Music Is Not!

A Symposium On and Around the Kunsthalle for Music
Friday 26 - Saturday 27 May, 2017
Location: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art


Music is not necessarily what you think it is.

Can we imagine a space for music that exists outside of any media and beyond the stage? A space for unrecordable music, music of undefined duration, existing even when no audience is present? A dissolution of performer and audience, of rehearsal and performance? A music existing in the world based in a space of musical action and activity, production and performance that can be entered into and exited from at will. A space wherein the ideal listening and viewing position is determined independently by each artist, performer or visitor, not determined beforehand by a seat number on a ticket. Having an ensemble at the center of its activity carrying out or otherwise enacting the work which continues during the opening hours whether there are visitors present or not.

During this two-day get-together, these fundamental questions continuing the unfolding of Kunsthalle for Music will be tackled by a roster of international practitioners from the fields of contemporary art, music, and theory, through a symposium of multiple modes: lectures, auditions, open workshops, and performances.

Opening with a discussion series on Friday 26 May, the casting of the Kunsthalle for Music's future ensemble will feature as part of the symposium, inviting selected performers to collaborate with composers towards the creation of music/performance works, Saturday 27 May.

The program was conceived by Ari Benjamin Meyers, Armen Avanessian, and Witte de With's Defne Ayas, Samuel Salemakers, and Rosa de Graaf.

Friday 26 May

Introduction: Ari Benjamin Meyers, Armen Avanessian, Defne Ayas
Session 1: Institution and Audience
Session 2: Relationship between Contemporary Art and Music
Session 3: Peter Osborne on the Contemporary

Saturday 27 May

Closed auditions held for Kunsthalle for Music ensemble
Apply to take part.

Composers Introduction

Elena Rykova, Wojtek Blecharz, Jonathan Beplar

Open workshops

Composers and selected open call performers collaborate across the building on the creation of new musical works

Closing anthem led by Ari Benjamin Meyers

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR

Media Enquiries

Milou van Lieshout
T +31 (0)10 411 01 44

About the Artist


Ari Benjamin Meyers (b. 1972, USA) lives and works in Berlin. In his work, Meyers, who trained as a composer and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Peabody Institute, explores structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music. He has composed numerous works for the stage among them three operas; his chamber opera Nico. Sphinx aus Eis was commissioned by the Semperoper Dresden. Solo exhibitions and projects include Black Thoughts, Esther Schipper, Berlin (2013); Chamber Music (Vestibule), Berlinische Galerie (2013-2014); Just in Time, Just in Sequence, This is Not Detroit Festival, Schauspielhaus Bochum (2014); Beating Time, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin (2015); Memories of the Future, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2016); The Name of This Band is The Art, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich (2016); Who’s Afraid of Sol La Ti?, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016); Elevator Music, Trafo Center for Contemporary Art, Stettin (2016), and An exposition, not an exhibition, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (2017). He is the founder of the Kunsthalle for Music, an undertaking realised in cooperation with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) and Spring Workshop (Hong Kong) as well as numerous artists. Besides this long-term project upcoming exhibitions in 2017 include Solo for Ayumi, Esther Schipper, Berlin; Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), Lenbachhaus, Munich; and participation in the group show A Crack in Everything, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.

About Kunsthalle for Music

Artistic Director: Ari Benjamin Meyers
Founding Directors: Ari Benjamin Meyers, Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown
Team: Natasha Hoare, Christina Li, Anja Lindner, Samuel Saelemakers
Design: APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life)

The Kunsthalle for Music is commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) together with Spring Workshop (Hong Kong) and will make additional appearances at locations to be announced. An exposition, not an exhibition by Ari Benjamin Meyers will unfold the Kunsthalle’s foundational themes at Spring Workshop (March 2017), followed by a congress at Witte de With (May 2017) and punctuated by an inaugural take-over, featuring a series of new commissions also at Witte de With (January 2018).

General inquiries: