Tag Archives: Composition

Finding her own universe

Cécile Marti is one of the most outstanding protagonists of contemporary music in Switzerland. In her work, the composer and sculptor tries to combine different forms of expression to make an impressive separate entity. In the near future, hopefully ballet will also be added to the dialogue between sound and sculpture. FONDATION SUISA is supporting the artistic vision of this Zurich resident with a Carte Blanche grant of 80,000 Swiss francs. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Cécile Marti: Finding her own universe

Carte Blanche for Cécile Marti. (Photo: Suzie Maeder)

Under normal circumstances, it is true to say that people should separate the work of art from its creator. In Cécile Marti’s case, this is hardly possible, because one single day in her life not only compelled her to bury her great dream, but ultimately, after a long period of heartache, took her down the path leading to artistic success today.

The uncompromisingness with which the now 45-year old from Zurich follows her artistic vision, was also quite distinct as a young girl: “From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a violinist. A violinist and nothing else.” She started playing the violin at eight years of age, closely followed by the piano. One thing became clear when she heard violinist Bettina Boller at a concert: “I wanted to have lessons from her.” Faith can move mountains, so the young Cécile became the only one receiving private tuition.“This period was like some kind of musical earthquake for me”, raves Marti. “Bettina Boller brought me closer to new music. When I was 12, I heard Alfred Schnittke, after which it definitely became clear to me: I had to go to the conservatory and the violin would become my sole focus in life.”

It’s all over

Marti lowers her eyes for a few seconds, before carrying on with her story: “At 17, I started teaching myself and at 18, the conservatory and orchestral projects from Mahler to Bruckner followed. It was splendid. Then I hit 20 and disaster struck!” Marti suffered a stroke and became paralysed down one side of her body. Overnight: it was all over. “I refused to accept it and tried every conceivable therapy over a period of three years. I fought it until I had run out of strength.”

Marti banished the violin to the loft and would not listen to music for five years. “The wound was far too great.” During this period, as she puts it herself, she felt like she was “lost in the desert”. Until one particular moment when her subconscious started talking to her. “I suddenly heard music inside me. And I then began to write it out. That was the start of my career as a composer.”

She began her studies in composition with Dieter Ammann and for the first time encountered the concept of responses to the passage of time. Meeting the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas during her studies suddenly opened up a new dimension to her when it came to developing her own work. In contrast to Amman, Haas practised a method for dealing with the passage of time that was previously unknown to Marti. “It allows an undetermined amount of time for an idea, until the point at which it is fully exhausted. And then this idea slowly attaches itself to another one. This slow way of handling things fascinated me. And from it come a completely different way of hearing things and sense of time.”

Sculptural hearing

With hindsight, it is certainly no accident that Marti felt herself captivated by the possibilities offered by the most varied of responses to the passage of time. And it is most likely not by chance that she started her work as a sculptor at the same time that she started composing music. The period of her life precipitously interrupted by the stroke, which ultimately led to something new, and the natural stone, which was transformed into a perfect sculpture thanks to lots of strength, perseverance and willpower, undeniably link the dialectics between biography and artistic debate.

It also explains the path taken by Marti, which is quite different to the notion of a traditional career. “Under normal circumstances, you are commissioned by someone to compose a piece. I predominantly followed by own ideas”, she declares affirmatively. Right from the beginning, her doctorate supervisor in London expressed concern about her composition plans (Marti obtained her PhD with a thesis on musical responses to the passage of time). “He said: ‘What you have written is like a shot in the dark’”, she explains smiling.“‘You’ll probably not find an orchestra willing to play it.’” He was referring to the orchestral cycle “Seven Towers” in 7 parts, for 120 musicians and lasting 80 minutes which SOBS (the Symphony Orchestra of Biel & Solothurn) premièred in 2016 in Biel/Bienne and since its genesis has also been played by the Bern Symphony Orchestra, Geneva Camerata and the Basel Sinfonietta.

In this breathtaking (in its truest sense) work, the orchestra as a whole reminds you of a sculpture which can be experienced in many different ways. “People say to me that when they listen to my music, they feel sculptural and in fact I think it is very gestural and formative. I am fond of the idea that people can view things from the most varied perspectives and that there actually exists an interaction between my sculpture work and my compositions.”

“The greatest gift”

Cécile Marti wants to expand this interaction with a new project, namely a ballet. The idea came to her three years ago when she saw the choreography of the Canadian, Crystal Pite, in a London theatre. “It was like a lightning strike for me”, enthuses Marti. “Up to that point in time, I had never seen a dance performance where I immediately had the feeling that I wanted to cooperate with this choreographer.” According to Marti, Pite does with dance exactly what she does with music. “She also works in a sculptural manner and with the aid of large groups. She then forms this mass in all conceivable directions.”

The fact that Pite was keen on the project, but as the shooting star of the dance scene is fully booked up until 2026, has not put Marti off following up the idea. During her music-free period, she filled dozens of diaries, which are not only the legacy of a gloomy time, but which also describe the start of a new life. This writing should form the basis for a dramatic autobiographical ballet, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Whether or not, in the case of the ballet, the first part of which had been premièred in concert in Warsaw in September 2019, or the second string quartet, which premièred in the same month and the title of which was “Sculpted in stone”, already point to the presence of 26 stone sculptures, the manifestation of the passage of time stands centre stage of Marti’s work, which is both creative and exploratory. Consequently, she is continuing working on the “Seven Towers” concept to make this also physically experienceable in sculptural form in future.

The Carte Blanche award from FONDATION SUISA will now make it possible for her to further develop this objective without any pressure. “Quite simply, Carte Blanche funding is the best gift you can ever imagine”, she enthuses. “I pursue ideas with my heart, even though they might actually look unpopular on paper. However, my work has to be precise in terms of content and as authentic as possible. And as a result, time pressure is of no consequence where I am concerned.”

The great misfortune, which struck Marti at just 20 years of age, must have felt like a black hole into which all matter disappeared. Far more impressive is the “big bang” which took place after years of darkness, and out of which she created a completely new, unique universe which had not by a long shot been researched in every nook and cranny.

www.cecilemarti.ch

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. “Carte Blanche” funding of 80,000 Swiss francs, which is not announced, but awarded once every two years directly by a panel of experts, is aimed at enabling music makers to concentrate on their further artistic development without any financial pressure.

