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Roland Dahinden wears many hats: composer, trombonist, sound artist, improviser, conductor… During this year’s Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, he will present works by the US composer Anthony Braxton, with whom he has a long-standing collaboration.
Filled with music in different ways from morning to night – that’s how one can imagine Roland Dahinden’s everyday life. Two hours are always reserved for his trombone etudes, to which he has devoted himself daily for 40 years now. A time of full concentration on his instrument, in which nothing else has room. “It’s something I look forward to every day,” says Dahinden. “And after that, I look forward just as much to opening the score I’m currently composing, rehearsing, or whatever else is on the schedule. So everything has its place.”
Dahinden/Kleeb a long-time duo
When at home, there is also usually piano to be heard, as his wife, pianist Hildegard Kleeb, is practising for the next performances. The two have been playing together as a duo since 1987, but also in various trio constellations, for example with percussionist Alexandre Babel or electronic musician Cameron Harris. Both pursue their respective solo careers in different ways, but also play together in completely different projects or constellations.
“We talk about music when we get up in the morning and often still are when going to bed at night,” says Roland Dahinden. “That’s very precious, to share this enthusiasm with someone for so long and live it together.”
Panorama for trombone and piano by Alvin Lucier – 1993 – played by the duo Dahinden/Kleeb
Encounters with Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, John Cage
Kleeb and Dahinden experienced a very formative time together in the USA during the 1990s. From 1992 to 1995, Roland was able to work as an assistant to Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton at Wesleyan University and get to know their special approach to sound, improvisation and jazz. The fact that this stay was possible at all was thanks to the intercession of none other than John Cage, who composed the piece Two5 for the duo Dahinden/ Kleeb in 1991.
Conducting in Prague
His relationship with Anthony Braxton and the precise knowledge of his work, moving between set music and improvisation, led Roland Dahinden to rehearse some of Braxton’s pieces from the Language Type Music series with the Prague Music Performance Orchestra in 2021. The ensemble, which moves between composed contemporary music, improvisation and jazz, was so satisfied with the collaboration that they asked him to be their permanent conductor. The 55 musicians in the ensemble all have their own musical projects and bring their own approaches to the table. Bringing them together to create an overall sound is always a challenge, says Dahinden – but one that he is only too happy to tackle.
Anthony Braxton in Darmstadt
This year, the PMP Orchestra, conducted by Roland Dahinden, is focusing on the world premiere of a monumental work by Anthony Braxton: the opera Trillium X. The four-and-a-half-hour multimedia opera, which Braxton worked on for over five years, consists of four acts and deals with the effects of turbo-capitalism – with global catastrophes, nuclear threats and the coexistence of humans and robots. After the premiere to be held on August 1st in Prague, the ensemble will travel to the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music to record this great work. At the pre-opening concert in Darmstadt, the Orchestra, conducted by Dahinden, will perform a version of Braxton’s Language Music and Roland Dahinden will also perform as a trombonist in Thundermusic a new piece by Anthony Braxton, premiered by an ensemble put together especially for the occasion.
After this eventful summer, Roland Dahinden will continue to work on his own compositions. One thing is certain: everyday life in the Dahinden/Kleeb household will continue to be filled with music, however it sounds. And the next exciting challenge is just around the corner.
5. August 2023: Language Music with Anthony Braxton and the PMP Orchestra. Conductor: Roland Dahinden
7. August 2023: First night of Thunder Music by Anthony Braxton, with Roland Dahinden playing the trombone
Cécile Marti is both composer and sculptor. Being able to pursue these two activities makes her life balanced. On April 3rd 2023, her accordion quartet Spectra will be premiered by the Société de musique contemporaine Lausanne.
“I like to emerge out of absolute silence and I try to maintain this silence for half the day if possible,” says Cécile Marti when we meet at noon for an online conversation. Her mornings are usually dedicated to composing. “Back then, when I came to composing, it grew out of absolute silence and I seek that experience again every day.”
From silence to composition
Cécile Marti had to find her way from silence back to sound after a stroke of fate hit her. Initially, as music-loving young woman, she had a completely different career in mind and wanted to become a violinist.
