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Music in context 1

JoĂŤl Bons

Invitation /

The international music world is increasingly shaped by music from diverse cultures. However, almost no structural research has been performed into the impact this had, or might have in the future, on musicians in training.

The Amsterdam Conservatory has invited JoĂŤl Bons to investigate the opportunities arising from the combination of different music cultures, for both composition and performance practice. Particular attention will be given to bringing these two practices closer to one another and to explore the distinction between composition and performance in different cultures. Where possible he will, in response to his findings, advise the Board on the selection of guest tutors and other teaching staff, the development and reform of the curriculum, and the syllabus of the Composition Department. In addition, the Amsterdam Conservatory investigate the feasibility of a Centre Conservatory devoted to various aspects namely knowledge, research, composition

From the letter of appointment

has asked JoĂŤl Bons to of Excellence at the of non-Western music, and performance.



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Winds and Strings

Joël Bons studied guitar and composition at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. After completing his composition studies, he attended summer courses by Franco Donatoni in Sienna and the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. In 1982 he resumed his composition studies with Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg. At the beginning of the 1980s, Joël Bons co-founded the Nieuw Ensemble, a leading international ensemble for contemporary music that is pioneering in its programming and innovative in its repertoire. As artistic leader, Joël Bons is still responsible for this programming. In 1988 he travelled in China, where he got to know a generation of young composers that would later cause a furore as part of the Nieuw Ensemble. Joël Bons initiated thematic festivals such as Complexity, Rules and Play, Improvisations, the multicultural Tokkel Festival, and The Refined Ear. In 2002, Bons made research trips to the Middle East and Central Asia. That same year he founded the Atlas Ensemble.


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Winds and Strings /


One of my aims will be to arouse your interest in non-European musical cultures and find ways to broaden our horizon and enrich our vocabulary. Many renowned musicians have shown us that encounters with other cultures can be very fruitful. In my opinion it is fundamentally important in today’s multicultural society to open up to the world, also in music education. I am convinced that in the years ahead, more and more serious musicians from all over the world will meet and collaborate. The Amsterdam Conservatory (CvA) could develop into a centre for those interested in this subject, and become the place to be, the place ‘where it’s all happening’. To make a start I would like to invite you to participate in a special project. During the first ten days of February 2005 a number of wonderful Asian musicians will be in Amsterdam for the project Atlas & Consorten (Atlas & Associates). Together with the musicians of the Nieuw Ensemble and conductor Ed Spanjaard, they will rehearse and perform four new works written for a combination of Western and non-Western instruments. In addition, the Korean, Chinese, Uzbek and Turkish virtuosi will present their musical traditions at two concerts in the Tropentheater, Amsterdam. To stimulate your interest and provoke ideas, we have organised three presentations: Asian winds, Asian strings and a composers’ forum about the new compositions.

This first encounter is intended to provide you with the opportunity to get acquainted with some distant family members of our own instruments, to exchange ideas and experiences with the musicians, and perhaps even make music together. The topics will include comparison of Eastern and Western attitudes to timbre, sound quality, vibrato/glissando, articulation, tuning, timing and concentration. On 10 February the four composers will present their new works and report on the challenge of writing for non-Western instruments. Joël Bons

e-mail response

Response to: Asian Winds & Strings Amsterdam Conservatory 01.02.2005 and 07.02.2005

From: j th loevendie Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2005 19:53:52 -0800 To: JoĂŤl Subject: asianinstr.



Instruments / >>

Beste JoĂŤl. De demonstratie vanmmorgen was verbijsterend. Voor het eerst VOELDE ik, hoewel ik het wel altijd BEGREEP, wat je passie is met families van instrumenten van verschillende culturen. Zelfs in het Atlas Ensemble kwam dat er niet zo goed uit. Als je als componist die dubbelrietinstr. na elkaar hebt gehoord, kan ik me niet voorstellen dat iemand nog zin heeft om een saxofoon- of klarinetkwartet te schrijven. Bij elk nieuw instrument dacht ik, ja, dit is de mooiste. Toen kwam de duduk, zo prachtig door Raph. bespeeld, hoewel de melodie mij wat minder bekoorde. En ik vond dat dit het summum was, zo dicht bij de menselijke stem. Toen daarna dat rare instrumentje van Abdulhomid kwam, in Turkije sipsi genaamd, met die rare muziek, had ik het helemaal niet meer, dat sloeg alles en raakte ik de kluts kwijt. Een kwartet voor die instrumenten bijvoorbeeld, moet het toppunt zijn van klankrijkdom. Kortom, dat is iets wat ik je altijd heb horen roepen. Helaas vermoed ik dat ik zelf daar niet meer aan toe zal komen, wegens verplichtingen elders, zal ik maar zeggen. Over de shakuhachi en consorten praat ik maar niet, maar dat is natuurlijk een vergelijkbaar pakket. Het was groots, ik moest een keuze maken en kom helaas vanavond niet naar het concert. Dit belooft veel goeds voor de toekomst. Gefeliciteerd!!!!!!!!!!!!! Theo.