Related articles
Michael Künstle: “Orchestral spaces” or if music becomes spatially tangible when you listen to it“Orchestral spaces” or if music becomes spatially tangible when you listen to it In his work, composer Michael Künstle deals with the interplay between tonal dramatisation and dramatic tones. The 27-year-old Basel resident would now like to take the next step forward in his research by making the sound of an orchestra a spatial experience for the listener. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Read more
Arrangement of works in the public domainArrangement of works in the public domain Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices. Read more
Jazz in Bess: Creating music in the era of contaminationCreating music in the era of contamination A discussion on the deceptively simple theme of ‘contamination in music’ provided much food for thought, reaffirming the desire to talk about music and ideas, to try to understand one another better and more profoundly. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Cécile Marti is one of the most outstanding protagonists of contemporary music in Switzerland. In her work, the composer and sculptor tries to combine different forms of expression to make an impressive separate entity. In the near future, hopefully ballet will also be added to the dialogue between sound and sculpture. FONDATION SUISA is supporting the artistic vision of this Zurich resident with a Carte Blanche grant of 80,000 Swiss francs. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Cécile Marti: Finding her own universe

Carte Blanche for Cécile Marti. (Photo: Suzie Maeder)

Under normal circumstances, it is true to say that people should separate the work of art from its creator. In Cécile Marti’s case, this is hardly possible, because one single day in her life not only compelled her to bury her great dream, but ultimately, after a long...read more

Intriguing insights and concerts at the Zeiträume Festival

Would you like to look over composers’ shoulders while they are working? Would you like to ask them what inspires and incites them to open new worlds for us with their works? The biennial ‘Zeiträume Basel’, a cooperation with SUISA, provides you with the opportunity to have a personal chat with authors of the works which are performed during the festival. Text by Erika Weibel

Intriguing insights and concerts at the Zeiträume Festival

Zeiträume Pavilion, meeting point of the festival. It was created by Zeiträume Basel with the support of SUISA and the Basel Canton Bank in co-production with the University for Music FHNW / Music Academy Basel. (Photo: Johanna Köhler)

In cooperation with SUISA, the Festival Zeiträume turns the process of how music is created today into an experience. This is due to the fact that in 2019, a particular focus of the festival’s programme is on the creative development process of compositions. During the SUISA Talks with composers whose works sound throughout the festival, visitors to the event can enter into their world, and get an impression of their motivation, their inspiration and their various work methods. Visitors can also ask the composers questions in a relaxed atmosphere.

This can make the visit to the ensuing or previously attended concert much more intriguing and thus either build up the anticipation or enhance the musical experience. The discussions are free-of charge for the audience; they are held in various locations at the festival and are professionally run.

SUISA Talks at the Zeiträume Festival 2019

Sun 15 September Katharina Rosenberger, Baldur Brönnimann | Wir sind Meer | Mitteldeck
Mon 16 September Mitglieder FIM Basel | Das grosse Rauschen| Unternehmen Mitte
Mon 16 September Marianne Schuppe | Die Summe | ZeitRäume Pavillon
Wed 18 September Elisabeth Flunger & Gäste | Das grosse Rauschen | Unternehmen Mitte
Wed 18 September Team Rohrwerk. Fabrique sonore | Kunstmuseum
Thu 19 September Team Rohrwerk. Fabrique sonore | Kunstmuseum
Sat 21 September Team Rohrwerk. Fabrique sonore | Kunstmuseum
Sat 21 September Hannes Seidel, Andreas Wenger | Überläufer* | Zollhalle St. Johann
Sat 21 September Kollektiv Mycelium | Cyber String Species | Gare du Nord
Sat 21 September Mike Svoboda | Freude | Antoniuskirche
Sun 20 September Team Ivan Wyschnegradsky: La Coupole | Markthalle Basel

In addition, there will be daily talks at the Pavilion between 4.30pm and 7.00pm. The exact timetable will only be published by the Zeiträume Festival shortly before the event on its website.

Moderators: Bernhard Günther, Dorothea Lübbe, Johannes Joseph, Anja Wernicke

Festival Pavilion

Commissioned by Zeiträume Basel 2019, supported by SUISA, Marco Zünd, architect from Basel, (Buol & Zünd Architects) has designed a welcoming, temporary assembly point in a prominent location at the ‘Mittlere Brücke’ at the Rhine promenade. A folding cube shall act as an information centre, meeting point for various festival activities and venue of artistic interventions. There, the audience can meet composers in action throughout the entire duration of the festival.

Opening times Pavilion
Tue 10 September to Sun 22 September | daily 11am – 7pm | Wohlterasse at the ‘Mittlere Brücke’

Cube Talks with festival artists: every day from 4.30pm to 7.00pm
(except during performances)
Tue 10 September | SUISA Talk with Marco Zünd
Mon 16 September | SUISA Talk with Marianne Schuppe

Performances: Wed 11 Sep, Thu 12 Sep, Tue 17 Sep, Wed 18 Sep | 12.30am to 2.00pm & 5.00pm to 6.30pm respectively

www.zeitraeumebasel.com

Related articles
Arranging works protected by copyrightArranging works protected by copyright Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Read more
“SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success“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. Read more
Beat Gysin: Travelling with and inside a spaceTravelling with and inside a space Place, time and space play a pivotal role in the works of composer, Beat Gysin. In his six-part “Lightweight building series”, he designs spaces specially for the music, enabling him to confront his audience with shifting tonal and spatial experiences. The second part of his elaborate project is due to be brought to fruition from 2021. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Would you like to look over composers’ shoulders while they are working? Would you like to ask them what inspires and incites them to open new worlds for us with their works? The biennial ‘Zeiträume Basel’, a cooperation with SUISA, provides you with the opportunity to have a personal chat with authors of the works which are performed during the festival. Text by Erika Weibel

Intriguing insights and concerts at the Zeiträume Festival

Zeiträume Pavilion, meeting point of the festival. It was created by Zeiträume Basel with the support of SUISA and the Basel Canton Bank in co-production with the University for Music FHNW / Music Academy Basel. (Photo: Johanna Köhler)

In cooperation with SUISA, the Festival Zeiträume turns the process of how music is created today into an experience. This is due to the fact that in 2019, a particular...read more

“Ab is Wälschland – off to the Valais” to the Swiss Folk Music Festival

In May, five young folk music performers under the direction of Dani Häusler in Crans-Montana in order to compose a hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival 2019 (EVMF). The composition weekend, initiated by SUISA and run in collaboration with the organising committee (OC) of the EVMF was a complete success. Text by Sibylle Roth and Manu Leuenberger; Video by Sibylle Roth

Whereas Hanspeter Zehnder created the commissioned composition of the hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival in Aarau in 2015 on his own, this year’s intention was to back the next generation. The musicians were selected and contacted by the OC of the EVMF. “In the beginning, I thought that there was some mixup and the inquiry for the composition weekend had been sent to me by mistake. But now I am very honoured and over the moon”, said Alessia Heim in the interview.

During the selection process, care was taken to have the most common instruments in folk music in the representation. It thus followed that Eva Engler, clarinet, Alessia Heim, dulcimer, Jérôme Kuhn, double bass, Florian Wyrsch, Schwyzerörgeli (a diatonic accordeon) and Siro Odermatt, accordeon, met in Crans-Montana on a Saturday morning in May.

Some of the young people already knew each other and had been performing together, whereas for the others it was the first experience of playing outside their usual formation. Apart from Siro Odermatt, who has been a SUISA member since 2017 and has already composed several pieces himself, the young musicians had no big experience in terms of composing. As a consequence, an experienced folk musician, namely Dani Häusler, was hired as the director of the weekend. Even for such an old hand in the trade this was no everyday task: “The biggest challenge was to have the courage to come to this composition weekend without any preparation”, he revealed afterwards.

