Together with the amazing Pascal Gielen and Rebecca Diependaele, I am more than thrilled to announce that my first book will be published in the coming weeks. Here is a copy of the cover designed by the one and only Joram De Cocker.
Thank you to Nadar for everything and especially this time for the great publishing work! Thank you to Michael Beil for the inspiring piece! And thank you to INSAM for allowing us to rework and republish this essay.
Existing and new video and electronica works are linked in a surprising way in a single, uninterrupted grand tour.
In our ever more virtual world, the boundaries between indoors and outdoors are becoming increasingly blurred. In Der Wanderer 2.0, a new, full-evening multimedia performance from Stefan Prins and Nadar Ensemble, you’ll have the opportunity to experience this first-hand. Not only will Prins go with you on a stroll in and around DE SINGEL, but also through his oeuvre. Existing and new compositions with video and electronics are linked in a surprising way in a single, uninterrupted grand tour.
This article traces the creative process of six to five, a work for 20 guitarists with a special role for the conductor, premiered by the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp’s guitar ensemble. I commissioned the American composer Jessie Marino as part of research into the role of the instrumentalised conductor. The article explores the ways in which Marino deployed the conductor to meet her artistic goals, testing at each step the extent to which her utilisation rises to the level of instrumentalisation. Applying political theories offered by, among others, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, the article also considers the extent to which Marino deployed the conductor as a tactical leader in both the rehearsal process and the performance of six to five.
It’s been a while since my last post, so this may be longer than usual. It has been quite the spring and I have a lot to cover!
First off – Nadar Ensemble – what an amazing and crazy whirlwind of concerts, trips, and composer’s schools in no less than 8 cities in 6 countries across 2 continents. We first went to Keil, Germany to play our now well-routined Doppelgänger program at the Frequenz festival. This program includes Jodlowski’s solo trombone piece, OUTERSPACE in which I got to play really close to the public – I mean audience-nervously-thinking-about-holding-their-ears-close! Our band then made is US debut as the 2022 Fromm residents at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. We were invited to work closely with the PhD-composition students on new pieces written especially for our ensemble. Personally this concert was quite touching because not only did I learn how to use a CD-mute (it sounds wild!), my parents made the trip up to see us play. How wonderful it was wonderful to present this ensemble and my friends to my family. After Harvard it was back to the capital city of Europe for a rock-n-roll-style concert at Das Haus followed closely on its heels by our family show at Côte Jardin in De Bijloke, Ghent. And that was just May! In June, we first flew to Athens, Greece to play our newest (and fanciest!) version of FITTINGinSIDE, by Stefan Prins at the annual DARIAH-EU event. Then Nadar repeated my PhD-program, HANDS ON (hands off) to an incredibly appreciative crowd at the INMM conference in Darmstadt, Germany. Afterwards we headed off to Paris, France to play Pierre Jodlowski’s thrilling and enrapturing chamber opera Alan T.) at the Philharmonie. The last stop on our blizt across Europe was in beautiful and charming (and hot!) Plasencia, Spain. There we once again were invited as artists-in-residence for a composer’s school. This one was put on by the really hip Klexos Ensemble.
While I was in the States in May, I got the chance to work with an old school friend of my on an improvisation project, the amazing and unstoppable saxophonist, Tyrone Fredericks. He introduced me to another great musician from the Lehigh Valley, drummer Kevin Soffera. Together we spent a day in Kevin’s basement studio playing Ty’s numbers and putting together a cool little recording we hope to bring out by the end of the year. More on that later.
And lastly, I just finished off my first year as chair of the brass section at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. It was a year in which I felt like I was playing catch up constantly, but am grateful to my colleagues within the section and my fellow chairs for their help along the way and especially their patience. The brass group is full of great players and teachers, and most importantly, we all seem to share a collective vision. I must be doing something right because at the end of the year, not only did the school renew my brass position, they also asked me to act as chair of the research group Performance Practice in Perspective as well as teach two courses in Artistic Research. I am very much looking forward to the challenge both functions will present and am really grateful that I can continue pursuing my own research in the arts at this institution.
Roughly 10 years ago, I was welcomed into Nadar ensemble and shortly thereafter invited to conduct the group in a tour in Russia. What a trip! Now a decade later, I once again get to stand in front of my Nadarian friends and this time to defend my PhD. With my most heartfelt I wishes, I welcome you all to attend.
Over the last seven decades, the role of the conductor has evolved in new music ensembles that perform integrated concerts. It was problematized by John Cage; doubled (or split) by Charles Ives, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Mark Applebaum; manipulated by Thierry De Mey, Simon Steen-Andersen, and Stefan Prins; instrumentalized by Alexander Schubert, Alexander Khubeev, Michael Maierhof, and Pieter Matthynssens; and deployed tactically by Serge Verstockt, Jessie Marino, and Carl Rosman. For these composers and artistic directors and others in their genre, the presence of the conductor is no secondary phenomenon of the music, by an affirmative and active choice to deploy one to meet specific artistic and/or socioeconomic needs. The systematic study of this relatively new and developing situation allowed me to find tools and methods for forming the required piece-specific performance practices with the aim of better functioning as a tactical and curated conductor.
In a program with pieces by Serge Verstockt, Alexander Khubeev, Alexander Schubert and a world premiere by Jennifer Walshe, I will seek to defend my artistic findings into the Instrumentalization of the conductor in new music ensembles.
On the occasion of the World Humanist Day, Nadar has been asked to play Stefan Prins’ awesome ‘FITTINGinSIDE’ for trombone, soundtrack, walking audience, smartphone and Zoom conference call – with yours truly on the old trombone!
In case you missed it, yesterday evening’s Odysseia concert ‘Speechless Song’ was broadcast on Klara Live. The program centers around Luc Brewaeys’ famous work for soprano and crotales, once infamously written for the Queen Elizabeth competition.
I had the pleasure of conducting this group of fantastic musicians and soloists for two of the pieces on the program, both by Brewaeys: Painted Pyramids and the ensemble version of Speechless Song.
Bravo to all involved and especially to the soloists, Lieselot De Wilde and Frederik Croene!
On Sunday at 14h (CEST) Matrix [Centre for New Music] will broadcast Mátyás Wettl’s Nocturne played by Nadar Ensemble and Thierry De Mey’s Light Music performed by Centre Henri Pousseur and me! What a cool – or should I say, hot and enlightening – program!
The lamps for Nocturne have been made by the students from the SLAC/Fine Arts Academy in Leuven. And you can get a preview of those beauties by visiting Matrix’s online exhibition here: https://matrix-new-music.be/nl/lightmusic/
This performance of Light Music represents a huge amount of work done by Xavier Meeus and Patrick Delges of Centre Henri Pousseur who have taken charge of the technical revision of the piece. They have done an incredible job. It has also been really important to my own artistic research – and it’s a ton of fun to perform!