“I had focused my entire life on the violin, from childhood onwards there were only the violin and the profession of becoming a violinist for me.”
But when she suffered a stroke during her studies that made it impossible for her to play the violin, a long period of letting go followed.
“I had to go through deep worlds and hit rock bottom before I was able to rethink, reinvent and recreate my life from scratch.”
Success with bubble trip
Out of this process, she discovered the composition as a way of continuing to express herself musically, although in a completely different way. She studied with Dieter Ammann, Georg Friedrich Haas and Julian Anderson and soon had her first successes – for example with her orchestral work bubble trip(2004/2007), with which she won the international composition competition at the 9th Weimar Spring Festival for Contemporary Music in 2009.
In Switzerland, bubble trip was premiered in 2010 by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
Quarter tones with the accordion
Cécile Marti has just completed the work Spectra for four accordions, which will be premiered by Ensemble Xamp at the beginning of April. The special feature is that two of the ensemble’s accordions are built in a way that they can produce quarter tones. Cécile Marti has used this opportunity to explore natural tone specters, as she had done in previous works.
Dancing Spectra for sextet from 2018, for instance also relies on natural tone specters as starting point.
Auch in für Sextett aus dem Jahr 2018 nahm Cécile Marti bereits Naturtonspektren zum Ausgangspunkt.
Stones in the afternoon
Cécile Marti devotes her afternoons to stone sculpture, which she discovered when she turned to composition.
Visual design runs in the family, her father worked as graphic designer and was constantly drawing drafts and sketches, while with her ceramist mother, she was often able to follow the process of creating clay pieces. “I grew up in her workshop, so to speak, and was allowed to witness how she shaped pots and bowls and how they were baked to come out of the kiln in all kinds of shapes and colours. That was very exciting.”
Today, she shapes sculptures from hard stone herself – an always challenging process that requires great concentration.
Processes and trajectories in stone and sound
The interaction between the two art forms Cécile Marti devotes herself to on a daily basis also finds its way into her works. In Five stages of a sculpture (2019) for ensemble and two solo violas, for example, five musical movements are presented opposite five different stages in the development of a sculpture. The ensemble symbolises the materiality of the stone, to which the viola voices gradually lend a new form.
Five Stages of a Sculpture by Cécile Marti, played by Ensemble Multilatérale.
Water Crystals from 2020 takes as its starting point various structures of water crystals that researcher Masuro Emoto photographed in different corners of the world in the 1990s. Violin and piano musically explore the hexagonal crystal structures in twelve aphoristic miniatures. Twelve white marble sculptures take a spatial-visual look at the same theme.
Cécile Marti, Water Cristals for violin and piano, 2020, Video 2021 ©Martin Messmer
Cécile Marti has found something fulfilling in her two fields of activity. “It’s just something wonderful and I want to be able to pass on and share this exciting experience” she says. Because shaping and designing also has something self-empowering about it.
“It’s about the form and shaping of our lives. Giving shape and form to our own lives, also in the sense of thinking life for oneself and shaping it from within, the self-determined shaping of our own lives from the bottom up.”
Konzert: 3. April 2023, 19:00/20:15; Société de musique contemporaine Lausanne, Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (HEMU)| Utopia 1 | Rue de la Grotte 2 | 1003 Lausanne: Das Ensemble Xamp spielt Werke von Cécile Marti und anderen Komponist:innen.
From January 26 to 29, Basel festival “SPIEL! Games as critical practice” explores the critical potential of playing. Composer Michel Roth curated the festival.
Anyone who happens to talk to Michel Roth about playing can’t help discovering that it’s not just one single subject, but a multidimensional thematic field that opens up. For one can play with very different things: words, things, thoughts, sounds, colours or instruments… A game sets rules and creates its own world for its duration, whether it is music, a computer game, role-playing game or a board game. Those who see themselves as players in such a world look for rules to play by and each player has the possibility to influence the game within the space given to him or her, but the rules by which a game is played can also be changed – revealing a sudden philosophical or political dimension. It is true that playing can serve as an escape from the world and lead to a certain escapism. But it can also develop a critical, even world-changing potential.
