Hear it (part 2) – playing the building

Bijna een jaar geleden organiseerden het Stedelijk Museum en Non-fiction de eerste editie van Hear it! – Een playlist voor het Stedelijk Museum. Deze drie-en-een-half uur durende tentoonstelling stond in het teken van het fenomeen geluid in de beeldende kunsten. Omdat het tentoonstellen van geluid zowel een ruimtelijke als een tijdelijke uitdaging is – twee geluidswerken naast elkaar in dezelfde ruimte kunnen hinderlijk zijn – besloten we indertijd geen opstelling in de ruimte te maken, maar in de tijd. Eigenlijk zoals een DJ zijn muziek volgtijdig uitzoekt, de ene plaat over laten gaand in de ander. Maar dan met een extra ruimtelijke dimensie, namelijk de tentoonstellingszalen van het Stedelijk Museum.

Zo werd de playlist als organiserend principe geboren. Een playlist voor het Stedelijk Museum.

Hear it! bleek een onverwacht succes: de avond werd druk bezocht – met meer dan 500 bezoekers waren we feitelijk uitverkocht – en de deelnemende kunstenaars waren erg blij met de pragmatische en enigszins terloopse manier van programmeren. Onder hen waren onder meer Gabriel Lester, Hans Aarsman, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Claron McFadden en Brandon LaBelle. In de collectie vonden we bijzondere werken van Dick Raaymakers, John Cage en LaMonte Young. Een magische avond kwam in stijl ten einde met het gregoriaanse koor Schola Cantorum Amsterdam, dat kruisvaartliederen zong in de Erezaal voor de schilderijen met kruizen van Malevich.

Aanstaande donderdag 19 april organiseren we de tweede editie van Hear it! Met deze keer de ondertitel Playing the Building, vanwege de verkenning van het gebouw door een groot aantal geroemde geluidskunstenaars, musici en zelfs een voormalige architecte. Aan hen hebben we gevraagd op zoek te gaan naar de bijzondere akoestische kwaliteiten van het Trouwgebouw, een gebouw dat ooit voor machines is gebouwd – de drukpersen van PCM – en nooit (echt) voor mensen bedoeld is geweest. Zo heeft Machinefabriek een compositie gemaakt voor de machinekamer, zal Jacob Kirkegaard de grote hal in beweging brengen, en benut Carsten Nicolai het kraakheldere geluidssysteem in combinatie met de akoestische panelen van de clubzaal waarmee ooit de herrie van de drukpersen binnen werd gehouden.

In totaal zullen 18 verschillende werken, zowel nieuw gemaakte als bestaande uit de collecties van het Stedelijk Museum, De Appel en het Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, in vijf uur tijd over de loop van de avond geprogrammeerd worden. En net als de vorige avond in het Stedelijk Museum is het geheel nu in Trouw ook een dynamische vermenging van verschillende werken die elkaar in de tijd en de ruimte zullen opvolgen.

Zo zal de bezoeker (vermoedelijk) oren tekort komen en (hopelijk) als vanzelf door de ruimten gaan zwerven, luisterend naar het ruimtelijk spel tussen de architectuur en de kunst.

We kijken er enorm naar uit, en hopen u allen tegen te komen.


Dit bericht verscheen op het blog van het Stedelijk Museum, ter aankondiging van Hear it! (part 2) – playing the building 

By Juha — Posted April 18, 2012 — 1,084 Comments

This Sunday, John Cage and Semiconductor in De Duif

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the renowned Ives Ensemble, we are co-hosting a concert and film screening at church De Duif, Prinsengracht 754 in Amsterdam, on Sunday 26 February from 4 till 6 PM. Tickets are 5 Euro at the door, which opens at 3:30 PM.

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By Michiel — Posted February 22, 2012 — 447 Comments

This Tuesday, a rare performance of a Feldman masterpiece

“Feldman is essential listening.” Pitchfork

This Tuesday at Felix Meritis, the Ives Ensemble will play their second concert of the series News From the Front, an eight-part collaboration between the Ives, Van Swieten Society and Asko Kamerkoor. The music played is Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, the final piece of eminent American composer Morton Feldman.

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By Juha — Posted November 14, 2011 — 1,104 Comments

28 April: Hear it! at the Stedelijk Museum

“I don’t separate ‘Sound Art’ from ‘music’. I am one person; my ideas come from the same place.” 

- Alvin Lucier.

On Thursday 28 April the Stedelijk Museum and Non-fiction present Hear it! – a playlist for the Stedelijk Museum, with works by Dick Raaymakers, Alvin Lucier, Mark Bain, Pierre Bastien, La Monte Young and Gert-Jan Prins, and performances by Paul Panhuysen, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Alog, Gabriel Lester, Claron McFadden and many others.

