Bridges to the hereafter

Art, music, and nature in cemeteries

Death sets a natural border around our lives that is exposed to each and every one of us. This insurmountable dualism has inspired composers time and again to write works dedicated to death, to the journey there, or to the memory of the deceased. A few of such compositions, such as the requiem masses of Brahms and Verdi, Strauss’ opera “Frau ohne Schatten”, Enescu’s short opera “Die Geister” or Stravinsky’s “Chant funèbre” will appear in our programmes this season.
With the Evangelischer Friedhofsverband Berlin Stadtmitte (Protestant Cemetery Association) and the NABU Berlin, who accompanied us in the last season, We have found two wonderful partners who enable us make metaphorical bridges with this world and the hereafter with guided tours, nature observations, and music: With atmospheric chamber concerts and tours, you can discover the cemetery monuments and the biotopes of the Bergmannfriedhöfe (miners’ cemeteries) in the heart of Berlin with us.

The four Protestant cemeteries on the Bergmannstraße in Kreuzberg are in the sponsorship of the Evangelischer Friedhofsverband Berlin Stadtmitte since 2009. They belong to the oldest burial places of Berlin still used today and stand as a complete ensemble under garden monument protection. Within its walls are the last resting places of famous artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs; among them are Adolph von Menzel, Martin Gropius, Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher, and Theodor Mommsen. Their grave monuments are the legacy of important sculptors and artists.

The first cooperation with the Evangelischer Friedhofsverband (Protestant Cemetery Association) takes place on their 10th anniversary as part of the 1st Kreuzberg Cemetery Night and will also be in the 2018/2019 season. Together with the Friedhofsverband and the NABU Berlin, we are also planning a programme for the “Open Monument Day” in the autumn of 2019 and one for the “Long Day of the Urban Nature” in the early summer of 2020.

The concerts with RSB members are free of charge and accessible without reservation as part of the respective event with limited available space.

1. Kreuzberg Cemetery Night
Fri 21 June 2019 – 8 pm
Inaugurating concert with Anton Bruckner’s String Quintet

at the Löblich/Liebau tomb at the Alter Luisenstädtischer Friedhof
Entrance via the cemetery entrance at Südstern 8–10, 10961 Berlin
followed by readings from the literary legacies of famous deceased people at selected, illuminated tombs

Place of yearning for silence and nursery of biodiversity

Cemeteries are places of remembrance, of pain, but also places of love and silence. They form refuge for mourners and at the same time green habitats in the middle of the city. Although you leave bustle and noise behind when you enter a cemetery, but you can hear more than just peace if you listen keenly. It whistles and lilts, it beeps and warbles. Cemeteries are natural gems, cool islands on hot days and the home of many animal- and plant species. Cemeteries occupy an area of ​​about 1,400 hectares in Berlin. In the past, they were far away from the city gates, but today they have long been the green oases of the urban centre of vibrant urban bustle and have acquired a new ecological value over the decades. The cemetery gardens on the Bergmannstraße, not far from the Tempelhofer Feld, feature an extraordinary biodiversity. Old walls and mighty trees – the witnesses to the ever-changing city – provide a habitat for birds and small mammals. For some years, the NABU district group for Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has recorded the bird population in the cemeteries in the Bergmannstraße. Almost 30 species of birds breed and raise their young next to the tombs. Where the ephemeral and the death prevail, new life arises time and again. Cemeteries are the end, the transition, and the beginning at the same time.

Day of the open monument
Sun 8 September 2019

2 pm Fascination cemetery
A literary-cultural-historical walk through the
Friedhof Dreifaltigkeit II
Meeting point: Bergmannstraße 42–44, 10961 Berlin

3 pm Cemetery as habitat
Nature-oriented walk through the NABU Berlin
Meeting point: cemetery entrance Südstern 8–10, 10961 Berlin

4 pm Cemetery as sound space
Concert with RSB members
works by Leclair, Bartók, Takemitsu & Prokofjew
Friedhof Friedrichswerder, waiting hall
Bergmannstraße 42–44, 10961 Berlin

Long day of urban nature
Sun 14 June 2020

The day-long programme and the beginning time of the concert will be announced.
Friedhof Friedrichswerder, waiting hall
Bergmannstraße 42–44, 10961 Berlin

Friedhofscafé Strauss will ensure your physical well-being on during the events.

All chamber concerts of the RSB
at a glance

To the concerts