After two-and-a-half months of quarantine spent at the Music Academy Rheinsberg in Brandenburg, the 25 musicians of the Bolivian Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos (OEIN) can finally set out on their flight home to Bolivia, thanks to the efforts of the organisation team of the soloists’ ensemble PHØNIX16, the Goethe-Institut, the Federal Foreign Office as well as the Bolivian Embassy.

As planned, the ensemble arrived in Germany on 10 March to collaborate with the Berlin-based soloists’ ensemble PHØNIX16 in the ‘Environment’ project, which was to be the opening production of MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues. Yet, all concerts had to be cancelled shortly after the arrival od the Bolivian musicians. This was followed by international travel restrictions and there was no possibility for the Bolivian musicians to return home.

The long emergency stay of the group, which gained international media attention, was made possible by the joint efforts of the soloists’ ensemble PHØNIX16 and the project’s partner institutions. A team of three members of PHØNIX16 stayed in Rheinsberg with the young musicians and provided help with crisis management. In coordination with the city of Rheinsberg’s administration and health authorities, Musikkultur Rheinsberg GmbH kindly provided accommodation for the group under quarantine conditions. Berliner Festspiele’s festival MaerzMusik covered expenses for room and board in Rheinsberg. The Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, the Commissioners for Culture and the Media, the Berlin Artist’s Programme of DAAD, the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Musikakademie Rheinsberg and Hellerau – European Centre for the Arts Dresden provided funds for other essential costs that occurred during this emergency stay.

During the eleven-week stay, the ensembles OEIN and PHØNIX16 worked vigorously on a wide range of new artistic projects, including recordings of the concert programmes planned for Berlin and Hellerau, a sound installation, film shoots, video portraits of the musicians, rehearsals of works by Stockhausen or Cage, improvisation works as well as a film documentation.

The close artistic and academic connections that have been created or developed further will benefit the relationships between Germany, Bolivia and the whole of Latin America in the future.

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