Tag Archives: Composer

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed a passion for jazz and even recorded an album in New York (1958), alongside jazz greats like Chet Baker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. At the time, the New Wave was definitively embarking upon its revival of French cinema. Michel Legrand worked with Jean Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jean Paul Rappeneau …

In the 1960s, he met Jacques Demy, whom he was to collaborate with on 9 films, including “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (1964), which won the Palme d’or at Cannes, “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” (1967) and “Peau d’Âne” in 1970. History will recall that the script, lyrics and score of the “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” and of “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” were conceived in the Valais resort of Verbier.

“A musical giant, a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor!”

Michel Legrand then moved to Hollywood where he won three Oscars for the score of Norman Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1969) with the hit “The Windmills of Your Mind”. He repeated this feat in 1972 for Robert Mulligan’s “Summer of ‘42”, and in 1984 for Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl”. At the same time, he recorded with international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour, Ella Fitzgerald, Claude Nougaro, and more recently, Nathalie Dessay.

In March 2018, I had the privilege of overseeing his composition for Orson Wells’ unpublished last film, “The Other Side of the Wind”, for Netflix. Anecdotally, in a notebook accompanying this unfinished drama, the heirs of the great American filmmaker discovered an inscription with instructions from beyond the grave: “Call Michel Legrand!”

After 20 years of collaboration with Michel Legrand, I will remember him as a musical giant – a genius of a composer, jazzman and conductor.

www.michellegrandofficial.com

Michel Legrand joined SUISA as a member in 1998. In 2002, at the Locarno Film Festival, the French composer was honoured for his life’s work by FONDATION SUISA, SUISA’s foundation for the promotion of music.
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Michel Legrand died on January 26th 2019. He was 86. The composer leaves behind a prestigious career spanning 60 years that earned him a worldwide reputation. The maestro with a fiery temperament conducted his life by the baton. Obituary by Bertrand Liechti, member of the Board of SUISA

Michel Legrand, a life for music

Michel Legrand, here on 17 May 2017, before the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, had been a member of SUISA since 1998. (Photo: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)

Michel Legrand was born in 1932, in Menilmontant, a suburb of Paris, into a family of musicians: his father, Raymond Legrand, was a composer and conductor, his uncle was the conductor Jacques Hélian (Der Mikaëlian). He studied the piano, the trumpet and composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, in the class of Nadia Boulanger. He developed...read more

“Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA made four “Get Going!” and one “Carte Blanche” grants for the first time. A “Get Going!” start-up funding of CHF 25,000 each is allocated to Beat Gysin, Bertrand Denzler, Michael Künstle and the Duo Eclecta. The “Carte Blanche” amounting to CHF 80,000 is bestowed to Cécile Marti. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

Composer Cécile Marti is awarded the «Carte Blanche» of FONDATION SUISA which is allocated every two years. (Photo: Ingo Höhn)

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA intends to react quickly to the fast-changing music scene. In the “inbetween” area, i.e. away from common genre, age or project categories, creative and artistic processes take place which threaten to end up in no man’s land when it comes to the current application process.

As a consequence, four “Get Going!” contributions with CHF 25,000 each have been offered as awards in June, for the first time. “With this annual bidding process, we try to locate creative places and artistic visions which deserve to be funded” said Urs Schnell, FONDATION SUISA MD. “As a consequence, the competition is kept open deliberately.”

With more than 90 bids, the “Get Going!” contributions have had an enormous response among music creators. “The expert jury hasn’t made it too easy for itself to select four recipients from the many highly interesting bids”, Schnell adds. From the description of the artistic purposes that are now funded, it is easy to gauge what this type of start-up funding actually is all about. “At the end of the day, music is about discovering new worlds time and again, to render items audible and tangible and to fathom new perspectives” according to Schnell.

“Get Going!” contributions 2018

The composer Beat Gysin, for example, creates architectonic spaces in the course of his “Leichtbautenreihe” (series of light structures), where unusual audio situations enable the listener new ways to perceive music. Gysin thus investigates the dynamic possibilities resulting from the relationship between space, music and the recipient/listener.

“Space” is also a concept that Michael Künstle is interested in. The composer of film and concert music pairs orchestral tradition with modern innovation in terms of composition and recording in order to create a space composition which becomes accessible in the form of a three-dimensional listening experience.

Saxophonist and composer Bertrand Denzler, on the other hand, locates new compository possibilities via a deliberate non-allocation of his creations to spaces. With a “migrating residence”, he attempts an improvisatory and compository exchange with foreign cultures. The constant dialogue with ever-changing influences is intended to show the way which eventually flows into compository results.

Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher, aka Duo Eclecta, are strolling through interdisciplinary terrain. The singers, performers, multi-instrumentalists, producers and composers collaborate continually with other art forms in order to create new audible, visible and sensible worlds of experience.

“Carte Blanche” to Cécile Marti

The “Carte Blanche amounting to CHF 80,000 which is not offered as part of a bidding process but directly awarded by an expert jury every other year, is intended to enable music creators to focus on their artistic progress without suffering from financial pressures.

Those who have followed the creative career of Cécile Marti over the last years know that the artist originating from Zurich is a worthy recipient of this “Carte Blanche”. Especially her orchestra cycle, “Seven Towers” in 7 parts and for 120 musicians, which had its première concert performed by the SOBS orchestra in Biel in 2016, and has since its inception also been performed by the Berne Symphony Orchestra, the Geneva Camerata and the Basel Sinfonietta, has caused a sensation.

Simultaneously, Marti graduated with a dissertation on musical time course. The “Carte Blanche” now enables her to transfer her initial research in this area into an artistic context. Explored courses of time shall be made visible with the aid of a ballet and by way of sculptures (Marti is also a stone sculptor).

www.fondation-suisa.ch

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As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA made four “Get Going!” and one “Carte Blanche” grants for the first time. A “Get Going!” start-up funding of CHF 25,000 each is allocated to Beat Gysin, Bertrand Denzler, Michael Künstle and the Duo Eclecta. The “Carte Blanche” amounting to CHF 80,000 is bestowed to Cécile Marti. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time

Composer Cécile Marti is awarded the «Carte Blanche» of FONDATION SUISA which is allocated every two years. (Photo: Ingo Höhn)

As part of its new funding policy, FONDATION SUISA intends to react quickly to the fast-changing music scene. In the “inbetween” area, i.e. away from common genre, age or project categories, creative and artistic processes take place which threaten to end up in no man’s land when it comes to the current application...read more

“SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

The programme of the Murten Classics Festival included a full day of contemporary music on 25 August 2018 as part of the concert series “Offen für Neues”. The concert day, supported by SUISA and recorded by Radio SRF 2 Kultur, met with a positive response all round. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Belenus Quartett: “SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

In the third and final concert of the “Offen für Neues” series on 25 August 2018 at the Murten Classics Festival, the Belenus Quartet performed works by Daniel Schnyder, Cécile Marti, Iris Szeghy and Marco Antonio Perez-Ramirez. (Photo: Willi Piller)

The programme for this outstanding day of concerts at the Murten Classics Festival began early, with guests arriving in numbers at the Kultur im Beaulieu (KiB) concert hall in Murten in time for the opening speech by the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret at 10:00 am. The three-concert series, featuring works by 13 contemporary composers, attracted interest from far beyond the region’s borders. In a review published two days after the event, the “Freiburger Nachrichten” wrote: “There was hardly a spare seat inside the cultural centre.”

The festival guide had announced the SUISA-supported day of concerts in the “Offen für Neues” series as “a day of encounter”. This proved to be true in several respects on the day itself on Saturday, 25 August 2018: thanks to the wide range of works performed, the audience had a chance to discover the tonal variety of the contemporary compositions. Many of the composers whose pieces were played had travelled to Murten themselves, where they provided insights into their musical philosophy in short introductory speeches. The musicians in attendance also engaged in lively discussions during the breaks between the three concerts.

Well organised, interpreted and integrated

One of the ideas behind the day was “not to try and impress with premières, but instead to show a broad musical spectrum”, explained Roman Brotbeck, who as the moderator guided the audience through the programme. Andreas Zurbriggen praised this approach in his review in “Schweizer Musikzeitung” (September/October 2018). According to him, there are enough world premières, but the same cannot be said of second and third performances of contemporary pieces. Zurbriggen believes the organisers succeeded in their aim, with the artistic director, Kaspar Zehnder, demonstrating his talent for putting together a programme and “allowing different worlds to collide”. “And the interpretations, such as those of the Belenus Quartet, the pianist Gilles Grimaître and Ensemble mit vier, were of a very high standard”, wrote the reviewer in the same article.

The review of the concert day in the “Freiburger Nachrichten” concluded by saying: “It’s good that there is a place for these kinds of experiments in the festival programme alongside the popular concerts.” The ambitious “Offen für Neues” one-day project of the Murten Classics Festival and SUISA met with a positive response all round, as also shown by the feedback from the participants below.

In its programme “Neue Musik im Konzert” on Wednesday, 7 November 2018 at 9 pm, Radio SRF 2 Kultur will play excerpts from the three concerts held on 25 August 2018.

