Wayne State University

Mauer Broadcast by Composer Lisa Bielawa and Artist Sheryl Oring

Department of Art and Art History Chair Co-creates Pop-Up Choral Performances about the Berlin Wall for the 30th Anniversary Mauerfall Celebrations

SO

Berlin, Germany – American composer Lisa Bielawa and American artist and Chair of the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History Sheryl Oring have created Mauer Broadcast, a series of pop-up choral performances for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, hosted by Kulturprojekte Berlin. The 16-minute musical piece for an unlimited number of voices was performed four times during Berlin Festival the week of 4-10 in November. The musical work was created specifically for each of the official celebration sites.

The texts for Mauer Broadcast are selected from Oring’s Maueramt project from autumn 2014, produced in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At this series of public performances, Oring set up typewriter locations along the former Wall and asked questions such as: “What do you think about when you think about the Berlin Wall,” or “What would you like the world to remember about the Berlin Wall?” Answers were typed on a manual typewriter onto small sheets of paper and collected for an exhibition at the Museum THE KENNEDYS in Berlin. 

“With this work, we took the words of the people back to the streets of Berlin,” said Oring. “The memories that I typed will take on new life through this collaboration. Lisa has created a powerful work of music that will bring people together as we recall this important time in history.”

Choir in BerlinIn addition to participants from the public, each Mauer Broadcast featured the American Church Berlin Gospelchoir; Lisa Bielawa and Ken Norris, vocal leaders; Vanessa Chartrand-Rodrigue, conductor; Kati Brien and Bastian Duncker, alto saxophones; Elena Kakaliagou, horn; Damir Bacikin, trumpet; and Vladimir Veres, trombone. The horn played the entire piece from the center of the site, while the other instruments and singers began at opposite peripheries and worked their way towards the center for the celebratory finale, enacting a symbolic “reunification.”

Composer Lisa Bielawa’s work on Mauer Broadcast follows her largescale piece, Airfield Broadcasts, a massive 60-minute work for hundreds of musicians that premiered on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin (Tempelhof Broadcast, May 2013) and Crissy Field in San Francisco (Crissy Broadcast, October 2013). Bielawa turned these former airfields into vast musical canvases, as professional, amateur, and student musicians executed a spatial symphony. 

Learn more about the Mauer Broadcast at www.sheryloring.org/mauer-broadcast or Oring’s Maueramt project at www.sheryloring.org/maueramt.