LOOK INTO THE FUTURE Festival goes beyond music in Burghausen

To be able to organize such a cross-border and interdisciplinary festival must be great for both Kreusch brothers, as a pianist Cornelius Claudio Kreusch and guitarist Johannes Tonio Kreusch are already interested in many things, which they impressively demonstrate by organizing various concert series. This open view of culture is also wonderfully reflected in their LOOK AHEAD festival, which they launched in 2018 with the cultural office of the city of Burghausen. After all, music of different colors meets cinema, dance and visual arts in the former ducal city of Upper Bavaria.

What is important for the two busy festival organizers during this four-day event are the rounds of discussions with the participating artists. Hamburg Elbphilharmonie spokesman Tom R. Schulz does a great job of really connecting artists with interested audiences, including private statements from those who have just performed. From the first evening, in the dreamlike atmosphere of the red room of the monastery of Raitenhaslach, we learn from the lutenist and guitarist Edin Karamazov how he approaches music, what he thinks of improvisation and also of his collaboration with the world star Sting. The choice of the Bosnian to play in opening could not be better, as he is the perfect musical interpreter of the motto of the festival. First with Renaissance music on the archlute, then after a break with a more recent look at the concert guitar with pieces from Rachmaninoff to Leo Brouwer.

The listed monastic complex of Raitenhaslach, a few kilometers from Burghausen, is an ideal venue for such concerts. But the exciting places in the old town of Burghausen are also included. For example, the Ankersaal, a magnificent old cinema from the 1950s. A silent film is always set to music there during the festival. This year, Simon Stockhausen had the colossal task of adding new sound to Fritz Lang’s 160-minute sci-fi adventure woman in the moon from 1929. He had never done anything like this before, Stockhausen later admitted. Hard to believe, one would have liked to answer. Its improvised/composed soundtrack of saxophone, vocals, percussion and live electronics not only amplified the full drama of the film, but also elevated one of Germany’s last silent films to an exciting new level.

Pianist Aki Takase shone in his solo concert with hard attacks on the black and white keys of the piano, with raw and rustic playing, but also a sense of playfulness and romance. What a great artist is the little Japanese woman. Whether she quotes foreign music in her own way or presents her own pieces. His concerts are always full of surprises. This was also the case in Burghausen where, at the end of her performance, she suddenly brought in the mezzo-soprano Mayumi Nakamura on stage and directed musical events towards opera.

What else was exciting about LOOK INTO THE FUTURE IV? Creative dance (step) with Tamango in a church, for example. Inspired by wooden sculptures and a large installation made of duct tape by Heiko Borner, the New York dancer walked through the exhibition in the church and marveled at his improvised movements and rhythms. And with their ‘Stubenjazz’, the group around the trumpeter Michael T. Otto showed at the morning pint on the last day of the festival how skilfully old German songs can be dressed up in sometimes slightly quirky contemporary jazz attire.

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