyland as there are some old houses, that have been brought from other places and some houses that look like 1800's because they have been done in concrete.
This church was medieval and there were old houses around it. And it still looks to me like East Berlin in the 80s. The TV tower and the high rise apartment buildings.
Berlin Jazz Festival:
Nadine Deventer said,
Both of the stories collide here.
It hosts one of the most prestigious festivals in Germany, the Anten festive. Every year there is a jury selecting 10 pieces across all of Germany. Festival is existing 50 years, same as the jazz fest which is having its 53 rd edition. It is opened at the time by Martin Luther King. It is also connected as it was West Berlin and happened during the cold war it was a big support for West Berlin and West Germany to bring in mostly African American jazz musicians. Berlin jazzfest was one of the first in Europe. There are three festivals, the jazz festival Berlin, the Muzik fest and the classical music festival in the Philharmonic hall and a festival for contemporary music. And we had a festival for performing arts called Emmersive arts to break the situation between festivals and artists and to immerse. It has a strong online and virtual aspect.