Mary Flanagan’s “Critical Play”
Michel Roth found this idea formulated particularly succinctly in the writings of American game designer Mary Flanagan, which he came across during his research on games and play. He was particularly impressed by Flanagan’s 2009 book “Critical Play. Radical Game Design”, in which she emphasises the critical potential that can lie in the setting of games from the designer’s point of view. Which images, clichés and ideas should be reproduced, which ones should be changed? In what realm of possibilities should the players stay during the game? How games are designed can also influence real life and how we see it and perhaps even: what we want to change in it.
Mary Flanagan will be a keynote speaker at the festival in Basel. and also present her mapscotch project in Theater Basel’s foyer. The project is based on the chalk drawing and playground game “Hopscotch”. Visitors can define their personal squares and the foyer’s floor becomes an individual hopping playground during the entire festival.
Sound and structure of the pinball machine
Another phenomenon that has long fascinated Michel Roth is slot machines. For ZeitRäume Basel in 2021, he designed a “game hell” in which the soundscape of pinball machines significantly determined the sound.
No wonder that such machines will also make a guest appearance at the festival. The former Theater Basel ticket office will host pinball machines and other games for the audience to try out (and listen to). In a lecture performance in collaboration with double bass player Aleksander Gabrys, Michel Roth will deal with the pinball game once again under the title Pinball Etudes, but this time by transforming a double bass into a pinball machine and preparing the strings with movable balls. Normal instrumental playing is no longer possible, but action and sound now also depend on where the balls roll. What exactly will happen can neither be composed nor rehearsed.
In the piece Räuber-Fragmente after Robert Walser, Michel Roth applied game theory to a composition for the first time, putting Walser’s novel Räuber into a kind of play configuration. A free improviser is on stage and free to intervene in the play whenever he or she feels like doing so, like a kind of spoilsport.
Play and composition
The festival also presents a variety of works by composers who have explored the game subject from different points of view. For example, Bernhard Lang has been working on a series of works entitled Game since 2016, in which the instrumentalists are given a playing space defined by a fixed set of rules, which they can then use freely. GAME 3-4-3 and Game ONE by Bernhard Lang will be featured in Basel. In Homo Ludens (2019), Mike Svoboda offers the players a choice of five settings, each of which with its own set of rules, while in her percussion piece Poker, Roulette (2020), Sarah Nemtsov explores the contrast between gambling instinct and gambling addiction – two principles that seem very close to each other and yet involve completely different energies.
Mike Svoboda’s Homo Ludens divides the musicians into two teams. Do they also compete against each other while making music? Recording from the first night of the piece, Gare du Nord, March 2019, played by Camerata Variabili and Mike Svoboda und Lucas Niggli as guest musicians.
Contrast, clash, encounter
Michel Roth consciously decided not to limit the thematic width that goes hand in hand with the festival theme, but to let approaches from game design, musicology, performance art, composition and pedagogy collide against or with each other. He is particularly curious to see whether the different target groups will relate to other areas. Will the gamers perhaps become hooked to new music? Will everyone play Mapscotch together in the foyer? Will visitors also meet completely uninvolved people at the Real World Audio Game on Theaterplatz? Will they all participate together in the Jeu sonore, to which Sébastien Roux and Clément Canonne invite the audience?
The festival itself becomes a space of possibility that invites the audience to play and make decisions in many different ways. Whoever gets involved in this mixture of lectures, concerts, installations and interactions can experience something intellectually, sensually and playfully – depending on where the pinball rolls.
Broadcast SRF Kultur:
neoblogpost 2.9.2021: Infinite game worlds, Auhtor: Jaronas Scheurer über about “Spiel Hölle”, project by Michel Roth
Martin Lorenz started out as drummer and percussionist but his curiosity led him first to experiment with LPs and eventually with synthesizers, turning more and more to composion.
With the synthesiser trio Lange/Berweck/Lorenz, he will be playing the KONTAKTE Festival in Berlin as well as the Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich in September.
