September 9, 10
Sál Galerie HAMU
Meeting of Worlds:
Traditional Instruments and Their Role in Contemporary Composition
SEPTEMBER 9 (Sál Galerie HAMU and online)
All times are listed in Central European Time
8:30–9:00 REGISTRATION & COFFEE MEET AND GREET
9:00–10:40 BLOCK I
Devon Osamu Tipp, University of Pittsburgh, US (in person)
Cultural Feedback Loops and New Approaches to Composing for Koto
Robert Campion, University of Cambridge, UK (online)
Composing for Javanese Gendèr Barung: Helping Others Understanding Its Potential
Dr. Michal Rataj, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, CZ (in person)
Emerging of Temporis – Solo Cimbalom as an Instrumes of Timbre, Rhytm and Gesture
Inside a Large Orchestra
11:00 – 12:00 MAIN SYMPOSIUM SPEAKER
Tomáš Reindl, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, CZ (in person)
Indian Tabla in Contemporary Music
12:00–13:30 LUNCH + COFFEE BREAK + NETWORKING
13:30–16:30 BLOCK II
Pavel Nesit, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Prague, CZ (in person)
Biwa as the Composer’s Inspiration
Jan Rösner, The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, CZ (in person)
Purpose-Oriented Notation for Specific Instrument (with focus on the shakuhachi)
Francesca Le Lohé, UK (online)
Japanese & Western Art Forms in “THE鍵KEY”: an Immersive Opera
Dr. Colleen Schmuckal, Tokyo University of the Arts, US / Japan (online)
Advantages of a Traditional Center for Compelling Modernity: Examining the Roles of Japanese Traditional Instruments in Contemporary Music Through the Analysis of Katsusuke Nakajima’s “Mizu No En” Online
20:00 Opening Concert of the International Shakuhachi Festival Prague 21
SEPTEMBER 10 – ONLINE only
10:00 – 11:40 BLOCK III
Mgr., Ph.D. Daniel Skála, The University of Ostrava, CZ (online)
Cimbalom Within the Contemporary Concert Scene
Prof., Ph.D. Luigi Antonio Irlandini, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Composing with Non-western Instrument in the 21st Century (online)
Garrett Groesbeck, Wesleyan University, US (online)
De-voicing the Koto in Twentieth Century Music
13:30 – 15:10 BLOCK IV
Dr. Geoffroy Colson, Université de Lille, France (online)
Te Vārua o te Auahi : Channeling Tahitian Traditional Arts into the Operatic Genre
Dr. Matthew Noone, University of Limerick, Ireland (online)
The North Indian Sarode: in-between and beyond traditions
Dr. Margaret Collins Stoop, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (online)
Contemporary composition for xiao
15:30 – 16:30 KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DAI FUJIKURA (online)
The Symposium will be conducted in English and broadcasted online.
9:30–10:40 BLOCK I
DEVON OSAMU TIPP (in person)
The Cultural Feedback Loops and New Approaches to Composing for Koto
Pittsburgh based composer and shakuhachi player Devon Osamu Tipp creates unorthodox musical environments from ostensibly incompatible realms. Focusing on rhythmic and timbral transmutation of cyclical materials, his music and performances draws influence from his Japanese and Eastern European roots, his experiences as a jeweler and painter, improvisations with plants, and his studies of gagaku and hogaku in Japan and the US. His compositions have been performed in the US, Europe, Australia, China and Japan. Tipp’s research focuses on the intersection between Western contemporary musical trends and traditional Japanese musical mediums. He is an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh conducting research on Mamoru Fujieda’s ongoing magnum opus, Patterns of Plant, and is studying the nexus of the Japanese koto and Just Intonation.
Mamoru Fujieda (b. 1955) is a composer who has carved out an intercultural musical world that is critical to his artistic language. Fujieda’s work is informed by 1) the electrical activity emitted from plants and its translation into sound 2) American experimental minimalism and microtonality (Partch/Harrison) 3) contemporary Gamelan music and 4) traditional Japanese musical mediums. By attaching electrodes to plants, Fujieda channels their electrical signals into wave forms using Max MSP, which then become melodic patterns in his music. This paper analyzes the Third Collection from his magnum opus, Patterns of Plants for three kotos to investigate the unique overlapping techniques in this exceptional work. By utilizing the wide tuning possibilities available on the koto, the Third Collection uses Pythagorean tuning as a springboard into a more complex harmonic language. Fujieda constructs a microtonal pitch gamut derived from third limit and seven limit intervals that vastly expands the harmonic capabilities of the koto. The resulting scale is an uneven thirteen note Just Intonation scale that is divided into two different musical modes that have no precedent in the jiuta-sōkyoku chamber music, and remains largely unexplored in most contemporary koto music. Fujieda’s plant melodies are combined and offset, creating a rhythmic language that has a striking resemblance to compositions techniques used in the jiuta-sōkyoku repertoire. Each movement in the Third Collection presents a single melodic line that functions like the singer in a sankyoku ensemble, with a rhythmically offset melody that creates a constant source of harmonic/rhythmic tension and release. Using these microtonal modes, Fujieda heightens the melodic and harmonic tension of the music and presents a truly unique lens into the artistic possibilities of traditional Japanese string instruments, thus offering composers and performers a powerful means of expanding the capabilities of regional instruments in an increasingly globalized musical world.
