In Summer 2007, invited by Kent Nagano to the Munich Opera Festival, singer Theo Bleckmann meets the group Kneebody to create a new song cycle from works by Charles Ives. Twelve compositions for voice and piano/ensemble/orchestra, written by this significant American composer at the start of the 20th century, will be reworked by Theo Bleckmann and members of Kneebody. In his work, Ives characteristically combines the folk voice of America with classical forms and traditions from Europe. Everyday American music, quotes from marches, hymns and dances are brought into play, but he doesn't write music to please: instead, he uses contrasting elements and sonic irritations to create an image of America that sketches the inner character of this New World society after the War of Independence. The extensive re-workings by Theo Bleckmann and Kneebody put Ives' music in a context alongside elements of jazz, electronics and improvisation. »Twelve Songs by Charles Ives« is the setting of an (American) life: not of a specific life, but as a sort of compendium of existence, though without offering any answers.