The experiences of the past two years, characterised as they’ve been by lockdowns, restrictions, and cancellations, have made us painfully aware of what a special and unique experience it is to sit in the audience or perform onstage to a packed house. Concerts, theatrical performances, and opera productions evoke exhilaration right when they occur and give rise to experiences that cannot be repeated, cannot be reproduced in exactly the same way, and—above all—cannot be held on to. It is precisely such intensely experienced occurrences that often end up shaping and motivating us in lasting ways. In the Special section of this year’s first issue of our mdw Magazine, we’d like to focus on these ephemeral yet constantly present moments. We turn a spotlight on the significance of ephemerality as well as attempts to capture the ephemeral and preserve it for generations to come, such as through the important work done by archives—which, furthermore, provide ways of engaging with our own pasts.

© Jana Madzigon

You can also read about our insight-rich observance of Human Rights Day 2021 at the mdw, which centred on the democracy movement in Belarus and featured the philosopher, activist, and author Olga Shparaga. Further articles reveal what the mdw’s Rhythmics course offerings hold in store for adults and children, the phenomenon of typecasting in the film industry, and how a participative musical culture might be realised in the future. And finally, this year’s graduating class at the Max Reinhardt Seminar takes us on an exciting whirlwind tour through Germany.

I wish you a very enjoyable read and some hopefully lasting impressions from our stories!

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