La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by

Ivan Fedele

Director of the Music Department


The programme of the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia will continue to draw its inspiration from the comprehensive project that, from 2012 to 2017, set as its main goal a more up-to-date interpretation of the concept of “contemporary”. This concept seeks to extend the field of investigation and advancement to the most diverse styles of music composition as well as to other genres and creative aims in which research and experimentation are significant aspects of artistic expression.

The theme of the next Festival will focus on the music of the Americas (North, Central and South) and of the Old Continent in reference both to the specificity of genres – as demonstrated by the special attention dedicated to one of the leading figures in music improvisation, Keith Jarrett, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement – and to their mutual influences and cross-fertilization. This Golden Lion, unique in the history of the Biennale Musica, has definitively widened the horizon of the great masters full circle, one might say, as demonstrated by the acknowledgments awarded in the past to Pierre Boulez, Georges Aperghis, Salvatore Sciarrino, Sofia Gubaidulina, Steve Reich, and Tan Dun, figures of absolute significance for the music of our time.

In addition to the customary presence of the great masters, the Festival will also feature works by emerging young talents that will attest to the continuity between generations and to the interest of these works in terms of originality. This continuity reveals how fertile the lesson of the great authors of our time continues to be, and how our young talents yearn to follow in their footsteps, demonstrating a vitality which renews our faith in the future. Sebastian Rivas – winner of the Silver Lion – is one of the most innovative expressions of this vitality as we will hear in his opera, Aliados. The very same orientation guides the Biennale College – Musica project, which in this year's edition will again circumscribe its field of action to musical theatre, about which it appears that the new generations have much to say. So far, the College Musica has produced 11 one-act operas (another 4 will be produced during this edition), and some of the young composers who proved to be particularly outstanding have been invited to subsequent editions to present new independent projects. This continuity is a particular source of pride for the Music Department, because it confirms the effectiveness of the project, as a concept in and of itself, and the work we have done so far.

From the point of view of our audiences, the efforts will focus, as they always have during my tenure, on involving people who do not usually attend the kind of performances that derive from an idea of contemporary music that is no longer up to date. By opening up to other genres, we have attracted audiences with different backgrounds and interests, and this has reassured us, on the one hand, as to the efforts we are making, and on the other, that audiences with different concerns can meet and mutually discover one another when the programming represents the broadest possible horizon of music.

Biennale Musica
Biennale Musica