Improvise NOW!!! FMP: The Living Music

A collaboration between Haus der Kunst and the Goethe-Institut, the event series "Improvise NOW!!!" establishes a platform for international exchange and new artistic, cultural, and political debates. The project focuses on the dynamic connection between music and modern and contemporary art, literature, poetry, film, dance, and theater. During the postwar period, improvisation influenced and structured compositional and artistic strategies and became increasingly significant as a pan-stylistic approach not only in music, but also in related cultural fields.

The technological focus of Modernism altered the perception of music and its transmission, transforming the historical development of music into a systematic pool of mutual and international influences. Understood here as the spontaneous and immediate arrangement and composition of musical processes, improvisation has long been an essential aspect of global music-making and a means of creating music spontaneously and beyond aesthetic boundaries and categories. As probably the most popular formal expression of improvisation in the 20th century, jazz exerted an enormous influence on music in particular, but was also of far-reaching social and political importance. Miles Davis reportedly said of improvisation, "Sometimes you run out of notes. The notes just disappear and you have to play a sound." Taking the point where notes dissolve into pure sound, where expression and structure delimits abstraction, the goal of "Improvise NOW!" is to present these sounds.

In a series of concerts, lectures, workshops, and podium discussions that will take place over the course of more than a year, "Improvise NOW!!!" aspires to develop a multifaceted and international understanding of various qualities of improvisation. As part of the event series, the exhibition "The Living Music" will open in spring 2017. In addition to its exploration of various technical media, it will focus on Free Music Production (FMP) – a pioneering European album and production label that was managed by musicians and developed unique approaches and persistently crossed historical borders from the late 1960s to 2010. It was, for example, the first western label to make recordings in the GDR and to record GDR musicians in West Berlin during the Cold War.