Performing an ecology of a composition practice

Performing an ecology of a composition practice


Alison Isadora (AHK)

What impact might ‘performing an ecology of a composition practice’ have on the role of the composer, performer, audience, score, place and the relations between them?

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.

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 usefully be applied in considering the new-music situation. This allows furthermore, a reappraisal of the western art music practice of reifying the score. What kind of practice might one create if the score is no longer a fixed object but rather an invitation to act? And additionally, if the situation in which the performance takes place is also recognised as agential, what intra-actions might place stimulate?

In my research I am attempting to be alive to the becomings in contemporary western art music that may arise between actants (both homo sapiens and others). This aliveness must include a recognition of the history of the actants and their intra-connectedness and the processes at work that can feed speculations on future intertwinings, that is, the way the roles of the composer, performer, audience, space and score may adapt, respond, overlap and be entangled with each other.

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Aliz Soos