30 years of the Leipzig vocal ensemble Amarcord: “We’re raising the flag!”

However, you studied medicine first, which helped you during the pandemic: you worked in the field of vaccination. Were you the envy of your fellow musicians for this opportunity?

I was going to do this on a voluntary basis, I consider the development of mRNA vaccines a blessing and thus I can have educational conversations with a clear conscience. Then, when the need increased because the actual occupational ban lasted longer, there was of course the economic factor of being able to make money through it. I have never met envy

For us as a group, being stranded at home and waiting for the pandemic to pass was not an option. But at some point, we got tired of the flow, despite all the funding that came with it. It was doubly absurd for cultural workers to get creative in an existential crisis, to write funding applications and to compete with colleagues for limited grants. I would gladly do without it. The fact that we got this “methodologically insignificant” stamp on our forehead still hurts today.

So, how relevant is the culture, what is your balance sheet: Are there prolonged manifestations of the virus for the more conservative audience or insanely increased costs on the part of the party organizers?

I don’t think it will be the same again. A key has been flipped, in every individual, but also in society. I’m really afraid we’re left behind by a whole corner in terms of civilization. Added to this is the second crisis, the war against Ukraine, which is sweeping across us all and rendering us helpless. This does not make the situation any better: the tradition that convergence across culture does not bring about change. That was an idea that worked during the Cold War, but has now failed. Just like the idea of ​​change through trade. However, we can do something: we sing a prayer for Ukraine. But we will achieve what we have already achieved. It is very bitter to realize that no red line can be drawn.

Amarcord has become a role model in the scene: Is Leipzig a good place for choral and a cappella singing? What about the offspring?

The field is well plowed. But I am concerned about the competition that is part of our Capella Festival. The fact that we had to cancel it again, unlike the festival, is not because of the Corona measures, but because the groups did not have enough time to rehearse or were affected by the infection. This is a tragedy. It is important that Leipzig retain this luminous character. I feel that I have a group relationship, out of the empathy we once had, but also because of a healthy cultural selfishness: without young talent – in groups, but also in the audience – it doesn’t work. That’s why we also hold concerts for kids and teens. We also belong to “Team Caution”. But turning culture to zero right now during the pandemic was a huge mistake. The damage is enormous. I see no real solution other than the commitment of each individual. We are trying to create a background wind for the scene and raise the flag.

Interviewed by Thomas Bell for MDR KULTUR.

Information about the festival
Capella Festival in Leipzig
Until April 30, 2022

There are 11 concerts in churches, theaters or in the Leipzig Gewandhaus with vocal ensembles from Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Spain and Brazil: Amarcord, Tenebrae, David James & John Potter, Jacob Heringman, Cantoría, Ringmasters, Anúna, Ordinarius, Quintins, etc.

There are still tickets for all concerts. For the first time, four live concerts will also be broadcast live.

The entire program is available at: www.a-cappella-festival.de

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