ROBERT CAMPION (online) The Composing for Javanese Genèr Barung: helping others understanding its potential
Rob Campion is a composer and performer of new music for gamelan. He has been a member of Southbank Gamelan Players (sbgp.org.uk), ensemble-in-residence at Southbank Centre, London, since 1988, and has performed widely throughout Europe and Asia. He has worked with many composers on new commissions for gamelan, including Salvatore Sciarrino, Richard Causton, Rolf Hind, Philip Corner, the electronica duo Plaid, and the most acclaimed Javanese composer of his generation, the late Rahayu Supanggah. Rob is founder of Hammer and Bronze (hammerandbronze.org), a contemporary gamelan ensemble promoting the commissioning, composition and performance of new repertoire for gamelan instruments. He is a supervisor at Cambridge University where he teaches gamelan and is a mentor for student composers writing for gamelan. He is also a facilitator for Good Vibrations, an organisation which uses gamelan to work with people in prison, developing life and work skills through music.
ABSTRACT: The gendèr barung is a 14 keyed bronze metallophone with resonators which is one of the key elaborating instruments in the Javanese gamelan. It plays melodic patterns with two padded mallets. Each hand acts independently, requiring the player to both play and damp keys with each hand. This presentation will contend that of all the Javanese gamelan instruments, the gendèr barung is the most suited to the creation of contemporary solo works. It is hoped that by helping composers understand the technical challenges of the instrument and encouraging them to write for it a solo contemporary repertoire can be established. The gendèr barung lends itself to the medium of solo composition. It is naturally suited to the production of chordal/dyadic passages and contrapuntal writing, whilst its rich sound and long resonance also makes it ideal for solo melodic lines. My own background as both an experienced traditional gendèr barung player and a composer gave me the opportunity to explore the instrument’s potential in these regards. In 2005, I started writing a series of solo studies for gendèr barung. I tended to avoid overt references to the traditional idiom, finding new ways of maintaining musical clarity within a variety of unusual textures which required the effective use of damping. My initial motivation for composing these works was purely personal; to enjoy the experience of creating and performing my own solo gendèr works in public. However, more recently I have been interested in commissioning other composers to write for gendèr. In this regard, I recognised that my solo studies could be a useful resource for composers. By familiarising themselves with my studies they could get a sense of what is technically possible (and impossible) and to gain the confidence to create their own music for this beautiful instrument.
Dr. MICHAL RATAJ (in person) Emerging of Temporis – Solo Cimbalom as an Instrumes of Timbre, Rhytm and Gesture Inside a Large Orchestra
BIO: Michal Rataj is an associate professor of music at the Department of Composition, Academy of Performing Arts and at the NYU in Prague. He studied musicology (Charles University, Prague) and composition (Academy of Performing Arts, Prague). He studied in Egham (UK) and Berlin (D) and as a Fulbright Scholar he conducted research in The Center For New Music And Audio Technologies at University of California, Berkeley, CA in the academic year 2007 – 2008. He has worked as a radio producer at the Czech Radio since 2000. He has produced over 150 original radio-artworks with artists from around the world and formed the rAdioCUSTICA radio art archive there. He was a member of the EBU Ars Acustica Group. His music has been broadcasted worldwide and performed throughout Europe and in the USA. As a film music producer he has composed over 40 soundtracks for TV and cinema since 2000.
ABSTRACT: I was motivated to write for a solo cimbalom in 2014. Since the very beginning it was quite clear to me that there would be a different way, but the folkloristic tradition to be followed. In this contribution I would like to reconstruct the most significant aspects of how the concerto emerged, how it was formed and what is the role of the solo cimbalom instrument and performer. Particularly aspects of timbre and form building will be addressed.
The first unorganized session with the future soloist Jan Mikušek happened in 2014, when performing together in a liturgical music performance on Palm Sunday in Prague. I suggested cimbalom, viola da gamba, male vocalist and myself on a computer to perform a semi-improvised sound composition using a world instrument, a period instrument, Gregorian chant and real-time electronics.
