funded by the German
Federal Cultural Foundation KSB


Classical, “serious“ music has been paired by composers with popular material throughout the history
of Western music, pushing forward the development of the art form. Examples can be found as early
as the Renaissance, where masses were based on the popular tune “L’homme armé”. Modern composers such as Bartók, Janáček, Ligeti and Stravinsky drew inspiration from folk songs or jazz. This
tradition continues today with composers drawing inspiration from the sounds resonating in clubs or
streaming from electronic music websites. In the work of these composers, the often separate spheres
of contemporary classical and electronic club music meld together, creating new musical terrain (“classical” defined as the Western art music tradition, “electronic club” as a general term for a broad spectrum ranging from highly structured - e.g. techno - to atmospheric and free form - e.g. ambient).

Highly successful event series exist where classical music of all eras is played in clubs. But such
events often have little to do with current musical developments. Instead, classical and club stand
side-by-side, their contact superficial and skin-deep, instead of embracing each other in fertile creative
exchange, bringing new art to life. Precisely this new art, born of creative exchange, is what the Club
Contemporary Classical Festival is all about: C3 presents new music which falls into the grey zone
between the genres of contemporary classical and electronic music. This grey zone is currently an area
of extreme creativity and innovation due to the democratization of technology as well as the prevalence
and influence of electronic music. C3 offers a showcase platform for this activity, building access
bridges between these realms of sound, inviting the audiences in both camps to cross over to the other
side and discover.

New interpretations of old structures using modern methods: C3’s festival locations and its musical content share this theme. Post-industrial (Berghain, Radialsystem, Zeche Zollverein) and a former church (St. John’s Center), all are symbolic of the investigation of new possibilities in hitherto undefined terrain. The new musical trend featured in C3 is also as yet undefined. As Kai Müller in Berlin’s leading daily newspaper, the “Tagesspiegel”, and in one of Germany’s most respected weeklies, the “Zeit Online” commented (7 Sept. 2009): “The music of the future is arising in the space between Philharmonic Hall and the Berghain Club: Berlin’s C3 Festival shows the ways in which pop avant-garde and classical music are approaching one’s the music of the future. It hasn’t even yet been named. But the fact that it will one day be in a position to explain the present to us, of that there is no doubt.”