Duduk /The Armenian duduk is one of the most ancient double reed instruments. Over centuries, the duduk travelled to many neighbouring countries and underwent subtle alterations, such as specific tuning and more or fewer finger holes. Nowadays, duduk variants can be found in Georgia (duduki), Azerbaijan (balaban), Turkey (mey), Iran and the Balkan countries. Its basic form has changed little during this long history. The instrument was originally made of bone, as were many early flutes, but nowadays, the tube is made of apricot wood. It has a range of one-and-a-quarter octaves, and is a deceptively simple instrument. It is neither diatonic nor even-tempered and variants exist in a number of keys. The velvety, melancholic sound it produces and its great dynamic potential have made it popular in many musical genres. It is traditionally played in small ensembles, often in duet with frame drums, such as the daf, in lyrical songs and dances. Nowadays, the duduk is also played in clubs and is included in larger professional ensembles.

Erhu /The erhu is a two-string knee fiddle with a long neck and a round, hexagonal or octagonal wooden body. The upper side of the body is usually covered with the skin of a python or other snake. The bow is horsehair on a bamboo stick. While playing, the erhu rests on the player’s left thigh and is held with the left hand; the right hand moves the bow. Because of its lovely, lyrically expressive sound, the erhu is used as a solo instrument in small folk and classical ensembles and in Chinese orchestras. The erhu belongs to the huquin, or ‘foreign stringed instruments’, group, which suggests they are not indigenous. Instruments resembling the erhu were common in Chinese music from the twelfth century.



Oud /The oud, known as ‘the sultan of instruments’, is the most important instrument in the Middle East. Its name is derived from the Arabic word for wood, probably because wood strips are used to make the round body. Relative to its body, the neck of the oud is short and it has no frets, endowing the instrument with the potential for enormous melodic flexibility: the musician can play microtones – the tones between the twelve half-steps of the chromatic scale – which are essential for much Arabian and Turkish music. The most common stringing arrangement comprises eleven strings in six courses (five pairs tuned in unison and a single bass string). The strings are usually made of nylon or gut and are strummed with a plectrum, the risha or mizrap. Another characteristic feature of the oud is the neck with its backwardfacing tuning knobs. In its construction, tuning and sound, the Arabian oud differs somewhat from its Turkish and Arme-nian cousins. The instrument is the ancestor of the Chinese pipa, the Japanese biwa, the European lute (al-oud, became ‘lute’) and ultimately of the guitar.

Kemençe / The kemençe is a small Turkish bowed string instrument chiefly used in Anatolia and the Black Sea region. Its form and name varied according to region until defined in Anatolia. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the instrument was used in Rumeli folk music, kaba saz, accompanied by the lavta and percussion. It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that the kemençe became truly popular, also being used in the ince saz, Turkish art music. The kemençe has three strings and a pearshaped body made from mulberry, plum or juniper wood. The bow stick is made from rosewood or boxwood. There is no fingerboard on the neck and the strings are stopped by pushing the fingernails against them. The kemençe is held vertically, resting on the lap of the player. The tuning is: d (neva), g (rast), d (yegah).

Flower garden and minefield

Ney / Instruments called ney or nai include end-blown and side-blown flutes of the Middle East, Iran and Central Asia. The term ney derives from the ancient Persian for ‘reed’. The endblown ney of Turkey and Iran is made from bamboo, and is played using a unique technique: the player rests the end of the instrument against his teeth at the side of his mouth and blows across the top – his teeth and tongue shape the sound. Side-blown neys are played by blowing over a hole in the side of the instrument. The ney is played with the circular breathing technique; it can be made of wood, brass, or copper and it has a range of two-and-a-half octaves. It is often used to create religious music in the Islamic Sufi tradition. The rich, airy sound has also made it a favourite instrument for folk and classical music. The instrument varies from region to region: the Turkish ney differs considerably from the Persian one, for instance.

