The ‘Klanghaus’ is designed to provide the ideal environment for musicians.

The sounds of Toggenburg

Project for the community

The tones of the present meet the sounds of tradi­tion – the foun­da­tion Klang­welt Toggen­burg is helping people expe­ri­ence the region via a diverse sound­scape. As chair of the foundation’s board of trus­tees and mayor of Lich­ten­steig, Mathias Müller is commit­ted to ensu­ring that the region’s cultu­ral, social and econo­mic sphe­res all work toge­ther effec­tively. Klang­welt Toggen­burg is hoping to have a natio­nal impact with its Klang­haus, or ‘House of Sound’.

What moti­va­ted you to get invol­ved with the foundation?

The project has a very strong regio­nal focus: it’s brim­ming with poten­tial that we can tap into to deve­lop our region further.

How did the project come about?

The sound­scape was the brain­child of Peter Roth. He’s a musi­cian and compo­ser who moved to Toggen­burg and took up a posi­tion conduc­ting a choir here. He picked up on the region’s rich diver­sity imme­dia­tely. It’s a place where tradi­tion is part of ever­y­day life, and this led him to launch all kinds of projects. They included the crea­tion of the Klang­weg sound trail, the Klang­fes­ti­val cele­bra­tion of sound, the sound-making work­shop dubbed the ‘Klang­schmiede’ and the sound cour­ses under the brand ‘Klang­welt Toggen­burg’, all of which are orga­nised within their own indi­vi­dual struc­tures or clubs.

Do you need a well-known figure to launch a project of this nature?

Having a perso­nal connec­tion to Peter Roth was hugely important.

How important is it that the entire team iden­tify with the project on a perso­nal level?

No matter what the orga­ni­sa­tion, it’s helpful when the people invol­ved believe in the idea and iden­tify with it. That said, we were aware that specia­list know­ledge is just as important. We’ve been taking an incre­asingly profes­sio­nal approach to fund­rai­sing, for instance, and in terms of putting toge­ther the board of trus­tees, skills play a key role.

Features of the soundscape:

Klang­haus: a buil­ding as a body of sound that visi­tors can walk through, offe­ring rooms for voca­lists and instru­men­ta­lists.
Klang­fes­ti­val: a festi­val with concerts and work­shops.
Sound course: during cour­ses and trai­ning sessi­ons, atten­dees can immerse them­sel­ves in such topics as tradi­tio­nal or contem­po­rary sounds.
Klang­schmiede: create a singing bowl from a piece of iron.
Klang­weg: disco­ver 27 sound instal­la­ti­ons on your walk.

When did the indi­vi­dual projects turn into a foundation?

Aside from the funding asso­cia­tion, the indi­vi­dual orga­ni­sa­ti­ons for each project were brought toge­ther to form a foun­da­tion in 2015.

What are the advan­ta­ges of a foun­da­tion?

Because we are a foun­da­tion, our organisation’s chari­ta­ble status and purpose are alre­ady defi­ned. For our work, it is important that we can show we’re doing some­thing for society at large. We are moni­to­red by the Super­vi­sory Autho­rity for Foun­da­ti­ons, which is important to our donors and funders. Plus, our foun­da­tion status enables us to meet our objec­ti­ves with a good deal of agility.

Chair­man of the Board of Trus­tees of the Klang­welt Toggen­burg Foun­da­tion, Mathias Müller.

On that subject: your objec­tive was to revi­ta­lise the cultu­ral, social and econo­mic life of Eastern Switz­er­land. How important is it that these elements are linked?

This is the core topic that we want to fully deve­lop as part of our work: the region’s sound culture. It’s ancho­red in tradi­tion and is part of daily life in the region, which is an exci­ting oppor­tu­nity in terms of deve­lo­ping tourism. We can help all kinds of people to access the sound­scape. The present crisis in parti­cu­lar has shown that people are looking for stabi­lity in our incre­asingly fast-paced, uncer­tain world. People are retur­ning to tradi­tion and to nature. Here, we can offer them both in the shape of our alpine culture, with yodel­ling and our connec­tion to the natu­ral world. An inte­gra­ted approach is a key part of this, pairing these tradi­ti­ons with up-to-date topics.

Where are you at with the next project, the Klanghaus?

The local popu­la­tion have appro­ved the project, so we’ve laid the foun­da­ti­ons, as it were. The Klang­haus on Schwen­di­see lake will offer space for musi­ci­ans, compa­nies and anyone inte­res­ted in the topic of sound. In-depth plan­ning is under­way at present, with the canton acting as the prin­ci­pal. We’re also deve­lo­ping a cate­ring concept, a range of accom­mo­da­tion to go with it, and a variety of sound-rela­ted acti­vi­ties on the campus that is being built around the Klang­haus. If all goes to plan, it’ll open in 2024.

The foun­da­tion can’t get a project of this size up and running by itself.

We need broad-based support. We’re working with other foun­da­ti­ons along­side the canton, inclu­ding larger orga­ni­sa­ti­ons. The Klang­haus will show off Klang­welt Toggen­burg on a natio­nal stage.

StiftungSchweiz is committed to enabling a modern philanthropy that unites and excites people and has maximum impact with minimal time and effort.

Follow StiftungSchweiz on