Composer Louis Andriessen and Violinist Monica Germino in Residence at USF
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Composer Louis Andriessen and violinist Monica Germino wrap up an exciting semester
as visiting artists at the USF School of Music.
Students have had the invaluable opportunity to work with these experienced visiting artists who have made substantial contributions to their fields.
Andriessen lectured on his pieces Mysterien, La Girò, and La Passione in the Guest Composer Lecture Series. He also met for private lessons with several music composition students. Throughout his residency, Andriessen has offered students individualized advice, new ways of approaching music, and invaluable tips for living as composers.
Senior music composition student Francesco Sclafani says Andriessen allowed him to realize his mastery of a certain style of composing. Andriessen's feedback pushed him into a new style of composing that he has already started to incorporate into his music.
"Having that sort of insight into where I can go with what I have already really helps," said Sclafani.
Additionally, students valued getting to know Andriessen's distinct perspective on music as an influential and lifelong composer. Logan Barrett, a third-year music composition student, said, "He is able to provide us with a new musical language that we might not have around here, or with the people that we know."
Known for his music-centered practice, Andriessen also advised students on how to live as composers. Students especially appreciated learning how to focus and specialize, as opposed to taking on any and all projects, to create compelling and unified bodies of works.
Meanwhile, in the violin studio, Germino has spent her time introducing students to new contemporary music composers and techniques while challenging them every step of the way.
Working with a studio already well-versed in contemporary music, she pushed the students
further into the realm of new music by assigning works by composers such as Donnacha
Dennehy, Annie Gosfield, Louis Andriessen, Vanessa Lann, and Philip Glass.
In early November, she coordinated and moderated a special violin studio class in Barness Hall with live sound and technical support from the USF Composition department. All 18 members of the violin studio introduced their pieces – which ranged from Ives and Boulanger to new music spanning the 1980s to the present – before performing them live with any complimentary soundtracks and amplification.
Students saw firsthand what it is like to engage with music in an intensive setting with the guidance of a challenging, supportive, and experienced musician. Some even sang while playing violin, a method of performance that has come to characterize Germino's own professional work.
"What I love about her is she is bringing it right to the students," said Scott Kluksdahl, professor of cello and chamber music. His students often collaborate with the violin studio for chamber music pieces.
He calls the recent studio class "a real glimpse into how an artist engages in the creative process ... Everybody had to go outside their comfort zone and do something that was in the realm of the unknown."
Germino's presence this semester has advanced the musicianship of violin students at USF and will leave a lasting impression on both student performers and composers alike.
"To have an established new music performer who's not only passionate but also really good and well-recognized is really useful," said Barrett. "It's reassuring and directly helps us because it gets the violinists more into what we do."
About the Artists
Louis Andriessen is one of Europe's most eminent and influential composers. His music combines propulsive energy, economy of material, and distinctive sonorities, often dominated by pungent wind and brass, pianos and electric guitars. From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Mr. Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic materials heard in totally distinctive instrumentation. His acknowledged admiration for Stravinsky is illustrated by a parallel vigor, clarity of expression, and acute ear for color. Mr. Andriessen's range of inspiration is wide, spanning the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondrian in De Stijl, medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, and writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part 1. He has tackled complex creative issues, exploring the relation between music and politics in De Staat, the nature of time and velocity in De Tijd and De Snelheid, and questions of mortality in Trilogy of the Last Day.
Amsterdam-based, American/Dutch violinist Monica Germino is on the cutting edge of new music. Hailed by The Sunday Times (UK) as a 'striking presence' whose 'virtuosity was exhilarating,' she has commissioned and premiered innovative works in leading venues and international festivals and collaborated with such composers as Louis Andriessen, John Cage, Michael Daugherty, Heiner Goebbels, Michael Gordon, György Ligeti, and Julia Wolfe. Germino is challenging the violin's conventional limits by creating innovative programs with a constantly expanding, eclectic repertoire. Together with sound designer Frank van der Weij, she has presented revolutionary multimedia programs worldwide. Her performances often feature singing and playing simultaneously. Germino plays a Joannes Baptista Ceruti violin, on permanent loan from the Elise Mathilde Foundation, along with a custom-made Violectra and an assortment of modified violins. She is artistic advisor of the international ensemble ELECTRA.