Pipa /The pipa is a four-stringed Chinese lute with a pear-shaped body. Pipa was a general term referring to plucked string instruments played in hand-held positions with the outward right-hand fingering technique, pi and the inward one, pa. The pipa has a history of over 2000 years spanning from the Han to the Tang Dynasties. Its short, bent neck has 30 frets which extend onto the soundboard, offering a wide range. The frets are made of ivory, wood, jade, or bamboo. The pipa has four strings tuned to A, D, E and A. It is held vertically on the lap and played using false fingernails. This allows more freedom to perform various techniques, including pitch-bends, tremolos and a continuous strumming of the strings with four fingers. The pipa is the most expressive of the Chinese pluckedstring instruments. Throughout the centuries, the Chinese have loved its music and there is a large repertoire of pipa music handed down from generation to generation by individual artists and scholars.



Flower garden and minefield— Joël Bons’ multicultural music institute / Amsterdam 2010: the new Conservatory building in the East Docklands is a hive of activity. All manner of sounds emerge from every nook and cranny, from a baroque violin to a barking sheng. 1) From familiar symphonies by the student orchestra to boundary-breaking just-written notes played by a multicultural ensemble – mellifluous, and delightful to the eye. What has happened in the intervening years? The Conservatory has undergone a rapid development: alert to the changes in society, it has evolved along with it and become a crossroads of musical cultures. The Composition Department flourishes as never before and talented young composers are drawn to Amsterdam from all corners of the world. Because this is the place – the only place – where they can find what they are looking for: a centre where the integration of Western and non-Western instruments and musical forms splendour are examined and taught. This is the music of which they dream, the music of the future... Is this a utopian vision? For now, yes, but if it was up to the writer of the passage above, it is one that could be realised. The man behind those words, Joël Bons, has for many years been renowned in the Dutch new music world as enterprising, energetic and ground-breaking. The last in that list can be taken literally, because in 2001 Bons launched the Atlas Ensemble, a 30-strong chamber orchestra that concentrates on the playing of new repertoire. Its members are top musicians from Beijing, Baku, Istanbul, Yerevan, Teheran, Berlin and Amsterdam. The Atlas Ensemble established that a multicultural sound palette can be the source of unprecedented musical potential. Small wonder then that Bons was invited to be the Amsterdam Conservatory Artist in Residence. The board must have realised that workshops on non-Western instrumental techniques, music theories and the art of improvisation would be like a breath of fresh air blowing through the corridors of the Conservatory. When Professor

1) Chinese mouth organ

Flower garden and minefield

Marijke Hoogenboom inquired as to how Bons viewed his task, he replied that during his term as Artist in Residence he would like to sow the seeds for a flourishing ‘knowledge institute’ where ethnic music would be examined and performed. After all, the changes in our society should not silently pass by the young generation of musicians and composers: this was the tenor of the declaration of intent Joël Bons composed at the request of the research group for Art Practice and Development.

...The kilim and the clove are already fully incorporated into our households, in the same way the sheng and the qanun 2) can become familiar sights in our conservatories, ensembles and orchestras. And just as Thai and Moroccan recipes have become everyday fare, the maqam 3), raga 4) and pelog and slendro 5) can become part of our cultural legacy, part of the inheritance of young composers from Malaysia, Mexico and Mozambique.’... Commitment? / Bons is not the first to argue the case for incorporating ethnic music practices into Western composition. Composer Ton de Leeuw (1926–1996) was a great advocate of Western musicians turning their attention to the sound to the East. But whereas we know that De Leeuw was particularly fascinated by the mentality of Eastern musicians and the symbolic value of their musical language, we are in the dark about Bons’ motives. One of Bons’ many goals is the forming of multicultural conservatory ensembles grounded in the Atlas Ensemble concept. This concept is not taken onboard by all concerned without criticism. Composition student Paul Oomen, for example, recently gave a reading at the Amsterdam Conservatory in which he strongly objected. He stated that the Eastern musicians in the Atlas Ensemble adjusted to a Western, nineteenth-century music model, while the Western musicians remained safely ensconced in their musical roots. He concluded that those who suggested that the Atlas Ensemble was an innovative project were wrong. For this reason, Oomen, who enjoys working with non-Western musicians, consciously seeks out working methods that entail the Western musician being weaned off familiar conventions. Whereas Oomen is guided by engaging with his fellow musicians, Bons’ motives appear to be of a different kind. First and foremost, he craves tonal beauty and knowledge. He is in the thrall of exotic tunings, timbres and performance practices based on oral tradition, improvisation and ornamentation. He hopes that the sound palette of the emerging generation of composers will be enriched by ethnic timbres, effects and opportunities for expression.