Participants of the composition weekend

Participants of the composition weekend f.l.t.r. Florian Wyrsch, Alessia Heim, Siro Odermatt, Eva Engler, Jérôme Kuhn, Dani Häusler. (All photos: Sibylle Roth)

Starting with a blank sheet of paper

Before the first notes sounded from the instruments that the musicians had brought along in the seminar room of the hotel “La Prairie”, where the workshop took place, the group sat down at a table and literally started their work with a blank sheet of paper. The first exchange of ideas was influenced by indeterminate ideas and insecure feelings: A hymn – that’s a big word. What is that supposed to be? How is that supposed to sound? What is expected of us? How are we going to go about it? What kind of dance style is suitable? Where do I find melodies and chords? And: Will we really manage to finish a piece by Sunday?

Workshop director Dani Häusler set the group thinking, bundled up questions, they were jointly looking for answers, ideas and thoughts were put to paper, ideas were firmed up, and soon enough a basis for the piece was defined – still on paper though.

After initial discussions on a suitable dance style, the “Schottisch”, the “discipline for kings” was chosen in the end, says Jérôme Kuhn. On top of that, the group wanted to have some lyrics so people could sing along.

Notes

First ideas were put on paper for the piece.

After that, the group played their instruments for the first time: The young people sat together in twos or threes and jointly collected musical ideas. Whatever they had worked out in small groups was later on presented to the full circle and complemented with potential supporting voices. However, as it is the case sometimes, inspiration doesn’t always want to flow when it is expected to. “We had some start-up difficulties, but suddenly it did function”, Eva Engler said in an interview.

The respective musical breakthrough which was worked out in the following for the finished piece, was possible with Siro Odermatt’s compository experience. “I often play pieces that already exist and then meander towards other melodies, that’s how I then find my own composition”, says Siro Odermatt. Thus, after the initial start-up difficulties, the sparkling idea was found on Saturday afternoon, and the framework for the hymn had been finalised by dinnertime.

Said framework also included the draft for the lyrics of the piece, from which, apart from the title exclamation “Ab is Wälschland …!”, a robust recitative immediately sticks to your memory: “Glich oder glich ned glich – the same or not the same after all”. Jérôme Kuhn mentioned the following in the interview: “All over Switzerland, there is folk music, but in many regions there are various styles.” Whether “the same or not the same after all”, that’s for the curious to find out at the upcoming Swiss Folk Music Festival in Crans-Montana.

Group picture showing the musicians at work

The formation “Wälschland Express» during their work on the piece.

The first performance

On Sunday morning, work continued on the individual parts of the piece especially with regards to the arrangement. Whether in groups or alone, musicians practised their individual voices. Dani Häusler provided helpful tips and supported the group with advice and assistance whenever it was necessary to resolve a bit of confusion with varied musical keys or problems with finding the instrumentation and voices.

Music sheets

Dani Häusler writing the first lines of the sheet music.

Once all voices of the individual instruments had been finalised and once Dani Häusler had created the sheet music of the piece, the newly created work was then heard as a whole for the first time. During further practising rounds, it was constantly refined. “It is a piece ‘appealing to the auditory senses’ which has something unique and is yet suitable for a wider audience”, states Siro Odermatt towards the end of the successful composition weekend.

All parties involved are very satisfied with the final result and look forward to the Swiss Folk Music Festival in September. Regarding the question what he was hoping for the piece, Dani Häusler replied: “The most beautiful thing would be if the piece were to be played in the streets by other formations that are appearing at the festival, and if it was already known to people through broadcasts on the radio.”

The short biographies of the young musicians can be found via our social media channels “SUISA Music Stories” on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

The hymn was professionally recorded with the musicians and Dani Häusler afterwards, in a studio, and can be bought on CD. The VSV (Association of Swiss Folk Music) young music talent funds benefits from the sales proceeds in their entirety.

The 13th Swiss Folk Music Festival takes place from 19-22 September 2019 in Crans-Montana. www.cransmontana2019.ch

Related articles
Dani Häusler: “A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music”“A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music” Dani Häusler is one of three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. Häusler started playing the clarinet already at an early age and is nowadays active in several formations. At the 44th Prix Walo event, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked the nominee some questions in writing. Read more
Arrangement of works in the public domainArrangement of works in the public domain Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices. Read more
Marcel Oetiker: “I often get inspired when I am travelling” | plus videoMarcel Oetiker: “I often get inspired when I am travelling” | plus video At the Zurich station, Hardbrücke, trains rush past, screech in the bends, and groan when starting up and when braking. But Marcel Oetiker has not chosen this as a meeting point because such sounds inspire some artists to take a creative flight of fancy. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

In May, five young folk music performers under the direction of Dani Häusler in Crans-Montana in order to compose a hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival 2019 (EVMF). The composition weekend, initiated by SUISA and run in collaboration with the organising committee (OC) of the EVMF was a complete success. Text by Sibylle Roth and Manu Leuenberger; Video by Sibylle Roth

Whereas Hanspeter Zehnder created the commissioned composition of the hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival in Aarau in 2015 on his own, this year’s intention was to back the next generation. The musicians were selected and contacted by the OC of the EVMF. “In the beginning, I thought that there was some mixup and the inquiry for the composition weekend had been sent to me by mistake. But now...read more

Creating music in the era of contamination

A discussion on the deceptively simple theme of ‘contamination in music’ provided much food for thought, reaffirming the desire to talk about music and ideas, to try to understand one another better and more profoundly. Text by guest author Zeno Gabaglio

Jazz in Bess: Creating music in the era of contamination

Round table discussion on the theme of ‘Creating Music in the Era of Contamination’: (from left to right) Zeno Gabaglio, Nadir Vassena, Maurizio Chiaruttini (moderator), Gabriele Pezzoli and Carlo Piccardi. (Photo: Giorgio Tebaldi)

Writing a report on an event you’ve taken part in comes with one major problem: the conflict of interest. This most partial of creatures precludes any reasonable expectation of objectivity, so readers are warned that every aspect of the account from this point will be marked by the utmost subjectivity.

But let’s rewind: on 7 June 2019, a round table discussion on the theme of ‘Creating Music in the Era of Contamination’ took place in the convivial surroundings of Jazz in Bess in Lugano (the closest thing Ticino has to a Jazz club – but this magical venue deserves an article all of its own…). Four diverse exponents of Ticino’s music scene were invited to take part: Nadir Vassena (a composer, teacher and stalwart of the cultural scene for decades, and someone who has enjoyed considerable success across Europe), Gabriele Pezzoli (a jazz composer and pianist who has pursued a distinctly personal and varied creative path), Carlo Piccardi (a musicologist, director of Rete Due for many years, and one of the most devoted connoisseurs and defenders of Ticino’s musical heritage) and the writer Zeno Gabaglio.

It was an eclectic group – like the proverbial box of chocolates – and their mixed backgrounds alone suggested a range of ideas on music. This wealth of opinions emerged rapidly thanks to the moderation – and encouragement – of Maurizio Chiaruttini, a journalist and former producer at RSI.

