On Sunday, 6 October, the new Sampler Sèries and Escenes season gets underway at L’Auditori with the world première of “Homenaje a Martha Graham” (Tribute to Martha Graham), with choreography by Virginie Mécène, choreographer and former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, and music by Ramon Humet, guest composer for L’Auditori’s 2019_20 season.
The show, which is a co-production between L’Auditori and the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musica, will feature the outstanding PeiJu Chien-Pott, Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. A magnificent ensemble will perform the score: soprano Sarah Maria Sun, pianist Alberto Rosado, shakuhachi maestro Kaoru Kakizakai and Neopercusión.
The music for “Homenaje a Martha Graham” is presented in two different formats: one is with vocals and piano based on several poems by Mario Lucarda; and the other is purely instrumental. By doing this, Humet contrasts the intricacy and refinement of nine songs for soprano and piano with ten instrumental interludis mediatius (meditative interludes) devised as space for release.
Notes by the choreographer Virginie Mécène
I came across the album “Homenaje a Martha Graham” by Ramon Humet in 2017 when I was looking for music for an unusual project. I was choreographing a new solo based on “Ekstasis”, Martha Graham's missing 1933 work. The original choreography had been lost and I was re-imagining the dance.
The music of maestro Humet was inspired by poems about Martha Graham written by Mario Lucarda, and I immediately sensed a strong connection between the music, the poetry and my own instinctive feelings about the movement of the soloist. It seemed we – the composer, the poet and the choreographer – had, all three, drunk from the very same fountain of inspiration, something deep within our emotional, primal memories: the same source Martha Graham recognised as being the cornerstone of creativity.
The short section of the album I chose, <em>interludi mediatiu VII as so spectacularly suited to dance that it was as if they had been created for one another. Since its première in February 2017, “Ekstasis” has enjoyed enormous success, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike throughout the world, and is the inspiration behind this major project.
In 2018, L’Auditori invited me to choreograph solos for each of the interludis mediatius from “Homenaje a Martha Graham”. To begin my choreographic process, I let my imagination respond spontaneously to the words of each poem until they manifested themselves into an instinctive, initial movement. From these convulsive thrusts, I developed the dance, and then repeated the same process for the rest of the interludis. I intertwined these movements with the music so that they echoed one another. I explored differing degrees of intensity in the movements, playing with silence and opposing points of the body, and with its most simple and pure form – the bones, the flesh –, and also with the primary, continuous and ever beautiful movement of breathing.
For interludis III and VI, I chose to use filmed sequences to present the audience with an intimate perspective of the body in movement, to enable them to see details that would not be visible to them from the stage any other way, and to contemplate the miraculous beauty of the external landscape of the body. Just as each of the interludis mediatius are abstracts from the songs, the dances are also abstracts from the poems. My intention is to add a third perspective, in physical form, to this meditation in movement.
Sampler Sèries, new music
Sampler Sèries reflects L’Auditori's support for new sound creation, offering a range of contemporary performances that involve elements of R&D in the world of music, and is the foremost, regular season dedicated to new music creation in all its diversity in Catalonia. L’Auditori has helped promote the première of 160 works over the six programmed Sampler Sèries seasons, with 60 world premières, 100 Spanish premières, and 28 commissioned works.
It is coordinated by L’Auditori in collaboration with various leading contemporary art institutions in the city of Barcelona, and is also linked with other new sound creation festivals and international series. The contents span written music to free improvisation, acoustic instruments to electronic devices and performative music to sound installations and video creation.
This season, featured artists include Vicky Chow, the Ensemble Contrechamps, Tristan Perich, Sarah Maria Sun, the Latvian Radio Choir, eRikm, PeiJu Chien-Pott and the Ensemble Musikfabrik, and Ramon Humet and Pablo Carrascosa Llopis will be the guest composers.