2) Arabian zither 3) Arabian tone system 4) Indian tone system 5) Indonesian tone systems

Flower garden and minefield



Dangerous territory / One of Bons’ initiatives as Artist in Residence was to organise various workshops for Western students led by Eastern musicians, which often involved the students receiving a severe lambasting. The composition students were faced with the subtle art of intonation practised by Middle Eastern musicians in their maqams.This is dangerous territory because the complex system of Arab maqams is coupled with a theory of affect in a manner comparable with Indian ragas. Which Western composers would be prepared to risk burning their fingers on that one? In ‘these instrument workshops’, Western instrumentalists encountered teaching methods whereby musical phrases had to be played by ear and just a few agreements were made as basis for improvisation. Set adrift from the safe haven of written notation, bars and equal tuning, musicians found themselves floundering in the maelstrom of the Great Unknown. Some were confused and frustrated, others welcomed the placing of their own music culture into a new perspective. However one chooses to view them, danger was inherent to Bons’ plans. Any Westerners setting foot in the world of Arabian, Indian, Turkish or Chinese music for the first time will imagine themselves in some enchanted flower garden. They will initially be unaware of the landmines and snares of musical protocols and taboos. Unpleasant surprises await those who close their eyes to the extra-musical context. This was evidenced by the gigantic cultural chasm revealed in the ney 6) workshop given two years ago by the Turkish musician Kudsi Erguner, scion of an ancient and respected musical lineage. Erguner spoke about ritual Sufi music in which the ney has played a prominent role for centuries. He argued that the ney player is largely responsible for the perception of the Whirling Dervish as transcendental. Many students were perplexed: ‘What is a Dervish?’ they asked, and ‘What is a Sufi ritual?’ ‘Does the ney player have freedom to improvise, and if so must the player abide by strict musical rules?’ Questions, questions. The music, it appeared, was just the tip of the iceberg. Doubly deprived / Very occasionally, a Western student – or ex-student – dares to investigate the musical iceberg in more detail. Recorder player Rafaela Danksagmüller is just such a person. Among other things she organised a well-attended workshop together with Bons as part of his activities as Artist in Residence. She journeyed this summer to Yerevan, where she immersed herself in Armenian daily life. On alternate days she received tutelage from a renowned duduk 7) master. She learnt a great deal, but the most important of her insights was that she would never be able to fully internalise Armenian music. ‘There are too many factors involved,’ says Danksagmüller. ‘I’ve spoken to various Armenians who say that the art of duduk playing must be in your genes. I’d question that, but it’s a fact that traditional duduk music is embedded in a culture of centuries-old songs. When playing the duduk, one sings the songs in accompaniment, internally. I speak no Armenian, and I have no particular affinity with Armenian history and culture, I don’t know the poetry and I can’t place the symbolism in context. At best I can become a good imitator, nothing more.’

6)Turkish bamboo flute 7) Armenian double-reed woodwind

Flower garden and minefield

Danksagmüller, still in love with the extraordinarily beautiful sound of the duduk has nonetheless found a niche for herself. As a member of the ensemble Zigurrat she plays notes written for her, so she is not weighed down by the burden of duduk tradition. The problem of Western students’ cultural deprivation has been noted by many teachers of ethnic music. Paco Peña, for example, flamenco teacher in the Rotterdam Conservatory’s World Music Department, recently delivered a blow to Dutch students. In an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, he said ‘Most (Dutch) students start at about the age of 20. Even if they are exceptional students, they are at a disadvantage to all Andalusians, who have been surrounded by flamenco from day one. It isn’t a lag of twenty years but of twenty thousand. During this period in your life you learn the best. It’s got nothing to do with having flamenco in your blood, it’s about culture.’ In addition to the question of culture, here Peña touches upon another sensitive issue: the age at which the ability to absorb music is at its highest. Any Western student who nonetheless wishes to be become a sitar player, a kanun 8) virtuoso or a shakuhachi 9) adept must therefore reconcile themselves to this arrested development. Pioneering spirit / The other aspect of Bons’ plan perhaps stands a greater chance of success: his Arab multicultural music institute could provide a continuation course for non-Western music students who wish to enrich their idiom with Western avant-garde music, pop and jazz. Such students would be required to operate almost entirely independently: without a strongly developed pioneering spirit they simply would not make it. A santur 10) player who has a composition student write new repertoire, or a suona 11) player learning jazz licks from a saxophonist must be able to get by without a tutor to refer to. Moreover, the achievements of such students would be almost impossible to evaluate, since they would – literally – be setting a new tone, beyond established frames of reference. One thing is clear: our society has changed radically, and so has its musical backdrop. We have been able to gain access to all manner of music for a long time now, from Central African pygmy songs to Korean Temple music. Music education in the West will have to take this into account. If only for this reason, Bons’ plans should receive serious attention. Saskia Törnqvist / Saskia Törnqvist is a musician and musicologist. She regularly publishes articles on ethnic- and contemporary music in the Dutch national daily newspaper Het Parool, gives courses in listening to non-Western music at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and teaches new Dutch music at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