Katrin Frauchiger

In her short introductory speech, composer Katrin Frauchiger from Berne explained her piece “Mare nostrum” for flute and string trio, which was subsequently played in concert. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Katrin Frauchiger, composer and singer, lecturer HSLU:

“As a composer, I greatly appreciate the joint commitment made by Murten Classics and SUISA in hosting an entire day of contemporary music. The organisers’ courage in sending out an important message within the context of the Murten Festival paid off in every respect: the event attracted a large audience of extremely interested people who were open to new music.
Three fresh, carefully curated concerts were presented with a speech and introduction, and each had an inspiring theme for the listener: Waves from another world / Immigration-Emigration / Roots and great places. In a conversation with Roman Brotbeck, I had the opportunity to personally introduce my piece ‘Mare Nostrum’ and thus open the door to a beautiful performance of my music. The other composers present also had the same opportunity. The interaction between the audience and the composers was equally valuable, some of whom had travelled from afar.”

Irene Minder-Jeanneret

“An architect can make a living from their compositions, but this is hardly true for a composer”, said the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret during the opening speech, going on to explain why Swiss music artists deserve more recognition. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret, musicologist, member of the Dictionary of Music in Switzerland steering group:

“SUISA Day offered a valuable and rare tour of both the music industry and the cultural-political significance of music in Switzerland. It illustrated the gap between the lively and exceptional musical reality in our country and the lack of political recognition. Although a third of the population is actively involved in making music, Switzerland is still not perceived as a musical country. Creating, making, teaching, distributing and documenting music are equal facets of an important cultural sector, and they deserve to be recognised, promoted and made known at all political levels. Just as in the film industry, there are some activities in the musical field that cannot be supported by the cantons alone.
As a member of the Dictionary of Music in Switzerland steering group, SUISA Day gave me a unique opportunity to talk to participants from all areas of music. Without doubt, the event also helped to raise awareness of the individual concerns.”

Kaspar Zehnder

The artistic director of the Murten Classics Festival, Kaspar Zehnder, also played the flute at SUISA Day. (Photo: Willi Piller)

Kaspar Zehnder, artistic director of Murten Classics and curator of the first ‘SUISA Day’ on 25 August 2018:

“The heterogeneity and diversity of the programme made for an interesting and exciting day. Through combination of a wide variety of aesthetics, it provided the perfect stage for the audience, composers, presenters and performers to engage in lively discussions, or to enjoy a slice of Murten cream cake and a glass of red wine from Vully in rapt silence.
At the very least, SUISA Day should become a biennial tradition at the Murten Classics.”

www.murtenclassics.ch

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The programme of the Murten Classics Festival included a full day of contemporary music on 25 August 2018 as part of the concert series “Offen für Neues”. The concert day, supported by SUISA and recorded by Radio SRF 2 Kultur, met with a positive response all round. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Belenus Quartett: “SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success

In the third and final concert of the “Offen für Neues” series on 25 August 2018 at the Murten Classics Festival, the Belenus Quartet performed works by Daniel Schnyder, Cécile Marti, Iris Szeghy and Marco Antonio Perez-Ramirez. (Photo: Willi Piller)

The programme for this outstanding day of concerts at the Murten Classics Festival began early, with guests arriving in numbers at the Kultur im Beaulieu (KiB) concert hall in Murten in time for the opening speech by the musicologist Dr. Irène Minder-Jeanneret...read more

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find the entrance examination he took to join the society as an author in 1947. Yes, it’s true: at that time all new members had to pass an entrance exam! It is particularly moving to read the lyrics to a song called “Si je voulais”, corrected by SACEM in red ink.

It’s a powerful reminder of the steps taken by Charles Aznavour, son of Armenian immigrants, on his path from obscurity to global fame. One cannot help but see this journey as a hymn to the openness of our modern societies to the constant acceptance and awareness that cultures are enriched by these ties. At this very moment, a “Charles Aznavour” of tomorrow might be on a boat crossing the Mediterranean.

Today, Aznavour’s gravelly voice and his songs, with their distinctive words and melodies, are a part of who we are, our collective identity. His work is part of our “today” and his career is a message of hope to all creators.

Words are always pale in comparison with the power of musical expression. They cannot convey how deeply grateful we are at SUISA to have handled rights management for Charles Aznavour. This is truly an immense honour and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to his loved ones.

www.aznavourfoundation.org

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Charles Aznavour joined SUISA in 1976 and was one of our best-known members. The countless tributes on TV, radio and in the press around the world since his death are a reminder, if one was necessary, of the scale of his legend. They can also teach us a few important lessons. Obituary by Xavier Dayer, President of SUISA

Charles Aznavour’s songs are part of our collective identity

Charles Aznavour, pictured at the Teatro Regio di Parma on 30 October 2009, wrote lyrics and music for innumerable chansons over the course of his career. (Photo: Fabio Diena / Shutterstock)

As a singer and performer, Charles Aznavour was a genius, yet he was also an extraordinary composer and lyricist and he highlighted this essential aspect of his activities time and time again.