In 2014 I worked on a large-scale radio composition with texts by Czech writer Pavel Kolmačka. For this work I was looking for some new way of organizing harmonic material in my music. At that time a new technique of harmonic organization was developed: there are twelve consecutive and always different harmonic centers (12-tone row) – spectral fundamentals, upon which harmonic relationships are organized based on spectral principles. This method was introduced in Temporis for the first time.
An ongoing discussion with the soloist highlighted an aspect of temporality which later would be imprinted into the work as main focus. It also reminded me about the street cimbalom player Michael Masley (Berkeley, CA), where I discovered the instrument being performed with weird finger-bows. With the soloist we developed one and its sound opens the piece the way ordinary bow would never be able to make.
The traditional narrow relationship of performing cimbalom, singing and improvising were other aspects, which were later imprinted into the character of the piece too. It challenged the one-dimensional folkloristic tradition on one hand and the classic-romantic “totality” of the score on the other.
Temporis tributes the cosmological time, its compression and expansion and its reflection in our own minds. It explores how a traditional approach to an instrument can be incorporated within a contemporary harmonic approach, timbral design and form / performance building.
11:00 – 12:00 MAIN SYMPOSIUM SPEAKER
Ing. MgA. TOMÁŠ REINDL, Ph.D. (in person) Indian Tabla in Contemporary Music
BIO: Tomáš Reindl is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and tabla player from the Czech Republic. In his music, he is often crossing the genre borders, he draws inspiration from ancient musical traditions of both the East and the West. At the same time, he takes advantage of contemporary approaches and music technology.
He graduated in Applied Electronics (University of West Bohemia), then studied composition at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts under the guidance of Prof. Hanuš Bartoň. In his dissertation he dealt with the issue of microintervals in Indian classical music, currently he continues his research on microintervals in just intonation systems. He studied the Indian tabla under one of the greatest contemporary masters, Sanju Sahai. Tomáš Reindl creates music without genre restrictions, or often at the border of different genres (world music, electronic, classical, jazz, film music, etc.). He regularly performs with his solo project OMNION and collaborates with a number of artists or ensembles from the Czech Republic and abroad (for example Amit Chatterjee, Lenka Lichtenberg, Berg Orchestra, 420 People, etc.). He teaches Ethnomusicology and other music theoretical subjects at the Faculty of Music of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He regularly conducts workshops and seminar. He is the author of the book Indian Rhythmic System: A Source of Inspiration for Western Composers (Prague: AMU Publishing House, 2017).
ABSTRACT: The presentation deals with the use of Indian tabla drums in contemporary Western music composition. This North Indian instrument began to come to the attention of Western listeners in the 1960s, mainly thanks to various fusions of jazz. Interestingly, however, the Czech composer Miloslav Kabeláč heard and saw the instrument as early as 1935, during a Prague performance by the Indian dance and music ensemble of Uday Shankar. As Kabeláč himself states, this experience was crucial for his entire subsequent work. However, the tabla did not begin to appear in new Western classical music until much later – at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries – and then only very sporadically. The reason for this is the technical difficulty of playing the instrument, for the basic mastery of which even an experienced percussionist needs several years of intensive training under the guidance of a quality teacher. Moreover, there are very few players who, in addition to technical proficiency, have mastered Western notation too. The effective notation of tabla drums then presents another, quite fundamental issue with which the contemporary composer must deal. This presentation shows examples of various ways of using this instrument, mostly in the compositions of the author of this paper himself, the most recent being the use of tabla in his electroacoustic works (e.g. the composition Frozen Tabla). However, it also points out cases where the specifics of the playing technique of the instrument directly influence the compositional approach as such, without using the original instrument (e.g. in the work of the aforementioned Miloslav Kabeláč). A specific phenomenon, however, which has a direct link to the tabla, is the recitation of special rhythmic syllables (bol, konnakol, solkattu), which is also a great inspiration for contemporary composers. The author of the presentation has a long practical experience with Indian music and tabla playing, which he has used in his book The Indian Rhythmic System: A Source of inspiration for Western composers (Praha: Nakladatelství AMU, 2017).
13:30 – 16:30 BLOCK II
PAVEL NESIT (in person) Biwa as the Composer’s Inspiration
BIO: Pavel Nesit studied composition at the Conservatory of Ostrava in the Czech Republic with Milan Báchorek and Michal Janosik. He currently continues his studies at the Prague Academy of Music with Dr. Slavomír Hořínka. Pavel prefers working with limited compositional material – especially tonal. He has composed number artificial compositions for various ensembles for example ‘Serotonin for Piano’ and ‘Partita for Chamber Orchestra’, he also composes for theater and film. In the past few years he has been focusing on Japanese traditional music, which inspired a few of his recent compositions. He currently works on improvings the purity of his compositional expression.