When? April 28, 2011, from 19:30 – 23:00 hrs
Location: Temporary Stedelijk 2, Auditorium, museum café and galleries
Entrance: Valid museum ticket
Language: English
Reservation: Reservation is mandatory

A playlist for the museum
Hear It! is presenting a playlist of these different types of work with sound, and is presenting different generations of musicians and artists who work with sound in their own way. This evening does not aim to provide a historical cross-section of sound in the arts, but is a personal playlist of works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum and performances by (international) artists and musicians who are exploring the limits of the building and sound. The evening was organised intuitively by listening carefully to the building, the collection and the public, and is possibly most comparable to the way in which a DJ works, or to the musical experience you have with Soundcloud and Spotify. That is why there is a mixed succession of a Siren, a Norwegian DIY band, a Gregorian choir and the public which assumes the role of composer and performer, amongst others.

The sound of now, since 1952
It is now almost 60 years since director Willem Sandberg embraced music in the Stedelijk with his famous series ‘The Music of Now’ in 1952. Sandberg’s view was that the museum should provide room for other art forms than visual art as well, including contemporary music. Since then contemporary music has assumed many different forms and is described in various ways: as experimental music, sound art, sound performances, sound sculptures and audio culture. Some musicians call themselves ‘artists’ and some artworks are characterised as being ‘musical’. It is not always completely clear, but what is evident is that there is great deal happening at the point where the visual arts, music and sound come together.

Performances by
Aardvarck (NL) / Alog (NO) / Nathalie Bruys (NL) / Carl Michael von Hausswolff (SE) / Allard van Hoorn (NL) / Brandon LaBelle (USA) / Gabriel Lester (NL) / Claron McFadden (USA/NL) / Paul Panhuysen (NL) / Sarah van Sonsbeeck (NL)  / Schola Cantorum Amsterdam (NL)

Works by
Mark Bain (USA/NL) / Pierre Bastien (FR) / John Cage (USA) / Alvin Lucier (USA) / Gert-Jan Prins (NL) / Dick Raaymakers (NL) / La Monte Young (USA)

Introduction by: Harold Schellinx / Juha van ‘t Zelfde

Programme: Michiel van Iersel & Juha van ‘t Zelfde (Non-fiction)

Advisors: Bart Rutten, Margriet Schavemaker and Hendrik Folkerts (all Stedelijk Museum)

Research: Adelá Foldynová and Pieter Willems

Live blogVPRO Dorst

PartnersBeamSystems, Nalden, CitizenM and Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht

 

 

By Michiel — Posted April 14, 2011 — 1,312 Comments

Is there still a future for classical music?

From this year on the annual Three-Day Music Festival in the Dutch city of The Hague will become the epicenter for innovations in classical music: “Is there a future for classical music?“, “How can we engage a new and young(er) audience?” and “what will a concert (hall) be like in the year 2030?“. Non-fiction sets out to broaden the horizon and discover new territories.

For quite some time now Non-fiction’s Michiel van Iersel has been involved in the so-called Three-Day Music Festival in The Hague. This year’s event takes place on March 5 – 7 and is the 7th edition of this annual celebration of classical music. Up to now the overarching theme of this classical music event was ‘Young Talents meet Great Masters’, with master classes, the Classic Express (an amazing mobile concert hall), recitals and concerts in which well established musicians took to the stage with a new generation of musicians.

However, from this edition onward, the festival will focus on innovations in the world of (classical) music performances. The festival wants to play a pivotal role in stimulating cross-disciplinary projects, state-of-the-art facilities, technological innovations, off-site concerts and smart (online) communication tools. The underlying questions are: “how can we engage a new and young(er) audience in classical music” and “what will a concert (hall) be like in the year 2030“?

We will be looking at the most innovative and outlandish attempts to shake of classical music’s boring image and to revitalize this ancient art form. Obviously, we will start by examining the revolutionary nature of the (classical) music itself. What would be the contemporary equivalent of Igor Stravinsky‘s controversial and violentSacre‘, John Cage‘s legendary 4’33″ or Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s mindblowing (and deafening) ‘Helicopter String Quartet‘?

On our personal shortlist you’ll find Michel van der Aa‘s chamber opera One and sound art by people like Carsten Nicolai and Christian Marclay, but also Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood‘s new compositions for the London Sinfonietta as part of the South Bank Centre’s cutting-edge Ether Festival in 2005. Please let us know what your nominees are.

The impact of new and digital media on the creation and consumption of classical music will be discussed as well, from Edgard Varèse‘s groundbreaking work up to the electric violin and other absurdities from the 70′s and 80′s, via the 3D Tour of Classical Music History that was developed back in 1993 (!), down to recent innovations like the crowdsourced Youtube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Virtual Maestro, a game on Nintendo’s Wii which allows you to conduct a virtual orchestra.

The concert hall of the 21st century is one of the subjects that will be discussed during a new series of talk shows and presentations in which both experts and visitors will be explicitly asked to pass an opinion on future developments. We will scan the globe in search for brave architectural statements that have fundamentally changed the acoustic and esthetic standards for concert halls and music centers alike. Think of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (0r simply EMPAC) in upstate New York, Zaha Hadid‘s billowing Bach pavilion in Manchester, the new Oslo Opera House (in Norwegian: Operahuset) and our beloved Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam’s (self-proclaimed) “Concert hall of the 21st Century”.