Search for an own musical identity

‘Contamination seems to have become almost an imperative in every field of artistic expression: contamination between different genres, contamination between languages – cultural and popular, academic and commercial, acoustic and technological – contamination between cultural idioms of disparate origins. In a context such as this, what does it mean to search for your own musical identity, your own style, your own authentic means of expression?’

This was our starting point and, going against every dramatic rule there is, I can tell you right now that there was no arrival point – or at least, there wasn’t just one. Opinions diverged even on the meaning of the term ‘contamination’: some underlined the essentially negative connotations of the word (which, Vassena reminded us, shares the same root as ‘contagion’), while others agreed its distinctness from concepts such as ‘purity’ and ‘identity’. ‘Contaminated’ musicians, of course, cannot be pure; they inevitably lose a small part of their identity to take on something new.

Keeping the focus on terminology, Gabriele Pezzoli suggested a synonym – ‘hybridisation’ – which is less negatively connoted and more open to the variety of stimuli the modern world offers up, and with which Pezzoli identifies.

Masterpieces are often the result of a process

Carlo Piccardi then started off by reminding us that contamination is a broad historical phenomenon that dates back well before the present day. Major historical works – undisputed masterpieces that are universally recognised as uniform creations – were often the result of a process. But the processes required to create a work are hardly ever reported, and even more rarely remembered. It is in precisely these processes that, during the last two thousand years of European music, contamination has played a decisive role.

As mentioned earlier, we didn’t reach any one conclusion, but this discussion on the apparently simple and narrow theme of “contamination in music” led us to secondary themes and observations that – in an era when you might expect the opposite to be true – reaffirmed our desire to talk about music, to discuss ideas as well as sounds, and to try to understand one another better and more profoundly.

www.jazzinbess.ch

Guest author Zeno Gabaglio is a musician/composer and a SUISA Board member.

Related articles
Bertrand Denzler: Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorerSound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer Saxophonist Bertrand Denzler is always working on new opportunities to express himself in the delicate balance that lies between improvisation and composition. The 55-year-old musician from Geneva, who is now resident in Paris, now intends to extend the frontiers of his artistic dialogue with others even further using “roaming residencies”. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Read more
Marco Zappa: 50 anni di musicaMarco Zappa: 50 anni di musica A story of 50 years’ success: The only sustained career in Switzerland in relation to the “canzone italiana” – in all its dimensions. An undisputed, and undoubtedly significant fact about the singer songwriter Marco Zappa from Bellinzona, who has become the focal point of music culture in the Ticino again at the beginning of the year. This comes with the release of his new album “PuntEBarrier” which contains 18 unpublished songs, and a tour across Switzerland starting on 14 March 2017 in the Teatro Sociale Bellinzona. Read more
“SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success“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. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

A discussion on the deceptively simple theme of ‘contamination in music’ provided much food for thought, reaffirming the desire to talk about music and ideas, to try to understand one another better and more profoundly. Text by guest author Zeno Gabaglio

Jazz in Bess: Creating music in the era of contamination

Round table discussion on the theme of ‘Creating Music in the Era of Contamination’: (from left to right) Zeno Gabaglio, Nadir Vassena, Maurizio Chiaruttini (moderator), Gabriele Pezzoli and Carlo Piccardi. (Photo: Giorgio Tebaldi)

Writing a report on an event you’ve taken part in comes with one major problem: the conflict of interest. This most partial of creatures precludes any reasonable expectation of objectivity, so readers are warned that every aspect of the account from this point will be marked by the utmost subjectivity.

But let’s rewind: on 7 June 2019, a round table...read more

Travelling with and inside a space

Place, time and space play a pivotal role in the works of composer, Beat Gysin. In his six-part “Lightweight building series”, he designs spaces specially for the music, enabling him to confront his audience with shifting tonal and spatial experiences. The second part of his elaborate project is due to be brought to fruition from 2021. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Beat Gysin: Travelling with and inside a space

The Basel composer Beat Gysin in a photo taken in 2010. (Photo: Anna Katharina Scheidegger)

Chemistry and music: do they go together? What initially appears to be a contradiction in terms makes complete sense in Beat Gysin’s biography. Although he grew up in a family of musicians, Gysin took the decision to study chemistry as well as composition and music theory. The scientific approach and empirical evaluation of an experimental approach are just as important to him as the musical element. “I never wanted to be famous because of my music. I always wanted to find answers with my music and within it”, explains the 50-year-old Basel resident.

His catalogue of works is impressive. Even more impressive, however, is the way in which he brings his compositions to the performance stage. Gysin moves systematically beyond duplication and sound recording. Place, time and above all space are obligatory elements in his performance technique. In this respect, Gysin is far more than “just” a composer and musician. If you are to ultimately understand the Gysin Universe, you must firstly apply such definitions as researcher, architect, facilitator and philosopher.

“I am actually a philosopher at heart”, he adds. “It’s a matter of awareness, and I notice that the space in which music is performed has lost importance in its overall perception. Nowadays, people regard the music as being detached from its performance”, he adds and in so doing refers to a key point in his work: the systematic interplay between space and sound. “If you take one of my pieces out of the space, then this is almost as if you were creating a piano solo from an orchestral work. You know the notes, but do not hear the orchestra.”

With remarkable consistency, meticulousness and a passion for experimentation, in his many projects Gysin again and again plumbs the depths of the complex interplay between space, sound and the resulting perception of his music. The performance space becomes part of the artwork, which ultimately not only offers the audience a completely new sensory experience, but Gysin also repeatedly delivers new perceptions, in order to subsequently create yet another new approach to his next project. “I want to find things. And invent”, is how he describes what drives him artistically in an almost laconic manner. In this respect, he does not necessarily take centre-stage as the composer, but often “only” as the conceptual leader. In order to encourage an exchange of ideas, he set up the Basel studio-klangraum recording space and founded the ZeitRäume Basel festival.

“If you take one of my pieces out of the space, then this is almost as if you were creating a piano solo from an orchestral work. You know the notes, but do not hear the orchestra.”

Whether in churches with their varying acoustic properties, in empty waterworks with an echo lasting anything up to 30 seconds or in decommissioned mines where almost perfect silence prevails: Gysin keeps on discovering new spaces that can be mapped acoustically. And anywhere there is no natural space available allowing him to move forward, they are architecturally designed. The six-part “Lightweight building series” is not only one of Gysin’s key works because of the expenditure involved. It also represents the next logical step for him: creating spaces that can be transported. Here we are dealing with six abstract space designs, implemented as pieces of architecture in the form of pavilions, which provide unusual listening situations and therefore facilitate a new kind of awareness of the music. “Chronos” comprised a revolving stage like a carousel and in the case of “Gitter” the musicians were arranged “spherically” around the audience. Where “Haus” is concerned, sound space walks around existing houses were made possible and in “Rohre” (Pipes), which will take place shortly (world premiere in September 2019 in the inner courtyard of the Kunstmuseum Basel (Basel Museum of Art) as part of the ZeitRäume Basel festival), the audience and musicians meet each other in the literal sense of the word, in other words in pipes you can walk inside.

