Berlin stages blacks-only composer competition

Berlin stages blacks-only composer competition


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2022

The Berlin Society for New Music is putting on a competition for composers who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Colour).

In addition, they have to be familiar with  NFT (Non-fungible tokens) and Bitcoin.

Why these conditions are imposed is not specified.

Here’s the shoutout:


Deadline: 31.01.2022 23.59 CET

What we offer:
The selected artist will receive a fee (Honorar) of 2000 EUR (brutto)
In dialogue with the curatorial team, small budget for gas fees (Eth/Polygon network). Potentially also technical support with project programming, though we cannot promise this.
The artist will be included in the Process and Protocol online exhibition and in-person launch weekend in beginning to mid-April.
In dialogue with the curatorial team, potential to bring collaborators to Berlin for the in-person launch event (hotel+transport).

What we are looking for
Artistic projects, in particular those that are musical and compositional, or are being done by musical artists, addressing and/or working with blockchains, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, or their surrounding social contexts, in particular ones that are conceptual, critical, and political.
We are looking for works with a small and realistic scope that can be realized within the short timeframe of the project, but which also raise important questions about the medium and its potential and could be developed further. Projects should at best be able to be shown in some form in an online format; presentation in-person or as a performance is possible in addition to this.

Projects critical of the blockchain space are also highly welcome and encouraged.

How to Apply
Please submit before 31.01.2022 at 23.59 CET:
Your portfolio/CV
A short description (no more than 1 A4 page) of the proposed project and how you intend to implement it
Documentation of previous, conceptually related projects (NB previous work with NFTs/blockchains is not a prerequisite)
Please send all submissions to”></script>


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  • La plus belle voix says:

    I think people should write to the board of this organization and ask why it has no BIPOC members. See photo, link here:

    • A Berliner says:

      that’s not the same organisation. BBK (Berufsverband Bildender Künstler*innen) is not the same as the Berlin Society for New Music whose acronym is BGNM (Berliner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik)

    • Herb says:

      On the contrary, it looks like almost everyone on the board is in fact indigenous (one of the elements in the BIPOC designation), inasmuch as Germans are by definition native to their own country.

  • La plus belle voix says:

    PS: Link to list of lecturers in charge of workshops etc:

    Any BIPOC faces there? Er, no . . .

    • Phillip says:

      Looks like one person may have African descent. Maybe the rest are indigenous. Saxons, perhaps? It’s so hard to tell.

  • I’m not sure how this will work. How many BIPOC composers are in Berlin? The city has 3.7 million inhabitants (the largest city in the EU) and about 620,000 are foreigners. 9% of the city’s population is from the Middle East (mostly Turks, about 250,000,) 3% are Asian, 2% are black, and 2% from the Americas. I doubt very many of these people are involved with contemporary classical music, but perhaps the spirit of the initiative is to create greater inclusion. Given this very rarified demographic, how many will also be involved with digital currencies? It will be interesting to see what comes of this. You have to give them credit for pushing the edges. I came to Germany 40 years too soon.

  • N/A says:

    ‘bla**s’ is a derogatory term, Norman, regardless of whether you knew that or not. Please rephrase.

    • John Borstlap says:

      ‘Non-white neo-colonial suprematist people’ would do.

    • Lausitzer says:

      Then why is such a racist acronym still in use at all? By the very people who are so eager to signal their virtue?

      Indigenous? These would in Berlin be the ordinary German people who get marginalized more and more. We’re not in the USA here. Really not.

    • Jim C. says:

      No it’s not.

      • N/A says:

        It quite literally is. It’s not even my opinion, it’s literal fact. Takes about 10 seconds for you to google it and find out for yourself. Or maybe you’re another one of these older folks that’s ‘too proud’ to actually accept that things are different these days than they were when you were younger. It’s not a bad thing to still educate yourself later on in life you know. It’s actually a really good thing.

    • Ned Keane says:

      To the 44 people who voted this down… actually, forget it, you won’t understand.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I’m rubbing my eyes…. the Germans get racist again!

  • dalet says:

    What you didn’t realize you needed all your life:
    A contemporary opera explaining cryptocurrency…sung in German. (Libretto supplied by Wikipedia.)

    • dalet says:

      Why not, there are 4 operas about gold as currency.

      Instead of Götterdämmerung, we get “Kryptowährung”

      • Dave says:

        And gold didn’t do the gods a lot of good at the end of that, did it?

        We may be heading the same way with crypto, whose ‘mining’ is not good news for the climate crisis.

  • IP says:

    What could be more antiracist?

  • Anon says:

    Is it a coincidence that the deadline is one second before April 1st?

  • Bonetti Micaela says:


  • Jim C. says:

    Cranks are cranks everywhere, aren’t they?

    This woke crowd identifying with NFTs and Bitcoin etc. isn’t going to go well for them. It’s become instant parody.

  • Lokman Merican says:

    When racism is this open and blatant, you know something has gone badly wrong.

    • N/A says:

      White people have bullied other races for centuries and centuries, yet when BIPOC have one thing for themselves, like this nice little competition, you guys go absolutely mental.

  • Peter says:

    Instagram post is removed?

    I take it for granted people who also identify as BIPOC can participate.

  • Michael McGrath says:

    Germans have learned many lessons from WW2. Diversity and inclusion, respect for other cultures are all actively pursued topics in Germany, especially in recent times as the treatment of local peoples in the former German colonies comes to the fore. Hence this and other efforts. But this effort is typically cool and whacky Berlin. The far-out Berlin scene should provide interesting input for this project. Long live idealism. Though one day do let me understand the link to cryptocurrency.