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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Music EN (new)



Wednesday 28 September at 6:00 p.m.
Concert hall of the Conservatorio B. Marcello
Yan Maresz (1966) Metallics for trumpet and electronics (1995, rev. 2001, 11’)
Yann Robin (1974) Art of Metal 2 for contrabass clarinet and electronics (2007, 11’)
Franck Bedrossian (1971) Transmission for bassoon and electronics (2002, 10’)
Roque Rivas (1975) Conical intersect for bassoon and electronics (2007, 7’)
trumpet Gabriele Cassone
double bass clarinet Alain Billard
bassoon Brice Martin
The IRCAM concerts also include a nucleus of workshops that will take place for a week during the Festival. Focused on composition, the idea of the workshop is to bring young Italian authors in contact with the professionals at the most important centre for research into sound, the IRCAM in Paris, to demonstrate a working method and the latest advances in technology, with the most advanced composition programs (Max, Max4Live, Open Music, etc.). The two concerts provide a glimpse into this area of research, with particularly representative composers, all from IRCAM – Franck Bedrossian, Yan Maresz, Yann Robin and Roque Rivas – and by Italian composers who have studied and specialized at IRCAM - Francesca Verunelli, Andrea Agostini, Daniele Ghisi, Eric Maestri.
One of the most original composers, currently director of the Course in Composition and Computer Music at IRCAM, Yan Maresz, who is French though he was born in Monaco, is above all an intelligent experimenter, known in the early stages of his career for his ability to intersect jazz music and cultured music with equal passion and mastery, becoming the principal arranger for John McLaughlin. The piece by Maresz that will be performed is Metallics, written in 1994 using the Max composition software.
“I have always been fascinated – writes Maresz – by the change in character that is made possible by using a mute on the brass instruments, multiplying the expressive possibilities. After choosing the trumpet, we began a study on the acoustic properties of the principal types of mute used for this instrument: cup, straight, harmon, wah-wah and whisper. After analyzing the specific characteristics of each mute, I tried to recreate the transformations it makes on the trumpet by applying the spectral forms of each mute in real time (filtering the formants). The trumpet is particularly suited for this type of transformation, when using the mutes that do exactly that from an acoustic point of view. I was thus able to simulate these various types of mute on the instrument which, of course, also uses them in the piece, thereby creating a play between the real sound image and the synthetic shadow”.
Art of Metal 2 by Yann Robin is the second tempo of a cycle conceived for a metal contrabass clarinet in collaboration with Alain Billard, a soloist in the Ensemble InterContemporain. The first part, written in 2006, confronts the instrument with an ensemble of 17 musicians, the second part with an electronic device; the last part, written in 2008 as a synthesis of the first two, involves the instrument with an ensemble and electronics.
“The project’s Ariadne’s thread is a metaphorical approach to what metal can inspire: this alloy is often a synonym for strength, power, solidity, energy, brilliance, luminosity. The instrument itself is made entirely out of metal; a metal reed was specifically created for this occasion to replace the reeds traditionally made out of ebonite. In addition to the search for powerful metal sonorities, my other main interest is the sound produced by the voice through the double bass clarinet. The voice becomes a song, or better yet, a cry. These cries, emitted with blocks of harmonics, amplify the distortion and saturation of the sound, the pitches seem to explode and produce a violent energy. This is all increased by the electronics, which plunge the listener into the sound itself thanks to a system of spatialization that makes it possible to modify the acoustic parameters of a room virtually and thereby change its psychoacoustic perception” (Yann Robin).
Like Maresz and Robin, the work of Franck Bédrossian – whose Transmission for bassoon and electronics will be presented at the Biennale – is distinguished by his research into sound, by the control of sound emission, by its distortion and physical impact. Bédrossian works on raw and saturated sounds, on the idea of transition, transformation and shaping of the sound blend. Bédrossian boasts two influences: Lachenmann for his work on sound and Grisey for his notions of process and harmonic directionality. In the presentation notes by IRCAM, Bèdrossian’s composition is associated with the abstract expressionism of Rothko and Pollock, the relationship between the image and decelerated time in Bill Viola’s work, Beckett’s stripping of expressionism. It is also associated with jazz and rock, because of its physical approach and the natural production of the voice in these musical genres.
The bassoon and electronics are also featured in Conical Intersect by Chilean composer Roque Rivas. The title is borrowed from a work by Gordon Matta-Clark, an American artist famous in the Seventies for his so-called “building cut”. In 1975 Matta-Clark dug a spiral hole into two neighbouring houses near the Centre Pompidou, in the district of Les Halles, with the idea of freeing these spaces of their social and practical constraints. He made a movie out of the event, that documents the cut as it is made and frames the construction site of the new Centre Pompidou. The shape of Matta-Clark’s work was conceived as a counterpoint to the massive volume of the Centre Pompidou. “The homonymous musical work is inspired by the meeting, or better yet, the strange juxtaposition in 1975 between the architects that designed the Centre Pompidou (Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers) and the American ‘anarchitect’ Gordon Matta-Clark. In the same way, this piece relies on the contrast, Baroque to say the least, between the high-tech sonorities of a cone-shaped instrument (the bassoon) and the rough textures (re-utilization of sound objects) borrowed from the noise of streets, factories and construction sites” (Roque Rivas).