“In the concluding two parts from 2023”, Gysin comments, “I would like to investigate the question of mobile set-ups and their influence on hearing. In the case of one of the projects, the musicians and audience sit on little trolleys that never stop moving. Everything remains on the move and the space is constantly redefined. And as regards the last part, it is a question of a suspended space which implodes again and again like a balloon, but can then be re-inflated.” Such elaborate projects are not easy for an artist to finance. “We are dependent on support right from the initial conception, and that costs money”, he states in full awareness, adding: “the Get Going! grant from FONDATION SUISA is the perfect answer to this challenge. It is a kind of way of financing feasibility studies. Up to now this has not existed in this form.”

In times where culture has to be “eventised”, in that marketing experts pay more attention to form than content, the “Lightweight building series” also symbolises a kind of artistic counter-movement. “The advantage is that I, as the artist, conceive the event as a whole”, says Gysin, also commenting: “As a musician, today you are obliged in a world of sensory overload to deal with the location of the music, because it can no longer be understood if taken out of context.”

www.beatgysin.ch

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.

Related articles
FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age”“Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age” Last year, FONDATION SUISA awarded four innovation grants under the title “Get Going!” for the first time in order to promote groundbreaking creative concepts outside the usual boxes. The positive reactions that were received were overwhelming. At the end of June 2019, the call for contributions enters its second round. Read more
Career and calling | plus videoCareer 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. Read more
Bertrand Denzler: Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorerSound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer Saxophonist Bertrand Denzler is always working on new opportunities to express himself in the delicate balance that lies between improvisation and composition. The 55-year-old musician from Geneva, who is now resident in Paris, now intends to extend the frontiers of his artistic dialogue with others even further using “roaming residencies”. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Place, time and space play a pivotal role in the works of composer, Beat Gysin. In his six-part “Lightweight building series”, he designs spaces specially for the music, enabling him to confront his audience with shifting tonal and spatial experiences. The second part of his elaborate project is due to be brought to fruition from 2021. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Beat Gysin: Travelling with and inside a space

The Basel composer Beat Gysin in a photo taken in 2010. (Photo: Anna Katharina Scheidegger)

Chemistry and music: do they go together? What initially appears to be a contradiction in terms makes complete sense in Beat Gysin’s biography. Although he grew up in a family of musicians, Gysin took the decision to study chemistry as well as composition and music...read more

“Orchestral spaces” or if music becomes spatially tangible when you listen to it

In his work, composer Michael Künstle deals with the interplay between tonal dramatisation and dramatic tones. The 27-year-old Basel resident would now like to take the next step forward in his research by making the sound of an orchestra a spatial experience for the listener. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Michael Kuenstle: “Orchestral spaces” or if music becomes spatially tangible when you listen to it

The composer Michael Künstle (left) from Basel at work in the recording studio. (Photo: Oliver Hochstrasser)

Michael Künstle was completely surprised to win the International Film Music Competition in the 2012 Zurich Film Festival when he was just 21. “At that time, I had just begun my studies”, he comments today, adding, “I am only just starting to understand the significance of this prize now. It was a kind of springboard, also because it has always been an award for competence that nobody can take away from you”.

In the competition, Künstle was up against 144 fellow composers from 27 countries who were all set exactly the same task: composing the score for the short animated film “Evermore” by Philip Hofmänner. Anyone watching the film today can imagine what might have impressed the jury back then: Künstle came up with amazingly subtle sounds, which enhanced the story of the film.

“The fantastic thing about film music is that it is the result of a close exchange with others. A film represents an interplay between countless people and it is vital to take all aspects into consideration: camera work, use of colour and setting”, is the way Künstle explains his fascination with the genre. “The biggest challenge in a film is to say something with the music which has not yet been said in words or pictures, but which is essential for telling the story right up to the end.”

Whether it is in Gabriel Baur’s “Glow”, “Sohn meines Vaters” by Jeshua Dreyfus or “Cadavre Exquis” by Viola von Scarpatetti: the list of films for which Künstle is responsible for the soundtrack keeps on getting longer. The enthusiasm with which Künstle expresses his specialist know-how and thirst for knowledge in conversation is contagious. Also if he is talking about the greats in this field: Bernard Hermann’s knowledge of composition, for instance, or the unique capability of John Williams, “whose works clearly sound like orchestral pieces when listened to without the film, even though they suit the film for which they were written perfectly. This is incredibly difficult to accomplish, because symphonic music traditionally allows closer narrative structures than a film”.

“In contemporary music, the space is often just as important as other compositional elements, such as the subject matter or rhythm, but this essential aspect is often lost in the recording.”

Although he differentiates between concert music and film scores in his own work, he admits “that you can never fully give up one if you do the other”. Elements that he developed in collaboration with director Gabriel Baur for the film “Glow” found their way into the piece “Résonance”, performed by Trio Eclipse in 2016. “But in my concert music, it is mainly a question of compositional forms and structural ideas that cannot be expressed in the film.”

The idea for the project, that FONDATION SUISA is now going to jointly finance with a Get Going! grant, ultimately arose from another important aspect of Künstle’s creativity. Künstle follows, as he emphasises, a philosophy of the “real” which is as close as possible to an actual recital, thanks to the most up-to-date recording techniques. In collaboration with his working partner, Daniel Dettwiler, who owns the “Idee und Klang” (Idea and Sound) studio in Basel, and who, for years, has been researching new recording techniques, Künstle would like to create a spatial composition that can be listened to in a way that had not existed before.

“In contemporary music, the space is often just as important as other compositional elements, such as the subject matter or rhythm, but this essential aspect is often lost in the recording”, is the way he explains the starting point. “I want to reach a point where people listening on headphones hear the three-dimensional space occupied by the orchestra during recording, as if they could literally ‘feel’ the music.” For many years, this research and in a specific way also the conquest of these “orchestral spaces”, was just an idea for Künstle, because, as he stresses, “You can only make this happen in a studio with the best possible sound and the best microphones available”.

Thanks to Get Going!, the next step in this audiophile revolution can now become a reality and in no-less than London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios with an 80-piece orchestra. Therefore, Künstle will compose a piece in which the space where the recording takes place will play a central role. “I want to turn the composition process on its head”, is how he underscores the objective of his project. “Just like film music”, he adds. Again here, first and foremost you start with what you hear. Therefore completing the circle.

www.michaelkuenstle.ch

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.