In my paper Biwa as the composer’s inspiration I would like to present a part of my bachelor’s thesis, in which I am focused on Japanese traditional music as a source of inspiration for the composer. My compositional process in the recent years has been accompanied by theoretical research. I have written several compositions for western instruments inspired by Japanese traditional music. Namely Sho for accordion, Biwa for guitar and Behind the Mirror for orchestra. In my paper I would like to present the composition Biwa and its relation to the Japanese traditional music, i.e. the Japanese concept of time, melodic and rhythmic idioms of the biwa and an parallel of the biwa’s sound that I tried to achieve using different types of glissandi, vibrato and guitar registers. The breathing of the performer playes an important role, as it determines the speed of playing individual phrases. Another important compositional element is the absence of the climax and the focus at the present moment. The principles described above help to create a calm atmosphere, which was one of my composing goals.
BcA. JAN RÖSNER (in person) Purpose-Oriented Notation for Specific Instrument (with focus on the shakuhachi)
BIO: Jan Rösner is a Czech composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, studying at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. His music was performed both in the Czech Republic (e.g. Orchestra BERG) and abroad (USA, United Kingdom, Japan, etc.). He participated in an educational trip to Japan for Czech composers, organized by NEIRO Association for Expanding Arts in 2017. Three of his shakuhachi pieces were already premiered at International Shakuhachi Festival in Prague, where he had an opportunity to collaborate with great musicians such as Akihito Obama or Keiko Hisamoto.
The presentation will consist of a short introduction of my pieces for shakuhachi and explaining the development of thinking about the instrument during the compositional process in those pieces based on the previous experience. The presentation will focus mainly on my latest composition in which I developed a new way of notation reflecting how the sound on shakuhachi is produced, enabling to concentrate more on different musical parameters such as timbre and breath-related phrasing. Although it was developed solely for the purpose of this shakuhachi piece and is in consequence rather limited in which information it conveys, it may have in principle transferable properties applicable for different instruments as well. My goal is to present these properties, which may offer a new view on writing for specific instruments, and how it relates to the notation itself. This may be interesting for both composers and performers, as it can raise a debate about upsides and downsides of such an approach.
FRANCESCA LE LOHÉ (online) Japanese & Western Art Forms in “THE鍵KEY”: an Immersive Opera
Francesca Le Lohé is a composer & community musician active in Japan and the UK. Theatrical projects and intercultural exchange are integral to her work; in August 2020, Francesca co-founded the “Sound and Word Network” with writer Charlotte Wührer to facilitate international collaborations between composers/sound artists and writers. She is also the composer/director behind “THE鍵KEY”: an immersive, site-specific opera inspired by Tanizaki’s novella, featuring a mixture of Japanese and Western artforms (awarded the 2019 “Keizo Saji Prize”). Her work has featured in festivals including TAma Music & Arts Festival, Sonorities, Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival and the London Festival of Architecture. Francesca was based in Tokyo from 2015-2021, a move initiated by receiving a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Scholarship. Alongside her compositional activities, Francesca studied traditional instruments, including shakuhachi with Rei Jin, biwa with Kumiko Shuto, and sho with The Japan Gagaku Society, with whom she regularly performed.
Inspired by Junichiro Tanizaki’s novella of the same name, “THE鍵KEY” (2018-2019) is a site-specific, immersive opera performed by an ensemble of singers, Japanese and Western instruments, and a dancer. This presentation shall provide insight into why the composer & director Francesca Le Lohé decided to incorporate particular Japanese instruments into the opera, and how working with these instruments and their performers shaped the creative process. It shall also examine the opera in relation to the symposium themes by reflecting on the intended and unexpected results produced by the synthesis of Japanese and Western artforms, and consider whether the musical worlds of each instrument co-existed, or co-created a new sonic world. In addition, video footage from both the 2019 Tokyo and London performances shall be shared, leading to further discussion on how the socio-cultural context of each country affected the content and staging of the opera. More about THE鍵KEY can be found on the opera’s website: http://www.thekeyopera.com
Dr. COLLEEN SCHMUCKAL (online) Advantages of a Traditional Center for Compelling Modernity: Examining the Roles of Japanese Traditional Instruments in Contemporary Music Through the Analysis of Katsusuke Nakajima’s “Mizu No En”
Colleen Schmuckal received her PhD in musicology from Tokyo National University of the Arts in 2017, focusing on new analytical and compositional techniques for Japanese instruments. She is presently teaching at multiple universities in the Tokyo area, including Rikkyo University and Tokyo University of the Arts. Her publications include, “Transmission Through Beginner Music for Multi-Genre Instruments: An Analysis of Shamisen Beginner Music by Kineya Seihō” (Bulletin, Faculty of Music, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music) and “Media Review of Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon: Music by Marty Regan. Duo Yumeno” (Asian Music 51(2)). As a performer of Japanese instruments, Mrs. Schmuckal studies shamisen, shō, fue, and percussion. As a composer, her shamisen solo entitled “The Ethereal Wind Dance” won second prize at the prestigious 6th Makino Yutaka Composition Competition and her koto trio entitled “Pink Waves of Yokohama Bay” won first prize at ICJC Composers’ Project Concert Competition.
