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Symposium „Messias-Zarathustra-Laozi-Buddha”

May 03, 2018

On May, 12, the symposium „Messias-Zarathustra-Laozi-Buddha: Prophetengestalten im globalen Kontext“ addressed the role of the prophets in a global context. The event was organised by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) in cooperation with Frankfurt University and provided the scientific context to the concert “King of Kings” by the Junge Kantorei.

The symposium brought together scholars from interdisciplinary fields such as philosophy, theology, religious studies and musicology. It aimed at addressing the reasons for the reinterpretation of the Händel Messiah within the composition of the opus “King of Kings” by the Frankfurt choir Junge Kantorei. The speakers of the symposium therefore gave insights to the meaning of prophetism within diverse traditions and the prophets’ usage of written and musical traditions. Besides, the symposium questioned challenges prophets were facing within the society as also their claims for exclusiveness.

Jonathan Hofman from the Junge Kantorei gave an introduction to “King of Kings”, together with Cluster Director Prof. Barbara Mittler and former Director of the Musikwissenschaftliche Seminar Heidelberg, Prof. Silke Leopold, which reflected the opus as a dialogue between religions. Prof. Mittler also gave a talk on „Höhere Kraft ist kraftlos: Nicht-Wissen, Autorität, Prophetie und Weissagung zwischen Chan und Dao“. She thereby focused on CHEN Cheng-wen compositions that are integrated into the concert and his combination of the Händel Messiah with Taoist and Chan-Buddhist texts.

CHEN Cheng-wen from Taiwan provided jointly with Ali Gorji from Iran the new compositions and re-interpretation of Händels Messiahs for the “King of Kings”. Both composers participated in the final round-table before an open rehearsal of the concert. Further speakers at the symposium were Prof. Frederek Musall, Dr. Elke Morlok and Prof. Hartmut Leppin, who discussed the different images and roles of prophets.

The symposium took place at Frankfurt University at the Casino Building, located on the Campus Westend. The rehearsal to the concert was conducted in the Festsaal of the Casino.

The concerts, that the symposium provided the scientific context to, will take place at Frankfurt University on May 20, and at Heidelberg University at the Neue Aula on May, 21. Alongside CHEN Cheng-Wen und A. Gorji, Prof. Silke Leopold will introduce the concert in Frankfurt, and Prof. Barbara Mittler will give an introductory address for the concert in Heidelberg.

You will find more details on the symposium here.

Listen to a interview with Barbara Mittler about the concert on Deutschlandfunk.

You can also download a concert review by Sharon Chi here.



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