Songs, singers and poets. Neuhardenberg Singer’s Get-together
curated by Klaus Hoffmann
Poetry and song have always belonged together. Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff once wrote that ‘many poets were also singers’, which is in fact the case internationally. The poet who recites his verse in song: throughout the ages and in all societies, an ancient symbol of the beauty of language and of sounds that lift people’s lives above the everyday. For one afternoon and evening, the Schloss Neuhardenberg open air stage in the park will be reserved for singer-songwriters and their songs and musings about the universe; it will be dedicated to the joy and pain, loves and disappointments they write and sing about; it will serve as a platform for their wit and militancy, accusations and encouraging words.
Curated by Klaus Hoffmann, himself one of Germany’s great contemporary singer-songwriters, vocalists and poets, six vocalists that perform texts and melodies written by themselves will meet up at Neuhardenberg for a ‘singer’s get-together’. Rather than a fierce competition with plenty of Wagnerian dramatics, this gathering will be a get-together of like-minded artists that will also showcase the broad spectrum of performers who have chosen this métier.
Katharine Mehrling and accompanist
Katharine Mehrling was drawn to the big cities London, Paris and New York at a very young age. In 2000, she moved to Berlin, where she has since starred in numerous operetta and musical productions. Her chanson evenings in the Bar jeder Vernunft are usually sold out, and she has won the people’s choice award Goldener Vorhang five times already for her performances as Judy Garland, Diana Goodman or, her most recent success at the Komische Oper Berlin, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. In 2018, she won a Berlin theatre award in recognition of her overall contribution to the city’s theatre world. She also won the Berliner Bär culture prize sponsored by local newspaper BZ in 2016. Her own songs consist of stories and experiences sensitively told in a combination of jazz, chansons and German pop music; her at times very quiet, multifaceted voice moves effortlessly from high to low and can sometimes also be fiercely rousing.
Etta Scollo and accompanist
Etta Scollo, born at the foot of Mount Etna in Sicily, is an Italian artist who has enjoyed exceptional popularity in Germany for many years. Her repertoire is inspired by her homeland. The charismatic vocalist has intensively addressed the long, often tragic history of this Mediterranean island and its traditional music, has researched it, included it in her work and reinterpreted it, combining local musical traditions, jazz influences and avant-garde pop in a unique way. This has resulted in various musical projects including Il fiore splendente, an homage to the Arab-Sicilian poets of the 9th and 12th centuries with contributions by artists such as Giovanni Sollima, Markus Stockhausen and Nabil Salameh.
Wenzel and accompanist
Wenzel is an artist with many faces: he is a musician, vocalist, composer and writer all rolled into one. Effortlessly, he combines witty lyrics with melancholy as well as joie de vivre. Wenzel released his first record, Stirb mit mir ein Stück, in 1987. It immediately won a Golden Amiga, and soon attained cult status. However, he also intentionally fell short of the GDR’s official cultural policy on many occasions. Together with Steffen Mensching, his artistic partner at the time, he donned the mask of a clown to throw a spanner in the works of the ‘state apparatus’ with programmes such as Neues … (1982), Altes … (1989) and Letztes aus der Da Da eR (1990). Wenzel has won many awards for his work, including a German Record Critics’ Award and a Deutscher Folk Preis. His latest CD release is called Wo liegt das Ende der Welt.
Konstantin Wecker, vocals
Jo Barnickel, piano
Konstantin Wecker remains true to himself. The singer-songwriter, vocalist, poet and staunch pacifist, the gentle militant, the warner and encourager is always in the lead when it comes to fighting for freedom and against those that threaten it. ‘I think it’s shocking that the songs I wrote thirty or even forty years ago are so relevant again today,’ says Konstantin Wecker. The current events have made him ‘extremely angry’. The new programme he will be touring with in 2019 is therefore called Weltenbrand (‘World on Fire’); his latest CD is called Sage Nein – Antifaschistische Lieder 1978 bis heute (‘Say No – Anti-fascist Songs from 1978 to Today’). According to Wecker, it contains ‘a large portion of courage’. We’ll need it.
Klaus Hoffmann, vocals
Hawo Bleich, piano
Of course, the event’s artistic director Klaus Hoffmann will not only present the programme of songs, singers and poets as the evening’s charming master of ceremonies; he will also get up on stage himself in the role of the singer and poet his audience has adored for over four decades. His music has remained timeless because he himself has always remained the same attentive observer of and commentator on the tide of events he was at the beginning of his career. Together with his accompanist Hawo Bleich, who has been with him at the piano and keyboards for many years, Klaus Hoffmann will revisit his extensive oeuvre and prove himself to be a worthy host of the Neuhardenberg Singer’s Get-together.
Erika Pluhar and accompanist
Erika Pluhar is one of the most important and versatile artists in the German-speaking countries. She played numerous key character roles at the Burgtheater in Vienna for four decades until 1999. On screen, she has not only stood in front of the camera but has also written scripts and directed. In parallel to her acting work, Erika Pluhar has always been and still is a much appreciated singer. She writes her own songs, produces her recordings independently and performs concerts and readings live on stage. Her work as a writer has produced numerous novels, novellas, poems and autobiographical books. Her most recent publications are Gegenüber (2016) and Anna – eine Kindheit (2018). At Neuhardenberg, Klaus Hoffmann, his fellow singers and the Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg will suitably, albeit belatedly, celebrate Erika Pluhar’s 80th birthday.
Songs, singers and poets. Neuhardenberg Singer’s Get-together
€ 38 / concessions and NHB-Card € 30
can be made on
+49 (0)33476 600-750