Nagauta shamisen performer, founder of the genre “Sōsaku Kami-Jōruri”, and Japanese composer Tōon Katsusuke Nakajima (1940-2009) was a prolific forward thinker of traditional instruments and music through his incorporation of Western musical aesthetics into Japanese musical genres, expression of nuanced time, and pioneering performance practices and musical expression. His composition, “Mizu No En (The Water’s Grudge)” (1969), is a hauntingly provoking example that questions the role of traditional instruments within modern music by taking the traditional Japanese instruments of shamisen (three string lute), fue (bamboo flutes), and singer outside their traditional roles while also keeping them firmly tied to their artistically developed musical tradition since the Edo period (1603-1867). Examining this piece’s incorporation of both Japanese and Western music theory, performance practices, and ethnomusicological contexts highlight how Japanese traditional music can coexist within the Western musical scene while retaining its identity and original aesthetic. This paper analyzes the musical-cultural context of Japanese instruments from the point of view of “the performer” in comparison to “the composer”. The music analysis process itself will also be brought into question as its influence has historically limited, overshadowed, and diminished the appreciation of Japanese “performer/composers”, as well as the Japanese instruments themselves, due to not conforming to standard Western modern practices. This research includes cross comparison with contemporary works, personal experiences as a composer, teacher, researcher and Japanese instrumental performer living in Tokyo, and first-hand interviews with performers, students, and family members connected with Nakajima. This paper will reveal how the analysis and modern usage of traditional instruments has impacted Nakajima’s pioneering music within the worldwide modern musical scene while evaluating Japanese traditional instrumental roles within contemporary music when enriched by the ideas and traditions from their own history, hopefully expanding the possibilities for future musics.
10:00 – 11:40 BLOCK III
MgA., DANIEL SKÁLA, Ph.D. (online) Cimbalom Within the Contemporary Concert Scene
BIO: Daniel Skála (1981) studied the cimbalom at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, composition at the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava, and choir conducting at Ostrava University, where he also completed his doctoral studies in music theory and pedagogy. As a cimbalom player, he has received numerous awards at competitions both at home and abroad, and has also performed at many stages around the world, including the La Biennale festival in Venice, the opera festival in Bregenz, or New York’s Carnegie Hall. He regularly collaborates with leading artists and orchestras around the world. In recent years, he has developed a keen interest in the compositional methods of directed aleatoricism and highly developed programmes. This led to the creation of such evening-length projects Dreaming, Conversations, and the non-opera Red Nose.
The cimbalom, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, is perceived mainly as a musical instrument used in folk music. Especially since the second half of the twentieth century, however, it is becoming more and more established within artificial music, which is due to the constant improvement of its construction, improving conditions in teaching this instrument and, last but not least, the advancing professionalization of players. The cimbalom is over three thousand years old musical instrument. The predecessors of today’s type of cimbalom were widely used in ancient cultures from Egypt, through Mesopotamia to ancient Greece. Many different types of instruments of this type were known in medieval Europe, of which the Psalterium in particular was widely used. The modern type of concert dulcimer originated in 1872 in Budapest and was built by Václav József Schunda, a toolmaker of Czech origin. Since then, the dulcimer has embarked on the path of a full-fledged concert instrument used both solo, in various chamber ensembles and as part of both chamber and symphony orchestras. In my paper I focus on aspects related to the practical use of the concert cimbalom in contemporary artificial music. As a professional performer and at the same time a composer, I point out the structural and acoustic specifics of this musical instrument and the basic techniques of playing, and I also focus on the issue of composing for a concert cimbalom. The article also includes a list of repertoires of pieces written originally for the modern cimbalom.
