Dresdner Sinfoniker forced to move protest concert to Mexico | Music | DW | 22.05.2017
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Music

Dresdner Sinfoniker forced to move protest concert to Mexico

The concert on June 3 was meant to protest President Trump's plan for a wall along the Mexican border, but US authorities have disrupted the Dresdner Sinfoniker's plans. Now the German orchestra is forced to relocate.

The Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra had been hoping to raise awareness about US President Donald Trump's planned wall along the US-Mexican border by performing on both sides simultaneously as part of a special event.

Local authorities, however, put the kibosh on the crowdfunded idea, which is also supported by Amnesty International Mexico. They cited security concerns as well as bird conservation concerns as reasons to block the politically themed concert from taking place in the Friendship Park, which straddles the border between San Diego and Tijuana.

The group's music director, Markus Rindt, said that in light of these developments the concert would now take place on the Mexican side of the park only, Rindt told the German dpa news agency.

Friendship Park (Maria Teresa Fernandez)

The name "Friendship Park" might be misleading: The green space on the US side of the border resembles more of a fortress

In a previous interview with DW in April 2017, Rindt said that if US authorities decided not to "give permission for musicians to perform in our concert in Friendship Park, we'd really have to pose difficult questions about the state of artistic freedom in America."

Freedom to create

Rindt stressed, however, that the US decision only applied to the concert in Friendship Park. He encouraged artists and musicians of all abilities and disciplines to organize their own protest and flashmob events.

"Everyone is invited to take part and to share videos of their own protests with the hashtag #teardownthiswall," he said.

"We want peaceful protest, original artistic actions, volleyball games over the wall - at least at those locations where it's not too high -, music, dance and performance of every kind. We want to make a statement that walls are not the solution to this world's problems," Rindt said.

A universal message

The concert, set for June 3, was originally planned as a protest performance against Trump's protectionist course, which includes designs to erect a wall along the US-Mexican border, though Dresdner Sinfoniker director Rindt said that the event was also intended to send a signal against division, extremism and nationalism worldwide.

Rindt told DW that the planned concert had not only intended to highlight the issue of Trump's designs for a border wall, but was envisioned to "draw attention to the miseries of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea and along the many borders of this world, also in Europe."

Markus Rindt (Graziela Diez)

Musical director Markus Rindt says the concert will go ahead - on just one side of the border

The Dresdner Sinfoniker ensemble is renowned for combining contemporary music with socio-political issues.

In 2016 they premiered a controversial German-Turkish-Armenian concert project in commemoration of the Armenian genocide, which upset Turkish authorities.

As residents of the eastern German city of Dresden, which formerly was part of the Communist German Democratic Republic (GDR), most of the orchestra's musicians grew up experiencing life behind a wall themselves. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 reunified Germany after decades of division, marking the end of the Cold War-era.

The Dresdner Sinfoniker's concert will take place on the Mexican side of the border at Parque del Mar in Tijuana, Baja California, between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm on June 3, 2017.

Tijuana street sign (DW/V. Muscella)

Just yards away from San Diego, audiences in the US will at best only hear echoes of the event

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