Entrevista con Paulo de Assis que impartirá el Seminario Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro


Entrevista con el musicólogo. Los próximos días 12 y 13 de Marzo del 2016 el musicólogo Paulo de Assis, impartirá un seminario sobre música contemporánea en el Centro Superior KATARINA GURSKA, titulado Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro. Una oportunidad única para trabajar con uno de las mejores musicólogos del momento musical actual. Es uno de los diez seminarios que forman parte del Máster de Composición Instrumental Contemporánea. Abierto el plazo de inscripción.

"I think this program is a very relevant initiative: firstly, because in spite of the overwhelming digitisation and computation of musical practices, there will be instrumental composition as long as there are instrumentalists, and (crucially) as long as there are composers, since every musical project starts and ends with human perception and apperception"

1. Ruth Prieto: On March 12 and 13, you will be giving one of the 10 seminars organised in Madrid by the Katarina Gurska Centre on the subject of contemporary instrumental composition. What can you tell us about this initiative?

Paulo de Assis: This will be my second intensive course at the Katarina Gurska school; the first took place last year, which was the first year of the master program. I think this program is a very relevant initiative: firstly, because in spite of the overwhelming digitisation and computation of musical practices, there will be instrumental composition as long as there are instrumentalists, and (crucially) as long as there are composers, since every musical project starts and ends with human perception and apperception, first and foremost conveyed by “human” interfaces, which is to say: human performers. The acquisition and development of instrumental notational skills and of the communicative power of acoustic instruments is still, and will remain a fundamental tool for composers.
The way the seminars are structured — in ten very concentrated sessions with international experts focussing on particular areas or topics — is very original and extremely productive. The students receive excellent tuition and are introduced to challenging perspectives. I find the intensity of the work (in my case, twelve hours of teaching within a total span of thirty hours) very good and highly productive. Both students and teachers must be fully concentrated, an indispensable condition for thinking and creating anything valuable.

"The work of Jose Luis Torá and Alberto Posadas is outstanding, as they perfectly organise the course and prepare the students for our sessions."

2. R.P.: As a musicologist taking part in these seminars you will be introduced to the matter of Engaged Art and Pure Art (“Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro”). What can you tell us about that?

Paulo de Assis: Well, first a correction to your question: it is not the case that I “will be introduced to the matter”, the other way around it is me who will introduce this matter to the students. More than on “engaged art” or “art pour l’art”, which are historically situated notions and practices, my course will focus on the broader topic of “the politics of art”. Do artistic practices have the power to change the way we perceive the world? Does art contribute to changing power relations in society? How? To what an extent? By the use of which means, tools, practices? And if art and music have such a power: what kind of musical practices enhance or repress it? Is there an “intrinsically” revolutionary, or progressive art? Is there an “intrinsically” conservative, or regressive art? Is the neutrality of art possible, or is art always (willingly or not) political?
I will approach these main questions through a diversity of means, both conceptual and practical, but eminently from a compositional perspective. I will focus on two philosophical concepts (Nietzsche’s “Untimely” and Agamben’s “Contemporary”), on two ongoing theories currently being developed by myself (a “new image of the musical work”, somehow inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s “new image of thought” from 1968), and a “post-aesthetic regime for the arts” in the follow-up of Jacques Rancière), and on six one-hour-long portraits of the composers Luigi Nono, Helmut Lachenmann, Brian Ferneyhough, Gyorgi Ligeti, Wolfgang Rihm, and Emmanuel Nunes.

"My goal is to instil movement, to shake the students’ thoughts and practices, making them think and rethink what they are composing, and how they are doing it. This seems to me especially relevant, in a time of hyper-commercialisation of the arts, when any political power of the arts is fundamentally dismissed or rapidly condemned to failure and oblivion."