8)Turkish zither 9) Japanese bamboo flute 10) Persian and Turkish dulcimer 11) Chinese oboe



Kanun /The kanun is a plucked zither with a flat trapezoid body. It has 75 strings placed such that three strings are plucked at the same time to produce one pitch (similar to a piano). The player uses both hands to pluck the strings with plectra. The left hand also manipulates a set of switches that pull the strings to change the pitch. With these switches (mandal, in Turkish) microintervals can be obtained with great precision, which allows for the great variety of non-tempered tunings used in the music of the Near East. Kanun players also use the switches to create beautifully ornamented melodies that mimic the sound of the human voice. The kanun is a classical instrument, widely described in both oral and written traditions. Like other instruments of the Islamic world, including the ney and daira, it is played in the improvisatory musical tradition known as maqam or makam.

Santur / The santur is a three-octave struck zither, also known as a hammer dulcimer. It has a flat trapezoid body with 72 strings arranged so that three strings are struck simultaneously. The number of strings varies between 63 and 84. The santur can be made of various kinds of wood (walnut, rosewood, betel palm, etc.) depending on the sound quality desired. The front and the back of the instrument are connected by soundposts, the positions of which play an important role in the sound quality of the instrument. The player strikes the strings with two delicate felt-covered hammers called mezrab. The virtuoso santur player produces light, shimmering tones by striking the instrument with great precision at blinding speed. The earliest predecessors of the modern santur may date back to 1600BC and it is one of the main instruments in Iranian music. It is played solo and in ensembles in the improvisatory musical tradition of maqam.

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e-mail response

Sheng /The sheng is a Chinese mouth organ. Its body is a bowl made of metal or wood, or a gourd. The instrument has a blowpipe and 17 to 36 bamboo or metal pipes that extend from the top of the bowl. The elegant symmetrical arrangement of the pipes represents the two folded wings of the mythical phoenix. Each pipe has, inside the bowl, a side-hole covered by a metal tongue that interrupts the air current. The sheng produces a remarkably clear, metallic sound. Western harmonicas, reed organs, and concertinas use the same basic acoustic principles as the sheng. Mouth organs similar to the sheng are first mentioned in Chinese texts dating from the fourteenth to twelfth centuries BC. Today the sheng is mainly used to play Chinese classical music in small and large ensembles, along with other instruments such as the pipa and erhu. The sheng has a Japanese equivalent; the sho.

Suona /The suona is a Chinese double reed instrument that has its origins in the Persian and Arabian regions, where it is known as zurna or surnai. It was intruduced to China during the Jin and the Yuan dynasties. The instrument generally comes in three types: the bass suona with dynamic and solemn tone quality; the alto suona with a forceful and bright timbre; and the penetrating and sonorous soprano suona. The two ends are made of copper, and the body is made of wood and has eight holes. It is quite difficult to produce a sound. The suona is a popular wind instrument, prevailing among various nationalities in China. Because of its volume and strident tone quality it is the principal instrument played outside; at festivals, weddings, funerals, ancestral and sacrificial ceremonies. In modern Chinese orchestras the reformed suona is frequently played.



Response to: Duduk Festival Amsterdam Conservatory 03.02.2006 and 04.02.2006

From: Anne Ku Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 10:14:34 +0100 To: Joël, Raphaela Danksagmuller Subject: Focus DUDUK feedback

Hi Raphaela & Joël:

Much thanks for letting me know about this 2-day workshop and allowing me to participate.