Prof., Ph.D. LUIGI ANTONIO IRLANDINI (online) Composing with Non-western Instruments in the 21st Century
BIO: LUIGI ANTONIO IRLANDINI, composer and instrumentalist (piano and shakuhachi), is Music Professor at UDESC, State University of Santa Catarina, in Florianópolis, Brazil. His music has been performed internationally. Significant recent performances are Whale Sanctuary, for soprano saxophone and string orchestra, premiered at the Bienal de Música Brasileira Contemporânea in Rio de Janeiro, in 2019, and Ākāśa, for solo shakuhachi and fixed media (released in a CD of the same title in 2019). Irlandini’s research is concerned with circular and spiral musical temporalities and the presence of non-modern (ancient and non-western) contents in 20th- and 21st- centuries compositional poetics. His writings have been published in international academic journals such as Perspectives of New Music (U.S.A.), Gaudeamus MuziekWeek (Netherlands), Per Musi, Opus and Revista Vórtex (Brazil). Irlandini studied composition with Hans-Joachim Koellreutter in Brazil, Franco Donatoni in Italy, and Stephen L. Mosko and Brian Ferneyhough in California.
ABSTRACT: This presentation discusses the employment of non-western instruments such as didjeridu, suona, hichiriki and shakuhachi in my composition work, but it is mainly concerned with how the employment of non-western instruments reflects a change in paradigm about art music in the world. A new awareness about world musical traditions, which grew gradually along the 20th century among some western and non-western composers, has more recently prompted them to place Western Art Music (WAM) in perspective with other musical traditions, some of which they have decided to assimilate completely. The music composed with such awareness belongs to a new category that may be called World Art Music or, to emphasize the characteristic neoculturation resulting from such expanded cultural limits of what a composer can do, World New Music. Concerning non-western composers, who in the past had to look up to WAM standards and, on top of that, display their expected national originality, this has now changed, inasmuch as they have expanded their own cultural awareness of what art music composition may become. Here, WAM simply looses its metropolitan status as main canon, giving way to other non-local non-western canons. In World New Music, the recognition given to composers for their work is independent from their nationality and of whether their music is WAM or not, for they have allowed themselves to interact with some musical content from another culture they feel identified with. This interaction has specific qualities in each case that may or may not change the composer’s “habits” typically inherited from European practices such as écriture, not performing an instrument, conducting, writing for the orchestra or for someone else to play, using only western instruments and/or electronics, etc. For this reason, the due appreciation of its results requires an openness to, and deep understanding of, its specific neocultural development.
GARRETT GROESBECK (online) De-voicing the Koto in Twentieth Century Music
Garrett Groesbeck is an ethnomusicologist, koto player, and composer currently undertaking graduate studies at Wesleyan University. He received his MM in composition and theory from Nagoya College of Music as a Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) scholar, writing new music for Japanese instruments. From 2017 to 2019 he worked as an event coordinator for the Japan Folk Festival, helping to arrange cultural exchange events in the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Canada, and Japan. Current research efforts focus on Eurocentrism in music education, particularly in Japanese institutions. His writing can be found in Japan Forum and Asian Music, and he has been profiled in Hōgaku Journal.
ABSTRACT: Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the number of works for the koto has grown exponentially, written by both art music composers in the European conservatory model (such as Ichiyanagi Toshi, Miki Minoru, Yoshimatsu Takashi, and other composers worldwide) and a group that ethnomusicologist Bonnie Wade has termed “performer-composers” (Miyagi Michio, Sawai Tadao, and Yoshizaki Katsuhiko, among others). The distinction is significant: while a handful of koto players such as Yoshimura Nanae and Yagi Michiyo have devoted themselves to performing compositions written by the former group, a large majority of koto players continue to study and program works written by the latter. This gap seems to point to ongoing disjuncture between conservatory-style composer and koto performer expectations. In this paper, I argue that this misalignment points to future opportunities for composers to engage with the conventions of the historical sōkyoku (koto music) canon. Throughout the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), when sōkyoku flourished, koto works almost invariably included vocal lines, as well as other sonic characteristics such as rhythmic displacement and heterophonic melodic variation. In the twentieth century, however, as the European conservatory model took root in Japan, the koto in many ways came to be reimagined as a parallel to an orchestral instrument, with concomitant Euro-centric expectations of what its music should sound like: larger ensembles for the proscenium stage, extensive use of tonal harmony or equal-tempered chromaticism (particularly through the addition of more strings per octave), and the abandonment of previously widespread vocal melodies. The historical body of music for the koto, now widely available for listening through streaming services and other platforms, offers composers insight into alternative ways of thinking about koto music, beyond the conventions and expectations of twentieth- and twenty-first century conservatory-style compositional practice.
13:30 – 15:10 BLOCK IV
Dr. GEOFFROY COLSON (online) Te Vārua o te Auahi : Channeling Tahitian Traditional Arts into the Operatic Genre
BIO: Geoffroy Colson is a French ethnomusicologist and composer. His areas of expertise include Polynesian music and francophone Pacific Islands cultures, as well as globalization and musical change studies. His research bridges ethnomusicological methods and creative practice, and articulates with a range of disciplines including ethnomusicology, anthropology, and creative performance studies.
