Performing an ecology of a composition practice

Performing an ecology of a composition practice


Alison Isadora (AHK)

What impact might new ecologies of music have on the role of the composer, performer and audience, and the relations between them?

Keywords: Active Listening, Agency, Engagement, Education, Participation, MultiDisciplinarity, MultiSpecies Attention, Entanglement, Situation

Classical music has a long tradition of separating the function between the maker (composer), the reproducer (performer) and the receiver (audience). Contemporary western art music has most often adopted these relationships without questioning their appropriateness. My research is focused, within the confines of the new music paradigm, on considering what an ecology of practice (Stengers) for new-music, might look like. What impact might this have on the role of the composer, performer and audience and also on the relationships between these three agents and what obligations exist between composers, performers and audiences towards their ‘dialogical others’? (Benson).

I am proposing that the ephemerality and largely non-reproductive experience of new-music performances creates a natural alignment with theatre and dance practices and that therefore performance theory can be usefully applied to the new-music situation. This suggests furthermore, a reconsideration of the dominant art music practice of reification of the score. What kind of practice might one create if the score is no longer a fixed object but rather an invitation to act?

Strategies from experimental music and performance practices will be examined for their efficacy in encouraging imaginary role repositioning for the composer, the performer and audience member.

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