Philippe Manoury (France, 1952)
Philippe Manoury is one of the major French composers of the contemporary scene. His prolific output includes operas, works for symphony orchestra, electronics, solo instruments or ensembles; though he has a preference for large-scale forms and non-standard ensembles. He is researching in the field of computer music and specializes in live electronics.
When he began his composing career in the early 1970s, he blazed a very personal trail, drawing inspiration from Stockhausen, Boulez and Xenakis. He explores such notions as the temporality of a piece, the evolution of the musical material, and the way sound masses are perceived and managed. For over 35 years, he has been interested in the aesthetic, theoretical and expressive aspects of musical creation.
Philippe Manoury is a committed pedagogue, and has taught mostly in Europe, the United States and Japan. He has been director of education for the Ensemble Intercontemporain (1983-1987) and head of the European music academy at Aix-en-Provence festival (1998-2000). He was made Emeritus Professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he taught for 8 years. He has taught composition at Strasbourg Académie supérieure de musique between 2013 and 2016.
His “thinkspiel” Kein Licht, a music theatre piece on a text by Elfriede Jelinek, directed by Nicolas Stemann, was premiered at the Ruhrtriennale in August; it is being revived and toured throughout Europe this season. In 2017, Philippe Manoury holds the artistic creation chair at the Collège de France.
Luca Francesconi (Italy, 1956)
Luca Francesconi studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio, and became the latter’s assistant. In 1990, Luca Francesconi created studio Agon – Acoustics Computer science Music, in Milan; he has taught composition at Italian conservatoires for 25 years.
He regularly teaches master-classes in Europe, the US and Japan, and is currently head of composition at the Musikhögskolan in Malmö, Sweden. Luca Francesconi was creative director of the music section at the Venice Biennale from 2008 to 2012, and director of the Ultima Festival in Oslo. In 2012, he was resident tutor at the Gulbenkian Foundation, as well as resident tutor and guest composer at the Acanthes Academy at the Ircam in Paris. In 2013, he was resident composer at the Casa da Música in Porto.
Luca Francesconi is the author of over one hundred works, from solo pieces to sweeping orchestral works, as well as opera and multimedia projects, all of which are performed worldwide. His latest opera Trompe-la-Mort, commissioned by the Opéra national de Paris, was premiered at the Palais Garnier in 2017. His future projects include an opera commissioned by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (2020) and another for the Zurich Opernhaus (2022)
Francesconi’s music relentlessly explores the liminal space between sound and meaning, conscious and unconscious. Its complex yet transparent textures draw on a broad polyphony of musical idioms, and sometimes on microtonality. Francesconi’s virtuoso writing combines dynamism with stasis, harnesses the vast potential of instrumental timbre, and uses electronics as a catalyst to coalesce and investigate sound textures.
Tom Mays (USA, 1966)
Tom Mays is currently teaching Electroacoustic Creation and Interpretation at the Strasbourg Académie supérieure de musique / HEAR, as well as associate researcher at the Labex GREAM, University of Strasbourg. He also gives many seminars, masterclasses and workshops, and teaches computer music to New York University students at the Ircam.
He took part in the creation of Césaré National music creation centre together with Christian Sebille. Tom Mays spent several years at the Ircam as computer music designer, and has taught New technologies applied to composing at the Paris CNSMD, together with Luis Naón, for fourteen years.
Tom Mays has composed both digital and mixed works for instruments, live electronics, electroacoustic devices and new electronic instruments – for soloists and ensembles such as Fabrique Nomade, Voix de Stras' and Percussions de Strasbourg.
Tom Mays also improvises with electronics, and has performed with musicians such as Carol Robinson, Xavier Rosselle, Xavier Charles and Pascal Contet.
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart (Germany)
The Neue Vocalsolisten understand themselves as seekers, inventors, adventurers, idealists; creation and the search for new sounds and new vocal techniques are at the heart of their artistic project. The ensemble was created in 1984 and is made up of seven soloists, running the gamut from coloratura soprano to countertenor to basso profondo; the ensemble invites guest singers as their projects require. The soloists invest their creativity and personality in a spirit of fruitful teamwork and cooperation with composers and other performers. The Neue Vocalsolisten frequently work with specialist ensembles, radio orchestras, independent theatres or opera houses, electronic studios, and festival or concert organisers.
The ensemble’s manifold projects include: musical theatre, interdisciplinary work with electronics, video, visual arts, literature, as well as juxtaposing early and contemporary music.
They have premiered many works – by Georg Friedrich Haas, Georges Aperghis, Michael Jarrell, Lucia Ronchetti, Giovanni Bertelli, Luca Francesconi, Oscar Strasnoy, Zad Moultaka, François Sarhan, Brice Pauset, Friedrich Cerha or Salvatore Sciarrino, among others. In 2017 they premiered Delocazione by Raphaël Cendo, together with Quatuor Tana, at Musica festival.
The Neue Vocalsolisten are especially noted for their work in the field of vocal music theatre. In recent years, the ensemble has won international acclaim for productions like Freizeitspektakel by Hannes Seidl and Daniel Kötter, Aura by José María Sánchez-Verdú, Utopien by Dieter Schnebel, or Sommertag by Nikolaus Brass. They are currently preparing a large-scale stage project for 2018, Privatopern.
Strasbourg Académie supérieure de musique / HEAR (France)
The Strasbourg Académie supérieure de musique / HEAR is the music department of the Haute école des arts du Rhin. The Académie boasts high-level tutors and state-of-the-art facilities, and offers courses for future professional musicians in the fields of early, classical, and contemporary music, as well as jazz. These courses aim to prepare future professionals for careers as orchestra musicians, soloists, chamber musicians, ensemble conductors, composers, improvisers, and specialist teachers.
These courses have been devised together with Strasbourg University, and may lead to DNSPM, State diploma, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level. Their goal is to enable students to focus on their speciality, thereby enabling them to succeed in their future careers as performers or teachers. Moreover, the Académie is one of the few schools in France that offer a second higher education study cycle, the Master’s degree in Composition or Performance, which attracts many French and international students every year.
Vincent Dubois, who is also the director of Strasbourg Conservatoire, is the head of the Académie supérieure de musique / HEAR.
Composition academy Philippe Manoury - Musica festival
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