3. R.P.: Where are you right now in your life as an artist-researcher?

Paulo de Assis: Artistic research is an emerging research field in the creative disciplines, whose theoretical foundations are still in the process of being clearly codified. The turn to conducting research in and through the making of music is a recent occurrence from the last decade, strongly related to the activity of, among others, the Orpheus Institute (Ghent, Belgium) – which emerged in 1996 as a pioneer and leading centre for artistic research in music, and is my current work institution. Although not the only higher education institution with programmes in artistic research, the Orpheus Institute is the only institution worldwide solely and exclusively dedicated to artistic research in music. Whereas musicological research essentially takes music and music performance as its object of inquiry, artistic research considers and includes the actual making of music as a fundamental tool of the research process. More than observers, artist-researchers are practitioners, receptive to being informed by existing scholarly and artistic knowledge, but, crucially, capable of providing valuable scientific and artistic outcomes, which, generated in and by their practice-based activity, impinge on contemporary discourses and theories.
I have the great chance of being the Principal Investigator of a European Research Council Starting Grant that enables me to conduct artistic research at the highest possible level, and to have a fantastic team supporting this research. My project, with the title Experimentation versus Interpretation (2013–2018), is focused on a practice-based critique of the notions and practices of ‘interpretation’ in Western notated art music. It prominently deals with the work-concept, subjecting it to deconstruction from a practitioner’s perspective and activity. Its fundamental historical and conceptual movement is from execution, recitation, interpretation, and performance, to experimental performance practices – which might be seen as extended performances, inasmuch as they can include images, videos, projections, and proto-choreographies in addition to the music being played. The project has two parallel and equally important dimensions: one analytical, studying current and past discourses on the subject; the other one creative, generating new instantiations of past musical works, where I myself and other team members take part as composers, instrumental performers, or conductors. Crucially, artist-researchers are artists, and they must remain active on stage (or at the composition desk) in order to really be part of this emerging and exciting field.  

4. R.P.: What can an artist-researcher bring to a composer?

Paulo de Assis: As the previous reply already suggested, artist-researchers are practitioners. They are pianists, violinists, guitarists, conductors, singers, and/or... composers. In fact, at the Orpheus Institute I have many colleagues that are mainly composers – some with notable careers in Europe and overseas. I myself do compose music, even if I am not a composer in a conventional sense of someone doing “only” composition, and I shall present one work during the seminar in March. From an artistic-research perspective, orthodox borders and boundaries strictly separating disciplines and disciplines tend to be fluid and flexible. For example: just in the last three days, we had the Swiss musician Heinz Holliger at the Orpheus Institute. Holliger is a famous oboist, conductor, and composer. Moreover, as he impressively demonstrated, he plays the piano, the clarinet, and knows perfectly well every single orchestral instrument. He also writes poetry and gave lectures on Schumann and Debussy. In a certain sense he is an artist-researcher avant la lettre. In my view, every young student of music — be it an instrumentalist, a conductor, or a composer — should strive for a good overview of all possible fields of activity. From that informed and artistically rich position, he or she can generate new articulations of knowledge (scientific, philosophical, or artistic). My feeling when coming to the Katarina Gurska Centre is to contribute to such widening of horizons. More than speaking to “composers”, I hope to be speaking to creative minds that are looking for new impulses, ideas, and challenges. If the goal were to teach them how to perfectly notate a score for, say, trombone or bassoon, or how to combine pitches and rhythms in a varied way, I would not make the effort to come to Madrid.  

5. R.P.: How do you see the contemporary music scene today?

Paulo de Assis: As your question rightly stresses, we “see” too many things today, instead of “listening” to interesting, challenging music. The “société du spectacle”, as Guy Debord named it already in 1967, took over almost every possible corner of the artistic activity and pushed critical art and critical thinking to a small corner, a minor niche from which only a few voices escape. Most of what we see and hear today in our “contemporary music” concerts and festivals has very little to do with the historical phenomenon once associated with the term “contemporary art” or “contemporary music”. There is a fundamental distinction between things of today, current, prevailing in our own time, and that artistic position (contemporaneity) which was essentially critical and deconstructive of its own historical time. To be contemporary is not the same as being actual. This is a long story, which includes important contributions by Nietzsche, Barthes, Deleuze, and Agamben that I will address in detail during my seminar. Crucial for me is the fact that our current music scene is too much dominated by “timely” considerations, most of which are ephemeral and trendy, when not simply and directly “commercial”. On a more positive tone: I think there are great musicians, great performers, and great composers among us — it is, however, very difficult for them to come to the fore, to be seen and heard, to find a space of activity. Most of what we see and hear today in concert halls around the globe will not be here in very, very few years. To remain attentive, critical, alert, creative and open to the unheard: that is the most urgent and difficult task of our day.  
Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro
por Paulo de Assis
12 y 13 de Marzo del 2016 en el Centro Superior KATARINA GURSKA

Informaciones Prácticas: Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro
El seminario tendrá 12 horas de duración.
12 y 13 de marzo del 2016
Precio por seminario para alumnos, ex-alumnos y profesores CSKG: 80€
Precio para público general: 120€ 
El seminario girará en torno a la introducción al Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro.
Tendrá lugar en la sede del CSKG de la Calle Sta. Engracia, 181

