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Red Bull Music Academy Announces Berlin's Famed Funkhaus as 20th Anniversary Venue

Red Bull Music Academy Announces Berlin's Famed Funkhaus as 20th Anniversary Venue

This year, the world-traveling Red Bull Music Academy celebrates its 20th anniversary edition, bringing its peerless program of workshops, public talks, studio sessions and exhibitions back to the city where it all started: Berlin. Over five weeks, 61 up-and-coming music makers from around the world will come together at Funkhaus Berlin, a cultural center and historic recording studio complex in East Berlin, which houses some of the best-sounding spaces in the world. There, they will exchange ideas and collaborate with pioneering artists from varied styles, methodologies and cultures. At the same time, Red Bull Music will present a five-week festival of concerts, club nights and public talks at renowned music and cultural venues, exploring the city's sonic histories and shining a light on the modern musical landscape.

Contributing to the regeneration of Funkhaus, which is designated as a protected cultural monument, the Academy will make its home in Block B, helping to return the former H2 radio-play studio to its former glory. The rooms that made up the H1 studio, along with two recording rooms that flank one of the chamber music halls, will serve as production studios. The Academy will rewire and refurbish these studios, reinstating unique features including one of the original reverb chambers. All the fascinating original foley elements that were used for radio plays, from curtains to cobblestones, will remain in place. As always, the Academy studios will be installed with a range of state-of-the-art music equipment, to let the ideas of the participants take flight.

Elsewhere, the Academy will utilize one of the large orchestral recording halls as a lecture hall, and a chamber music recording hall will be used as a spacious session room. Both in the studios and in the larger communal areas, the Academy is working closely with leading Berlin designers New Tendency to create bespoke furniture, as well as pathways and environments within the larger spaces that encourage interaction and collaboration - drawing a line between New Tendency's own Bauhaus influences and the background of the original architect. To give our visitors a wider understanding of the varied creative output of this most singular metropolis, renowned Berlin gallerist Johann König will install an exhibition of artworks by established and emerging contemporary German artists.

About the Funkhaus

Funkhaus ('Broadcast house') is possibly the largest studio complex in the world, and surely also one of the grandest. Located on the Spree river, it was built by the GDR to house its state radio operations, with construction completed in 1956. The Funkhaus was able to accommodate a range of recording needs, ranging from large orchestras in Studio 1, which at 800 square meters is almost twice the size of Abbey Road's Studio One, to, in the '60s, early experiments in electronic sound synthesis. By the '70s it operated rather like a small town, with 3500 people working there. Designed by Bauhaus-trained architect Franz Ehrlich, its austere façade conceals a grand entrance hall with classical pillars, and stunning wood-paneled studios that provide varied and often customizable acoustic environments, designed in collaboration with the acoustician Lothar Keibs and engineer Gisela Herzog.

Funkhaus's three blocks are gradually being restored and coaxed back into life, with large-scale performance spaces and studios for visual artists, and varied tenants, including the musician, composer and producer Nils Frahm. This rather momentous location should be uniquely suited for the Academy's participants to explore new musical forms as well as innovations of the recent past, hearing lectures from those who pioneered the most exciting sounds of our times.

About the Design Team

The challenge of designing the Academy space will be taken up by New Tendency, a Berlin-based design studio led by Manuel Goller that adapts the Bauhaus tradition for the present day. Taking clean aesthetics and functional form as its mandate, the team has been tasked with striking a balance between the building's strong heritage and the forward-looking spirit of the Academy. Drawing on a palette of strong colors and playing with volume and proportion, their custom-built furniture will be complemented by vintage GDR furniture sourced by Stephen Schilgen, a set designer and archivist of sought-after pieces from the era, whose club Kurvenstar set the benchmark for interior design in the '90s.

About the Curator

The Red Bull Music Academy 2018 exhibition is curated by Johann König, founder of the eponymous gallery. KÖNIG GALERIE, which opened in 2002, is one of Germany's most influential and recognized galleries. His roster includes many of the most exciting emerging and established artists working in Berlin today, such as Katharina Grosse, Jeppe Hein, Jorinde Voigt, Michael Sailstorfer, Alicja Kwade and Andreas Schmitten. The gallery is located in the St. Agnes church in Kreuzberg, designed by Brutalist architect Werner Düttmann in the 1960s, and renovated by contemporary architect Arno Brandlhuber. In 2017, KÖNIG GALERIE opened a new branch in a car park in London and launched the magazine KÖNIG containing stories about the gallery, its artists and communities. With an overarching interest in bringing contemporary art to new audiences, the gallery has collaborated with artists and organizations in the fields of music and fashion, and is actively involved in presenting educational programs, running its Berlin space rather like a museum, only without a permanent collection. KÖNIG GALERIE participates in international art fairs such as Art Basel, Frieze Art Fair in London, FIAC in Paris and Art Basel Miami Beach.

About the Studio Team

For the two weeks they're in Berlin, Academy participants' time in state-of-the-art recording studios will be overseen by globally renowned musicians and producers. Providing invaluable guidance and personal insight, the studio team for Term 1 includes Grammy Award-winning producer Just Blaze; Underground Resistance founding member "Mad" Mike Banks; Roman house and techno specialist Marco Passarani; Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Angel Deradoorian; Hessle Audio co-founder Pearson Sound; indie experimentalist Lucrecia Dalt; and Austrian beatsmith and synth wizard Dorian Concept. Term 2 welcomes Mathew Jonson, who combines musical training with analog expertise; Canadian future R&B and electronic producer Ango; and Russian avant-pop producer and alumna of the 2014 Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, Kate NV, with additional team members to be confirmed in the months to come.

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