Zauberlehrling (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) is a three-dimensional theater-music-video project in collaboration between the Danish Contemporánea, Live Electronics Denmark, and Hamburg artists. Music composition and the electroacoustic sound world are created by Ejnar Kanding from Contemporánea and the video composition by Simon Janssen from Hamburg. It is performed by the Danish musician and performer Fritz Gerhard Berthelsen (clarinet and bass clarinet), who is the initiator of the project. The literary basis is the 14 stanzas from the ballad Der Zauberlehrling from 1797 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. In his ballad, Goethe describes a scenario in which an apprentice magician, fascinated by the many possibilities of magic, wants to make his work easier without being aware of the consequences of magic. He invokes powers he neither knows nor can control. Everything gets out of control. The project is offered in two versions: one longer for theaters and one shorter for schools.

Fascinated by technology and driven by the many opportunities for progress, we live without considering the possible catastrophic and uncontrollable consequences. The debate over climate, social media, discrimination, or artificial intelligence is also relevant as well as the behavior of the personal environment. More than ever, there is a need for a joint, well-thought-out effort, cross-border critical thinking.

The Zauberlehrling project is part of the Danish-German cultural friendship year 2020.

The project is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, DD2020 (Danmark Deutschland Kutur 2020), Goethe-Institut Dänemark, Auswertiges Amt, William Demant Fonden, Konsul George Jorck og hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond, Københavns Kommune, Sonning-Fonden, BUPL.

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