• Nicolas Donin (conférencier)
  • Michelle Agnes Magalhaes (conférencier)

There are no fixed rules in the composer/performer collaborative work. Proposition and transformation are two interchangeable processes, which constitute the basis of this dialogue.
As part of the GEMME [Musical Gesture: Models and Experiments] project, we have been studying several cases of composer/performer collaboration. We will concentrate on two instances involving a project for solo string instrument: Parlando (2009), written by Georges Aperghis (*1945) for double-bassist Uli Fusseneger, and The spider as an artist (2014) written by Franck Bedrossian (*1973) for cellist Séverine Ballon. In the first piece, writing procedures typical of Aperghis (such as the accumulation and variation of smalls cells) are amalgamated with the instrumental techniques proposed by Uli Fussenegger. In the most virtuosic preparatory session for that piece, the double-bassist transformed the original proposition to assert his interpretation of the composer’s idea. In the second piece, the main challenge is how the composer can appropriate the idiosyncratic sound material introduced by the performer. Bedrossian, by incorporating in his piece some of Ballon’s specific preparation techniques, assumed the constraint of searching for a timbral development of this material, then challenging his initial compositional stakes. We will contrast different aspects of the Fussenegger/Aperghis and the Ballon/Bedrossian project, search for their common features, and question their degree of novelty with respect to older examples of composer/performer collaboration in contemporary music.

Inventions du geste musical / Inventing Gestures

In recent years, musicological study of gesture has become an important emerging field of inquiry. Video and motion capture technologies, modes of analysis borrowed from other arts (such as the Laban method for movement analysis in dance) as well as new systems and notations for describing the movement of performers, have allowed a wide variety of approaches to study the structure and expressive potential of gesture. In parallel, the study of composer-performer collaboration has become a leading research field, with musicologists, performers and composers all contributing multiple perspectives with the aid of modern ethnographic techniques. What can our study of collaborative processes reveal about the creation of new approaches to gesture?

Featuring artists and researchers examining the performance of canonical works as well as examining the creation of new works today, this symposium explores whether the precise mode and location of the genesis of new gestural approaches can be identified. The use of technology to both augment the composition and allow the performer new methods of control, the integration of elements of theatre and dance and the exploration of new extended techniques will all be particular foci for the presentations. By examining collaborative approaches to gestural innovation, a deeper understanding of both fields can be uncovered, opening new avenues of artistic and musicological research.

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