Tall and slender, Martin Lorenz looks as if he always needs to bend down a little. When describing his search for special sounds, how the sound of gravel on a driveway or the one of an elevator door closing can be produced with synthesizers, his face lightens up.
Such enthusiasm for sound research is also necessary when working as drummer or percussionist in contemporary music.
Searching for the right sound material
Often percussionists don’t only play the usual percussion instruments, but need to find the necessary objects for the right sound – stones, pieces of wood, cups, etc. – a particular piece of music needs. They thereby take on a great deal of responsibility for how a piece sounds in the end, because composers do not always specify what they have in mind or what pitch a certain drum or even a stone should actually have.
The constant search for new sounds also led Martin Lorenz to explore the possibilities of LPs. During his own turntable performances, he cuts into the records with a knife, so that very specific rhythms and loops emerge when playing it back.
Cuts into vinyl
What is recorded on the cut record is of course decisive for how the loops sound in the end, so it was obvious for Lorenz to have records with his own sounds – and as a consequence he got involved with synthesizers and also founded his own label DUMPF Edition in Zurich, releases his own as well as other people’s experimental music. Actually, he still prefers LPs, but as a small label, relying on vinyl only hasn’t really been much fun lately, says Lorenz.
“There waiting times are too long and there are often delivery problems again, it’s not reliable and finally releasing a record can take ages.”
Lorenz doesn’t dwell on problems for long, however and rather looks for ways to dissolve frustrations and make them fruitful – which can be seen in his path towards composing. Time and again, he felt a certain disappointment when the ensemble in which he was employed as a percussionist commissioned works from composers and the results they presented did not meet his expectations.
“At some point I said to myself, if I have such precise ideas about a piece, maybe I should just write them and compose my own pieces.”
Feedback and spatial sound
A series of works by Martin Lorenz for instruments and live electronics called “Oscillations”, focusses on the feedback arising when instruments are recorded live in space and played back, resulting in complex structures of sound layering.
In 2021, the piece Swift Oscillations was written for the newly founded Eastern Swiss ensemble Orbiter, with Martin Lorenz himself on vibraphone.
Swift Oscillations by Martin Lorenz – 2021, performed by Ensemble Orbiter at Kultbau St. Gallen.
In addition to his work as percussionist and composer, Martin Lorenz has become increasingly involved in electronic sound production, live electronics and analogue as well as digital synthesizers. With his 2014 “Reviving Parmegiani” project, he finally entered the complex world of historical performance practice of electronic musical works together with pianists Sebastian Berweck and Colette Broeckaert. Performing electronic music again at a later date with other performers is often not that easy as sometimes the synthesizers used are no longer manufactured, there are no updates available, or the computer programme that was used doesn’t run on new devices.
Historical Performance Practice: Stries by Bernard Parmegiani
As the performers are often unaware of the problems that might arise in the future, they make no or inadequate records of what sounds they have set and what synthesizers or electronic effects they have used. In “Reviving Parmegiani” the 1980 piece Stries by French composer Bernard Parmegiani (1927-2013) was to be made playable again. Parmegiani had written the piece for the Paris synthesiser trio TM+ and the notations of the piece as well as a recording that could serve as reference were of reasonable quality. Nevertheless, the three performers had to embark on a detailed search to find out how the respective sounds had been produced and how they could be reproduced again at present times.
“In some places we still haven’t found what and how TM+ did exactly,” says Martin Lorenz. “Sometimes it’s just some badly wired spot of an analogue effect or synthesiser – that will remain a mystery forever.”
The lengthy and at the same time highly fascinating work on Stries became the starting point for the synthesiser trio Lange/Berweck/Lorenz, with whom Martin Lorenz still plays regularly. The three musicians Silke Lange, Sebastian Berweck and Martin Lorenz regularly commission compositions from contemporary composers in order to expand the repertoire for the unusual combination of three synthesizers.