In the public archives of French authors’ rights society SACEM, we can find...read more

“A Cello talks like a human”

Apart from his activities as a paediatrician, Dr. Beat Richner has been a musician all of his life. From 1972 onwards, he performed under the pseudonym “Beaotcello”. For his poetic and cabaret music programmes, he wrote music and lyrics of several works himself. The long-term SUISA member passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 09 September 2018 at the age of 71. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Beat Richner: “A Cello talks like a human”

The paediatrician who played music, Dr. Beat Richner – here a production image from the movie “L’Ombrello di Beatocello” by Georges Gachot – had been a SUISA member since 1978. (Photo: Gachot Films / www.lombrellodibeatocello.com)

Beat Richner was born on 13 March 1947 and grew up in Zurich. After taking his baccalaureat, he dedicated himself to music for a year. The 19-year-old publicly performed a programme called “Träumerei eines Nachtwächters” (Musings of a night watchman). During his subsequent studies of medicine, he developed the character of the music clown “Beatocello”. Beat Richner became known in the Swiss cabaret scene under said pseudonym. In the context of his humanitarian engagement in Cambodia, the paediatrician-musician also attracted interest abroad.

In 1978, Beat Richner became a SUISA member. He was the composer and lyricist of songs which he wrote mainly for the Beatocello music programmes. His compositions carry titles such as “Chatz und Muus” (cat and mouse), “SʼTröpfli” (the droplet), “Zirkus” (circus), “Doctor PC” (doctor PC), or “Dong und Deng” (Dong and Deng) and have been recorded onto various CDs. Other recordings feature the cello player as a performer of works by Bach, Vivaldi and Bruch.

The cello was a loyal companion for Dr. Beat Richner. In an interview with the “Schweizer Illustrierten”, he mentioned that he played the instrument for 30 to 40 minutes every day. That way, he would stay fit to play during concerts which he held each Saturday in Siam Rep for visitors from all over the world in order to inform about the hospitals he founded and to raise donations. “A cello does talk like a human then”, Beat Richner said during the interview. “A simple, a warm and comforting voice.”

www.beat-richner.ch

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  1. Dodo Leo says:

    An Beatocello erinnere ich mich oft, immer wieder gerne und, als wenn es gestern gewesen wäre, dass ich seine Lieder gehört habe.
    Das trifft es aber eigentlich nicht ganz, viel mehr war Hr. Richners Figur eine ständige und haltgebende Begleitung meiner Kindheit. Der Umstand, warum ich seiner Musik und Geschichten als Kind begegnete, kommt daher, dass ein erheblicher Teil dieser Kindheit – vor allem in der früheren Phase – im Kinderspital stattfand. Ich hatte ein kleines, silbergraues Kassettengerät, mit dem man nur vorwärt spulen konnte, und das ein bisschen schepperte. Das machte mir nichts aus, denn was ich hörte, war viel mehr als Musik. Es waren Gefühle des Trostes, Linderung der Angst.
    Wenn Hr. Richner in dem Interview mit der »Schweizer Illustrierten« davon sprach, das Cello würde “sprechen wie ein Mensch”, dann kann ich das nur bestätigen. Für mich war es ganz genau so, ich erinnere mich gut. Einmal, so meine ich mich jedenfalls ebenfalls erinnern zu können, war er sogar bei uns auf der Station. Aber, vielleicht ist das auch Wunschdenken eines Erwachsenen, der sich wünscht, es wäre damals so gewesen. Irgendwie war er sowieso immer da.
    Ich halte inne und senke mein Haupt, verbeuge mich in tiefer Annerkennung und Dankbarkeit an einen selbstlosen Mann, der mir und vielen anderen im Leben so viel gegeben hat und sage; Danke Hr. Richner.
    Dodo Leo

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Apart from his activities as a paediatrician, Dr. Beat Richner has been a musician all of his life. From 1972 onwards, he performed under the pseudonym “Beaotcello”. For his poetic and cabaret music programmes, he wrote music and lyrics of several works himself. The long-term SUISA member passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 09 September 2018 at the age of 71. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Beat Richner: “A Cello talks like a human”

The paediatrician who played music, Dr. Beat Richner – here a production image from the movie “L’Ombrello di Beatocello” by Georges Gachot – had been a SUISA member since 1978. (Photo: Gachot Films / www.lombrellodibeatocello.com)

