Happy, exhausted faces could be seen outside the now closed doors of the Academy on Sunday evening after three days of "Discovery Weekend" with 50 micro-concerts, instrument labs and three sold-out performances of the music theatre spectacle "Brundibar / Mahagonny-Songspiel". The clean-up was done and the next working day in a few hours still seemed far away for the administration, the info team and the technical caretaker. For weeks and months, this weekend had been prepared for the Darmstadt community by teachers and administration, music students and students. Some rumoured that those involved in the opera project would certainly have to spend the night at the academy. In the meantime, a new lighting system was installed in the Wilhelm-Petersen-Saal, the Staatstheater's fundus was plundered, theatre make-up was learned and a full-length music theatre production was put into action parallel to an "open day" and "normal operations".

Have the efforts, the all-nighters, the countless hours filled with rehearsals, the fights for space, artistic quality and the last lunch at Café Melody all been worth it in the end, one is inclined to ask. In an institution as multi-faceted as the Akademie für Tonkunst, there will always be a multitude of answers to this question, all of which need to be perceived. Perhaps the questions about the "bottom line" in art are not appropriate at all.

What have we achieved? The "Discovery Weekend" was the end of a process that welded the participants from various trades together more strongly through hard artistic work, collegial flexibility, empathy as well as great joy in and seriousness about the pedagogical work. In addition, of course, there are grating frictions in the struggle for the cause. These are also important, they are part of growing and we can build on them.

What we have managed to do as a house, and have been doing for decades, is to create an alternative sensory space of experience for learners and teachers that enables encounters in and through art. This requires courage and reflection. Virtues that are needed in the defence of these vital spaces - spaces characterised by freedom and openness. We can be proud of this.

However, we do not want to conceal the following: The audience raved with joy over a spectacular production that focused on the cooperation between the music school and the vocational academy, soloists, choirs and orchestral musicians. On the "Open Day", the academy was bursting at the seams and inspired faces of children, parents and grandparents could be seen everywhere. 

We would like to thank all the pupils, students, teachers and administrators involved for their great efforts!

Next time it will be even more beautiful! 


Arne Gieshoff for the event team


Photos: Robert Schittko & private

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