What a shock it was, for me, to discover that I could not make even a simple noise with the Duduk. It looked so simple — and yet that is where the paradox lies. Many analogies to the way the world has evolved — the complicated looking and workings of Western instruments which produce accuracy & controllable pitch/tone quality — vs the simpler looking Eastern instruments that gives the illusion of ‘inferiority’, but that is hardly the case, as I discovered.

One of the most enjoyable and enlightening parts of your 2 day workshop was the composition discussion on day one. I would

Room 101 / Amsterdam Conservatory

Programme /

friday 03.02.2005 saturday 04.04.2005 10:00 — 11:00 / Gevorg10:00 — 11:30 / Dabaghian: Introducti^Masterclass: on Duduk for and demonstration dudbeginners, Gevorg Dabaghian 11:0~0 — 12:00 / Just Listening: The duduk in11:30 — 12:00 / different music styles: Composing for Duduk II: try-out of fragments by traditional, jazz, contemcomposition students porary (Atlas Ensemble, Silk Road Ensemble, John 12:00 — 12:30 / Tavener, Vache Sharafyan), pop (Paul Presentation: The duduk McCartney), etc. and its relatives (oboe, mey, guanzi, koushnai, 12:00 — 13:00 / zurna, etc), by Ernest Composing for Duduk Rombout I: instruction by Gevorg Lunchtime concert: arrangements for wind Dabaghian, have liked to see a longer session with notation on the board


and techniques of the duduk — and more on the range, what you can or cannot do — and even a duduk consort. Perhaps I can

write something with what I’ve learned. The other session I enjoyed immensely was the documentary film. Despite being pre-edited, it touched me greatly.

friday 21 03.02.2005 10:00 — 11:00 / Gevorg Dabaghian: Introduction and demonstration duduk

11:00 — 12:00 / Just Listening: The duduk in different music styles: traditional, jazz, contemporary (Atlas Ensemble, Silk Road Ensemble, John Tavener, Vache Sharafyan), pop (Paul McCartney), etc. 12:00 — 13:00 / Composing for Duduk I: instruction by Gevorg Dabaghian, Theo Loevendie, Fabio Nieder, Joël Bons and Raphaela Danksagmüller 13:00 — 14:00 / Lunch

14:00 — 15:00 / Workshop: Armenian traditional music performed on your own instrument

15:00—16:00 / Workshop: Duduk for beginners (duduks will be provided by Mr. Dabaghian) 16:00 — 17:30 / Lecture: Armenian music in historical context, by Vahe Hovanesian

20:00 — 21:00 / Concert: Gevorg Dabaghian (duduk) with Bassem Alkhouri (kanun), Margarita Kourtparasidou (percussion) Amsterdam Conservatory, room 324, Sweelinck Hall saturday 04.04.2005 10:00 — 11:30 / Masterclass: Duduk for beginners, Gevorg Dabaghian

11:30 — 12:00 / Composing for Duduk II: try-out of fragments by composition students

Perhaps you would consider doing a tour of your workshop at other conservatories, since only three of us from HKU

12:00 — 12:30 / Presentation: The duduk and its relatives (oboe, mey, guanzi, koushnai, zurna, etc), by Ernest Rombout Lunchtime concert: arrangements for wind instruments, including duduk, Erik Satie/Joël Bons: Huit Chorals, Gabriel Erkoreka: Duduk and Caglayan Yildiz: Alone 13:15 — 14:00 / Lunch

14:00 — 15:00 / Film documentary about the duduk in Armenia, by Raphaela Danksagmüller & Renee Span (summer 2005)

attended. Or an exchange programme in the UK — where world

15.00-16.30 Workshop: Mugam improvisation. Bring your own instruments! 16.30-17.30 / Forum discussion

music is rife with interest. I lived in London for over 10 years.

Would you be organising anything on Chinese instruments?

Or know of places here in the Netherlands? I discovered this in the UK:

Once again, thank you for organising this event and opening it to the public.

