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.
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.
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.