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Aleix Palau | 20 January 2020

Composer Christine Sun Kim reinterprets sound by drawing on her own deafness, ‎accompanied by Ensemble Contrechamps

The American composer presents the Spanish première of her work Deaf, not ‎mute in which she uses various media and formats to expose sound as a mark, as a ‎ghost and as potential. The piece takes place within the Beethoven250 Festival and is inspired ‎by the German composer and his deafness. It will be performed by the prestigious Ensemble ‎Contrechamps.‎

Composer Christine Sun Kim reinterprets sound by drawing on her own deafness, ‎accompanied by Ensemble Contrechamps

Next Wednesday 22 January, as part of the Beethoven250 Festival, the ‎‎Sampler Sèries presents a project influenced by the figure of the genius ‎from Bonn. It is the première of a work by sound artist Christine Sun Kim, who has ‎been deaf since birth, and has been jointly commissioned by Ensemble ‎Contrechamps who will perform it for the first time in Spain.‎

With Deaf, not mute, the Geneva-based Ensemble, one of ‎Europe's historic instrument groups dedicated to new creation, offers us its own special ‎‎tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven while exploring the limits of sound and ‎music creation from a semantic and perceptual perspective.‎

In preparing this piece, the composer instructed the musicians to establish five ‎degrees of muteness on their instruments. The videographic material of the work ‎consists of sub-titles taken from various audiovisual documents, shown ‎between parentheses, which refer to the properties of the sound. Kim conducts ‎the performance projecting the texts as instructions for the musicians. ‎

Sound is not, therefore, important for its acoustic properties but for its ability to ‎convey meaning, as a voice does.‎

The programme also includes Beethoven’s Sonata for horn ‎and piano and Time Intent Memory by Swiss ‎composer Jürg Frey, which complement ways of conceiving the presence ‎of sound and invite us to acts of listening that are radically different.‎

‎*You can download the concert programme here

Christine Sun Kim’s composition examines how the expression “deaf-mute” implies the ‎notion that deaf people are devoid of the possibility of having a voice. “Mute” can refer to ‎the disability, or to turning sound off in technology, or to reducing the volume of a musical ‎instrument.‎

An accessible concert.‎
The Beethoven250 Festival is committed to making as many as possible of the festival’s ‎activities and their scenic and artistic features accessible. This approach is inspired by ‎Beethoven’s own deafness and his own particular perception of art.‎

For the concert, Christine Sun Kim, who has been deaf since birth, will explain her work using ‎‎British sign language while simultaneous interpretation in English ‎and subtitles in Catalan will be provided.‎

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