Kind regards, Anne

Small party with Armenian cognac and chocolate apricots

Focus Duduk / The duduk, the Armenian oboe, is one of the oldest and most beautiful-sounding instruments in the world. Its warm and melancholic timbre never fails to move. Even if your primary interest is not in other cultures, you might find the encounter with this instrument and master performer Gevorg Dabaghian stimulating and enriching.



friday 03.02.2005 10:00 — 11:00 / Gevorg Dabaghian: Introduction and demonstration duduk 11:00 — 12:00 / Just Listening: The duduk in different music styles: traditional, jazz, contemporary (Atlas Ensemble, Silk Road Ensemble, John Tavener, Vache Sharafyan), pop (Paul McCartney), etc. 12:00 — 13:00 / Composing for Duduk I: instruction by Gevorg Dabaghian, Theo Loevendie, Fabio Nieder, Joël Bons and Raphaela Danksagmüller 13:00 — 14:00 / Lunch

Focus Duduk offers the opportunity to get acquainted with this instrument, its culture, its relatives in the double-reed family and its use in various musical genres ranging from traditional to contemporary and from folk to art music. A variety of activities is scheduled, including: – presentation of the duduk – workshop for beginners – composing for duduk – concert performances and film

14:00 — 15:00 / Workshop: Armenian traditional music performed on your own instrument 15:00—16:00 / Workshop: Duduk for beginners (duduks will be provided by Mr. Dabaghian) 16:00 — 17:30 / Lecture: Armenian music in historical context, by Vahe Hovanesian 20:00 — 21:00 / Concert: Gevorg Dabaghian (duduk) with Bassem Alkhouri (kanun), Margarita Kourtparasidou (percussion) Amsterdam Conservatory, room 324, Sweelinck Hall saturday 04.04.2005 10:00 — 11:30 / Masterclass: Duduk for beginners, Gevorg Dabaghian 11:30 — 12:00 / Composing for Duduk II: try-out of fragments by composition students 12:00 — 12:30 / Presentation: The duduk and its relatives (oboe, mey, guanzi, koushnai, zurna, etc), by Ernest Rombout Lunchtime concert: arrangements for wind instruments, including duduk, Erik Satie/Joël Bons: Huit Chorals, Gabriel Erkoreka: Duduk and Caglayan Yildiz: Alone 13:15 — 14:00 / Lunch 14:00 — 15:00 / Film documentary about the duduk in Armenia, by Raphaela Danksagmüller & Renee Span (summer 2005) 15.00-16.30 Workshop: Mugam improvisation. Bring your own instruments! 16.30-17.30 / Forum discussion

Lectures /

Small party with Armenian cognac and chocolate apricots

In the run-up to Joël Bons tenure at the Conservatory, the Atlas Ensemble (Ensemble

in Residence at the Holland Festival 2004) organised a series of readings in the IJsbreker: Aygun Bayramova spoke about chanende singing in the Azerbaijani mugam; Gevorg Dabaghian about the duduk in Armenian music; Kudsi Erguner about the role of the ney in Islamic mysticism; and Simon Shaheen, oud and violin virtuoso, discussed the art of ornamentation in Arabian music and the theoretical and practical background of Arabian music in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.

Workshops / During the Gaudeamus Music Week 2005 the Nieuw Ensemble organised two workshops: ‘Guests from China, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan’, in which Saed Haddad, Hiba Al Kawas and Lin Wang talked about their new work, and the sho, koto, kanun and oud were demonstrated; and a forum with Theo Loevendie, founder of the transcultural Zigurrat Ensemble, about revitalising the sound palette using non-Western instruments.

China / As part of the Amsterdam China Festival, a number of workshops and lectures were held in collaboration with the Amsterdam Conservatory. Min Xiaofen gave a reading and workshop about the pipa; Wu Wei gave another about the sheng; andTan Dun gave a reading entitled ‘Virtual Music’. There was also a meeting with Chinese composers for composers and conductors.



Atlas Ensemble / The Atlas Ensemble draws together musicians from China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The unprecedented splendour of the Ensemble’s sound owes much to the unique combination of Western and non-Western instruments; all manner of plucked, bowed, blown and struck instruments with shared ancestral prototypes are represented. United, these instrumental families invoke a lush, shimmering timbral universe that surpasses the wildest dreams of many a composer. The repertoire comprises works especially written for the Ensemble. The non-Western musicians are international soloists; and some are eminent educators attached to conservatories. The Western musicians are members of the Nieuw Ensemble, the Dutch contemporary music ensemble that has gained a national and international reputation for its brilliant performances and its adventurous and pioneering programming. Bons says that theAtlas Ensemble is the most reckless project he has ever embarked upon.



From the Atlas Ensemble programme book Grand Tour, 09.03.2006.




