Probably no-one can really explain what music is and why it comes about. That has always been a concern of mine. I am convinced that I became a composer because I believed that by writing music, I would find the answers. In vain. These days I am not so young, but I am very happy that no valid definition has yet emerged – the mystery persists.
I'm very curious, and I can live as a composer only once. It's a regrettable fact, but also a useful one, because a composer above all must know how to make use of time.
Integrating the theatrical with the musical has its own special challenges and joys. Our assumptions about performance are being challenged and the limitations (via our training) we have placed on ourselves as performers are constantly being negotiated. There are natural resistances to this process but the moments when they can be broken through are truly exciting, liberating and (most importantly) entertaining! Here is a link to a Radio New Zealand interview that Gao Ping and Hamish McKeich had with Eva Radich yesterday: http://www.radionz.co.nz/concert/programmes/upbeat/audio/201769637/hamish-mckeich-and-gao-ping-the-mauricio-kagel-project
He actually arrived yesterday but today was the first time to have Hamish McKeich together with the musicians. Wonderful to hear Gao Ping's new work coming to life. It is very exciting to have everything coming together. However, the real purpose of this work is to push in new directions with the outcome unknown. This will especially be the case as we continue to experiment between music and theatre - or the theatricality of music and musicality of performance.
We also had filmmaker Shirley Horrocks and Craig Wilson in rehearsal as they cover the development of the work.
What I’m trying to do is something that I love, what I like, and think I need. In that moment, you have to be very honest... If you try to be honest with yourself, and write what you think you need, not what you think other people need, or music critics, or colleagues, you will then be trying to communicate your truth. If it has that truth, then it will be interesting.
...How conservative was the avant-garde of the sixties, and how conservative has experimental music become today? I could speak about academic experimental music, but then I’m talking about killing all of the possibilities that an experiment can have. In an experiment, the end result is very difficult to predict. Certain processes are unpredictable, but experimental music has become very predictable. I’m not interested in the old opposition of avant-garde and rear-guard. I’m a classic example of someone who did things that weren’t in the mainstream during the time of the avant-garde. To obey the rules of style, I was always absolutely against that. Pieces that are written without anarchy, without going against style, against the stony dimension of style, are more-or-less impossible to hear.
Composing for the prepared piano is not a criticism of the instrument. I'm only being practical.
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