ABSTRACT: In 1785, at Covent Garden, London, was premiered Omai, or a Trip around the World , a pantomime by William Shield. The English composer, who received input from two of James Cook’s officers, incorporated in his work Polynesian instruments collected by the voyagers in order to enhance the “reality effect” of the production. 224 years later, not far from there at the Tate Britain, Nicolas Bourriaud was publishing his altermodernism manifesto in which he was declaring the death of postmodernism and the emergence of a globalized state of culture. This paper focuses on one of the non-traditional research outputs of a practiced-based research led since 2012 about the Polynesian cultural heritage, which relies on a concept of sustainability extended to the global cultural environment that might be termed meta-sustainability. The current situation in the Pacific Islands region reveals the contrasting effects of intensifying globalization processes that have complicated the relationships between Western music and other musical traditions. In such areas, processes of cultural revival through engagement with an indigenous community have in general been interpreted as a viable response to perceptions of culture loss. However, the creative exploration of musical syntheses might represent an effective alternative or at least additional approach to be considered. L’Esprit du Feu : Te Vārua o te Auahi is an experimental opera in Tahitian language, which incorporates indigenous compositional processes and musical instruments. It is the result of a ‘multi-mode research inquiry’ combining contrasting approaches to cultural sustainability. As a fieldwork-informed musical fiction, it demonstrates the possibilities of a new aesthetics for the meta-sustainable development of Tahitian musical tradition.
Dr. MATTHEW NOONE (online) The North Indian Sarode: in-between and beyond traditions
BIO: Studied Indian classical music in a traditional context for almost twenty years, with Sougata Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata and more recently with UK based sarodiya K. Sridhar. He has been increasingly interested in exploring new musical contexts for the instrument beyond Hindustani music. In particular, he has researched the performance potential of the sarode in Irish traditional music (Noone 2016), in electroacoustic composition (Noone 2020) and in ‘free’ improvisation (Noone 2021). His research has led to the design of two custom instruments and numerous albums.
ABSTRACT: This paper will explore the aesthetic and philosophical parameters of performing a musical instrument outside of its traditional cultural boundaries. It will focus on my own artistic and performance based research over the last decade with the sarode. The sarode is a twenty-five stringed fretless lute primarily used in the classical music of North India. I have studied Indian classical music in a traditional context for almost twenty years, with Sougata Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata and more recently with UK based sarodiya K. Sridhar. Increasingly I have been interested in exploring new musical contexts for the instrument beyond Hindustani music. In particular, I have researched the performance potential of the sarode in Irish traditional music (Noone 2016), in electroacoustic composition (Noone 2020) and in ‘free’ improvisation (Noone 2021). My research has led to the design to two custom instruments and numerous albums. At the same time, I am extremely conscious of the dilemmas of being a non-western performer of an Indian instrument. In this paper, I will outline a theoretical perspective which investigates the possibility of being an artist in-between or even beyond tradition by integrating cultural theory on hybridity, ethnomusicological critique of cultural appropriation and critical improvisation studies.
Dr. MARGARET COLLINS STOOP (online) Contemporary Composition for Xiao
BIO: Margaret Collins Stoop’s compositions have been performed throughout Europe and the United States, and have received many honours and awards. She holds a PhD in Music Composition from Trinity College Dublin, where her research focused on the integration of non-western instruments into ensembles with western orchestral instruments. She has studied Chinese flutes and folk music at the Yuet Wah Music School in Hong Kong, and received her M.A. in Music Composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music, City University of New York, where she studied under Thea Musgrave. She received her B.A. from Smith College in Massachusetts with the special distinction of High Honors in Music for her thesis, ‘On the Horizontal and Vertical in Selected Works by Schoenberg and Webern’. Meg was the founding director of the Adesso Choral Society, a chamber chorus dedicated to presenting new works by living composers, and was president of Connecticut Composers, Inc.
