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.‎

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.‎
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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.‎
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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.‎
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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
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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.‎
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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.‎
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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.‎
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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.‎
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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. ‎
PERCUSSION QUARTET ‎
Juanjo Guillem, artistic direction and percussion ‎
Néstor Pamblanco, percussion ‎
Alejandro Tur de Carlos, percussion
Marina Lafarga, percussion