About the festival

In the south-east outskirts of the twin city of Görlitz-Zgorzelec lies a historical place which has been forgotten for a long time and brought back to public consciousness only recently: the former POW camp Stalag VIII A. 120,000 POWs from different nations have been registered at Stalag VIII A from 1939-1945. About 12,000 did not survive their captivity. Most of them have been used as forced labourers in labour battalions and thus became a visible and economically vital part of the city of Görlitz during the war period. In remembrance of all those who had suffered, feared and hoped in this camp, the association Meetingpoint Music Messiaen e.V. invites everyone to a special, annual concert since 2008.

For music does not divide but connect and helps to overcome pain and misery, that is what French composer Olivier Messiaen showed when he composed and premiered his musical masterpiece “Quartet to the End of Time”, while being a prisoner at Stalag VIII A himself. Alongside three fellow prisoners he premiered it on 15 January 1941 in the camp´s theatre barrack. Today the Quartet is one of the best known and most played pieces of the 20th century, worldwide. Each year on January 15th the Meetingpoint Music Messiaen e.V. honours this special event at the historical camp site.

The annual performance of the piece has become an emboldening and inspiring ritual at the start of the new year for the people of the Euroregion. In 2017 the association connected this traditional to a multi-day festival in order to connect people from both sides of the river Neisse and from all over Europe at this unique place of history (of music). International artists meet with historians researching the region´s recent history and visitors are invited to experience contemporary music in a historical ambience of the Polish-German twin city and to join tours and lectures as to approach the tense topic of art and war.