Author: pedroalvarez

New Nono literature in English

Almost a year has passed since this post, in which I translated (more as way of procrastination than for anything scholarly) a beautiful little text by Nono. There I pointed the lack of texts by him available in English, but the situation is about to change drastically with the upcoming publication, announced by UCP, of

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Author: pedroalvarez

Manifesto: Fighting for a Weltanschauung

A great discussion between fellow artists was recently brought to my attention, in which the question was raised of the relevance of what we do (post-avant-garde Western Art Music, or whatever you prefer to call it), in view of more pressing political issues in today’s societies. I am convinced that it is perhaps the most important

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Author: pedroalvarez

temA 50 years on

Plenty of commemorations are taking place this year, in remembrance of the many 1968 revolutionary movements from Paris to Prague to Mexico City. In the modest scale of our particular field, many pieces could be spotlighted from that tumultuous year. One that strikes me as particularly significant is Helmut Lachenmann’s temA. That was the first piece

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Author: pedroalvarez

On cultural context for one’s work

What hope can I have for my own work as a composer, if the artistic voices that I look up to remain largely unknown around me? How could I establish a meaningful communication with performers, curators or audiences if we don’t share some important cultural references? How can I avoid creative asphyxiation if the artistic

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Author: pedroalvarez

Sound Installation: Vienna 2014

In 2014, I spent three months in Vienna as Artist-in-Residence, hosted by KulturKontakt Austria and the Bundeskanzleramt Österreich. Besides working on several musical projects as a composer and improviser, I had the chance to present a work at the end-of-residency exhibition. The space available for this at the Federal Government’s Exhibition Hall in Concordiaplatz had

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Author: pedroalvarez

Some recent CDs received

After leaving a collection of several hundred CDs behind in my last intercontinental move, I’m little by little building a new one. Amongst recent additions, I’d like to highlight three 2017 releases from Germany, Australia and the UK that I’ve been fortunate to receive from friends, and which I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone

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Author: pedroalvarez

Aphorism (No.2)

The battle is lost before even fighting if we accept the arts to be reduced to the concept of ‘industries’, people to ‘users’, and societies to ‘economies’.  © Pedro Alvarez, 2017 Image credit: Loren Holmes, 2015

Author: pedroalvarez

Error as a necessity

I believe that Luigi Nono’s ideas deserve a new reading, especially in view of recent developments in world politics and the eternal question about how can artists engage with it. It seems to me that Nono’s ideas are often disregarded in today’s English-speaking academia for its ideological alignment, or is it perhaps due to lack

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Author: pedroalvarez

In Praise of Multilingualism

Being multilingual is not just about competency in different languages, but about the everyday understanding of things and phenomena in a manifold way. It’s about the different cultural connotations things have in different contexts, about finding adequate communication styles to suit the circumstances, and the skill to navigate these multiplicities. This is not so much

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Author: pedroalvarez

Sounds from the Southern Hemisphere

I’ve recently come across one of those silly articles that list like “50 musical masterpieces of the 21st Century”. It’s not my aim here to point everything that’s wrong with those, but it often baffles me how, just like that article, most programming of contemporary music festivals and ensembles in the Northern Hemisphere tend to

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