Related articles
“Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age”“Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age” Last year, FONDATION SUISA awarded four innovation grants under the title “Get Going!” for the first time in order to promote groundbreaking creative concepts outside the usual boxes. The positive reactions that were received were overwhelming. At the end of June 2019, the call for contributions enters its second round. Read more
“Swiss Film Music features great diversity and high quality”“Swiss Film Music features great diversity and high quality” The box-set “Swiss Film Music”, containing three CDs, one DVD and a book, released by FONDATION SUISA, provides fascinating insights into the history of Swiss film music between 1923 and 2012. A conversation with the musicologist and media scientist Mathias Spohr who acted as artistic director for the project. Read more
Arranging works protected by copyrightArranging works protected by copyright Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

In his work, composer Michael Künstle deals with the interplay between tonal dramatisation and dramatic tones. The 27-year-old Basel resident would now like to take the next step forward in his research by making the sound of an orchestra a spatial experience for the listener. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Michael Kuenstle: “Orchestral spaces” or if music becomes spatially tangible when you listen to it

The composer Michael Künstle (left) from Basel at work in the recording studio. (Photo: Oliver Hochstrasser)

Michael Künstle was completely surprised to win the International Film Music Competition in the 2012 Zurich Film Festival when he was just 21. “At that time, I had just begun my studies”, he comments today, adding, “I am only just starting to understand the significance of this prize now. It was a kind of springboard,...read more

“Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age”

Last year, FONDATION SUISA awarded four innovation grants under the title “Get Going!” for the first time in order to promote groundbreaking creative concepts outside the usual boxes. The positive reactions that were received were overwhelming. At the end of June 2019, the call for contributions enters its second round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age”

The recipients of the “Get Going!” contributions 2018 (from top left to bottom right): Beat Gysin, the Duo Eclecta, Michael Künstle and Bertrand Denzler. (Photos: Anna Katharina Scheidegger; Andrea Ebener; Zak van Biljon; Rui Pinheiro)

Urs Schnell, Managing Director of FONDATION SUISA, explained the new promotion policy resolved by the foundation council, a year ago: “Instead of patting an artist on the shoulder by awarding them a prize after their success, we invest the money we have available with a focus on the future.” He adds: “Promotion instead of judgement is the goal, and as such, one would “want to increase the focus towards what lies ahead.”

No sooner said than done. The first invitation to bid for “Get Going!” led to more than 90 contributions. Such a significant interest for something completely new was simply overwhelming for him, Schnell adds. “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age. Even though we did not expect it in such a degree since such an openly formulated invitation for contributions was, despite all analyses, an innovative shot in the dark.”

Bertrand Denzler, Michael Künstle, Beat Gysin and the Duo Eclecta (Andrina Bollinger and Marena Whitcher) were the first recipients in the context of “Get Going!”. The amount of CHF 25,000 each was attributed to them because they were able to convince the expert jury with their creative visions. Since this start-up funding is not linked to a result, it enables musicians to work without any financial or time pressure. “I believe that the time factor in an ever more hectic environment has become a goods which must not be underestimated in terms of its preciousness”, Schnell mentions in the context of one of the advantages of “Get Going!”.

Invitation to tender of “Get Going!” 2019 from the end of June

From the end of June, authors and musicians who can prove that they have a clear relation to current music creation in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, can apply to contribute to “Get Going!” again. In 2019, another four of such start-up fundings are awarded by the expert jury amounting to CHF 25,000 again.

It is important to mention that “Get Going!” does not compete with or affect any other support projects by FONDATION SUISA, in particular the current application system, existing partnerships, exhibitions and events abroad or the playing of music in classrooms.

Schnell elaborates: “On the contrary, the new model is, in terms of providing an important start-up support, a supplement to the existing types of promotion. We wish to explore new creative places and prevent in future that certain projects fall through the cracks.”

Urs Schnell knows that the “Get Going!” invitation to tender may be a bit confusing at the outset due to its formulation which has been kept wide open: “Musicians ere conditioned throughout the last few decades by way of the traditional promotional instruments to develop a certain application behaviour. With the new direction, we are trying to move towards the artists as a supporter and with this reversal to push the free creative thinking back into the focus of attention.” In order to point out the possibilities of “Get Going!”, recipients of last year´s “Get Going!” grants are published on the FONDATION SUISA website as well as the SUISAblog portrait.

www.fondation-suisa.ch

Related articles
Bertrand Denzler: Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorerSound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer Saxophonist Bertrand Denzler is always working on new opportunities to express himself in the delicate balance that lies between improvisation and composition. The 55-year-old musician from Geneva, who is now resident in Paris, now intends to extend the frontiers of his artistic dialogue with others even further using “roaming residencies”. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Read more
Arranging works protected by copyrightArranging works protected by copyright Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Read more
“SUISA Day” at the Murten Classics Festival proves a resounding success“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. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Last year, FONDATION SUISA awarded four innovation grants under the title “Get Going!” for the first time in order to promote groundbreaking creative concepts outside the usual boxes. The positive reactions that were received were overwhelming. At the end of June 2019, the call for contributions enters its second round. Text by FONDATION SUISA

FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going!” goes into its second round: “We definitely have our fingers on the pulse of our age”

The recipients of the “Get Going!” contributions 2018 (from top left to bottom right): Beat Gysin, the Duo Eclecta, Michael Künstle and Bertrand Denzler. (Photos: Anna Katharina Scheidegger; Andrea Ebener; Zak van Biljon; Rui Pinheiro)

Urs Schnell, Managing Director of FONDATION SUISA, explained the new promotion policy resolved by the foundation council, a year ago: “Instead of patting an artist on the shoulder by awarding them a prize after their success, we invest the money we have available with...read more

Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer

Saxophonist Bertrand Denzler is always working on new opportunities to express himself in the delicate balance that lies between improvisation and composition. The 55-year-old musician from Geneva, who is now resident in Paris, now intends to extend the frontiers of his artistic dialogue with others even further using “roaming residencies”. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Bertrand Denzler: Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer

Bertrand Denzler (Photo: Dmitry Shubin)

“Tireless”, “adaptable” and “industrious” are just three words that could be used to characterise the artistic craft of Bertrand Denzler. Anyone checking out his website for the first time could be forgiven for thinking the sheer number of projects and line-ups might be their kiss-of-death. Denzler laughs: “I’ve laid the whole thing out somewhat more clearly in the meantime.” In fact: on second glance, it all makes sense. And anyone taking the next step of dipping into the sounds available online will hardly be able to resist Denzler’s artistic vision. At first, the finely balanced sound sculptures seem to reveal a welcoming kind of simplicity. But in the background lurks a complexity with a tremendous pulling effect that is almost hypnotic.

“My compositions are not primarily about the narrative form, but the inner structure. This means my pieces might seem relatively simple, but they are not easy to play. The musician should not be distracted by far too many ideas, but should be able to concentrate fully on the sound and its precision,” is the way Denzler explains his intentions.

He classifies his process-orientated compositions as “spaces”. For the most part, they do not feature traditional notation, but are predetermined by their structure. “I want musicians to be involved and have to think for themselves”, stresses Denzler. He adds: “Often it is just the time structure that is specified, and not the rhythmic structure. The predetermined rules always open up lots of opportunities.”

Denzler practises this “space surveying” with the simultaneous exploration of the ambient sound with very different line-ups, including the Sowari Trio, Hubbub, Denzler-Gerbal-Dörner, The Seen, Onceim and Denzler-Grip-Johansson. At the same time, he is not averse to trying new things, including improvising as a guest musician in such line-ups as Jonas Kocher’s international Šalter Ensemble, in a duo with Hans Koch or quite simply solo.