”Homenaje a Martha Graham” biographies
RAMON HUMET, COMPOSER
A leading light from one of the most prolific generations of composers over recent years, Ramon Humet (Barcelona, 1968) is one of the 2019_20 season’s guest composers. To explore new ways of conceiving the concert experience, audiences will be able to enjoy several of Humet’s compositions throughout the different seasons at L’Auditori. He will open the Sampler Sèries and Escenes season with “Homenaje a Martha Graham”, a world première based on the poem by Mario Lucarda with choreography by Virginie Mécène. “Llum” (Light) will also be performed in the Sampler Sèries, presented by the prestigious Latvian Radio Choir. The OBC will perform “Gagaku” from Humet’s symphonic catalogue under the baton of Cristian Măcelaru, and in the Chamber Music season, the Armida Quartett will premier “Fràgil” (Fragile), a work commissioned for string quartet and electronics. A composer and engineer, Humet has been awarded the Olivier Messiaen International Composition Prize, the 24th Queen Sofia International Composition Prize and the 16th Ciutat de Tarragona International Composition Prize. His music exudes an intense love of nature, captured in some of his works such as “Música del no ésser” (Music of Non-Being), “El temps i la campana” (Time and the Bell), and “Escenes d’ocells” (Scenes of Birds), premièred by different orchestras. Music for piano and traditional Japanese music for shakuhachi are a key feature in Humet’s catalogue of works. Some of his most important works have been recorded on the album “Niwa” by the London Sinfonietta conducted by N. Collon.
VIRGINIE MÉCÈNE, CHOREOGRAPHER
Mécène is a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. During her career, she has choreographed works in distinct styles and has received various commissions from American dance institutions. She was Principal Dancer at the Buglisi Dance Theatre, the Pearl Lang Dance Theater and at Battery Dance. She has worked as a choreographer on celebrated stages such as the Palais Garnier in Paris, the New York City Center and the Joyce Theater in New York, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park for Dance in Tivoli, New York State. She has recently received the New York State Council on Arts’ Choreographer Award. Mécène has been a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1988, and currently directs the Graham 2 dance company. Her work as a director focuses on training dancers and teachers. She is a regular jury member at international dance competitions
PEIJU CHIEN-POTT, DANCER
Chien-Pott is an internationally-acclaimed contemporary dance artist, especially fêted for her work as Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Described as “the most dramatically-daring and physically chameleon-esque Graham dancer of her generation”, she has received numerous awards of international prestige, including the Bessie Award, the Positano Premia La Danza Award, and the 2018 Danza Capri International Prize. As well as her artistic work, PeiJu Chien-Pott has collaborated with renowned photographers such as Lois Greenfield, Hibbard Nash, Paul B. Goode, Tullio Fortuna, Jacob Sutton and NYC Dance Project. Her images have appeared in major media outlets, commercial publications and magazines, including The New York Times, Dance, Dance Spirit, Elle, Vogue, Spirit & Flesh, Capezio, GapFit Campaign, Shiatzy Chen and Dior.
SARAH MARIA SUN, SOPRANO
Sun is considered one of the most extraordinary performers on the contemporary music scene. From 2007 to 2014, she was first soprano in the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. She has worked with numerous composers, including H. Lachenmann, H. Holliger, G. Friedrich Haas, S. Sciarrino and B. Lang and also with conductors such as Sir S. Rattle, K. Nagano, T. Hengelbrock and others, and with orchestras and ensembles of exceptional international renown. Her collaboration with D. Segota and T. A. Baumgartner was also particularly noteworthy. In 2017, she was nominated by Opernwelt as Singer of the Year for her role as Elsa in Sciarrino‘s operatic monodrama “Lohengrin”. Her discography includes more than 30 CDs, some of which have received awards. She regularly gives masterclasses at universities and conservatoires in Oslo, Chicago, Stockholm, Zurich, Moscow, Berlin and at Harvard.
