From February 10th to the 21st 2019 Graz was the hotspot of contemporary music, when more than 270 academy participants from more than 50 countries, 45 tutors and several top ensembles participated the biannual impuls Festival and Academy. Concerts with amongst others Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Schallfeld and Ensemble Nikel completed the very intensive academy work in addition to formats such as the impuls MinutenConcerts or A Day on Campus and in the City, discussions, lectures, composers' talks and various other music communication programs. impuls was a stage for many ULYSSES activities: ensembles in residency were IEMA and Ensemble Schallfeld, there were nine ULYSSES journeys participants and two special workshops, and furthermore four world premieres at Peter Tscherkassky's Cinemascope Trilogy project. The whole ULYSSES network was present in Graz for an annual meeting.
Rehearsals for impuls 2019 final concert: Simon Steen-Andersen's On and off and to and fro. © Arnold Haberl
“Best musical education I’ve ever had”
As one of the Ensembles in residency The Internationale Ensemble Modern Academy Ensemble 2018/19 (a master degree course in cooperation with the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende in Frankfurt) worked with young composers who had participated in the call for scores organised by impuls. Reading sessions were a great way to interconnect the ensemble with young composer participants of the impuls Academy. In addition IEMA was building up their repertoire and gave a concert including pieces from Witold Lutosławski, Rebecca Saunders, George Benjamin, Bernhard Gander, Francesco Filidei and John Zorn. IEMA-musicians and tutors were involved in plenty of other festival activities through tutoring, rehearsals and various other Academy and Festival formations. IEMA is one of the ULYSSES Network partners.
Players of the IEMA ensemble in different impuls projects. © Arnold Haberl
Musashi Baba, the current conductor of IEMA Ensemble 2018/19, was born in Zushi/Japan in 1989. Since 2015 Musashi Baba has been the conductor of the Junge Philharmonie Berlin. In 2016 he won the First Prize of the Hanns Eisler Forum for the Interpretation of New Music. ULYSSES community manager met with Musashi at impuls.
“My time at IEMA has been very useful. It is the best musical education I’ve ever had, as a conductor, but in general also. It is a lot of work, maybe more than I expected: stressful but in a positive way. Work at IEMA has a very intensive level and intensive atmosphere. I think we have a very good team which is very important, because working together is all about how to make an ensemble and how to create a team. impuls is the first time we really came out from Frankfurt to work somewhere in residency. Here we have had chances to work also more individually, and now that our own concert is over, I am visiting a lot of different conductors, every seminar or talk and all the rehearsals that I’m interested in: it is a full schedule.”
Conductor Musashi Baba performing Dieter Schnebel's "Nostalgie for one conductor (1962)" at impuls MinuteConcerts. © Arnold Haberl
Workshops with extended techniques and artists on journeys
Two very intensive workshops were organized in the frame of ULYSSES network project: Extended percussion composition and Extended composition. The Extended percussion composition with Michael Maierhof and Christian Dierstein circled around the central question how percussion could be defined in the 21st century and which current forms and materials coin composition for percussion instruments nowadays. Workshop Extended Composition with Simon Løffler offered a special programme not only for composers but also for musicians, performers and sound- and multimedia-artists. Participating in these but also other workshops and academy courses were the ULYSSES Journey composers Michael Taplin and Lauri Supponen, conductors Yalda Zamani and Musashi Baba, and musicians Felix Del Tredici, Sophia Goidinger-Koch, Jonathan Heilbron, Joe Mumm and Peng-Hui Wang. ULYSSES Platform will review their experiences in another Focus On article.
ULYSSES journey composer Lauri Supponen rehearsing his piece at Extended percussion composition workshop. © Arnold Haberl
Peter Tscherkassky's Cinemascope Trilogy
Writing new music for Peter Tscherkassky’s short films is a ULYSSES activity initiated by impuls already in 2017 and involving many of the ULYSSES network partners. Mirela Ivičević and Julien Malaussena (impuls), Javier Elipe Gimeno and Ariadna Alsina (IRCAM), Boris Bezemer and Mikołaj Laskowski (Gaudeamus) as well as Clara Iannotta and Simon Løffler (IMD) are commissioned by impuls and its partners to develop new compositions to the experimental films of the Austrian filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky. This year’s impuls edition heard the world premieres of four works as well as performances of other previously premiered compositions. All the compositions are written for Ensemble Nikel. The last two commissions will be premiered at IRCAM in June 19, 2019.
Ensemble Nikel © Kristof Lemp