BIENNALE MUSICA, VENEZIA PRESENTS 25 WORLD PREMIERES AND 15 ITALIAN PREMIERES IN 68th EDITION

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE WORLD PREMIERES BY UNSUK CHIN, PATRICIA KOPATCHINSKAJA, TRISTAN MURAIL, SAMIR ODEH-TAMIMI, MIHARU OGURA, REBECCA SAUNDERS & LISA STREICH

PERFORMERS INCLUDE BERTRAND CHAMAYOU, ENSEMBLE MODERN, MARKUS HINTERHAUSER, LEONIDAS KAVAKOS, PATRICIA KOPATCHINSKAJA, ORCHESTRA DEL TEATRO LA FENICE, ILAN VOLKOV & WDR SINFONIEORCHESTER KOLN

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Director Lucia Ronchetti © Vanessa Francia

Composer Rebecca Saunders is awarded the 2024 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, Ensemble Modern awarded the Silver Lion

German light designer Theresa Baumgartner is artist-in-residence

Venice, 26 September – 11 October 2024

In sixteen days of concerts and events this September and October, the 68th edition of the Venice Music Biennale under its Director Lucia Ronchetti will present 25 world premieres and 15 Italian premieres alongside other performances, conferences and roundtables.

Performances will be given across the city including several venues in the Arsenale, Teatro La Fenice, Ca’ Giustinian in the Sala delle Colonne, the Salone Sansoviniano of the Biblioteca Marciana, the Chiesa della Pietà and the Basilica di San Marco

The title for this year’s Music Biennale is ‘Absolute Music’ which Ronchetti explains is music “as an autonomous language showcasing the state of the art of this fascinating, alchemical discipline, entering the workshops of the most rigorous and inventive composers and performers who create scores, programmes, codes and performances without any extra-musical or visual references. In addition to the European tradition of written contemporary music, is also the vast repertoire of electronic music, as well as the repertoire generated by improvisational practices by means of sophisticated recording techniques. The Absolute Music festival will present some of the major protagonists of the current global electronic and digital scene, as well as performers and improvisers active in the field of experimental jazz.”

The Biennale is divided into ten sections:

ABSOLUTE JAZZ features soloists from different cultural backgrounds who draw on the language of jazz in their improvisations.

ASSOLO is devoted to virtuoso instrumental compositions, according to the conceptual idea that writing for solo instrument can offer a complete expression of a composer’s aesthetic.

COUNTERPOINTS presents the large-scale contrapuntal mechanisms present in the field of contemporary composition.

LISTENING/HEARING is an installation space for individual listening that will be available throughout the Festival in the Sale d’armi E of the Arsenale, with sound diffusions curated by French composer and sound engineer Thierry Coduys with lighting design by Theresa Baumgartner featuring, in the centre of the space, a Disklavier.

MUSICA RESERVATA, a style or a performance practice appeared in the mid-sixteenth century whereby experimental music could initially be performed only to a select audience or the composer himself and his performers. Inspired by this, Musica Reserva features ambitious works for one instrument or small ensemble of virtuoso instrumentalists.

POLYPHONIES presents complex compositions for orchestra, with soloists and electronic processing. The techniques developed by these outstanding composers featured in this section generate monumental acoustic architecture.

PURE VOICES is a section designed to suggest the possibility that vocal music, when linked to a distilled and deconstructed text drained of its semantic and communicative significance, can give rise to pure music projects, leading the listener to an ecstatic and meditative experience.

SOLO ELECTRONICS comprises three concerts with renowned protagonists of experimental electronics and sophisticated technologies.

SOUND STRUCTURES is a section dedicated to large-scale compositions that explore the physical nature of sound, taking the audience on an immersive journey into the reality of acoustic emanations.

RICERCARE is a theoretical section where practitioners reflect on various aspects of their compositional and performance work in relation to the concept of Absolute Music. The meetings will be held every morning in the Biblioteca ASAC.

Rebecca Saunders is awarded the 2024 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for her investigation of instrumental sound and for the intimate and hermetic poetry of the sound constructs created in her scores. The first female composer to be awarded the Ernst-von-Siemens Music Prize in 2019 and composer-in-residence at the Lucerne Festival in 2021 and the Berlin Musikfest in 2023-2024, Saunders is celebrated for the subtly of her research and of her compositions, for her ability to create in the listener a private listening space, an intimate and inner acoustic realm that develops and expands the sonic imagination.

The Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern is awarded the 2024 Silver Lion. In its forty-four years of activity the Ensemble Modern has distinguished itself for the curiosity, energy, innovation, virtuosity and passion with which it has dedicated itself to each new project. The members of the ensemble are all soloists with their own different and contrasting personalities and each of them responds to the demands of new music in a different way to create a multifaceted and complex dialogue that enriches the compositional experience and stimulates research and creativity.

The Biennale College Musica 2024 project is closely integrated into the wider festival. The eleven musicians under 30, selected from 408 applications from 58 countries, have been and will be in residence in Venice during three two-week periods, working together with tutors to prepare various different compositional and performing projects within the framework of the festival.