Berlin's Holocaust memorial hosts open-air concert

Performance by Kammersymphonie Berlin marks 3rd anniversary of monument's opening to public.

Berlin holocaust memoria (photo credit: AP)
Berlin holocaust memoria
(photo credit: AP)
Berlin's Holocaust memorial plays host on Friday to an open-air concert that will see musicians spreading out across the field of concrete slabs to perform a modern experimental piece. The performance by the Kammersymphonie Berlin of composer Harald Weiss' new piece "Vor dem Verstummen" ("Before Silence Falls") marks the third anniversary of the monument's opening to the public. The orchestra is to be scattered among the memorial's 2,711 gray concrete slabs. Conductor Lothar Zagrosek will preside over the early-evening concert from the center of the 19,000 square-meter (204,500 square-foot) monument. Television monitors will enable further-flung musicians - who will be positioned up to 50 yards away - to see him. "We tested it and it worked fantastically," said Daniel-Jan Girl, who helped organize the event. "Every visitor will hear and see something different." Weiss's work is scored for chamber orchestra and solo soprano. He said of the piece's approach that "the only thing more beautiful than music is silence." Weiss based the new work on a poem by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, a native of Czernowitz, then in Romania and now in Ukraine, who died in December 1942 at a Nazi SS labor camp at Mikhailovska. Located adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate and the Tiergarten park, the striking Holocaust memorial has quickly become a key Berlin landmark - attracting more than 8 million visitors since its inauguration on May 10, 2005. Designed by the American architect Peter Eisenman, the memorial cost €27.6 million ($42.4 million) to build. The site is open to the public around the clock.