Denzler actually considers his career to be somewhat typical of a European musician of his generation. He started out with classical music, but at the same time was listening to pop and rock in private. However, an outright thirst for knowledge also made him aware relatively quickly of the most varied ways in this world that music can be played. “And eventually”, comments Denzler, “jazz became my main sphere of activity, because improvisation, in other words implementing your thoughts in real time, fascinated me”.

After jazz came free-form music, even if Denzler is still to this day impressed by the philosophy and improvisational approach of such greats as Albert Ayler and John Coltrane and will probably continue to be influenced by them. As opposed to many improvisers who never return (if they have occasionally diverted from a compositional approach), Denzler has found a space where he can keep creating new things architecturally from the delicate balance between improvisation and composition. “In the last ten years, I acquired the feeling that I am always improvising in the same system. Suddenly, I once gain felt compelled to build structures within my music.”

Denzler’s artistic vision is not only a kind of journey of discovery in a metaphorical sense: he wants to transport this “space” to different geographical locations as a “roaming residency”, so as to meet other musicians there and create new music with them. Up to now, the project has failed, not only for financial reasons, but also because such an open project does not comply with the general conditions of traditional subsidies policies. Start-up funding from a FONDATION SUISA Get Going! grant is now making realisation possible, because, according to Denzler, “… it allows me to pursue my creativity instead of predefined conditions”. Beaming with delight, he adds that it’s as if this grant had been specially tailored for him. And in fact his definition almost reminds you of a Denzler composition, in which the structures defined by the creator open up unforeseen possibilities …

www.bertranddenzler.com

FONDATION SUISA started awarding new grants in 2018. Under the heading of “Get Going!”, creative and artistic processes that do not fall within established categories are given a financial jump-start. Our Portrait Series profiles recipients of Get Going! funding.

Related articles
FONDATION SUISA: “Get Going” contributions and “Carte Blanche” awarded for the first time“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. Read more
New support strategy: “We want to look ahead”New support strategy: “We want to look ahead” FONDATION SUISA reinforces its activities regarding the support of music in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein: Each year, four music projects shall be launched under the motto “Get Going!”, and every other year, a bigger amount shall be allocated to works under the slogan “Carte Blanche”. Read more
20,000 Swiss Francs and an imaginary composition project20,000 Swiss Francs and an imaginary composition project To discuss artistic creation is anything but simple. That’s why Swiss association Jazzy Jams and SUISA have come up with something special in the course of the Jazz Festival in Bess (Lugano). Composer Maria Bonzanigo, from Ticino, and composers Pietro Viviani and Damiano Merzari developed an imaginary composition project in front of the audience. The result was rather fascinating and took those present on a journey into the thought-world of authors. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Saxophonist Bertrand Denzler is always working on new opportunities to express himself in the delicate balance that lies between improvisation and composition. The 55-year-old musician from Geneva, who is now resident in Paris, now intends to extend the frontiers of his artistic dialogue with others even further using “roaming residencies”. FONDATION SUISA is supporting this project financially with Get Going! funding. Text by guest author Rudolf Amstutz

Bertrand Denzler: Sound space surveyor and ambient sound explorer

Bertrand Denzler (Photo: Dmitry Shubin)

“Tireless”, “adaptable” and “industrious” are just three words that could be used to characterise the artistic craft of Bertrand Denzler. Anyone checking out his website for the first time could be forgiven for thinking the sheer number of projects and line-ups might be their kiss-of-death. Denzler laughs: “I’ve laid the whole thing out somewhat more clearly in the meantime.” In fact:...read more

Arranging works protected by copyright

Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Arranging works protected by copyright

To arrange a work protected by copyright whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, permission must be obtained from the rightholders. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

The author has the right to decide whether his work can be arranged; in other words, whether a “derived work” or an “arrangement” can be created from his or her original work. This right remains with the author and is not transferred to SUISA under the rights’ administration agreement. A person wishing to arrange a work must contact the author and obtain his or her permission to do so.

Authors generally transfer the arrangement rights to their publishers in the framework of a publishing agreement. On that basis, publishers may authorise third parties to arrange a work, or commission third parties to create a new version of the work. Publishing contracts should regulate whether the publisher may, under certain circumstances, authorise or commission an arrangement directly or whether the publisher must refer back to the author in each case. In the case of published works, therefore, the person to contact for permission is the publisher.

When dealing with successful international repertoires, obtaining permission may be a tiresome procedure, and may not always be crowned with success. Certain rightholders are happy to have their works arranged and more widely disseminated. Other rightholders attach great value to the “integrity” of their works and refuse virtually all arrangements. Either way, before an arrangement can be undertaken, sufficient time should be reserved for ascertaining the legal rights.

NB. If a number of requests have been submitted to the author or the publisher and no response has been received, it is wrong to presume that “silence means consent” and that the work can be arranged simply because “efforts were made” to obtain permission. As a rule, arranging a work without the rightholder’s consent constitutes a copyright infringement and may result in civil and criminal prosecution.

Even once the necessary permission has been obtained, the arranger is not always free to arrange the work at will. The permission may be restricted to a certain type of arrangement (e.g. translation of the lyrics into another language, shortening the work, remis, new instrumentalisation, etc.) Moreover, by law, even if they have permitted an arrangement, authors are entitled to defend their works against “distortion”. In such cases (often difficult to judge), it is the “moral rights” of the author which are at stake.

Key points of an authorisation to arrange

If an author or a publisher grants permission to arrange a work, this permission, consent, or authorisation should be recorded in a short written agreement. The agreement should cover the following points:

a) Name and address of the contractual parties (pseudonyms, if any)

b) Scope of permission: the work to be arranged must be clearly designated, as well as the extent to which the work may be musically or textually arranged. Moreover, the agreement should indicate whether and how the new work can be registered as an arrangement with SUISA.

Good to know: Registering a work as an arrangement only makes sense if the original is already registered with SUISA, and both works (original and arrangement) are to be used side by side (and independently). In the framework of the songwriting process, it is not unusual for “arranged parts” to be attributed to co-musicians although there is no original work which can be used separately. To avoid misunderstandings, it is advisable in such cases to let the co-musicians participate as co-authors rather than as arrangers.

c) Shares: Under SUISA’s Distribution Rules, for unpublished works without lyrics, the arranger is entitled to a 20% share; for published works without lyrics, the arranger’s share is 16.67%. For works with lyrics, the arranger’s share is 15% (unpublished) and 11.67% (published) respectively. In principle, the arranger’s share can be set freely. In practice, the arranger’s share lies between 0% and 25%. SUISA’s Distribution Rules provide for an exception in the case of arrangement permissions granted by publishers: here, the arranger’s share may not exceed the share in the regulatory distribution key. This is designed to avoid the share of the original author from being reduced too far. A rightholder may also permit an arrangement without granting any share of the distribution to the arranger.

d) Publishing an arrangement: In the case of arrangements of published works, it is advisable to specify in the authorisation whether the arrangement must also be published by the publisher of the original work (so that the publisher can retain control over the publishing rights). As a rule, the original publisher will insist on this. In that case, an additional publishing agreement should be signed between the original publisher and the arranger.

e) Rights warranties: Rightholders must warrant that they dispose of the necessary rights to grant the arrangement permission.

f) Place, date, rightholder’s signature

g) Governing law, jurisdiction

Special case: “sub-arrangements”

Sub-publishing agreements generally provide for the transfer of the arrangement rights from the original publisher to the sub-publisher. The sub-publisher is thus entitled to authorise or commission arrangements. In these cases, the arranger is registered as a “sub-arranger” or, with regard to new lyrics, e.g. in another language, as a “sub-lyricist”. Here too, SUISA’s Distribution Rules provide that the sub-arranger’s share may not exceed the share set in the regulatory distribution key.

