Wolf Biermann vocals
Pamela Biermann vocals
At the Invitation of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation
Celebrate Democracy – Vote Democraticallay
Mon, 18 Sep 2017, 20:00
Chamber Music Hall
There are few other German artists whose lives have been shaped by the country’s separation as much as Wolf Biermann. Born in 1936 into a Hamburg family which was involved in the Communist Party, he moved to the German Democratic Republic when he was 16 years old, in the belief that a better society was being built there. He met the composer Hanns Eisler, assisted Helene Weigl at the Berliner Ensemble and in doing so, found his vocation: songwriting. Although a committed communist, his provocative, headstrong, and nonconformist songs dealt critically with the dictatorial regime in his country. While the rulers in the East wanted to silence him with a performance ban, he became the musical idol of the left scene in the West. His song “Ermutigung” became the secret national anthem of the GDR, his songs “Soldat, Soldat”, “Die Stasi-Ballade”, “Die habe ich satt” and “Ballade vom preußischen Ikarus” are now among the classics of the craft of songwriting.
In 1976, while in Cologne for a concert, he was expelled by the East German regime. The protests which followed are considered in hindsight to be the beginning of the end of the GDR. Wolf Biermann, who celebrated his 80th birthday in 2016, wants to galvanise the public, especially the younger generation, into taking basic democratic values seriously. With a tour through Germany in August and September entitled Demokratie feiern – Demokratisch wählen (celebrate democracy, vote democratically), the songwriter, together with his wife Pamela and the ZentralQuartett, aims to encourage a high turnout for the German parliament elections and to reinforce the idea of a liberal, united and free Europe.