The programme of the 61st International Festival of Contemporary Music summarizes and draws its inspiration from all the ideas and planning that from 2012 to 2016, have led to an ever-expanding interpretation of the concept of “contemporary” that seeks to extend the field of investigation and advancement to a wider spectrum of issues and genres of the musical creativity in our time.
As always, the events dedicated to new pieces, research, experimentation and support for new creation will be key, as will the encounters with the great masters and the young artists who are coming into the international spotlight, with promising urgency, for the first time.
In this area, the Biennale College will repeat its successful experience as a “factory of invention”, in which selected young talents work side by side, in an experience of ideation and production stretched across an entire year, with tutors of international standing.
The purpose is once again to focus attention on the open theme of musical theatre, about which the new generations seem to have a great deal to say.
Three teams have been selected this year, one German and two Italian teams, who will present the one-act works Orpheus moments, La stessa barca and Apnea on the closing weekend of the Festival.
The theme of the Orient will be the leitmotif, the thread that ties together many of the concerts in the programme. A thread that unfurls along the deep furrows of the practices of a still-vibrant tradition that suffuses the creative paths of many of the most representative authors of that ample region of the Asian continent that embraces China, Korea and Japan. Authors whose relationship with the West has been one of frequentation or even of union.
This is true of Tan Dun, a charismatic multitalented figure in the music of our time, who has been awarded this year's Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The concert by the Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai will present the Italian premiere performances of three compositions by the master: Concerto for Orchestra (from Marco Polo), The Tears of Nature and Secrets of Wind and Birds, conducted by Tan Dun himself.
The Silver Lion for upcoming new talents will be awarded to the young Japanese composer Dai Fujikura, as we listen to the world premiere of his Horn Concerto n.2 on the evening that will feature the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto conducted by Yoichi Sugiyama in a programme that also includes the Italian premiere performances of the Concerto for koto by Malika Kishino and the Concerto for violin by Guo Wenjing, Shèxì.
The Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto will also open the Festival with Inori by Stockhausen, a rarely performed score for the stage and a milestone in the production of the maestro, in which a mime performs a ritual inspired by Japanese spirituality following a meticulously detailed score of gestures. A profound and sincere way of bringing together the contemporary western world and the Oriental tradition.
One of the central concepts of the Zen philosophy (“let go, abandon your prejudices”) inspired the name and mission of the French ensemble Hanatsu Miroir, which works to combine music and images on the basis of extremely free and creative principles. They will perform two concerts: in the first, we will listen to the Italian premiere of Vallée des merveilles by Maurilio Cacciatore, in the second a world premiere by Japanese composer Kenji Sakai.
The monographic concerts dedicated to Korean composer Unsuk Chin (Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble) and to Toshio Osokawa (Takefu Ensemble of Tokyo), along with the recital by percussionist Thierry Miroglio, complete the rich line-up of world and Italian premiere performances.
Another extremely relevant theme is that of the “augmented” instrument and “extended” techniques. This year cellists Michele Marco Rossi, Sévérine Ballon and Arne de Force present different aspects of these techniques in programmes that include many world and Italian premieres, and introduce us into a world that transfigures the familiar sound of an instrument as symbolic of our western tradition as the cello into a universe of new acoustic dimensions and creative approaches, that is breathtakingly new and original. It will all take place in one single day, during which the focus on this theme audience will be presented to the audience, so that it may find its bearings within a multifaceted dimension that offers opportunities for comparison that can help understand and explore the new frontiers in the performing practices of our time.
One of the goals of the Biennale's Music Department is to invite back the young artists from the College who distinguished themselves for their artistic results, as in the case of Alexander Chernyshkov to whom we commissioned a new musical theatre piece in collaboration with Tempo Reale, following the success of his Trascrizione di un errore in 2016. The new work takes place in a "vintage" technological environment that the young Russian composer found extremely stimulating to liberate his original and vital creative vein.
A new feature of last year's Biennale Musica was its introduction of different genres such as jazz, live-sets and ethnic-traditional music.
In the coming edition, the decision was made to further expand the horizons of the 23 Open section with the purpose of highlighting the innovations in language and new soundscapes that even the most market-oriented music can express in its most original and convincing exponents.
This is the case with JoyCut, an Italian band that has toured around the world with its electronic rock, which is both incisive and vibrant at the same time, to vast young audiences, and the duo Musica Nuda with vocalist Petra Magoni and double-bassist Ferruccio Spinetti, who will make their debut on our stage with a new project titled Case, Amori, Universi in which they will also recite the verses of the poet, ethnologist and Orientalist (there is our thread...) Fosco Maraini, all within an extremely refined light-electronic environment.
The live-set this year will feature the cult duo Demdike State (Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker), eclectic artists who cannot be confined within a single genre: oriented towards dystopic techno, dark-ambient or jungle, they also achieve stunning results in their remixes of contemporary music. An event not to be missed.
Finally, jazz is back with the New 4et of jazz legend Enrico Rava, an artist who has always tread down a path of changing languages, blazing the trail for entire generations of young musicians. His concert is inspired by a project he developed last fall in Japan.
With our approach to the 61st International Festival of Contemporary Music, based on a programme that spans the entire horizon of music, we hope to repeat the wonderful experience of last year's edition, in which audiences of every type and inspiration could meet and discover each other as they filled up our venues.
Enjoy the music!