Sun 25 10
from 1 pm

Free admission. Registration required.

Registration via e-mail to // The symposium will be held in English and live for an audience at radialsystem, and will also be streamed and transmitted digitally // With gastronomic catering.

Decolonizing Classical Musics?

A symposium within the framework of "The other Beethoven(s)
Kofi Agawu
Kofi Agawu © Andrew Wilkinson
Which misunderstandings and cases of cultural appropriation can be found in "Western" classical music, from Beethoven to Mozart, to Debussy? To what extent was this history influenced by a continuous succession of waves of migration(s)? For the very first time, the Goethe Institute is the guest host of a two-day mini programme at radialsystem : In addition to an artistic programme presenting new works by Cathy Milliken, Brigitta Muntendorf, and the Trickster Orchestra, a symposium on the topic, "Decolonizing Classical Musics?”, takes place on 25th October. The symposium was organised by the Goethe Institut and conceptualised in cooperation with Elisa Erkelenz. Questions surrounding post-coloniality, looted music, and the trans-traditional compositional practice of today are to be discussed – how can we successfully cultivate a transformation toward a decolonizing thinking in the field of so-called classical music and its contemporary tonal equivalents?

The 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven is also commemorated by the Goethe Institute 2020 : The global project, "The other Beethoven(s)", sheds light on an unknown side of the Bonn composer. Based on his interest in non-European perspectives, which was awakened in the later years of his life, artists and composers from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Germany trace this cosmopolitanism toward a translation of his work into a new, contemporary language. The result is a series of concerts, installations, and performances on display in Germany and participating countries from 2020 onwards. With Cathy Milliken's "Ode for All", and the installation, "Covered Culture", by Brigitta Muntendorf and Moritz Lobeck, the premieres of two of these productions are hosted by radialsystem in Berlin. In addition, the series, "Outernational", by Elisa Erkelenz is to be shown as well, along with a concert by the Trickster Orchestra, "Disturbing the Universal", as part of the Berlin mini programme.


  • Concept Jörg Süßenbach und Elisa Erkelenz
  • Conceptual collaboration Nathalie Feldmann
  • Participants Kofi Agawu, Sandeep Bhagwati, Patrick Hahn, Brigitta Muntendorf, Cathy Milliken, Amen Feizabadi, Svetlana Spajic und Philipp Rhensius


Program 13 Welcome by the Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert and Opening Video-Keynote by Kofi Agawu 13.45 Stand back, please! Listening Session & Discourse with Sandeep Bhagwati and Patrick Hahn 14.45 Break 15.15 Transtraditional Composition Today Panel Discussion with Brigitta Muntendorf, Cathy Milliken, Amen Feizabadi, Svetlana Spajic and Philipp Rhensius (Moderation)

Framework programme

A weekend with postcolonial music parctics: Sat 24 10 2020 from 5 pm "Covered Culture" - Audiovisual installation as part of "The other Beethoven(s)" 6-9 pm "Ode for All" - Concert installation by Cathy Millikenas part of "The other Beethoven(s)" Sun 25 10 2020 from 12 pm "Covered Culture" - audiovisual installation as part of "The other Beethoven(s)" from 1 pm "The other Beethoven(s) - Decolonizing Classical Musics? - Symposium from 5.30 pm "Outernational: Transtraditional concerts" as part of "The other Beethoven(s)"


"The Other Beethovens" is a project of the Goethe-Institut. Funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. A project as part of "BTHVN 2020". The symposium is a cooperation between the Goethe-Institut and the series "Outernational". Media partnership with: VAN Outernational, tipBerlin, ExBerliner, Ask Helmut

Kofi Agawu
Kofi Agawu © Andrew Wilkinson
Wendy M. K. Shaw
Wendy M. K. Shaw © Bernd Wannenmacher

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