MARIO LUCARDA, POET
Lucarda studied Business at ESADE (1966) and Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Barcelona (1981). He has published three books of poems: “Cantos vivos” (Sharp Edges) (1980), “Voltereta en el aire” (Somersault in the Air) (2002) and “Midiendo la Inmensidad” (Measuring the Immensity) (2011). He has been a literary critic for various media outlets and literary journals, and was a member of the editorial team on various literary magazines such as Hora de Poesía, Poiesis, and poesía 080 barcelona. He is also a translator, having worked on “Cartas de John Keats” (John Keats’ Letters) (1982), Charles Simic’s poetry “‘El mundo no se acaba’ y otros poemas” (The World Doesn't End and Other Poems) (1999), along with texts by Pound, Hawthorne, and poems by Wallace Stevens, and others. “Homenaje a Martha Graham” was first published as a booklet by the Café Central collection (2000). His poems are included in the “Barcelona: 25 años de poesía en lengua española” anthology (Barcelona: 25 years of Poetry in Spanish), published in number nine of the literary journal “Ficciones” (Granada, 2002).
The poem “Homenaje a Martha Graham” (Tribute to Martha Graham) by Mario Lucarda is included in the book “Voltereta en el aire” (2002, Calima Ediciones).
ALBERTO ROSADO, PIANIST
Alberto Rosado has given recitals in major cities and festivals in Europe, America and Asia, and has performed with some of the best orchestras and ensembles conducted by P. Eötvös, S. Mälkki, J. Pons, J. Nott, F. Panisello, R. Frühbeck de Burgos, J. R. Encinar, P. Halffter, A. Tamayo, Z. Nagy, J. L. Temes, P. Rundel, and others. He has been a pianist with Plural Ensemble since 1997. Notable amongst his recordings are the Concerto for piano and orchestra by J. M. López with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester (Kairos), the Concerto for piano by Ligeti (NEOS), and the complete works for piano by C. Halffter and also that by J. M. López López (Verso). His most ambitious project to date is “e-piano video&electronics”, a CD-DVD distributed by the IBS Classical label with the collaboration of the BBVA Foundation, featuring the most recent music for piano, electronics and video by Fuentes, Paredes, Humet, Estrada, Edler-Copes, Morales Ossío and Navarro.
KAORU KAKIZAKAI, SHAKUHACHI
Kakizakai is an internationally-renowned player and instructor of the shakuhachi, an instrument he began to play when he was 21. He studied with maestro Katsuya Yokoyama and graduated from the NHK Traditional Music Conservatory. In 1997, he won the prestigious Kumamoto All Japan Hogaku competition. He performed “November Steps” by Tōru Takemitsu with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, conducted by C. Dutoit and H. Iwaki, and with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of A. Naito. He has played in America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and has presented a duet programme with pianist Maria João Pires. Kakizakai is a regular instructor at the Boulder-based Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies and at the Australian Shakuhachi Festival. He is currently a lecturer and research fellow at the Tokyo College of Music, instructor at the International Shakuhachi Kenshukan and NHK Culture Centre, and President of the International Shakuhachi Kenshukan Chichibu School and Higashi Yamato School.
NEOPERCUSIÓN, PERCUSSION QUARTET
Research, innovation and experimentation form the basis of the work and projects by Neopercusión, an ensemble from Madrid and driving force behind current sound creation. Their performances include percussion in solo, ensemble or in combination with other instruments, performers and artists from other disciplines. Projects include the use of new media, video, experimental stage concepts, and a broad variety of music genres. They have collaborated with some of the most outstanding artists on the current scene, such as Arditti Quartet, Markus Stockhausen, Sigma Project, STOCOS, Iñaki Alberdi, Asier Polo, Raquel Andueza, Tambuco, Trío Arbós, Antonio Serrano, Andreas Prittwitz, Karolina Leedo, Roy Mercure, Speculum, Jaime del Val, Xelo Giner, Pilar Fontalba, Ricardo Descalzo, and others. The group is committed to actively encouraging and supporting the presence of female composers in their programmes.
Juanjo Guillem, artistic direction and percussion
Néstor Pamblanco, percussion
Alejandro Tur de Carlos, percussion
Marina Lafarga, percussion
Aleix Palau | 3 October 2019
The world première of “Homenaje a Martha Graham” (Tribute to Martha Graham), with music by Ramon Humet and choreography by Virginie Mécène, opens L’Auditori’s Sampler Sèries season
Ramon Humet is the guest composer for L’Auditori’s 2019_20 season. The show features the Martha Graham Dance Company’s Principal Dancer, PeiJu Chien-Pott.