Kurt Weill must be ‘contemporary and multi-disciplinary’

Kurt Weill must be ‘contemporary and multi-disciplinary’


norman lebrecht

July 06, 2018

A new director was chosen today for the Kurt Weill Festival in the composer’s birthplace, Dessau.

Jan Henric Bogen, 35, convinced the board of the Kurt Weill Gesellschaft (KWG) with his artistic concept of the festival: His programme will center around a contemporary and multi-disciplinary reading of the works of Kurt Weill and his contemporaries. Mr. Bogen wants to both internationalise the festival and strengthen its roots in the region.

He also likes having his cake and eating it. Wait, it gets worse:

Currently Mr. Bogen works as Deputy Artistic Director at Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp and Ghent, Belgium. He states: ‘I am very happy to be leading such a renowned festival. I want to continue the festival’s success and sharpen the festival’s profil even more. The ever-so-diverse works of Kurt Weill and his archetypical biography of otherness offer an endless source of inspiration to artists – especially today. I understand myself as an enabler and catalyst. I want to create the best possible conditions for exciting encounters between artists and our audiences.’

Pity the poor composer.


  • Gareth Jones says:

    The only word I’d query is ‘archetypical’: I think Weill would have known that doesn’t make much sense in terms of the interpretation of otherness. Otherwise the guy seems OK

  • Sam says:

    Not sure what’s wrong with this.. Weill was one of the composers labeled by the Nazis as Degenerate who had to escape Germany – almost the definition of otherness. He also wrote symphonic works along with cabaret works, a highly diverse output that will require a multi-disciplinary approach to cover everything he wrote. I fail to see anything wrong with this statement.

  • gigidevon says:

    Wow, we are bitter, aren´t we? Did you apply and didn´t get the job? Let people work and crawl back to your cave.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Shame that personal abuse is the first resort of “progressives”

      • jaypee says:

        So cretin donald is a progressive? Who would have thought…
        Say, deplorable, don’t you have women to grab by the you-know-what instead of trolling here?

        • Phillip says:

          I refuse to take seriously anyone who uses infantile words like “trolling.” Anyone who disagrees with you is a “troll” or a “hater”, and if they attempt to engage in lively debate then they’re merely “butthurt.” The great dumbing down of this once-great country continues unabated. Take a deep breath in the ol’ safe space, pet a few therapy dogs, scribble in some “adult” (!) coloring books- and then grow up.

        • Sue says:

          Another infantile millennial on the internet!!

      • gigidevon says:

        So, the person who administrates this “blog” made a conscious effort to write a diffamatory article on someone who hasn’t done a single task on the job he was appointed to, and yet it is us “progressives” the ones who resort to abuse. I hope that you are at least aware of the ridiculous level of hypocrisy of your comment.

      • Sue says:

        The usual strategy is complete reputational destruction. So says, amongst others, Prof. Niall Ferguson of Stanford.

  • jeremy says:

    The intention here (whatever the results are) is spot on, and KW, who laboured tirelessly not only for experimentation , but also for inclusivity and diversity, particularly in his Broadway works (think Street Scene, and Lost in the Stars) would totally have approved.

  • psq says:

    One should be aware that Dessau has other pedigree as a place for international outlooks apart from Kurt Weill. The Bauhaus School was in Dessau after it moved out of Weimar and before it was closed by the Nazis for not sufficiently Germanic-pure . Some of the Festival events will probably take place in the auditorium of the Bauhaus School Building (renovated to its original decor after the German reunification).


    Regular musical events from this auditorium are often shown on TV.


    As it happens Dessau was well inside the DDR where the present day anti-immigrants and populist political party AfD finds most of its support. Any activities that bring the outside world to a quasi-hermetic place is to me a good thing.

  • barry guerrero says:

    “exciting encounters between artists and our audiences”

    . . . will tossing rotten produce onto the stage make a come-back?!?

  • barry guerrero says:

    “Speak low, when you speak gruff”