Category: Thoughts

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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Category: Thoughts

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

Category: Thoughts

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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Category: Thoughts

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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Category: Thoughts

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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Category: Thoughts

Aphorism (No.1)

As a bourgeois commodity, Western Art Music (or whatever you prefer to call it) is not worth ‘preserving’. It is up to us, musicians, both in performing that of the past and in creating new one –with or without the help of promoters, curators and institutions– to make it more than just a complacent aesthetic

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Category: Thoughts

Interview with Eduardo Cossio

I recently caught up with Eduardo Cossio in this interview for Cool Perth Nights. We had a nice chat about musical influences, ‘becoming a composer’ and some current projects: http://www.coolperthnights.com/eduardo-cossio/2016/9/22/interview-with-pedro-alvarez

Category: Thoughts

Invention

Most of the music I’ve written in the last five years has reflected on the idea of independent situations, presented for contemplation for (seemingly) arbitrary lengths of time, and juxtaposed in (seemingly) arbitrary ways. This ‘anti-narrative’ formal thinking, characterised in my doctoral thesis as ‘a situational approach to composition’, hasn’t taken the shape of a

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Category: Thoughts

Instead

In 2013 I wrote a piece titled Instead for contemporary clarinet champion Heather Roche; one of the most enriching collaborative experiences I’ve had as a composer. After its premiere in Berlin and several other performances, Heather included it in her recent album ‘Ptelea’, a collection of solo pieces written for her by a diverse group of composers, including

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Category: Thoughts

Memories of Elision in Britain

Around 2010 I found myself (more by chance than personal decision) doing research studies at the University of London. In that city I could satisfy my thirst for classical music at events like the BBC Proms, where I could listen world-class orchestras and soloists. Other musical interests of mine, like a long-standing love for hindustani

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