It is important to them to work with the composers in the long term. “A first joint work like this is often more of a ”getting to know each other” process,” says Martin Lorenz. “Only when meeting again things like what can be expected of us, what we are good at, and what we might be challenged with become plain to see.”
Another thing that is plain to see, is that challenges are something that Martin Lorenz is always on the lookout for.
“Bernard Parmegiani: Stries. Broeckaert/ Berweck/Lorenz”, ModeRecords, 2021
Electronic music is composer Svetlana Maraš’ passion. She is Professor of Creative Music Technology and Co-Director of the Electronic Studio at the FHNW in Basel since September 2021 and her composition class will be in charge of SRF 2 Kultur’s radio concert of June 29, as part of the live broadcast “Classical and Jazz Talents” focus series.
“Working at the university is of course a challenge in terms of time management, if one doesn’t want to give up the own artistic work,” says Svetlana Maraš.
But to her relief, the composer has found that the two activities don’t get in each other’s way, but rather complement one another.
„ In the creative process I always discover something new with the students – in this kind of interactions in this way of working, somehow it kind of works well together its not different it works in the counterpoint.“
The Serbian composer, born in 1985, had a rather classical musical education, with early piano lessons and music as well as composition studies. At the same time, however, there was always an interest in the possibilities of electronic sound processing, which led her to international workshops and courses and finally to a degree in sound and media art at the University of Helsinki’s Media Lab.
The piece Dirty thoughts by Svetlana Maraš was composed in 2016.
From 2016 to 2021, Svetlana Maraš was composer-in-residence and artistic director of the Electronic Studio of Radio Belgrade. One of the technical gems there is the EMS Synthi 100, an analogue synthesizer from 1971 of which only three were built. Maraš explored the possibilities of this instrument intensively and used it in several of her compositions, including her Radio Concert No. 2, which was created for the 2021 edition of the Heroines of Sound Festival in Berlin.
However, the EMS Synthi 100 is so large and heavy that it cannot be moved. The studio space, on the other hand, is so small that there is no room for a larger audience. So the live performance from the small studio space was video streamed to the festival venue.
While some parts of the piece are fixed, Maraš also creates spaces for herself within which she can improvise, taking advantage of the fact that having explored the instrument for so long, she knows it inside out. „It was not so much about what the instrument can do but what I wanted to do with it“.
Tribute to early electronic music
The historical synthesizers’ richness of sound is completed by the new possibilities offered by computer technologies, but Svetlana Maraš also used the old, analogue technique of tape loops in her radio concert – paying tribute to early electronic music, with which she always sees herself in a dialogue. Pioneers of electronic music such as Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram and Éliane Radigue actually come to mind and ear while seeing Svetlana Maraš turning the knobs and pushing the buttons of the EMS Synthi 100.
Before Maraš, only one woman had produced works at the Electronic Studio Belgrade: composer Lyudmila Frajt (1919-1999). As artistic director, Svetlana Maraš dedicated her own concert format to this pioneer in order to pay tribute to her predecessor as well.
Svetlana Maraš points out an important difference between then and now in the fact that analogue studio synthesizers are no longer used as workstations for pre-produced electronic music, but are mainly used live – even if this sometimes has to happen via the diversions of video concerts.
Svetlana Maraš, excerpts from Post-excavation activities, 2020
This year’s Heroines of Sound– Festival in Berlin will feature Maraš’ ‘Scherzo per oscillatori for Minimoog’ world premiere. In this case, however, the composer will not play herself, as the piece is interpreted by pianist Sebastian Berweck. This became a special challenge for the composer, as she first had to develop a special type of notation for the settings of the synthesizer.
in Berlin wird die Uraufführung von Scherzo per oscillatori für Minimoog von Svetlana Maraš zu hören sein. Hier spielt die Komponistin aber nicht selbst das Instrument, sondern das Stück wird von dem Pianisten Sebastian Berweck interpretiert. Das stellte in der Vorbereitung eine besondere Herausforderung für die Komponistin dar, musste sie doch erst eine Art der Notation für die Einstellungen des Synthesizers entwickeln.