Beat Richner was born on 13 March 1947 and grew up in Zurich. After taking his baccalaureat, he dedicated himself to music for a year. The 19-year-old publicly performed a programme...read more

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

By placing four Swiss composers in the limelight on Wednesday 21 March 2018, Festival Archipel demonstrated that Swiss composers are still very present in contemporary music. Text by guest author Sébastien Cayet

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

Katharina Rosenberger, a Swiss composer who was born in Zurich and works in the US, and festival director Marc Texier at the introductory discussion for the “Swiss Concert Evening“ at the Festival Archipel on 21 March 2018 in Geneva. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

With the support of SUISA, the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers, Archipel proposed an evening in two parts. In cooperation with SUISA, Marc Texier, General Manager of the Festival, invited Swiss composers Katharina Rosenberger and Michael Pelzel for a pre-concert interview. This was a good opportunity to hear about their activities, influences, composition methods and projects.

The least one can say is that their influences are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Katharina Rosenberger draws her musical references from the Renaissance, namely Willaert and De Rore in particular, while Michael Pelzel willingly avows that, in his piece he used Indian and African techniques to create a contrast between western and non-European music, and between tradition and innovation. The range of their activities does not, however, stop at composition; one teaches in the United States, the other plays the organ.

This means that neither of them have to rely solely on composing for their livelihood; they agree that the surge in streaming, is eliminating – or strongly eroding – CDs and live shows, which are an important source of income for them. Fortunately for the composers, SUISA is committed to safeguarding their copyrights, and makes sure they are remunerated when their compositions are performed.

Swiss creations and international creations

After the interview, the concert was ready to start. Four pieces are on the programme: two Swiss creations, namely “Tempi agitati“ by Katharina Rosenberger and “Ante Litteram“ by Oscar Bianchi, and two international creations, namely “Etüdienbuch zu Diabelli“ by Michael Pelzel and “Präludien Buch 1-4“ by Mischa Käser.

The Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, a German vocal ensemble, performed a customised repertoire composed especially for them. They had already performed the piece by Oscar Bianchi in 2012 and that by Katharina Rosenberger in 2016.

In “Tempi agitati“ – performed in an abridged version that evening – Katharina Rosenberger creates contrasted settings thanks to alternating aesthetics and a staging based on the acoustics and architecture of the concert hall. The performance starts in the dark. The soloists are sitting among the audience. Suddenly, one of them starts a dialogue of onomatopoeia. With precision, the vocalists answer, wait for and interrupt one another. They then come together on stage and strike up a polyphonic song in Renaissance style, with a nod to Adrian Willaert and Cipriano de Rore.

In revisiting the music of the Renaissance, the composer is seeking the natural sound of the voice. The voices of the soloists are pure, linear and without artifice – but not without emotion. The beginning of “Tempi agitati“ is characteristic of the piece; the singers move about the room, alternate and juxtapose the aesthetics, tempi and characters, and finish like they started: in the dark, offstage and non visible to the audience.

Each musical effect has a meaning

In “Ante Litteram“, Oscar Bianchi is inspired by David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest“ and Nietzsche’s “Antechrist“ where he finds “the same empathy and lucidity in the exploration of the reasons preventing man from achieving deeper self-knowledge and self-awareness”. The piece has three underlying themes: evil, morality and salvation, and each musical effect has a meaning.

After a beginning spoken in homorhythm, the voices stagger out slowly, adopting different rhythms and renditions, like clear and coherent thought which becomes lost in the meanders of the mind. The dissonance between the sopranos, for example, evokes pain, the imitated laughter tends towards absurdity, while the variations in pace run parallel to the variation of our own internal agitation.

Diabelli, in the work of Michael Pelzel, refers neither to the composer Anton Diabelli, nor to Beethoven’s “Diabelli variations“. “Etüdenbuch zu Diabelli“ for six voices a cappella is based on a story by Hermann Burger in which a magician decides to put an end to his life as an artist. The studies, which can be sung in random order, play on the rhythms provoked by the synchronisation and desynchronisation of the voices. Moreover, the tempi are sometimes superimposed, with the female and male voices beating to different pulsations so that the voices enter into opposition.

Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart lived up to expectations

To end the evening, Mischer Käser’s “Präludien Buch 1-4“ was rich in musical elements: superposed effects – spoken voice, operatic cell, rhythmic cell – rendering the voices independent from each other, dramatisation, with sighing, breathing and perfectly synchronised surprise effects. The composer wanted “exotic song techniques to cohabit with familiar sounds and make them alien”. Surprise and originality are the characteristic features of the work, as well as the dichotomy between the western form of the prelude and the “exotic techniques” used.

Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart lived up to our expectations; the apparent ease with which they performed the virtuoso repertoire was disconcerting. There is no question about their versatility in mastering the works, effects and even the aesthetics. The performance highlighted the perfect understanding and osmosis between the members of the group which enables them to grasp every aspect of these virtuoso works and transcend them in their interpretation.

www.archipel.org

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By placing four Swiss composers in the limelight on Wednesday 21 March 2018, Festival Archipel demonstrated that Swiss composers are still very present in contemporary music. Text by guest author Sébastien Cayet

Swiss creations at Festival Archipel

Katharina Rosenberger, a Swiss composer who was born in Zurich and works in the US, and festival director Marc Texier at the introductory discussion for the “Swiss Concert Evening“ at the Festival Archipel on 21 March 2018 in Geneva. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

With the support of SUISA, the Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers, Archipel proposed an evening in two parts. In cooperation with SUISA, Marc Texier, General Manager of the Festival, invited Swiss composers Katharina Rosenberger and Michael Pelzel for a pre-concert interview. This was a good opportunity to hear about their activities, influences, composition methods and projects.

The least...read more

Applications for the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018

SUISA organises another Songwriting Camp together with Pele Loriano Productions. The second SUISA Songwriting Camp will be held between 18 and 20 June 2018. SUISA members can apply to participate. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Applications for the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018

The SUISA Songwriting Camp is taking place for a second time in June 2018. Above, a group shot of participants is shown, taken at the Powerplay Studios during the successful première of the Songwriting Camp in August 2017. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The SUISA Songwriting Camp takes place for a second time after its successful première in the summer of 2017 (4 songs from the camp made it to the Swiss ESC final, among them the winning song “Stones”). This year, the Songwriting Camp will be held between Monday 18 and Wednesday 20 June 2018. Planned venue for the event are the Powerplay Studios in Maur near Zurich.

The goal of the Songwriting Camp is to compose pop songs, tailored for radio broadcasts and capable of storming the charts, with the potential to comprise all facets of temporary pop – in the range of “urban” to singer/songwriter. Resulting songs shall have the spectrum to be offered to publishers and artists from the pop scene and to be viable material for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Spaces for SUISA member participation

The exact number of participants’ spaces at the Songwriting Camp will only be made known once the exact set up of the participating songwriters has been completed. At least half of the participants’ spaces are available for SUISA members from all regions of Switzerland. SUISA members will benefit from the opportunity to compose pieces of music together with other professional songwriters from all over the world at the Songwriting Camp.

Participants are expected to exhibit well-versed musical competencies, team spirit, creativity and efficient working styles. Teams of 3-5 people are presented with the task to write a song from scratch within one day during the “songwriting sessions” – the result is a demo version of the completed piece in the evening.

In order to make this cooperation a success, participants must be able to retrieve their creative potential and be open for critique in the exchange with the co-composers. SUISA members Kate Northrop, Lars Christen, Chiara Dubey, Alejandro Reyes and the siblings Co & Stee Gfeller aka Zibbz report of their experience during last year’s SUISA Songwriting Camp in video interviews.

Applications for the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018

SUISA members may apply for participation in the Songwriting Camp. We are looking for producers, lyricists, composers and songwriters who wish to participate for one or several days at the SUISA Songwriting Camp.

Applications should contain:

  • a short biography;
  • meaningful reference songs (mp3 files or internet links);
  • contact infos (including valid e-mail addresses and phone numbers).

The applications with the documentation should be sent via e-mail, including the subject line “Application – SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018” to:
songwritingcamp (at) suisa (dot) ch
The deadline for applications is 8 April 2018.

Selection process and dates

International artists as well as participating SUISA members are selected by the artistic programme director of the Songwriting Camp. A harmonious mix of participants is paramount for the creative success of the “Songwriting Sessions”. Pele Loriano Productions are going to take on the artistic programme directorship on behalf of SUISA.

The artistic programme director will directly communicate any acceptance messages and invitations as well as further details on the participation at the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 by 31 May 2018.

There will be no mail-out of letters of rejection. If you have not received an acceptance message by 31 May 2018 you were not taken into consideration for the Songwriting Camp 2018. Please note that, at no time whatsoever, any claims arise to a participation in the event by sending in an application. There will also not be any correspondence in relation to the actual allocation of spaces. It is currently unconfirmed whether or not SUISA will continue to co-organise Songwriting Camps after June 2018.

