Posts tagged Darmstadt
KP Overseas: Darmstadt 2016

img_20160810_194152 It's been a busy few months for all the members of Kupka's Piano, and we're fast approaching October when we'll be performing a program of no less than three world premieres and an Australian premiere at the Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane (tickets are now available, by the way)! But since you last saw us play in our hometown, most of us have been travelling all over, attending international workshops and festivals, taking lessons with some of the finest musicians in our field, and just soaking up the diversity of new music being made in Asia, Europe, and America.

We were fortunate enough to have received support from the Australia Council for the Arts in order to travel to Darmstadt, Germany for our second appearance at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, this year in its 48th edition. This is the international festival-academy for contemporary art music, instigating a biennial pilgrimage of composers and performers from all corners of the globe. Those of us who attended last time wrote about our experiences here, here and here. It's already a month on from this year's festival (where on earth did the time go??), but we wanted to just give a brief comment from each of the members who made it over there to give an idea of what an important experience this has been for us, along with some photos of our exploits!

Stay tuned on the KP blog for our upcoming inaugural "KupkaCast" - our first attempt at a small podcast, where the composers of the new works in our next concert discuss the difficulties of choosing titles, weaving in extramusical material, and different approaches to getting notes onto paper...

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Jodie Rottle

Attending the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music was a time to meet new colleagues in new music, in addition to connecting with old friends from around the world. It was also a reminder of the importance of new music as an outlet for expression, whether it be cultural, social, or political. The performances, personalities, and ideas alive at the course spurred a whirlwind of emotions: excitement, intrigue, confusion, disgust, inspiration, frustration, exhaustion, and satisfaction. I left knowing I had experienced a special event and thankful that I could return to Australia as a stronger performer and creator.

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Alex Raineri

It was great to be back in Darmstadt for my second stint at the International Summer Courses for New Music. Very inspiring to be ‘inside’ this buzzing hub of new ideas and new work which I found once again to be very artistically motivating, seeing so many people from our generation with such varied and colourful things to say about/with our artform. Particular thanks to Nicolas Hodges and the summer courses for awarding me a Kranichstein Stipendium Musikpries and also the Theme and Variations Foundation which supported my attendance at the 2016 festival.

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Katherine Philp

At Darmstadt I studied with Arditti Quartet cellist Lucas Fels, and amongst other things took part in the Cello-Piano-Composer workshop which was convened by Fels, Pianist Nicolas Hodges and Composer Brian Ferneyhough. A collection of fresh scores were chosen by the convenors prior to the festival which were then assigned to the cello-piano duos, and subsequently workshopped and rehearsed for a performance on the final weekend of the festival. While there were some excellent pieces developed over the course of the two weeks, I was particularly interested in the unfolding processes of collaboration that were taking place: quality of communication; the effects of ego/insecurity; language barriers; choices of notation; rehearsal process and son on. It was clear to see how positive working dynamics between all parties in the workshop process contributed greatly to the strength of the artistic outcome. For performers of contemporary music, to work constructively with composers first-hand is vitally important - if the collaborative process is thoughtfully undertaken and documented, the composer-performer workshop can serve as both a site to reflect upon process, and a rich source of information for future interpreters.

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Michael Mathieson-Sandars

While I had some great lessons, and saw some spectacular concerts, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Darmstadt was the number of ways that, prompted by the celebration of its 70th year, the culture and history of the course was challenged. Much was said regarding GRID [Gender Relations in Darmstadt] - and so it should've been - and, more subtly, this attitude also bled into the Philosophy and Art forums where disagreements tended to be drawn not only along gender lines, but often between age groups as well as between those who were native anglophones and (mostly) Europeans. Of course, having heated arguments at Darmstadt is in many ways no change at all, and in a self-aware move, there was also a series of feedback sessions being run aimed to test and teach new methods for musicians to provide criticism to one another which were non-competitive and non-confrontational. Interesting times ahead for the course!

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Hannah Reardon-Smith

What an honour to be back at Darmstadt for a second round! And this was particularly special to me as it was an opportunity to reconnect with my KP colleagues ahead of my return to Australia in September after two-and-a-half years away studying in Europe. I bookended my study here with Darmstadt festivals, and it was amazing to feel the difference those years made - in my performance capabilities, but also my comfort asserting my place in the European new music scene. This time I enrolled as a composer, though I still spent a lot of time playing flute. A few of the highlights were the GRID and feedback sessions (mentioned by Michael, above), playing Malaysian composer Zihua Tan's [this].connection with Emilie Girard-Charest (Quebec) and Miao Zhao (China), composition lessons with Simon Steen-Andersen and Hannes Seidl, and connecting and reconnecting with my new music communities and networks from many different continents!

Angus Wilson

Angus has been a bit busy of late playing in Brisbane Festival-La Boite Theatre-Opera Queensland's co-production of Snow White, so we gave him a free pass on writing a Darmstadt reflection. But here's some pictures of his festival experience, including workshopping with the incredible Georges Aperghis and a lot of percussioning. Marked shots are by IMD photographer Daniel Pufe.

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If you haven't yet had your European new music fill, make sure you check out this Darmstadt photo blog from our Aussie compatriots Tamara and Kaylie of Rubiks, based in Melbourne. One of the great things about the festival is the community of Australian musicians that congregate together - we really do feel like we have something special to offer our European counterparts.

See you in 2018, Darmstadt!

 

Perspectives from Afar: Kupka at Darmstadt!

