Video: union|haze

Back in May, ensemble mosaik gave a beautiful live-stream performance of union|haze as part of forma Leipzig’s 10th anniversary festivities alongside works by Alberto Posadas, Kelley Sheehan, Kai Johannes Polzhofer, and Liza Lim. union|haze as well as the pieces by Kelley and Kai are still available to watch on YouTube.

Bad Language

“I bought a fog”
to consternation say

Across the lab a perplex gaze

He can’t tell
If it was me or something fatter
That brokered language to this point

I hear that they are ceding rain over Siberia
And at the lake
Hourly clouds draw crowds

All I wanted was to brew tea

and speak my joy
A wait of coin is falling from the sky

In Positano

I have just arrived at the Fondazione Orfeo in Positano, Italy, for a four-week residency where I will be working on music for ensemble mosaik to be premiered in September. If I can stop staring at the sea, I might actually get round to doing some work.

A view of the sea from a high terrace; haze blurs the boundary between sea and sky.

Progetto Positano 2021

Progetto Positano logo.

It was a lovely surprise last year to receive a phone call from ensemble mosaik’s Lisa Nolte, asking if I would take part in their fellowship programme Progetto Positano in 2021. In a year marked by cancellations and professional uncertainty, having this project to look forward to was more important than ever and I’m excited to continue our collaboration that last produced I began the day inside the world trying to look at it, but it was lying on my face, making it hard to see.

Since 2017, in partnership with the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, ensemble mosaik has been offering composers the opportunity to spend a month working on their music at the Wilhelm Kempff Kulturstiftung’s Casa Orfeo in Positano, Italy, and to collaborate with the ensemble’s musicians, with the results presented in an autumn concert in Berlin.

mosaik have worked flat out throughout these difficult months to keep performing safely wherever possible, so against the odds they were able to give their 2020 Progetto Positano concert in October, featuring music by Wojtek Blecharz and Sara Glojnarić. It was a magical concert — a magic only partly attributable to it being the first concert I had attended in six months — beautifully balancing the two composers’ very different musical worlds, making full use of the spatial opportunities offered by the St. Elisabeth-Kirche, and framing each piece with electronics and video to draw my attention fluidly through the whole experience.

To give a flavour, here is Sara Glojnarić’s phenomenal #popfem 2, which cuts footage from the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas with the same rapid-fire energy that her music displays, simultaneously deploying the archive material as a means to bear witness and subverting it to make her own forceful point.

It will be a challenge contributing to a concert as well put together as October’s, but I look forward to attempting to do so and sharing this platform with fellow composer Liisa Hirsch and all of ensemble mosaik’s musicians.

Broadcast: this line comes from the past on Austrian radio

Last week’s edition of Zeit-Ton on Ö1 (Austrian radio) broadcast live recordings of the impuls International Composition Competition concert from February with Klangforum Wien and Ilan Volkov in Graz. This includes the premiere of this line comes from the past alongside new works by Jung-Eun Park, Hakan Ulus, Timothy McCormack, and Nuno Costa, plus a claim that I’m from the United States.

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