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Supported by European Institutions

To build a European Network

as to promote new composers and artists.

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MUSMA IV Atelier “Man & Music: Stages of Life” pieces for chamber choir

 
 
“A composer finds sounds and uses them. He does not invent them”(Riccardo Piacentini)
 
 
“ We have to find a uniformity in writing for contemporary music, a notation common to everyone” (Viola , singer)
 
 
“You have to understand that there are limitations to what we can do”(choir member)
 
 
“ As soon as a common notation exists for it, a sound is no longer new” (Darija Andovska)
 
 
 
June 8 & June 9 , Poland
 
More than ever before, the MusMA atelier 2013 , hosted by Festival Wratislavia Cantans in the beautiful city of Wroclaw,  has proven its use to its participants. 
In 7 intense sessions,  our young MusMA composers were confronted with the interpretation of their works by the talented singers of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir and their principal conductor Agnieszka Franków-Zelazny.  These interpretations were not always the way they pictured their pieces to be performed, which sometimes lead to emotional discussions.
 
After a warm welcome hosted by Maestro Andrzej Kosendiak (director Wratislavia Cantans) the previous evening, local MusMA coordinator Piotr Turkiewicz opened the atelier  on Friday morning with a brief introduction of the moderator Paul Preusser, guitarist and composer himself. A devoted Paul had enthusiastically prepared for his assignment by getting in touch with the composers weeks before and studying the scores in detail.
 
The next 2 days, he guided the public and artists during 7 workshops in which the new pieces written for voice where all thoroughly dissected in terms of inspiration, structure, musicality, emotions, comprehension of notation,  sound and meaning.  
 
Why is Agata  Zubel’s piece  a  Lullaby  when it contains so many crescendi? What are the emotions behind the special effects Darija Andovska has integrated in  her Aporia Apeiron and is this not rather a piece for 16 voices because of the difficulties the singers have when they have to combine these percussion movements with their singing? How can voices be spared better by entering  more chaos in the performance of Ana Ngjatovic’ Balance Lost ?  How can Franck Bovet’s Yggdrasil  sound more flowing without it losing the intended contrasts (runes <-> spring of water).  Yigit Aydin’s Friends of God, clearly capturing his sense of humour, raised the question about his own relationship to God and how it is translated in his piece.
 
During Ana Gnjatovic’ workshop at about 12 am, MusMA went live on Serbian Radio (RTS), the very loyal associated partner of the Serbian Belgrade Music Festival, who has never missed a MusMA atelier.
 
At the end of day one, the participants were treated to a recapitulative of last year’s MusMA piece for percussion  at the Wroclaw Philharmonic Hall, where former MusMA composer for Wratislavia Cantans Dobromiła Jaskot was the honorary guest for the performance of her Himah, and also Mateusz Ryczek , MusMA composer in2011, joined a fascinated public.
 
The second day,  the choir and Agnieszka worked with Frederik Neyrinck on his rather dark Quasi Palindrom II , inspired by elements at a war cemetery in Flanders Fields (cfr programme notes) after which – the contrast could not be bigger-  a very warm and talkative  Riccardo Piacentini explained his use of foto-suoni and gratefully accepted the choirs input on his hymn to the universe of happiness Così parlò Beatrice.
 
The voice is clearly the most powerful and complex of instruments, which even the impressive range of percussion instruments used  in 2012 , some of which self-made ,  cannot compete with. The emotions that  need to be called upon by the artist and conductor, and which are reflected by the sound they produce, are more real than with any other instruments. This atelier has clearly shown the composer should be aware of this in his/her notation and extensive programme notes with both information about emotions and clear guidelines for notation are a necessity to the performer.
 
After the 7 workshops, a panel discussion was held  looking back on the sessions.  The views of the composer and the performer both received equal attention. The main subject was how to go about writing new music for voice,  what to consider when  writing compositions with new sounds for which no notation exists  in order to make it possible for the artist to perform.   Agata Zubel, a soprano herself, can see things from both sides and was a valuable participant in the discussion. When a  score is not clear, the artist will be less willing to perform the piece so a composer should do his best to deliver an understandable score. On the other hand,  a musician might need to put some work in to learning the guidelines to a difficult score and see it as a challenge. For new sounds it is highly recommended to attach some recordings to the scores . Yigit Aydin sent recordings to the choir 2 weeks before the atelier and this paid off with an immaculate performance at the end of his workshop.
 
Riccardo Piacentini made the remark composers can choose to write “not so very clear” and leave the performance at liberty of the artist. Most of the participants conclude that the challenge is in finding uniformity in writing contemporary music!  
 
Advice to the composer: deliver something that looks good!
 
The afternoon of day 2 was devoted to rehearsals of choir and composers for the evening concert at the beautiful Ossolineum , while festival-directors discussed future activities and expansion of this wonderful project.The MusMA concert “Man and Music” , held on Saturday night by the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir for a full hall with an interested audience, was a success.  The rehearsals clearly paid off beautifully.
 
It was  recorded and broadcasted by the Polish National Radio and can be obtained via the European Broadcasting Union.
 
 
We thank International Festival Wratislavia Cantans for the splendid organisation of the atelier, we congratulate the composers on their pieces and we applaud the talented participants Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir and Agnieszka Franków-Zelazny for their hard work  and devotion.
 

Composers MusMA IV

The MusMA festivals our proud to present their selected composers for MusMA IV.They shall present their new compositions for Chamber choir on Friday 7th of June and Saturday 8th of June at the MusMA atelier in Wroclaw, hosted by Wratislavia Cantans and moderated by Paul Preusser.The Wrocław Philharmonic Choir and their principal conductor Mrs Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny shall be assisting the composers during their workshops.
 
