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One Earth Orchestra

Music of our time in social and environmental contexts


“We have invited the One Earth Orchestra because of its musical understanding which is grounded in the idea of the richness of polyphonic cultural life, and can be heard as a protest against all that is dull and, ultimately, destructively monolithic.”
Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Niebuhr, chairman of Initiative 9. November e.V.

With selected programmes of the music of our time, which are rooted in different musical cultures, the One Earth Orchestra enters into a fruitful dialogue with other music producers, other music cultures, forms of expressions and points of view. The orchestra does not strive to play music from all over the world, or for the whole world, or to perform works that appeal the world over. Its intention is to be a voice in the music of this world and to communicate and to cooperate with other voices.

The ensemble was founded in 2012 and its name refers less to the concepts of the genre world music than to the fact that music is only a tiny part of an enormous organism we call Earth, who is ringing and vibrating with an infinite variety. All life is and creates vibration. Only a portion of these vibrations, which are within the range of the human ear, amounts to what we call music. Moving deeply our mental and emotional worlds, music can be a significant and vast power which is able to overcome boundaries of both language and nations. Seen from a much broader perspective, the music which human beings create must be considered as one among countless voices and sounds that compose the overarching music of life’s diversity.
The name One Earth Orchestra is dedicated to all life surrounding us that we are also part of. 

One of the ensemble’s main concerns is reinforcing cultural diversity, such as the continuation of musical experimentation and innovation beyond the mainstream, or the music of indigenous cultures which has, in some cases, almost fallen silent. Cultural diversity is the greatest treasure that the evolution of humanity has produced in the past 40,000 years, and at the same time, it is a reflection of life’s biological diversity, the greatest treasure that evolution has produced on Earth.

Apart from concert halls or festivals for contemporary music, the One Earth Orchestra performs at venues such as memorials, international conferences, public spaces and landscapes whose contexts are linked to the topics and questions of our time. An example is the United Nations' Conference on Biodiversity (COP 11) in Hyderabad, India, where the orchestra presented a programme emphasizing the close relationship between life’s biological and cultural diversity. The ensemble has engaged in musical dialogues with indigenous cultures in India, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica to appreciate and acknowledge their traditional music, and to encourage its transition into the next generation. It has also initiated festivals for intercultural music, offering the many cultures living in Germany an opportunity to take part in an artistic and social exchange. Along with actors, it has developed a programme for the Jewish memorial “Bunker Friedberger Anlage” in Frankfurt in which music and texts by contemporary witnesses are interwoven within an intense and moving collage.

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Exposé One Earth Orchestra