Architect and provocateur extraordinaire Rem Koolhaas will be our keynote speaker on Saturday, March 6. The Lucent Danstheater (completed in 1987 and housing the Netherlands Dance Theater) is one of the festival locations, but also happens to be one of Rem Koolhaas’s first completed projects to receive widespread critical acclaim. In the coming years it will be replaced by a new and multifunctional music center in the same location. Obviously we have asked him to elaborate on ‘his’ Casa da Música, being not only his most recent attempt to design the perfect concert venue but also providing a model for other music venues and cultural icons in the 21st century and millennia to come.

We will liven up his contribution with a series of short videos of users and visitors of both the Casa da Musica and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. We want to know how the buildings function (technically, but also socially), what the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the design are, whether or not they have had an impact on the local music scene and/or international reputation and what lessons can be learned from them?

For this reason we will attend the Portugese premiere of Michel van der Aa‘s music theatre work ‘The Book of Disquiet” at Casa da Musica in Porto next week, for a recorded ‘walkthrough’ with our favorite Dutch composer and António Jorge Pacheco, the institute’s artistic director. We will be discussing the building’s design concept and day-to-day functioning from an artistic, social and practical viewpoint.

The final result of these filmed interviews ‘on the move‘ will be shown during the festival, but in the meantime we will keep  you updated on our website and on the festival’s blog and through Twitter.

Casa da Música, Porto (Source: The Guardian)

By Michiel — Posted February 1, 2010 — 1,173 Comments

A loud no and an even louder yes

Marcel Duchamp and John Cage playing chess (photo: Shigeko Kubota)

Marcel Duchamp and John Cage playing chess (photo: Shigeko Kubota)

In an e-mail exchange with the English bassist Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) about a concert in Amsterdam, he confused me by writing that he did not consider himself a musician, and he was not even sure if he really liked music. Jenkinson is a drummer as well as a bass player, and ever since his first album, Feed Me Weird Things, released in 1996, he has been more or less idolized as an innovator of electronic music.

His music was used by filmmaker Sofia Coppola as the sonic translation of Tokyo’s lightscape in Lost in Translation. It has been presented in manic and sterile fashion by video-maker Chris Cunningham and recorded as a contemporary pendant of 20th-century experimental music by the London Sinfonietta, in a programme of such great composers as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Why would anyone of such stature not want to call himself a musician?

In search of an explanation, I called on a number of friends in the music scene and asked what their definition of music was, and whether you could make music without being a musician.

Nearly a century ago, the French composer Edgard Varèse referred to music as ‘organized sound’, a term that was reinforced in 1937 by John Cage in his famous lecture, The Future of Music: Credo. Some theorists see music as a language that enables interaction between people. Others see it as organized movement of air. Philosophers sometimes speak of a ‘practical form of philosophy in time and space’ (I kid you not). The Scottish sound theorist, Steve Goodman, speaks of music as a form of architecture that makes it possible for people to acoustically take control of their environment. As an example, he refers to South London’s dubstep producers, who want to cut off the intrusive noise of their immediate environment and the outside world and by using music equipment to carve out a space in sound.

With any of these descriptions, the question remains whether you can make music and not be a musician, as Jenkinson implies. Most people reply that, yes, you can. You can be ‘tone deaf, not master any instrument or forget to pay your membership to the Musicians Union’, as Ollie Bown of the Icarus electronic ensemble jokes. You might only call yourself a musician ‘if the context requires it and if it is less confusing to call yourself a musician, instead of an artist or theoretician’, as Bown’s cousin and composer Sam Britton pragmatically replies. You can make music and not be a musician ‘by working as an artist in the auditive domain’, adds Lucas van der Velden of the artists collective Telco Systems, or indeed, according to producers Kode9 and Cinnaman ‘by simply not caring what you call it’.

The answers vary from self-effacing to convincing and from indecisive to indifferent. If a distinction can be made between capable musicians who refine and develop their art according to a tradition, and ‘musicians’ who experiment with apparatus and instruments with no notion or interest in history, then perhaps Jenkinson is right. But can such a distinction be made?

Jenkinson also wrote, ‘I see myself as someone who clears the way for musicians and composers, brushing away preconceptions about what is permissible.’ Perhaps Jenkinson’s words indicate that it is ultimately about the experience of music, not about qualifying or analyzing it.

A final word goes to the buoyant Swiss artist Dimitri Grimm (Dimlite), whose e-mail response to my question of whether or not he is a musician was, ‘A loud no and an even louder yes. It depends on who is asking. That question almost never needs a reply (maybe for the phone book entry). The title “musician” is not really laden with a concrete association in my world. I have never learned the definition of a musician, so: I don’t know. There was a time when I used to say, “well, call me a music-maker”, out of respect, because I am not that guy who is reading or writing notes and mastering the craft of, let’s say, guitar playing. That is a musician, right? I grew up in a time when people scratching with turntables had already started calling themselves musicians. These days, we juggle zeros and ones by ear and eye, create sounds, rhythms, harmonies, melodies and good and bad ghosts of all sorts, by any means, for ears and souls, and it takes a lot of mastery. It is nobody’s right to decide who is a musician and who is not, and if they do, who cares?’

This article was published in Metropolis M of February/March 2009.

By Juha — Posted February 14, 2009 — 2 Comments