Kupka's Piano has sent something of a reconnaissance team to the famous (or infamous) Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music this year. After about five days of the course, Alex Raineri reflects on the experience so far and gives an outline of what we're doing over here... Alex and Angus receive coaching from composer Georges Aperghis and percussionist Christian Dierstein during a masterclass at the Darmstadt Summer Festival.

I’m finishing up this blog post from my cozy little hotel room in the town of Darmstadt, Germany where Hannah, Angus, Liam, Michael and myself are almost a week into the frenetic and overwhelmingly wonderful 47th International Summer Course for New Music!

This trip is very special for Kupka’s Piano for a number of reasons. July was a huge month for the ensemble having played two very substantial programs Tempi Espressivi and Crippled Symmetry, as well as each of us having rather hectic performance and teaching commitments outside of the ensemble. Thus, it’s super exciting to finally be in full swing of the much-anticipated Darmstadt Festival.

The repertoire we’ve prepared for performances and workshops here are among some of the most challenging and rewarding repertoire the ensemble has ever tackled. Pieces such as Liam’s Flenady’s monstrously virtuosic Quite Early Morning no. 2, George Aperghis’ quirky Quatre Pièces Fébriles, Beat Furrer’s punchy Presto con Fuoco, Tristan Murail’s sensual La Mandragore and Brian Ferneyhough’s enchanting Cassandra’s Dream Song have been a long time in the practice room and the prospect of presenting these in this kind of international forum is both scary and exhilarating!

Other pieces on the menu are much more fresh! Within a few of the festival projects, Angus, Hannah and I are working with some of our European colleagues and counterparts that we’ve only recently met in pieces by Eun-Ji Lee, Chaya Czernowin, Misato Mochizuki and others…!

The Darmstadt festival represents for us an enormously exciting opportunity to both collaborate and learn from our colleagues and mentors. Such luminaries and giants in the new music scene that we have the privilege to work with are Nicholas Hodges, Christian Dierstein, Eva Furrer, Yukiko Sugawara, Ensemble Nikel, Uli Fussenegger and composers such as Tristan Murail, Helmut Lachenmann, Georges Aperghis, Brian Ferneyhough, Pierluigi Billone, Peter Ablinger, Clemens Gadenstätter, Oliver Schneller…the list goes on for days!

As well as this, it’s a chance for Kupka to bring our music and ideas to an international forum to benchmark our own standards against those of our European counterparts. Also it’s a wonderful opportunity to soak up some of the contemporary music culture that is so much more prevalent and developed over this side of the world.

I find that it’s often very difficult to find perspective from afar but at the same time this can be a blessing as it helps to remove a rigid sense of framework and conservative performance traditions and their associated limitations.

We’ll be posting some post-festival reflections on the blog over the next month or two but during the festival keep an eye out for our Instragram (@kupkagram) account for heaps of pictures of us meeting awesome people and drinking German beer. Hurrah!

KP in 2014

This last year has been super exciting for Kupka's - we presented our inaugural four-concert series ("Where in the world is Kupka's Piano?") at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, sold out the majority of our shows (!), made contact with composers from all over the globe while preparing their music, commissioned a bunch of new works, worked closely with Ensemble Interface from Frankfurt thanks to an Australia Council JUMP Mentorship, and performed by invitation at the Brisbane Experimental Art Festival (BEAF). In total we gave ten Australian premieres on top of eight world premieres!

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Hannah Reardon-Smith (flute) and Luara Karlson-Carp (voice) perform the Australian premiere of American composer Kate Soper's Only the words themselves mean what they say (2010-11) at our concert in November 2013.

But now we've hit the new year and there's many fresh projects on the boil. We're extremely fortunate to have continued support from the Judith Wright, where we will be presenting a further four-concert series this year, entitled Il faut être.

The series takes its name from a line in Arthur Rimbaud's 1873 poem A Season in Hell"Il faut être absolument moderne." Our aim is to hold true to this claim, to venture into the possible paths of the musically modern. We will continue to seek out new music by the composers of our generation from around the world, as well as to commission new works from Australian composers and to have a crack at some of the great pieces of the last fifty years.

For our first concert of the year we'll be joined by Australia's premiere new music ensemble, Ensemble Offspring (Sydney), in a performance of high octane, quasi-mechanical, factory floor works. Kupka's will be performing Gérard Grisey's mixed quintet Talea plus a new flute-piano-percussion trio by Michael Mathieson-Sandars. The ensembles will also present a joint performance of Louis Andriessen's Workers' Union. That one's on Friday 21 March, so put it in your diary - tickets will be available in about a week.

For more about the series, visit our Upcoming Performances page.

In other exciting news, several of our members will be traveling to Germany in August to partake in the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music! There we will have the opportunity to reunite with Ensemble Interface, which we are very much looking forward to, in addition to meeting a huge number of composers and new music performers from around the globe, hearing and performing stacks of fresh repertoire, and receiving tuition and guidance from the masters in our field. This is an incredible opportunity for us, and one which we will be reporting on regularly as we prepare and then make our journey overseas.

On July 25 (okay, so I'm not being especially chronological here), we will perform Morton Feldman's 90-minute epic Crippled Symmetry for flute, piano and percussion in a concert at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

We also have a very exciting recording opportunity that we're not yet able to announce... So stay tuned!

There will no doubt be other performances and events involving Kupka's Piano or some of our members. Make sure you check back to our website for updates - or you can subscribe to our email list for timely reminders. See you soon!