November 15, 16, 17 / 2012 20.00 Uhr
Luisenstraße 37a, 80333 München

An interdisciplinary music theatre project after Oliver Sacks‚ bestseller Musicophilia

Music meets Neurology. Science meets Colour. Listening for a way into our brains.

The experimental music theatre project Musicophilia lures its audience into exciting and poetic areas of perception. The correlation between music and its effects on our brain and our behaviour are artfully explored and put into newly composed soundscapes and imagery – pictures that occupy our mindspace on the boundaries of science. The borders between inner and exterior experience are also teased out in this kaleidoscope of light, music, language and movement.

The inspiration and starting point for this journey is Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia. Musicophilia, the ‘love for music’, is unique to the human species and is to be found in all cultures. In his bestseller, Sacks portrays people who lose or even gain their musicality after a neurological disease. He deals with problems of acoustic perceptions such as earworms, Tinnitus, hallucinations, amusia or phenomena of short unexpected recovery from certain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amnesia through the power of music. Also treated are other phenomena of the brains of musicians like absolute pitch and the synaesthetic correlation between musical and visual perception.

The award-winning German author Norbert Niemann has created a stage-version with three characters – doctor, patient and nurse – for four performers: two musicians, an actor and an actress / singer.

‘…a landscape of music gets illustrated by unexpected perspectives.’ Oliver Sacks about his book Musicophilia.

On stage:

Cornelia Meliánvoice / performance
Peter Pruchniewitzactor / performance
Gertrud Schildeviolin / performance
Mathias Beyercello / performance


Axel Tangerdingartistic direction / idea
Steffen Wickcomposition
Norbert Niemannstage version
Simon Detelsounddesign / electronics
Stefano di Buduovideo projections
Marc Thurowstage design / costumes
Gabi Sabodramaturgy / PR

With the kind support of the Cultural Department, City of Munich, the Funds for the Performing Arts, Berlin, and in collaboration with the University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich.

Premiere: November 15/16/17, 2012, 8 pm, Reaktorhalle Munich, Germany
press contact: Dr. Gabi Sabo,

Die Performance um Oliver Sacks’ Bestseller „Musicophilia“ (dtsch.: Der einarmige Pianist) lädt Zuschauer und Zuhörer auf eine dramatisch-poetische Reise in das Gehirn ein. Unerwartete Perspektiven, Farben, Choreographien und Klänge machen Erkenntnisse der Neurologie künstlerisch erfahrbar.

Musikophilie, die Liebe zur Musik, ist zutiefst menschlich. Phänomene wie Tinnitus, Amusie, aber auch Demenz oder die künstlerische Nutzung etwa von Gehirn-Computertomographien werden in einen narrativen Bogen gespannt, den der Bachmann-Preisträger Norbert Niemann aus Sacks Buch erstellte. Die neue Musik und Soundscapes von Steffen Wick und Simon Detel werden von vier Performern mit Leben erfüllt: ganz wörtlich genommen agieren die Musiker und Darsteller unter der Regie von Axel Tangerding als “singende Klangkörper”.

…a landscape of music gets illustrated by unexpected perspectives.” Oliver Sacks zu seinem Buch Musicophilia


Cornelia Meliánvoice / performance
Peter Pruchniewitzactor / performance
Gertrud Schildeviolin / performance
Mathias Beyercello / performance


Axel Tangerdingkünstlerische Leitung/ Regie
Steffen WickKomposition
Norbert NiemannBühnenfassung
Simon DetelSounddesign / Electronics
Stefano di BuduoVideo
Marc ThurowBühne / Kostüme
Gabi SaboDramaturgie / PR

Produktion & Rechte: Meta Theater

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch die Landeshauptstadt München, gefördert durch den Fonds Darstellende Künste, Berlin, und in Zusammenarbeit mit der Hochschule für Musik und Theater, München.

Uraufführung 15. November 2012
weitere Vorstellungen 16. und 17. November 2012, Beginn 20 Uhr,
Reaktorhalle, Luisenstraße 37a, 80333 München

Presse: Dr. Gabi Sabo

Hier finden Sie das MUSICOPHILIA_Programm.


Zur Presseseite

Hirn und Ton _ Münchner Feuilleton 10_2012

„Brain and Sound“ – Münchner Feuilleton:

Theatreman Axel Tangerding has adapted the bestseller Musicophilia – a scenic journey towards the secrets of music . . . Together with author Norbert Niemann, Tangerding has created a piece of music theatre . . . its result, a four hander for two musicians, a singer and an actor, can at best be judged an approach, an attempt to bring to life the inner world of Sacks‘ characters, to give an insight into their way of perceiving music … In his compositions, Steffen Wick has used classic structures which fall apart slowly and are exposed to modifications and decompositions similar to the ones of patients‘ brains… „When the self dissolves through illness or old age, we are left with the access to music “ – Eva Mackensen

SZ, 15.11.2012 – Salzige Terz

So harmonieren Gehirn und Musik, tz, 15.11.2012

„Salty third“ – SZ:

„Musicophilia“ lends artistic expression to the experiences of neurologically ill people„ It sounds like magic. A student can sing word for word what she had just heard in the lecture. A woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease only repeats „Oh weh“, but interrupts her intonation when the nurse starts singing. Another patient perceives each sound he hears as a taste – the minor third tastes salty, the fourth smells of cut grass. In another case blowing the nose sounds like D major, the clock chimes in B minor and the tinnitus is heard as the high C. . . . The four performers, two musicians, a singer and an actor translate the described phenomena into snapshots, into poetic scans. . . . . . The actors enter the case studies like a vehicle with an unknown destination. They create sounds and images which let you feel what it means when the senses seem to get out of control, when you perceive C major as blue. . . . Oliver Sacks himself has also contributed some passages to the play“ – rb

Brausen im Hirn, SZ, 22.11.2012

„A Boom inside the Brain“ – SZ:

„In a disturbing scene, a woman convulses and collapses. A woman suffering from Tourette’s syndrome, opera singer Cornelia Melián wraps herself up in a length of material spread out on the floor, inch for inch a spellbound and wounded being, trapped in an inner chaos, troubled by the desire for stimulation and inner peace like that which only music can give. . . . The young composer Steffen Wick has created a musical idiom for the inner experience: … in a pulsating Basso continuo, in a continuous hurricane inside the head, in fragments of musical memories (“Hey Jude“). Wicks compositions express convincingly the purported arbitrariness with which the brain creates and stores data and sounds. With violinist Gertrud Schilde and the cellist Mathias Beyer, both members of the Henschel-Quartet, two musicians take the stage who not only master this language but who also use their physicality to give shape to the musical score. Cornelia Meliàn‘s versatile voice links techniques … into impressive sounds. . . . The nine tubes of the set … form docking stations for the scenography, serve as homes for the actors, dressed in white, and as projection screens for the video art of Stefano Di Buduo. Moving graphic pattern and swirls reminiscent of brain scans are the optical equivalent to the soundscape. The images created are long-lasting. So was the applause. – Rita Baedeker