Biographies of the composers shall be published on this site within the coming weeks

MusMA Atelier July 2012 in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Pictures by Petra  Rakić, Muriel Van der Aa & Ivan J Skender
 
 
 
Wednesday June 21st
 
At 18h00, the MusMA atelier 2012 opened festively at the Cankarev Dom in the centre of Ljubljana with an improvised percussion piece, played by 4 very entertaining musicians from the wonderful Slovenian Percussion Project (Stop).
 
A welcome word from Veronika Brvar and Darko Brlek of the Ljubljana Festival was then followed by all Festival representatives presenting their chosen MusMA composer for this year's theme. Unfortunately the composer and 4 other people from the MusMA delegation from Ankara International Music Festival had had a problem with their flight connection, so they had to miss the high-light of the opening ceremony, when Sir Simon Rattle stopped by for a brief meet and greet with the composers and musicians.
 
While Sir Rattle went to prepare for the concert, the participants of the atelier could enjoy a refreshment and snack before attending the opening concert of the Ljubljana Festival with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Sir Rattle , a delightful present from the organisers of the Festival to the visiting guests from MusMA
 
The evening was concluded with the opening reception of the Ljubljana Festival in their beautiful courtyard at Križanke.
 
Thursday 21st:
 
By the next morning 9 am, all participants had arrived at theLjubljana Conservatory for Music & Ballet, venue place for the actual atelier.
 
 Petra Strahovnik kicked-off the master classes assisted by Srečko Mreh , the atelier-moderator and Gregor Pirs from RTV Slovenia. She was musically accompanied by the musicians from STOP, who would be in charge of performing all MusMA pieces this morning. Her piece Between East and West was very well received by the participants, and she spent quite some time explaining the instrument she created herself by combining the talents of her mother (artist) and father (electrician). 
 
This personal approach to her presentation was typical for the master classes of all composers.
 
Giulia Monducci  from Brussels, known to be a true fan of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion (or was this a joke turned to a myth?) was second. ¨Percussionists Franci, Marina, Matevžand Barbara had a little problem with finding the rhythm intended by Giulia at a specific moment in the piece, which shows how valuable master classes like these can be.  
 
Next in line, Novel Samano (with his interpreter Cecilia Fink, niece of the famous Bernarda) explained about the pressure of being a descendent from a generation of musicians, talked about the importance of percussion instruments for Flamenco & explained Fandango and the link with John Cage, who’s 100 th birthday is being celebrated this year in every member-Festival (His piece is called Cage’s Fandango). Special guest to attend his presentation was the Spanish Ambassador in Ljubljana. She unfortunately could not join the group for a well deserved and tasty lunch, prepared by the students of the cooking school next to the conservatory.
 
After an interesting seminar on the complex terminology of numerous percussion instruments and the sometimes difficult interpretationof the scores (we thank Franci Krevh for his work preparing this seminar and moderating it), Onur Turkmen counted on an alert public; He treated his listeners to a very academic presentation of his work & vision. His MusMA piece was then performed by the wonderful Talking Drums Trio. The very young Emil, Se Mi and Jessica surprised everybody with their intense performance and professional approach towards music.
 
 Alexey Sysoev, the MusMA composer for Culturescapes, guilty of writing the most complex percussion piece for MusMA, began his presentation with a video sample of a well received contemporary stage performance in Moscow. He told the public how life experience brought him to enter the conservatory at a later stage in his life and how his love for fishing gave him the idea to use parts of the gear as instruments. Alexey’s piece Zaum was shown to be quite an intense piece to perform, and Stop had to replace one of the musicians before performing the first part of Zaum as conclusion of the day.
 
The Ljubljana Festival treated interested participants to a real time-out that evening by offering those tickets to Battaglia, a farce in 2 parts, at the cute Mini Teater.
 
Friday 22nd
 
The day started with a brief intervention from last year’s MusMA- composer, Joǎo Godinho (Estoril), an enthusiastic participant also this year, encouraging participants to question the composers as much as they could and to take advantage more of this wonderful opportunity by raising debate. During the first master class, Ivan Brkljaćic showed us some impressive video material from his earlier works before the percussionist he brought from Belgrade Srđan, Marija, Mladen & Stefan, gave a spotless performance of his MusMA piece.
 
 Talking Drums Trio followed immediately after a short break with an intense performance of Himah, Dobromiła Jaskot’s piece. Listening to it before the actual presentation resulted in a long discussion about her MusMA piece before Dobromiła could actually show us some more of her work (for instance a video-game for which she composed the music.)
 
The workshops ended with a very entertaining Ivan J.Skender, explaining us how “White Line Fever”, the title of his MusMA piece has nothing to do with narcotics but rather with the zone you’re in when driving long distances.
 
The afternoon brought us an interesting  round table debate on contemporary music , how to bring it to the public , how it should  be wall-breaking for artistic programmers before they would give it a chance, how , from the point of view of composers , it needs to be honest and from within in the first place.... Conclusion of the debate: The composer comes first!
 
The Master-classes having officially terminated, discussions among participants continued for the rest of the evening during dinner and a short boat-trip before everybody was invited to the official showcase of all MusMA pieces by the Slovenian Percussion Projekt, Talking Drums Trio and the Belgrade Percussionist.  RTV Slovenia was in charge of recordings, which can be requested via MusMA partner European Broadcasting Union. We hope to be able to soon post video-fragments of the master classes, filmed by the atelier sponsor KOBE.

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