Discovering the synthesizer’s sound simplicity
In developing the work, Svetlana Maraš was looking for a certain simplicity: starting from what the synthesiser brings and making it sound without complicating things too much. In the composer’s words: „Depending on what we regard by simple…. It can be small nuances, textures and sounds which are crackling and might sound like a mistake or one single sound which has a very interesting morphing and changes throughout time“
In electronic music, even the creation of something simple can be quite complex, as any determination of sound requires a multitude of decisions in the countless parameters that can be shaped within the instrument.
Electronic music on the radio
Dealing with the infinite possibilities that computer technology provides is also something that Svetlana Maraš teaches her students. When she talks about it, her enthusiasm is plain to see: ” It’s a quite rewarding experience. If I can help find them their voice and their way of working to create what they want, it gives you something back – it gives you a lot..”
This year in particular, the students have a very special opportunity to present their projects to the public at the end of the semester: a radio concert. SRF 2 Kultur’s focus week Classical and Jazz Talentsfrom June 26, to July 3, is dedicated to young musicians. On June 29, students from the FNHW’s Electronic Studio will present pre-produced electronic works created in collaboration with this event in Basel’s Meret Openheimhaus auditorium, live on the radio. Subsequently, the Noise Ensemble of the Electronic Studio Basel will improvise and Welcome to the Radio! a piece by Maraš’ student Dakota Wayne, consisting in a fictional talk show for which he also sampled jingles from Radio SRF 2 Kultur, will be premiered.
Dakota Wayne, Welcome to the Radio!, UA Basel 2022, produced by SRG/SSR
Svetlana Maraš sees this radio concert and performance within the framework of a certain tradition: “It helps the students to understand the importance of radio for electronic music. Even if radio as a medium has somewhat receded into the background lately: when one composes for the radio, it adds something to the music, changing the form, the dramaturgy, the choice of material… I’m glad we can have this experience this year and work on it together.”
Neue Musik im Konzert, 29.6.22: Classical and Jazz Talents – Live from SRF-Auditorium, Redaktion Annina Salis: Livekonzert Contemporary electronic music with students of Svetlana Maraš – Electronic Studio Basel.
“It’s hard to concentrate on work right now,” said pianist Tamriko Kordzaia when I meet her for a Zoom interview in early March. We are both shaken by the Ukraine war, but for Georgian Kordzaia, the events have another meaning. ” I was there demonstrating of course, which did help, but when things go on the same way afterwards, I suddenly feel lonely here…”
Bridges between Georgia and Switzerland
Tamriko Kordzaia has long been kind of a musical ambassador between Switzerland and Georgia. Since 2005, she has directed Close Encounters festival, which aims at performing contemporary music from both countries. The festival takes place every two years in Switzerland and Georgia. Tamriko Kordzaia’s goal is to present the music of contemporary composers from both countries and thereby create encounters. In Georgia, however, it is also about bringing contemporary music to rural regions and away from the capital. “This enables all participants – musicians and listeners alike – to have unique experiences,” Kordzaia emphasises.
This year, works by Peter Conradin Zumthor and Cathy van Eck will be featured alongside new pieces by young Georgian composers. Alexandre Kordzaia (*1994), Tamriko’s son, is also represented at the Close Encounters Festival. He can be considered a mediating bridge between Switzerland and Georgia, but also between classical and electronic music, as he’s not only known for his chamber music works, but also as a club musician under the name KORDZ.
Engagement for a forgotten composer
Tamriko Kordzaia does not only wish to present young composers however. In collaboration with two other Georgian pianists, she has also dedicated herself to the rediscovery of the late Mikheil Shugliashvili (1941-1996). In 2013, the three pianists performed Shugliashvili’s Grand Chromatic Fantasy (Symphony) and released the first recording of this impressive work for three pianos on CD.
Extract of the piece Grand Chromatic Fantasy (Symphony) by Mikheil Shugliashvili at Musikfestival Bern 2020
Building bridges between formations, eras and genres
Tamriko Kordzaia is active in very different musical formations. She plays solo performances, in duo with Dominik Blum from Steamboat Switzerland or with the cellist Karolina Öhman and she’s member of the Mondrian Ensemble since 2008, which covers all possible piano quartet combinations with its programmes.
