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56th International Festival of Contemporary Music

+EXTREME-

6th > 13th October 2012

The 56th edition of the Venice Biennale’s International Festival of Contemporary Music, established in 1930, ran from 6 to 13 October 2012. Eight intense days of events, 3 per day, featuring concerts, sound installations, ateliers, audio-visual performances and works of musical theatre that offered the audience 64 works, including 31 world premieres.

The Festival was titled +EXTREME- as a reference to the musical minimalisms and maximalisms of our time. “What is particularly striking in the musical landscape of our day – says director Ivan Fedele – are the extreme orientations: minimalisms and maximalisms that seek out the outlying regions of musical language, apparently antithetical approaches that share the radical nature of their aesthetic-poetic intent, abandoning the political correctness of pieces that work well or sound good”.

The 56th International Festival of Contemporary Music presented some of the significant actors of these “excessive” practices, contextualized and examined in relation to the “classics” of radicalism: from Brian Ferneyhough’s counterpoint tangles, to the total saturation achieved by forty-year olds Franck Bedrossian and Raphaël Cendo, to the dematerialization of sound by Salvatore Sciarrino and the mystic striving of Sofia Gubaidulina, the music built on the minimum unit of a single bit by thirty-year-old Tristan Perich, and the hypnotic fixedness of Kirill Shirikov or the expressive urgency of Nikolai Popov and Alexander Khubeev, intriguingly audacious Russian composers just barely over the age of twenty.

The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was presented to a masterful figure of music today such as Pierre Boulez (6th October 2012 at Teatro alle Tese).