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SUISA organises another Songwriting Camp together with Pele Loriano Productions. The second SUISA Songwriting Camp will be held between 18 and 20 June 2018. SUISA members can apply to participate. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Applications for the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018

The SUISA Songwriting Camp is taking place for a second time in June 2018. Above, a group shot of participants is shown, taken at the Powerplay Studios during the successful première of the Songwriting Camp in August 2017. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The SUISA Songwriting Camp takes place for a second time after its successful première in the summer of 2017 (4 songs from the camp made it to the Swiss ESC final, among them the winning song “Stones”). This year, the Songwriting Camp will be held between Monday 18 and Wednesday 20 June 2018. Planned venue for the event...read more

Julien-François Zbinden: 100 years’ old!

Julien-François Zbinden is a pianist, composer, writer and … 100 years’ old. On 11 November 2017, the honorary member of SUISA will celebrate his centennial birthday. For the occasion, the guest author Jean-Pierre Mathez has been invited to review the jubilarian’s life and work.

Julien-François Zbinden: 100 years' old!

Julien-François Zbinden, former President and now honorary member of SUISA will celebrate his 100th birthday on 11 November 2017 (Photo: Yvan Ischer)

Ford Model T year 1913. (Photo: Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock.com)

Julien-François Zbinden was born on 11 November 1917, nine years after the Ford T. He was a privileged and attentive witness to the extra-ordinary technological, artistic, moral and spiritual developments which revolutionised Man’s life on this planet during his lifetime.

His musical adventure started with his beloved piano. In his own words:

“Still today, it shares my passion for jazz music, and our complicity is enshrined in the album ‘The Last Call…?’ which I recorded when I was 93. ‘It’ is my instrument, my more than one century-old piano: a Blüthner Model 190, No. 89293, built in Leipzig in 1910, to which I dedicate this Opus 111 (titled ‘Blüthner-Variationen’, published by Editions Bim PNO67, Author’s note) which completes my series of works for the piano.”

Self-portrait, engraving on linoleum, 1937.

Julien-François Zbinden first earned his living as a bar pianist, passionately initiating himself to jazz and then to composition.

When he was 30, he started his career with the music department of Radio Suisse Romande, which he marked with his administrative imprint and open-mindedness until stepping down in 1982. Glorious years with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Fanfare Perce-Oreille, classical and popular choirs across French-speaking Switzerland, stars of “la chanson française”, jazz orchestras; he participated in and hosted on-air debates with talent and respect for the opinions of others. He brought numerous celebrities from the musical world to Lausanne: the RSR archives contain a wealth of live interviews and recordings with famous artists. He opened the RSR’s doors to all genres of quality music, irrigating a pluralist culture in the Romandie and other French-speaking countries.

When he was in his mid-fifties, he passed his aviator’s licence, reveling in the emotion of his aerial arabesques and the thrill of the miniaturised view of life on earth.

Julien-François Zbinden in front of a Piper L4, initiation to landing (Glacier des Diablerets, 11.12.1975). (Photo: ZvG)

Julien-François Zbinden at the piano, January 2017. (Photo: ZvG)

On reaching retirement age, Julien-François Zbinden left the RSR and devoted himself heart and soul to composing (he would write over one hundred works), to his friends, to travelling and writing (an impressive bibliography and two more recent books), not to forget recording two recent jazz albums on the piano (TCB Montreux).

He was President of the Association des Musiciens suisses (1973 to 1979) and of SUISA from 1987 to 1991.

Julien-François Zbinden is also a valuable living memory, a well of knowledge, a man of letters who has observed and analysed his times with great perspicacity. His musical works have been played worldwide and are published by major European publishing houses (since 1988, all his new works have been published in Switzerland by Editions Bim).

We hope that the Swiss musical world, in the Romandie in particular, will not forget this exceptional artist and will continue to pass on his works to future generations of musicians and music-lovers in our country.

Read (much) more about Julien-François Zbinden: www.jfzbinden.ch

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Julien-François Zbinden is a pianist, composer, writer and … 100 years’ old. On 11 November 2017, the honorary member of SUISA will celebrate his centennial birthday. For the occasion, the guest author Jean-Pierre Mathez has been invited to review the jubilarian’s life and work.

Julien-François Zbinden: 100 years' old!

Julien-François Zbinden, former President and now honorary member of SUISA will celebrate his 100th birthday on 11 November 2017 (Photo: Yvan Ischer)

Ford Model T year 1913. (Photo: Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock.com)

Julien-François Zbinden was born on 11 November 1917, nine years after the Ford T. He was a privileged and attentive witness to the extra-ordinary technological, artistic, moral and spiritual developments which revolutionised Man’s life on this planet during his lifetime.