OpenMusic / Rozalie Hirs The development of sound recording and of electronic music in the twentieth century has led to new perceptions of sound. From the 1970s composers consciously applied these percepts to their instrumental music. Insights drawing on psychoacoustics, technology and the natural sciences have inspired compositional processes. Research into sound, and its dissection into partials, has contributed to scores for instruments whose origins lie in the distant past. In the early 1990s the Patchwork computer program was developed at IRCAM (Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination) in Paris to enable composers to work directly with the parameters of sound: frequency and duration. The equally tempered twelve tone tuning – as used for the piano – that has characterised art music in the West for two centuries is no longer determinant. The composer can now decide when smaller intervals are required, and how they should be applied. During the composition process, musical ideas can be visualised in notation for reference and contemplation, but only in the concluding phase is the final translation made to the score. Composition is thus less determined by tradition than before. Instrumental music has learned from its electronic counterpart. Patchwork’s achievements have been further extended with OpenMusic, which is often used in combination with AudioSculpt – also developed at IRCAM. The composer can analyse a sound or split it into its constituent frequencies. The data obtained in this way can be transformed in OpenMusic and thereafter translated into notation. Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail called the process of allocating various frequency components to performers instrumental additive synthesis, after the concept of additive synthesis as applied in electronic music. This is the same thing as the transcription of a sound (of any kind) to notation for instrumentalists. The composer can transform the data within OpenMusic, for example by stretching or compressing their duration or harmonic relationships.The composer can use a variety of transformations at any moment in the score. A particular advantage of composition inspired by sound and sound transformation is that it is possible to create musical works with a remarkable potential for internal coherence from moment to moment. Many listeners experience this as a continually evolving, transporting tonal environment. OpenMusic can also be used to calculate frequency and duration in accordance with theoretical models, algorithms and mathematical processes. In this respect it is related to, among others, the AC Toolbox created by Paul Berg of the Sonology Institute at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. >> p.30

For more details, see



OpenMusic /

During the OpenMusic course at the Amsterdam Conservatory the software of the same name was applied in a variety of ways. Any accusation that its use could only result in easily identifiable music rooted in a French aesthetic was thus avoided. The international company of young contemporary composers switched effortlessly from one medium to the other, and it was not restricted by any particular compositional paradigm such as instrumental music. New technology was only used if it opened the ears and accessed new vistas of the imagination. The composers gained a new perspective on themselves and their music.



During the OpenMusic course at the Amsterdam Colophon Conservatory the software of the same name was applied in a variety of ways. Any accusation that its use could only collaboration result in with easily the Academy identifiable of Architecture, music the Netherlands rooted in aeditors French aesthetic was thus avoided. Film Television Academy, the Amsterdam of Conservatory Marijke Hoogenboom Theandinternational company young and contemporary composers switched effortlessly the Theatre School. Pol Eggermont from one medium to the other, and it was not restricted by any particular composiNienke tional paradigm such as instrumental music. A Rooijakkers new technology was only used if it opened the ears and accessed new vistas of the imagination. The composers gained translation and English copy-editing a new perspective on themselves and their music. The AIR programme at the Amsterdam School of the Arts is an

initiative of the research group Art Practice and Development in

Steve Green (unless otherwise stated)

This was an intensive project for all the composers involved. They learned to work with new software, applied it to their own creative work and tested it in practical sessions with the Nieuw Ensemble. Compositional ideas were the subject of direct examination and calculations were made of the musical effect of the score and the achievability of its instrumentation. The course was characterised by introspection.

This was an intensive project for all the composers involved: they learned to work photographer with new software, applied it within their own creative work and tested it in practical Thomas Lenden sessions with the Nieuw Ensemble. Compositional ideas were the subject of direct examination, and calculations were made of the musical effect of the score and the graphicwas designcharacterised by introspection. achievability of its instrumentation. The course Esther Noyons <<

Rozalie Hirs

is composer, writer and associate researcher at the research group Art Practice and Development. printing SSP Amsterdam

publisher Amsterdam School of the Arts, Art Practice and Development P.O. Box 15079 1001 MB Amsterdam The Netherlands +31(0)20 527 78 04

with thanks to Nieuw Ensemble, Atlas Ensemble, Hans Verbugt, Lucas Vis, Maria W端st, Rozalie Hirs, Wim Henderickx, Raphaela Danksagm端ller, the composition department, and all directors of studies, guest tutors and students


Extract from the programme booklet for the OpenMusic Composing Practicum final concert

Winds and Strings / 05 Instruments / 07 Flower garden and minefield; JoĂŤl Bonsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; multicultural music institute / 11 Focus Duduk / 20 OpenMusic / 27