Currently Mondrian Ensemble features Tamriko Kordzaia with Karolina Öhman, Ivana Pristašová and Petra Ackermann.
Tamriko Kordzaia has been building bridges not only between countries and formations, but also between eras. At the beginning of her career in Georgia, she first made a name for herself with her Mozart and Haydn interpretations, when continuing her studies at Zurich University of Arts, she began to explore contemporary music, with – for example – the works of the Swiss composer Christoph Delz (1950-1993), whose complete piano works she recorded in 2005. Mondrian Ensemble explicitly focusses on presenting both old and new music in its programmes, thereby unveiling unusual connections. The ensemble also implements concepts including space, stage or film play and has no reservations about collaborating with representatives of jazz or club music.
Recording of the Mondrian Ensemble playing Plod on by Martin Jaggi.
Over the long time that Tamriko Kordzaia has been with Mondrian Ensemble, firm and regular relationships and collaborations have developed with composers such as Dieter Ammann, Felix Profos, Antoine Chessex, Martin Jaggi, Jannik Giger, Roland Moser and Thomas Wally.
Tamriko Kordzaia also has a special relationship with the music of Klaus Lang, whose pieces have already found their way into some of the Mondrian Ensemble’s programmes. When the pandemic brought concert life to an abrupt halt, Kordzaia decided to concentrate and deal with Klaus Lang’s piece “sieben sonnengesichter” in detail. The result of this in-depth research can be heard a 2021 CD and recording.
Video of the recording session of sieben sonnengesichter by Klaus Lang. Piano: Tamriko Kordzaia.
Working with the younger generation
Something that distinguished Tamriko Kordzaia since her beginnings in Switzerland is her work with young musicians – an activity that she enjoys very much these days. At the Zurich University of Arts, she gives piano lessons and helps students find their own voice in the interpretation of not only classical but also contemporary works. In this regard, she also gets in touch with young composers, whom she advises on the development of their pieces. “It’s so great to see what ideas these young people have and how they get on. It always gives me a sense of purpose and helps me to keep going, even if sometimes circumstances are difficult.”
Festival Close Encounters:
Dienstag, 26.4.22 Kunstraum Walcheturm – Favourite Pieces
Donnerstag, 28.4.22 Stanser Musiktage – Georgian music with Gori women choire
Freitag, 29.4.22 Feilenhauer Winterthur – Georgian music with Gori women choire
Samstag, 30.4.22 GDS.FM Club Sender Zürich – Tbilisi Madness
Klaus Lang / Tamriko Kordzaia, sieben sonnengesichter: CD domizil records 2021.
Mikheil Shugliashvili/Tamriko Kordzaia, Tamara Chitadze, Nutsa Kasradze, Grand Chromatic Fantasy (Symphony) For Three Pianos: CD, Edition Wandelweiser Records, 2016.
Christoph Delz: Sils „Reliquie“ – 3 Auszüge aus „Istanbul“, CD, guildmusic, 2005.
Tamriko Kordzaia, Festival Close Encounters, Mondrian Ensemble, Karolina Öhman, Petra Ackermann, Alexandre Kordzaia, Cathy van Eck, Peter Conradin Zumthor, Jannik Giger, Dieter Ammann, Martin Jaggi, Roland Moser, Felix Profos, Antoine Chessex, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Musikfestival Bern
The MaerzMusik festival will take place in Berlin from 18 to 27 March 2022. One of its main focusses will be the work of Éliane Radigue on the occasion of the composer’s 90th birthday. Friederike Kenneweg spoke with French-Swiss musician François J. Bonnet, who’ll be sound director for all of Radigue’s electronic works performances during the festival.
When shaping the 2022 programme, curators Berno Odo Polzer and Kamila Metwaly, kept in mind both the visible and invisible relationships that hold us all together, in music and beyond. They used the mushroom mycelium’s root-like structure as a metaphor. What we commonly call mushrooms, are in fact mainly the fruiting bodies, but the fungus also includes the multifaceted interconnections of its roots, some of which extend over large areas underground. The influence that these connections have on their environment is still largely a mystery to science.
