The Museu de la Música presents a project that focuses on the challenges of modern artistic expression and enhances L’Auditori’s unitary discourse

17-May-2022 – Aleix Palau

The Barcelona Museu de la Música, directed since the beginning of the season by Jordi Alomar, has launched a new artistic project that will define its future activities.

The proposal outlined by Alomar is based on a view of history and society as the result of complex trans-national encounters and processes. These concepts will be manifested in a change in the institution’s approach, through revisiting perspectives that have been forgotten or neglected for various reasons, the memories of immigrants and minorities, promoting and recognising cultural forms and ecosystems in transit through each region or community and examining the impact of technology on social and cultural change.

A critical review of the hegemonic narratives and discourses stemming from our heritage is also planned, examining the effects of social stratification, the (post)colonial world, gender and social and cultural hybridisation.

The Museu de la Música – Robert Gerhard Centre is, therefore, intended to function as a facilitator of learning and driver of critical thinking and contemporary creative work and research, in the fields of music and sound art. It will thus act as a generator of symbolic value for L’Auditori, with which it has artistic links.

The project involves redesigning the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, work which was already under way in the last quarter of 2021.

The new director’s plans for the permanent collection bring a twenty-first century approach to musicology, going beyond a discourse that relies on display cases and unidirectional devices and introducing a wide range of options made possible by modern technology.

ERDF Operational Programme funding has allowed seven projects related to this objective to be completed: the replacement of the audio-guide by portable, interactive audio-visual devices, which will enhance the visitor’s experience and allow feedback; the updating of signage; modernising the perimeter area of the Museum, so that it can play a versatile role in extending and enhancing the visitor’s experience; an interactive system using sampling technology that enables visitors to play ten instruments from the collection (no longer in use, for conservation reasons); 3D reproductions of instruments in the collection, for educational purposes; improved display facilities with the introduction of drawers accessible to the public; and the renovation of the stairs leading into the Museum and the hallway so these areas can be used for projects linked to different museum activities.

Temporary exhibitions are envisaged as a non-hierarchical series of activities, resources and programmes that will play an essential role in establishing the Museum’s identity as a dynamic, contemporary institution, and are one of its greatest assets in attracting visitors.

Work has begun on renovating the Museu de la Música’s two existing temporary exhibition halls. This includes modernising and equipping the premises to ensure they are suitable for multiple uses, including the introduction of a modular redistribution system that allows a dozen different divisions and layouts of the space available. The work of curatorship and mediation is carried out in association with local, national and international agencies, within the framework of the Consorci’s master plan and programming guidelines as agreed with the general management of L’Auditori.

Given that the Barcelona Museu de la Música forms part of L’Auditori, exploiting its potential should be understood as an integral process that brings together all the parts of the institution and a key element of its gradual transformation in recent years, a process that ensures it continues to strive for excellence and to involve the public.

The management of the Museu de la Música has thus aligned its activities with L’Auditori’s programme. Reflecting this season’s theme at L’Auditori, Death or Return, from October to January visitors can see the exhibition L’empremta de Felip Pedrell, coordinated by Cristina Álvarez Losada, Marc Heilbron and Ilaria Sartori, marking the centenary of the death of a composer who played a fundamental role in shaping modern music in this country, and an exhibition featuring the photographs taken for L’Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya. From January to April there will be an exhibition entitled Gramofonia. Càpsules de temps i soroll de superfície (Gramophony. Time capsules and surface noise), curated by Anki Toner, focusing on the life and death of the gramophone record as a support for sound recording.

During the season there will also be three consecutive exhibitions linked to new creative work based on three documentaries, dedicated to Xavier Carbonell and Sofia Gubaidulina, and to the pioneers of electronic music Marianne Amacher and Eliane Radigue.

Another activity that will highlight the joint work of the Museum and L’Auditori is the launch of the cycle Trànsits, which will feature musical practices from traditional cultures, both local and non-western, compensating for the historical neglect of this area in the institution’s programming.

Next season, the Trànsits series will include ten projects, created jointly with Barcelona City Council’s Office of Religious Affairs, through which we can learn firsthand about the music performed in the original liturgies of different communities that form part of the city’s cultural ecosystem, from Pakistani Qawwali to the music of the Romanian Orthodox Church and taking in the orally transmitted repertoires of the Mediterranean area.

In order to highlight its organological collection and complement L’Auditori’s musical programmes, the Museum will host the Guitars cycle, six concerts that will showcase the rich expressiveness of this family of instruments.

There will also be support for artistic research and creative sound projects based on the collection. For example, Constanza Brnčić, Blanca Tolsà and Alfredo Costa Monteiro will present Registres evanescents, based on Barcelona’s experimental underground culture in the 1980s and drawing on the collection of musician and cultural activist Víctor Nubla. Part of the Creació i Museus (Creation and Museums) programme, which is supported by El Graner, it can be seen at L’Auditori next July, staged jointly by the Escenes cycle and Festival Grec.

The Museum will also promote the inclusion of art in sound as part of its everyday activities. It will be involved in a large scale sound installation project in the Foyer of Hall 1, which will continue throughout the season and will be accessible to all concert-goers at L’Auditori. The project will launch with installations by Marc Vilanova and Lolo & Sosaku.

An inseparable part of the Museu de la Música, the Robert Gerhard Centre has two activities planned for next season. The first is a retrospective compilation of the work it has done over the years, to raise its profile and increase awareness of the Centre, with special attention to the Patrimoni Musical de Catalunya and CATICAT project portals. The second is to foster projects to develop and disseminate heritage, by supporting musical productions (both rediscovered works and new compositions) and to promote thought and musical heritage through a series of publications.


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