His musical adventure started with his beloved piano. In his own words:

“Still today, it shares my passion for jazz music,...read more

Composition in time and space

On Saturday, 23 September 2017, during the Basel Biennale Zeiträume (‘spaces in time’), which unifies new music and architecture, one female and three male composers will discuss at an open platform how their works are created. Text by Erika Weibel

Composition in time and space

The Basel Biennale for new music and architecture hosts a composer panel under the title “creating spaces in time” on 23 September 2017 at 3.00pm. (Photo: Anna Katharina Scheidegger)

From 16 to 24 September 2017, Basel is opening its doors to an exciting listening experience: New music can be heard in the most unusual nooks and crannies of Basel’s alleys. Both young and old are invited to participate in this musical adventure. There is, for example, the indoor swimming pool performance of “Wasserspiel” (Compositions and improvisations for changing line-ups in the indoor swimming pool Spiegelfeld Binningen), but you can also enjoy the experience of an Alpine horn concert on the Basel Münsterplatz. Museums, towers, even cemeteries open their doors to the new music and provide the public with the opportunity to enjoy a completely new perception of time and space.

The festival Zeiträume stands out by commissioning composers to create works for pre-determined event spaces which will then have their première during the festival. The attentive listener does therefore not only benefit from listening to a variety of premières, but can witness which effect and impact the actual event space has had on the work of the composers.

Composer panel

A female and three male composers whose works have their premières during this year’s Biennale, will exchange their views during the public discussion “creating spaces in time” on 23 September 2017. How much have you been inspired by the event spaces in terms of composing your work? How do the works come into existence and for whom are they written? The composers speak of their work and provide information on their new works which they have created for the festival.

Free entrance – reservation required

Grab the opportunity to listen to the exchange of ideas among composers and to ask questions. You are also cordially invited to the ensuing aperitif where you can join in the continuation of philosophical conversations on the topic of creating compositions in time and space.

Werkraum Warteck PP / Restaurant Don Camillo, Burgweg 7, 4058 Basel
23 September, 3.00pm
Panel participants: Beat Gysin, Junghae Lee, Mario Pagliarani, Balthasar Streiff
Presentation: Bernhard Günther

Further information and a programme of the festival Zeiträume can be accessed at: www.zeitraeumebasel.com

The composers’ panel will be presented by SUISA.

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On Saturday, 23 September 2017, during the Basel Biennale Zeiträume (‘spaces in time’), which unifies new music and architecture, one female and three male composers will discuss at an open platform how their works are created. Text by Erika Weibel

Composition in time and space

The Basel Biennale for new music and architecture hosts a composer panel under the title “creating spaces in time” on 23 September 2017 at 3.00pm. (Photo: Anna Katharina Scheidegger)

From 16 to 24 September 2017, Basel is opening its doors to an exciting listening experience: New music can be heard in the most unusual nooks and crannies of Basel’s alleys. Both young and old are invited to participate in this musical adventure. There is, for example, the indoor swimming pool performance of “Wasserspiel” (Compositions and improvisations for changing line-ups in the indoor swimming...read more

Career and calling | plus video

How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse into the expansive range of topics which were discussed. Further presentations during this first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle”, the organisation of which was supported by SUISA, were given by: Johannes Knapp – Director of the STV/ASM (Association of Swiss Musicians), Damien Pousset – Founder of the Aeon label, François Passard (Director) und Alain Renaud (Head of the production studio) of L’Abri, Lucas Fagin – composer and co-director of Babelscores, Bruno Serrou – music critic and Marie-Christine Papillon – Director of Papillon publishing.

Career and calling | plus video

Inspiration and profession were also touched upon during the discussions with composers on 01 April 2017 at the Festival Archipel prior to the evening concert in the Alhambra. On the podium, on the far right: Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board.

In the evening prior to the concert in the Alhambra, a public discussion with composers was held. Xavier Dayer, President of the SUISA Board, was also on the podium. The audience at the well attended event found out why copyright remuneration is particularly important for composers who do not receive any concert fees. Due to the copyright remuneration they receive for their work, composers such as Hanspeter Kyburz, William Blank or Tristan Murail can create works like the ones that were performed in the concert just after the discussion by the Lemanic Modern Ensemble.

www.archipel.org, festival website

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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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How do I found and run an ensemble for contemporary music? Where do I get subsidies for my music projects from? What is the purpose of SUISA and Swissperform? How do I distribute my works via the internet? Impressions gathered during the first ever “Journée d’orientation professionelle” at the Festival Archipel 2017. Text, photo and video by Manu Leuenberger

On Saturday, 01 April 2017, at the Festival Archipel in Geneva, it was possible to witness the reasons why music can be both career and calling. During the day, an information event took place for young music creators. Based on their wealth of expertise and experience, 12 field experts shared their input in presentations which included many tips on how to enter a career as a musician.

The video impressions only grant a glimpse...read more