for large ensemble, computer-generated sound and light [2018]

Marko Nikodijevic and Robert Henke with Ensemble intercontemporain

June 8 2018
Cite de la Musique

From Within… is a brave and adventurous journey into previously uncharted territory, combining influences from contemporary works for ensemble with the rich, raw and precise powers of current computer music. The pioneering usage of wave-field-synthesis and the integration of a sculpture of LEDs behind and above the ensemble creates a unique immersive audiovisual space.

We aim for an experience at the intersection between concert and installation, allowing the audience to focus on the work’s grand gestures as well as diving into minuscule detail.

In From Within…, archaic and repetitive movements provoked by large tectonic shifts in structure take place alongside kinetic forces of contraction and expansion and ephemeral, intimate moments suggesting a different and more static concept of time. The title refers to the core process of creativity, bringing hidden ideas to the surface. It also evokes the picture of vulcan eruptions, of a strong force that has to be unleashed.

We merge electronic sounds and the rich world of acoustic instruments into one beautiful, inseparable, complete and monolithic unity. Sophisticated technology allows us to define our own sonic universe, ranging from near infrasonic bass frequencies to crystalline microscopic glitches, executed dynamically and with precision, matching and interacting with the acoustic abundance created by some of the world’s most talented instrumentalists.

We have full control over colour, direction and intensity of light inside the concert hall, made possible with a LED sculpture located above the ensemble, in front of and behind the iconic horizontal array of loudspeakers used to create the three-dimensional sound field. Light and movement are treated with the same amount of fine-grained detail and precision as the sonic part of the composition.

From Within… is a comissioned work by the Ensemble intercontemporain, in collaboration with IRCAM and d&b Audiotechnik.

From Within..., is a collaboration between Robert Henke and Marko Nikodijevic, two artists coming from very diverse fields but sharing similar concepts and obsessions.

Robert Henke was born 1969 in Munich an living in Berlin. He is mostly known for his laser installations and performance works, and his musical contributions to the electronic scene in between club culture and sound art.

Marko Nikodijevic was born in 1980 in Subotica, Serbia and studied composition in Belgrade with Zoran Eri" and Srdjan Hofman between 1995 and 2003. In addition, he attended courses and lectures in nonlinear mathematics and physics. Following his education in the Serbian capital, he undertook advanced training in composition with Marco Stroppa at the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart in 2003. Nikodijevic settled in Stuttgart, from where he received stipends and attended master courses and composition seminars in Apeldoorn, Visby, Weimar, Amsterdam, Salzwedel and Baden-Baden. His compositional production has won prizes and awards at the International Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, the Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam, the 3rd Brandenburg Biennale and the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers.

He resided in Paris from 2012 to 2013 as a scholarship holder at the Cité internationale des Arts. In 2013 Marko Nikodijevic received one of the three composition furtherance prizes of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and in 2014 was awarded the Deutscher Musikautorenpreis (German Composers‘ Prize) in the category Promotion of New Talent.

What unites Robert Henke and Marko Nikodijevic is their common interest in the evolution of timbre, in music as sonic state, in transitions, and sudden fractures. They both share an aversion against the too obvious, too simple offerings and are obsessed with details as well as with grand and majestic gestures.

From Within... is a work for a quite large ensemble, highly focused on rhythmical and micro-rhythmical movement. It will be performed by three percussion players, two grand pianos, and a full grown string, brass and woodwind section. From Within... requires mastery in extended instrument performance techniques and perfection in detail. The Paris based Ensemble intercontemporain, offers all this with the highest possible sophistication. It has been founded in 1976 by composer Pierre Boulez and is the leading ensemble for contemporary music, with a special focus on works for ensemble and electronics, as well as an interest in projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video and visual arts. New pieces are commissioned and performed on a regular basis.

The Ensemble is also renown for its strong emphasis on music education: concerts for children, creative workshops for students, training programs for future performers, conductors and composers. Since 2004, the Ensemble soloists have been tutoring young instrumentalists, conductors and composers in the field of contemporary repertoire at the Lucerne Festival Academy, an educational project held by the Lucerne Festival. Based at the Cité de la Musique (Paris) since 1995, the Ensemble performs and records in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide.

Since it was first established, the Ensemble intercontemporain has promoted the circulation of 20th and 21st century musical works throughout Europe and the world. This vital mission of disseminating musical works has led the Ensemble to be recognized as “European Cultural Ambassador” for 2012 by the European Commission. Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher, musicians work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video and visual arts. In collaboration with the IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the Ensemble intercontemporain is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation.

From Within... will be conducted by Ensemble intercontemporain’s artistic director Matthias Pintscher. Matthias Pintscher was named as the first composer in residence and artist in focus at Hamburg's new Elbphilharmonie concert hall which opened in autumn 2016, and was featured in a series of portrait concerts in its inaugural season. Equally accomplished as conductor and composer, Pintscher sees his two main spheres of activity as entirely complementary; he has created significant works for the world’s leading orchestras, and his intrinsic understanding of the score from the composer’s perspective informs his ability to communicate on the podium.

In the 2016/17 season, Pintscher was appointed to guest conduct the Cleveland Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk, Radio Symphonie Orchestre Wien, among other orchestras. In summer 2016, he lead concerts at the London Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Pintscher works regularly with leading contemporary music ensembles such as the Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble contrechamps, Avanti (Helsinki), remix (Porto) and the Scharoun Ensemble. Since 2011, he has curated the music segment of the Impuls Romantik Festival in Frankfurt. He has also served as the artistic director of the Heidleberg Atelier of the Heidelberg Spring Festival since 2007, which has now transformed into the Heidelberg Young Composer’s Academy. As of September 2014, Pintscher joined the composition faculty at the Juilliard School. Pintscher conducts throughout Europe, U.S. and Australia. Past conducting engagements have included the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, DSO-Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Paris Opera Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de France, Accademia Nazionale di Santa CeciliaOrchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Mariinsky Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, and Sydney Symphony, among others.

From Within...’s visual component is an integral part of the composition, developed with the same care as the musical part of the score. Instead of being an add-on, it serves as counterpoint and complete ‘voice’ within the composition. An arrangement of LED stripes above and behind the ensemble together with a laser projection system, will create an immersive visual scenario that pulsates and interacts with the music, ranging from subtle colorisation to bright and overwhelming intensity. Movement in sound and space are paired with visual movement, silence paired with frozen states. The visual sculpture deliberately avoids the association of video, there is no film: the focus instead being on color and immersion.

From Within... will come to life as a highly collaborative effort, involving composition, performance, technical planning, and scientific research: Paris based, ‘Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/ Musique (IRCAM)’ provides their latest development for spatial sound distribution: a newly developed wave-field-synthesis algorithm, which will allow to locate and blend electronic sound, processed sound sources from the orchestra and the sound of the acoustic instruments themselves with unprecedented detail and dynamics, using more than 60 loudspeakers placed above and behind the ensemble.

db Audiotechnik, located in the south of Germany, is one of the worlds leading manufacturers of state of the art sound reinforcement systems with more than 35 years of experience. They will provide the loudspeakers and amplification hardware necessary for this project, and the technical expertise necessary to operate it. This project is also a showcase of their latest audio processor technology, which will be the central hub for all audio signals.

The LED sculputre is driven by the Touch Desginer sofware by the canadian company Derivative.