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Pushing the boundaries of Brabant-based music

September 12th, 2010

Filed under: MUSIC

Pushing the boundaries - Lunapark ensemble

Everyone has their limits. Today I had spent hours at the computer and thought ‘I need a break.’ I popped into a Sunday afternoon concert in the neighbourhood (Strijp-S) to appreciate some interesting new music. Instead I was so inspired by what I saw and heard, I took notes, photos and video and got an interview. Even though I’m physically exhausted, I’m filled with inspiration after speaking to Anthony Fiumara and Arnold Marinissen, artistic directors from Lunapark ensemble.

The Dossier: How did Lunapark come to be?

Arnold: Actually, Flux-S 2009 was the cause of Lunapark.
Anthony: We’ve only been around for a year!
Arnold: Our program and our ensemble are the most natural link to this festival, all about “Drafts Establishing Futures.”

The Dossier: Where are you based?
Anthony: About 200m from here. We’re based in Eindhoven – a real ‘Brabantse’ ensemble.
Arnold: I’m a lecturer at the Conservatorium in Tilburg, and I do lots of projects with young players. Lunapark’s a great platform for them.
The Dossier: Yeah, it’s about time that there was music like this in Eindhoven. I’ve really missed it.
Anthony: Dick Raaijmakers was the first person to make electronic music, right here, for Philips, in Eindhoven. This location really makes sense.

The Dossier: The audience today were really engaged. What they say about Eindhovenaars not being interested in culture isn’t true, is it?
Anthony: Not at all!
Arnold: Contemporary music and its ‘challenges’ need a context and the perfect fit in this case is Flux-S.

The Dossier: How did you select the pieces for this festival?
Arnold: It’s actually quite difficult to find composers who will make compositions quickly, and we wanted to find pieces to suit the theme (Drafts Establishing Futures). For this afternoon we were able to find a great selection; from solo pieces like the Tom Johnson’s piece for double bass with voice – ‘Failing’, the electric guitar piece for Aart by Anthony, and ‘Industry’, the Michael Gordon piece for cello and the percussion and small ensemble pieces too. Of course Steve Reich’s ‘Pendulum Music’ was a good fit for the theme.

The Dossier: Your music often seems to be really rhythmically challenging and percussion based.
Arnold: Well, this afternoon it was a quite broad selection, with the guitar piece not really having much of a rhythm and being more about melody and texture; the Steve Reich Pendulum Music creates its own, natural rhythm, and we had lots of solos which were unusual combinations and that last a capella piece, too. But yes, we do have some minimalist leanings in our repertoire, like the Counting Drums by Tom Johnson and all that counting. But not all the time though!

Flux-S festival is  about providing future memories for a former industrial centre in Eindhoven. This space is meant to transform into the cultural heart of Eindhoven by 2020, boasting an array of art and artistic practice at international level. At this year’s festival I looked mostly at the works of international artists or in one case, an ensemble based in Amsterdam. However, it makes the most sense to examine the efforts of artists from the region, specifically from Strijp-S – so I saved the best till last.

If Lunapark and contemporary music has any future in these parts, they are doing the right thing by linking themselves to Flux-S and choosing their current location. I hope to catch up with the guys (and gals) somewhere around the traps soon, and see them play again, or maybe rehearse. These last four years in Eindhoven, I have really missed being challenged and delighted by the industry and creativity of contemporary music ensembles. The inertia is over now, and in my small way I can help in the movement to push locals to partake in the fruits of Lunapark ensemble’s labours.

What are your limits to music? Have you seen the video? What did you think? Are you open for new experiences and new ways of thinking and listening? Were you there? Where you bored/frustrated/enchanted/bewildered/ambivalent? Did it make you think or feel something? Leave a comment…

Aart Strootman – electric guitar
Toon Bierman – piano
Bence Huszar – cello
Erik Versteeg – double bass
Danny de Graan – composer
Arnold Marinissen – conductor, percussion, music directior, composer
Anthony Fiumara – music director, composer

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