Such an unmanageable network of connections is also formed by the festival’s events, which run through districts, flats, cafés, pubs and venues, linking places as diverse as the Philharmonie, the Zeiss-Großplanetarium in Prenzlauer Berg and the Kulturquartier silent green in Wedding.
The image of a subterranean network also fits the music of Éliane Radigue, whose complete electronic works will be presented live at Maerzmusik. At first it seems like an infinite, almost static sound surface, although subtle changes take place in the various musical layers.
Engage in a different perception
Sound director François J. Bonnet recommends that those who attend the concerts fully engage with the perception of these subtle changes, as they allow open up a completely new horizon to the listeners. Bonnet is in charge of 17 events, covering the composer’s works from 1971 to the year 2000. Bonnet, who is an active musician himself under the name Kassel Jaeger, is the current director of INA GRM(Institut national de l’audiovisuel / Groupe de Recherches Musicales). He thus presides over today’s version of the legendary institution that Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer, founding fathers of “musique concrète”, brought into being in the 1940s. Radigue also worked with Schaeffer and Henry for a long time. Today, her name is primarily associated with her work with the ARP 2500 synthesiser, of which she was one of the pioneers in the 1970s.
François J. Bonnet is an expert of Radigue’s also because he published an extensive edition of her electronic works with the composer herself, leading to a close relationship of trust between the two. Furthermore, he gained a precise sense of how the composer’s procedures and what matters to her in each individual composition.
The underrated importance of sound direction
Bonnet actually decides for each venue how the playback position should look and filters out certain frequencies or emphasises them during the performance – entirely according to the room’s acoustics. Even if the works are final recorded mixes, he still enhances parts during the performance or gives them a certain sparkle. This influence can lead to the same piece sounding completely different according to the venue. Once, Éliane Radigue herself told him after a concert that she had perceived her own piece with completely different ears that day.
Acoustic music, orally transmitted
After a long period of working with the synthesiser, from 2000 onwards Éliane Radigue turned to purely acoustic music, which she developed with her respective “musician partners”. Occam Océan was created in 2015 in collaboration with Paris based ensemble ONCEIM (l’Orchestre de Nouvelles Créations, Expérimentations et Improvisation Musicales).
Éliane Radigue, Occam Occéan, Premiere 26.9.2015, Festival CRAK Paris
The extraordinary aspect is that there is no written version of the orchestral work, as the piece is transmitted orally and through listening. In a further joint transmission process, the ensemble ONCEIM passes the composition on to Klangforum Wien and performs Occam Océan in a joint performance in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie.
Furrow, groove, path
As part of this concert, the ensemble ONCEIM will also perform Sillon for 27 improvising musicians by Patricia Bosshard (2018). Sillon means furrow, groove, path. The repetitive piece is about movements from the individual voice to the overall sound and about connecting lines between various instrument groups through musical material, timbre and sound.
Patricia Bosshard’s Foumilierewith Orchestre du Grand Eustache (2018) also focuses on shared practice and listening rather than on written scores
MaerzMusik will be the starting point of tracks like Sillon to also run through people, through the city, through the world – music as a mushroom meshwork that connects us all in one way or another.
Berno Odo Polzer, Kamila Metwaly, Zeiss-Großplanetarium Berlin, silent green Kulturquartier Berlin, Philharmonie Berlin, Occam Océan, Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaefer, INA GRM, Ensemble ONCEIM, Klangforum Wien
Selected / mentioned concerts:
21.3.2022 Zeiss-Grossplanetarium: Éliane Radigue: The Electronic Works 1: Trilogie de la Mort I. Kyema (1988)
22.3.2022 Zeiss-Grossplanetarium: Éliane Radigue: The Electronic Works 4: Adnos (1974)
23.3.2022 Philharmonie Berlin: Occam Océan, Klangforum Wien und Ensemble ONCEIM