arts and sciences

Spark: creative processes in the arts and sciences

Spark: creative processes in the arts and sciences is a new concert and discussion series which aims to foster a creative exchange between music and science. Befitting the motto of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (MDC-BIMSB), “Breaking Boundaries”, the series invites world-class musicians, composers and scientists to share their insights and experiences in lighting the creative fire in their respective fields.

Each event in the series presents a concert –– often featuring world-premieres of new works –– and an interactive panel discussion on questions such as: what can scientists and artists learn from each other? How we can tackle current political and societal challenges creatively?


SooJin Anjou, pianist


Pianist SooJin Anjou enjoys an astonishingly varied international career as soloist, chamber musician and partner in diverse interdisciplinary projects. Born in South Korea, she was educated in the United States, Hungary and Germany.  She graduated from the Juilliard School as the only person in its history to win both of Juilliard’s undergraduate commencement prizes, for achievement and leadership in music and the liberal arts. While still a student, she was prominently featured in Asahi-TV’s documentary “New York, New Yorkers”, which was televised in many parts of Asia and released on DVD. 

SooJin Anjou is an avid performer of contemporary music, and composers have been entrusting their work to her since she was 15. She has premiered works by, among others, Valentin Silvestrov, Elena Kats-Chernin and David Del Tredici.  In January 2019, her world-premiere recording of the complete piano works of electronic music legend Morton Subotnick was released to great acclaim, eliciting such praise as “magical and beguiling” (Wire Magazine, London).

As soloist, she made her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at 16 with Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto. She is a laureate of the Robert Schumann International Piano Competition (Zwickau, Germany) and the Orléans International Piano Competition (France). Her broad repertoire includes more than 40 concertos, ranging from Bach to Berio, as well as the complete works of Ravel. 

Martin Smith, born in Sydney, Australia, studied at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole with Natalia Gutman and the Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler“ with Eberhard Feltz. Martin has appeared as soloist throughout Europe, including recent performances with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lyon, the Leipzig Philharmonic, the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Kammersolisten and the RTS Symphony Orchestra Belgrade. 

Martin has collaborated with musicians including Kolja Blacher, Leon Fleisher, Midori Goto, Yo-Yo Ma, Menahem Pressler, Heinrich Schiff and Tabea Zimmerman, and continues to work closely with leading composers including John Adams, Thomas Adès, Mats Larsson Gothe, György Kurtág and Salvatore Sciarrino. 

As guest principal cellist, Martin has performed and toured with the Bavarian State Opera, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia London, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.

Martin has appeared at leading festivals including the Ravinia Festival, the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, the Pablo Casals Prades and the IMS Prussia Cove Festival. Martin has also been honoured with numerous awards including the ECHO Klassik, the Australian Music Foundation and the KPO Young Performer of the Year award. 

Ketan Bhatti, recipient of the 2023 GEMA Music Authors' Prize, is a crossover artist who moves between diverse genres and cultural spheres. His works range from contemporary chamber music, experimental music and dance theatre, opera, stage and film music to electronic, hip-hop-based productions. 

Since 2003, he and his brother Vivan Bhatti have composed the music for the director Nuran David Calis’s productions, and since 2009, for the Berlin dance company Flying Steps. Their most recent work for music theater is the opera Berlin Alexanderplatz, the first setting of Alfred Döblin's novel of the same title and premiered at the Bielefeld Theatre in 2022. 

Ketan received the Karl Hofer Composition Prize in 2008 for his composition of a work for jazz and new electronics, which he performed with Simon Stockhausen. As scholarship recipient at the Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences at the Universität der Künste (UdK) Berlin from 2010-2012, Ketan explored his interest in experimental, hybrid forms of music-theatrical and academic discourse. 

In 2013, Ketan co-founded (with the singer-composer Cymin Samawatie) the Trickster Orchestra for contemporary, trans-traditional soundscapes, which was awarded the German Jazz Prize and the TONALi Award in 2022.


Hannoversche Straße 28
10115 Berlin




                                                              18h  Concert

                                                  SooJin Anjou, piano
                                                  Martin Smith, cello

Nadia Boulanger                  3 pieces for cello and piano (1914)                               

Ketan Bhatti                          Serenely Swarmed (2024)*                         

L. v. Beethoven                     Sonata Nr. 4 for cello and piano (1815)

S. Prokofiev                           Piano Sonata Nr. 4 (1917)      

                                                                  *commissioned work for Spark, world premiere

                                                 19h Discussion - Between Communication and Self-promotion

with Ketan Bhatti, Martin Smith, SooJin Anjou and MDC scientists Marie Burns, 
Samantha Mendonsa & Mike Robson

Moderated by Nikolaus Rajewsky


SooJin Anjou & Nikolaus Rajewsky

All events in this series