Yan Maresz (Monaco – Principality of Monaco, 1966) began his career in music by studying piano and percussions in his native city; he then turned to the jazz guitar, which he taught himself to play. Between 1984 and 1986 he studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and progressively developed an interest in composition, which he studied with David Diamond at the Julliard School in New York from 1987 to 1992 thanks to a scholarship he won from the Fondation Princesse Grace de Monaco. In 1994 he attended the Cursus in Composition and Computer Music at IRCAM and participated in the classes by Tristan Murail. This experience led him to write Metallics for solo trumpet and electronic device in real time. He has won various awards and acknowledgments, in particular the Premio Città di Trieste (1991), the Prix Rossini from the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1994) and the Hervé Dugardin prize awarded to him by SACEM (1995). In 2006 he taught electro-acoustic composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris and since then he has been responsible for the artistic organization of the Course in Composition and Computer Music at IRCAM.
Yann Robin (France, 1974) began his musical studies at Aix-en-Provence. In 1994 he was accepted at the jazz class of the CNR in Marseilles where he won first prize. At the same time he was attending composition classes with Georges Bœuf, where he received a unanimously-awarded first prize, accompanied by a special distinction from SACEM. He continued his studies in harmony and counterpoint at the CNR in Paris and studied musicology at the Sorbonne. In 2003, he began to attend the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, in the composition classes by Frédéric Durieux and Michaël Levinas, where he won the prize for analysis. In 2004 he attended the composition class by Jonathan Harvey at the Acanthes centre, and then went to the Fondation Royaumont to work with Brian Ferneyhough, Michaël Lévinas and Jean-Luc Hervé. Between 2006 and 2008 he attended the two-year course in computer music at IRCAM.
His compositions include: Les Couleurs du Temps for the Orchestre National d’Harmonie de Jeunes (commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, 2003); Styx which won him first prize at the Frédéric Mompou International Composition Competition in Barcelona (2004); Quatuor Phigures for the Ensemble InterContemporain; Chaostika for percussions and electronic device 5.1 (while he was in residence at La Muse en Circuit, 2005); Polycosm for five traditional instruments and orchestra (commissioned by SACEM, 2005); his musical theatre work Ni l’un ni l’autre, inspired by Goethe’s short story Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (commissioned by ARCAL for the 2006/2007 season). From 2006 to 2008 he was the guest composer at the Orchestra Nazionale di Lille. In 2005, with other composers, he founded the Ensemble Multilatérale and became its artistic director. His music is published by Editions Jobert.
Franck Bédrossian (Paris – France, 1971). After his studies in composition, orchestration and analysis at the CNR in Paris, he studied composition with Alain Gaussin and was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris (class of Gérard Grisey, then Marco Stroppa), where he won the First prize in analysis and earned his diploma of Higher Education in Composition with a unanimous vote.
In 2002-03, he attended the Course in Composition and Computer Music at IRCAM with Philippe Leroux and Philippe Manoury. In parallel, he completed his training with Helmut Lachenmann (Centre Acanthes 1999, Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie 2004). His works are performed in France and abroad by ensembles such as l'Itinéraire, 2e2m, Ictus, Court-Circuit, Cairn, Ensemble Modern, Alternance, Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestre National de Lyon, at the Agora Festival, Résonances, Manca, RTE Living, Music Festival, l'Itinéraire de nuit, Ars Musica. In 2001 he won a scholarship from the Fondation Meyer, from the Fondation Bleustein-Blanchet and, in 2004, the Hervé Dugardin award from SACEM. L'Institut de France (Fine Arts Academy) awarded him the Pierre Cardin Prize for Musical Composition in 2005. He won a scholarship from the Villa Medici in Rome from 2006 to 2008. Since September 2008 he has been teaching composition at the University of Berkeley in California. His works are published by Editions Billaudot.
Roque Rivas (Santiago del Chile – Chile, 1975) studied electro-acoustic composition and computer music at the Conservatoire Supérieur de la Musique et Danse de Lyon before being admitted to the master course in composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de la Musique et Danse in Paris. In 2005 he won the Francis and Mica Salabert prize at the composition department of the Conservatoire National Supérieur for composition and computer music of IRCAM; the piece he created for his second year, Mutations of matter for five voices, electronics and videos, was presented in 2008 at the Agora Festival.