How to register an arrangement with SUISA

For an arrangement of a protected work, the permission to make the arrangement must be filed – or uploaded in the case of an online registration – together with the registration form. The arranger will only receive a share of the royalties from a work if the permission to arrange explicitly states that the arranger is entitled to a share. If no percentage share is indicated, the arranger will be allocated the regulatory share. If there is no mention of the arranger’s participation, SUISA will record the arranger’s name under the original version, with a note indicating that an authorised arrangement exists but the arranger is not entitled to a participation. Accordingly, the arranger will not receive a share.

When publishers register new versions of works which they have published in the original, SUISA waives the need for an authorisation since the publisher has to settle the arrangement rights directly with its authors. The same applies for sub-publishing agreements.

Summary

To arrange protected works, therefore, you always need the rightholders’ permision – depending on the circumstances, such permission should be obtained from the author, the author’s heirs or from the publisher. Permission is the prerequisite for registering an arrangement of a protected work with SUISA.

SUISA offers its support in tracing the responsible rightholders. In the case of published works, SUISA will give you the publisher’s name and address so that you may contact the latter directly. In the case of unpubished works, SUISA forwards arrangement requests directly to the author or his/her heirs. Inquiries should be addressed to: publisher (at) suisa (dot) ch
Related articles
Good to know: Arrangement of works in the public domainArrangement of works in the public domain Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices. Read more
Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at homePlay abroad, communicate with SUISA at home How do I get access to my copyright remuneration for my concerts abroad? What do I need to consider when registering works with SUISA if the co-author of my song is a member of a foreign collective management organisation? Important and frequently asked questions on international musical activities are answered in the following. Read more
Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider?Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider? Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Arranging works protected by copyright

To arrange a work protected by copyright whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, permission must be obtained from the rightholders. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

The author has the right to decide whether his work can be arranged; in other words, whether a “derived work” or an “arrangement” can be created from his or her original work. This...read more

Arrangement of works in the public domain

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright since their authors have been dead for more than 70 years.

What is an arrangement?

According to the Copyright Act, an arrangement is a “derived” (in German, literally, a “second-hand”) work. For an arrangement to qualify for copyright protection, it must satisfy the same requirements as a “work”, in other words: arrangements which are deemed artistic creations of the mind of the arranger are protected by copyright in the same way as an autonomous work. In the case of an arrangement, the artistic creation consists in the recognisable transformation, changing, or extension, of the musical substance of an existing work.

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work in such a way that the latter remains recognisable with its individual character. The newly created element must, however, also have an individual character. Typical examples of arrangements are works orchestrated for different instruments, or lyrics translated into another language.

SUISA’s Distribution Rules (in German) have a section (1.1.3.5) that lists a whole series of works that do not qualify as arrangements for copyright protection purposes. In practice, this list has proven itself repeatedly. The following modifications do not qualify as arrangements:

  • adding dynamic or agogic accents;
  • adding musical phrasing symbols;
  • entering finger positions (fingering);
  • registrations for organs or other keyboard instruments;
  • flourishes;
  • translating an old musical notation style into a style in use today;
  • correcting clerical mistakes in the original and similar changes;
  • transferring music into other keys or pitches (transpositions);
  • editing out individual voices;
  • exchanging or doubling voices;
  • adding purely parallel voices;
  • allocating existing voices to other instruments (simple transcription).

Arranging works in the public domain and registering them with SUISA

Musical works which are not protected by copyright can be freely arranged and altered – no consent is necessary. To register an arrangement of a work in the public domain, you must send SUISA a copy of the new work together with the existing work, so that the music department can establish copyrightability. This applies to works whose authors are unknown or have been dead for at least 70 years. This also applies to works that have been handed down by folklore and are considered traditional.

When it receives an arrangement, SUISA’s music department verifies whether it satisfies the criteria for protection by copyright. This is always done by comparing the original to the arranged version. The musical quality of the submitted piece or movement is unimportant at this stage.

What types of arrangements are there, and what is the arranger’s share of the remuneration?

In its appreciation, SUISA distinguishes between the five following types of arrangement:

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

1. Normal arrangement

The “normal” case (representing about 90% of all applications) is an arrangement in the strict sense of the word. A popular melody is arranged by adding voices or instruments for a specific ensemble or group (e.g. mixed choir, string quartet, orchestra, Big Band, etc.). The melody or main voice is taken over exactly, only the arrangement is new.

In this case, the arranger’s share is 15% (for works with lyrics) or 20% (works without lyrics).

Normal arrangement

2. Co-composition

Here the unprotected melody is not the upper voice; it is hidden in the musical structure. In this particular case (e.g. choir and organ music), the arranger’s work is of higher value since he has to compose his own upper or main voice and the existing music has to be embedded into the piece with a contrapuntal technique.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

3. Reconstruction

An original work is interrupted in one or several places, or left unfinished by the composer (or lost in handing down), and is then finished by the arranger.

The arranger’s share in this case is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

4. Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

The piece starts with a short presentation of the unprotected original melody. Then, a succession of soloists or “registers” (saxophone, trumpets, piano, drums) take up the melody with improvised figurations; these make up the greater portion of the work. Visually this is illustrated by the fact that the individual soloists or “registers” stand up for their solos. At the end, the original melody is often repeated all together.

In this type of work, the arranger’s share is 50% or 100% of the composer’s share, depending on the length and importance of the solos.

Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

5. Sets of variations

Variations on historic musical themes (e.g. Diabelli, Paganini or Gershwin variations) are typical examples of compositions where the original takes backstage to the variation. The starting theme is merely a pretext for a completely new work. It follows, therefore, that the creator of the variation is entitled to the full remuneration. For example: “Diabelli variations by Beethoven” etc.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 100% of the composer’s share.

Sets of variations

What does public domain (“domaine public”) mean?
For further information on the protection period for works we refer you to the article “Erstmals seit 20 Jahren werden wieder Werke gemeinfrei” (article available in German, French and Italian, PDF) in the SUISAinfo edition.
Related articles
The beats from others – but your own songsThe beats from others – but your own songs The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Read more
Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music DepartmentPersonnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Read more
Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do?Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do? Various media have been reporting on plagiarism accusations against a Swiss artist in the last few days. The topic is not new, but it seems to continue to be shrouded in ambiguity: Who is the accuser? What happens to an artist who lifts from another? How much does he have to pay? And what role does SUISA actually play? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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.

Your email address will not be published.

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright...read more