Discussions at the Museum
FROM HISTORY TO THE PRESENT DAY
The Music Biennale will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary by returning a symposium to its program, or rather the different discussion formats, which will be held on 29 May at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The discussion formats will begin with Lukas Haselböck’s lecture Acoustic spaces of Gérard Grisey and continue with the lectures of Seadeta Midžić (The French Institute and the Youth Company – the significance of that theatrical and poetic magical island for the Croatian culture and the opening of the other world to Ivo Malec with an homage to his opus) and Vedrana Klepica (The Echo of the Youth Company’s work on the new generations and the presentation of the Croatian theater-music scene). The Polish composer Elżbieta Sikora will then present her Half a Century of creative activities. In the final part, there will be a discussion on the theme of Women composers in electronic, electroacoustic and acousmatic music/reflection on the artistic creation of women, their careers and its impact on the society of the past, the present and the vision of the future. Margareta Ferek-Petrić is the moderator, while the participants are Elżbieta Sikora, Michelle Agnes Magalhaes, Yalda Zamani, Lukas Haselböck, Vedrana Klepica, Nicolas Debade.
We asked the artistic director of the MBZ, Margareta Ferek Petrić, about the process of selecting the topics and guests for the symposium:
“While talking to Seadeta Midžić, our esteemed musicologist, I came to the conclusion that it would be interesting to showcase her knowledge and memories, thus bringing the Biennale past closer to us.
It all started with Ivo Malec and with her connections to France, and we even went all the way back to the Youth Company (Družina mladih), then thought about the individuals who would fit the topic, people we could invite. Many of the potential speakers are too old today, some have, sadly, passed away or cannot travel for various reasons, but we were able to reach composer Elżbieta Sikora. She is very interesting and I have long been familiar with her work. As Seadeta Midžić had direct contact with her through her work, it made sense to connect these two personalities in a symposium.
I am always very glad to talk to Seadeta Midžić about the Biennale, I love listening to her, she provides me with a peek into the past of the Festival that I do not have, not in such a way. In the end, there are always too many ideas, too much information, but hopefully we will also be able to present a good portion of that information at the next festival in an even more powerful and meaningful way.”
You can find the feature written by the musicologist Seadeta Midžić here.
Ferek-Petrić went on:
“At any rate, Seadeta Midžić will provide an insight into what she calls a theatrical and poetic magical island for Croatian culture – the Youth Company – and will, in a way, unveil the creation of Ivo Malec, with homage to his research and opus, while Elżbieta Sikora will present her oeuvre. We had already discussed the difference between the world in the so-called East and the one in the West of Europe. She is, naturally, torn between these two worlds, as a Polish woman living in Paris. She has had interesting experiences during her career, as a female composer, and she will share some compelling details in her lecture.
foto: Elżbieta Sikora ©PWM Edition, photo: Bartek Barczyk
“As it turns out, we will have two female speakers, two strong wonderful women – of an older generation – who have truly experienced career highs, and while it is important for me to reflect on that past, it is also important not to focus solely on music or the individuals directly associated with it. Vedrana Klepica, whose play I saw a few years ago in Vienna and loved, sprang to my mind. I saw how she talked and communicated on stage and concluded that she would be the perfect person to present the echoes of the Youth Company, its echo on new generations, to present the Croatian theater-music scene and bring new energy that differs from the other two guests.”
A Comparison with Recent Models
Vedrana Klepica, a dramaturg and a director, has also commented on her participation at the symposium as part of the 31st Music Biennale Zagreb:
„In the midst of the Second World War, on the premises of the Croatian Music Institute in Zagreb in Gundulić Street, a regular theatre programme, created by the Youth Company, started to take place and some of the essential figures of the history of Croatian theatre were a part of this group: Vlado Habunek, Radovan Ivišić, Kosta Spaić, Ivo Malec and others. While some argued that the Company was nothing else but a somewhat eccentric adventure of young artists and people of culture without any great artistic reach, to others it seemed important for the production of domestic contemporary theatre expression. In the discussion, we will once again reflect on the genesis and the work of the group, but we will also open a discussion on possible comparison with recent models of creating non-institutional and avant-garde theatre appearances and consider their influence on the present theatre scene in Zagreb.”
Ivo Malec with Ivan Picelj, Berislav Šipuš and the director of the French Institute
A Reflection of Female Artistic Creation
Margareta Ferek-Petrić also announced what the final part of the MBZ conversations will be about:
“Furthermore, it was important for me to open that door, so to speak, into the topic of – well, not of female composing, because such a thing does not exist, it is nonsense although often presented that way, while the topic itself is passé – but I decided to bring together an interesting group of people representing different generations who can share different experiences while talking about the reflection of female artistic creation, be it composing or any other kind of art. Our guests are a female composer on the program of the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra, Michelle Agnes Magalhaes, as well as the conductor leading that concert, Yalda Zamani.
Naturally, Elżbieta Sikora will also join us as she will already be in Zagreb, as well as Lukas Haselböck, musicologist and composer. I know him from Vienna, and I am aware that he strives to choose enough female composers for the concert programs in his cycles, so we want to get his perspective, why he is doing this, and how. We must also include Vedrana Klepica in this discussion, as she is a female writer and director and certainly has a lot to say. There is also a guest from the GRM-INA Institute, Nicolas Debade. We have set up a collaboration with the Institute. My suggestion was to focus on acousmatic music, more precisely on female composers of such music, and I hope that he will shed a different light on working with female composers in France, particularly in his Institute. Especially interesting is the lecture by Lukas Haselböck, musicologist, on the creative works of Gérard Grisey, the most prominent representative of spectral music.
I believe we have created a link connecting the scientific-artistic approach to things through the presentation of personalities from the past to the present, memories... to the facts behind the artistic journeys of all these individuals. This symposium, at least as I have envisioned it, will also deal with current topics. It was important for me to have that link, from the past to the present, and to deal with topics that are either still not sufficiently discussed on larger podiums or have not been consciously addressed.”