Paulo de Assis nace en Portugal en 1969; estudia piano con Vitaly Margulis, Michel Béroff y Alexis Weissenberg, en Freiburg im Breisgau (Alemania) y en Verbier (Suiza), siendo galardonado por la Fondation des Prix Européens (1994, Primer premio) y en el Concurso Internacional María Canals de Barcelona (1997).
Posteriormente realiza un doctorado en musicología sobre las obras para piano de Luigi Nono bajo la supervisión de Wolfgang Motz, Jürg Stenzl y André Richard (Salzburgo/Venecia). 2002-2003, siguiendo un encargo de la Fundación Giorgio Cini (Venecia), completa el Concierto para Piano de Camillo Togni, obra que había quedado inconclusa tras la muerte del compositor. 2005-2009 realiza un posdoctorado abarcando la obra completa de Luigi Nono. 2009-2012 es artista-investigador en el Centro de Estudos de Sociologia e Estética Musical (CESEM) de la Universidade Nova de Lisboa, donde coordina la rama de investigación Composición, Interpretación, Experimentación. Actualmente es artista-investigador en el Instituto Orpheus de Gante (Bélgica), donde dirige una investigación relacionada con la experimentación en música, y con la fusión de reflexión y praxis en la actividad artística. En 2012 se le concede una subvención del European Research Council para el proyecto “Experimentación frente a Interpretación: explorando nuevos caminos en la ejecución de música del siglo XXI” (2013-2017).
Recientemente su arreglo para 4 grupos orquestales de la pieza originalmente para piano y electrónica ".....sofferte onde serene..." de Luigi Nono ha sido estrenado en Colonia por la orquesta de la WDR.

Manteniendo una actividad regular como pianista, y ocasionalmente como compositor, ha publicado también dos libros como autor (Luigi Nono’s Wende, Hoffheim: Wolke Verlag 2006; y Domani l’aurora. Ripristino ricostruttivo del Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra di Camillo Togni, Florence: Olschki 2004), y cuatro libros como editor, incluyendo dos colecciones de textos seleccionados de los compositores portugueses Jorge Peixinho y Emmanuel Nunes.

El Centro Superior KATARINA GURSKA (CSKG) va a llevar a cabo una serie de diez seminarios, junto a su actividad del Máster de Composición Instrumental Contemporánea (MCIC), que darán comienzo la primera semana de febrero de este curso 2015-16. Estarán impartidos por profesores invitados de reconocido prestigio internacional en la escena musical y, aunque están dirigidos a compositores, intérpretes o cualquier persona interesada en la música de creación actual, son seminarios abiertos a todo aquel que quiera tomar parte en ellos. Estos seminarios estarán impartidos por 4 compositores, 3 intérpretes y 3 musicólogos. Los impartidos por compositores e intérpretes serán de 8 horas de duración, mientras que los impartidos por musicólogos serán de 12 horas. 

Precio por seminario para alumnos, ex-alumnos y profesores CSKG: 80€

Precio para público general: 120€ 

Por un lado, el impartido por compositores contará con la presencia de Beat Furrer, Pierluigi Billone, Chaya CzernowinyVoro García, quienes trabajarán en la introducción a su lenguaje y técnica musical. El de intérpretes estará impartido por el violista Christophe Desjardins, la fagotista Lorelei Dowling y el percusionista Christian Dierstein quienes incidirán en los recursos técnico-sonoros en la música contemporánea. Por último, el seminario impartido por musicólogos contará con Till Knipper que hablará sobre microtonalidad, José Luis Besada sobre formalización y modelización musical y Paulo de Assis sobre Arte Comprometido y Arte Puro.

Todos tendrán lugar en la sede del CSKG de la Calle Sta. Engracia, 181, de Madrid durante los fines de semana de 11 a 15h y 16:30 a 20:30 los sábados, y de 10 a 14h los domingos, siendo el calendario lectivo el siguiente:

6 de febrero: Chaya Czernowin

20 de febrero: Pierluigi Billone

12 y 13 de marzo: Paulo de Assis

2 y 3 de abril: José Luis Besada

23 y 24 de abril: Till Knipper

7 de mayo: Christian Dierstein

28 de mayo: Beat Furrer

11 de junio: Christophe Desjardins

2 de julio: Lorelei Dowling

9 y 10 de julio: Voro García

Más información en Centro Superior Katarina Gurska


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