ABSTRACT: New Music for an Ancient Instrument: Contemporary composition for the xiao The presentation will discuss a cross-cultural approach to music composition, specifically as it relates to my own compositions for the xiao, a Chinese end-blown flute made of bamboo. Cross-cultural composition is understood here as the inclusion of non-western instruments in ensembles with western orchestral instruments and reflects a striving toward integration, in which the boundaries between the distinct genres are softened or dissolved. Knowledge of the original context of the non-western instruments informs inclusion in and influence on a new setting. Expansion of the repertoire of the instruments beyond that which is idiomatic is sought, and the discovery of what is idiomatic to the instruments reveals that which is non-idiomatic. Research prior to composing for the xiao was both academic and experiential. Study of the original context of the instrument was undertaken, as well as of Chinese folk music in general. Personal experimentation on the xiao revealed extended techniques which may be incorporated into original compositions. In the presentation, I will briefly outline the distinguishing features of the xiao and demonstrate gestures which are idiomatic to the instrument. A live performance (less than two minutes) of a traditional tune for xiao will be given. I will then demonstrate extended techniques on the xiao, many of which are transferred from the western concert flute. I will play audio excerpts from two of my recent compositions for xiao: Zephyr, for xiao, suspended cymbal, and cello; and ‘Loons on the Lake’, a movement for xiao solo from the larger work, Bird Suite. I will discuss to what degree the compositions allude to original context or offer non-idiomatic music in a new soundscape.
15:30 – 16:30 KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DAI FUJIKURA
DAI FUJIKURA (online)
BIO: Born in 1977 in Osaka Japan, Dai was fifteen when he moved to UK. The recipient of many composition prizes, he has received numerous international co-commissions from the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, Bamberg Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and more. He has been Composer-in-Residence of Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014 and held the same post at the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France in 2017/18. Dai’s first opera Solaris, co-commissioned by the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Lausanne and the Opéra de Lille, had its world premiere in Paris in 2015 and has since gained a worldwide reputation. A new production of Solaris was created and performed at the Theatre Augsburg in 2018, and the opera received a subsequent staging in 2020.
In 2017, Dai received the Silver Lion Award from the Venice Biennale. In the same year, he was named the Artistic Director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater’s Born Creative Festival.
In 2019, his Shamisen Concerto was premiered at Mostly Mozart festival in New York Lincoln Center and there have so far been 9 performances of this work by various orchestras.
2020 sees the premiere of his fourth piano concerto Akiko’s Piano, dedicated to Hiroshima Symphony’s Peace and Music Ambassador, Martha Argerich and performed as part of their “Music for Peace” project. Dai is currently composing his third opera, which will be revealed to the public in the same year.
Dai is currently focusing his attention on upcoming works including an opera on the life of Hokusai, a concerto for two orchestras, and a double concerto for flute and violin.
MgA. IVA OPLÍŠTILOVÁ, Ph.D.
Music theorist, assistant, professor at the Department of Music Theory, HAMU. She graduated from the conseervatory with a degree in piano, and then from HAMU with a degreee in music theory. Since 2010 she hass been working at HAMU as a lecturer and at the Live Music Magazine as an editor. Since 2016 she works as a Head of the Department of Contemporary Music at HAMU. She mainly focuses on the analysis and compositional methods of contemporary music in terms of perception.
MgA. SLAVOMÍR HOŘÍNKA, Ph.D.
A composer who works and lives in Prague (Czech Republic) with his wife and four children. He is composing music focused primary on reducing of means and transparence of structure. As material he often uses melodic line, harmony or rhythm derived from sound analysis or music without copyright (plainchant, ethnic music etc.). In his most recent works, he has explored early instruments and the spatial aspect of music.
Slavomír Hořínka is an associate professor at the Department of Composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (HAMU). He graduated as a violinist from the Pardubice Conservatoire (Czech Republic). Following that he studied composition at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts with Ivan Kurz (1999–2004). In 2008, he graduated with a PhD in composition under the guidance of Hanuš Bartoň. His compositions have been performed by the Czech Philharmonic, the BERG Orchestra, the Bennewitz Quartet, Cappella Mariana, Tiburtina Ensemble, Solamente naturali and others on major stages at home and abroad.
JUDr., MgA. JAKUB MÍŠEK, Ph.D.
Jakub Míšek is a Ph.D. candidate at The Institute of Law and Technology at the Faculty of Law, Masaryk University. His main field of study is privacy and personal data protection, ICT law and intellectual property law. In 2011, he finished his bachelor studies in Music theory at the Music and Dance School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (HAMU) with bachelor thesis “Analysis of polyphony of indigenous people of Solomon Islands”; in 2013 he finished his master studies in Music theory at the same university with diploma thesis “On the question of transcendent time in music”. He finished his master studies in Law in 2014 at Faculty of Law of the Masaryk University with diploma thesis “Personal Data Protection Online: Consent to Personal Data Processing,” which was subsequently published in the journal Revue pro právo a technologie (“Revue for Law and Technology”). Between the years 2007 and 2011 Jakub was an active shakuhachi player.
He has been involved in the organization of Prague Shakuhachi Festival since 2009, he is a founding member of NEIRO Association for Expanding Arts.
The Symposium has been organized by NEIRO Association for Expanding Arts, in collaboration with the Music and Dance Faculty of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. The project has been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the State Cultural Fond of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.