The project „Marathon“ may well be called the original incentive for our work. The root idea, a most precious simultaneous insight of three human beings, was – on a very basic level and way off any larger theoretical background – to present as much music by as many composers as possible and open it to discussion. It was this ideal piece of stone - ready to dilate in itself, fairly enriched with a small but powerful grain of lunacy - that brought on the avalanche of all things afterwards. Our festival for contemporary music was born. An open, communicative, highly professional and somewhat ructious experiment, situated at the very edge of the machinery of classical music business – taking place on several days, through many hours, carefree and without any real regard to consequences, and, most importantly, presenting each time a broad variety of the most current, freshly written music by young composers from all over the world in bulk buy. And even though the main parameters of this idea, the people involved, the instruments, ensembles, composers, the design of the program, have constantly changed with each edition, the propelling thought of it was palpable each time: to do just that which could be done at the time with such means as available, without any exclusions, without artistic resentmens, favors and curatorial willfaring We tried (and still try) to provide possibilities for music to happen, in as many forms as possible.Each edition was, consequently, a unique, non-reproducable and in many ways transboundary event – there will be more.
The very first release of the young ensemble is a summary from many earlier projects – a collection of 19 pieces by young composers, all of which have been composed specifically for us or have reached us through one of our Calls for Scores. These works have all, each in its own way, taken on special meaning for us – and we shared the wish to spare them the sad destiny of oh so many pieces to be written, performed and then forgotten. These pieces have been composed by friends of the ensemble, people who we are close with, and each of the pieces brings aspects of our collaborations to display. The selection with its four partial releases could also be seen as a fair example of contemporary music today as a whole– as there are no two pieces which sound „the same“ or could be catalogued in the same „school“. This diversity is also reflected in the fantastic mixing and mastering work done at the recording location for this project, the great Amann Studios Vienna. Each piece was given its very specific mix and balancing, each very own space. Through such effort, and in its contextualisation and focus, the project aims to draw attention to many important and pressing problems and conditions of contemporary musicmaking while at the same time it delivers a rather comparative account of it. The purely digital, download/streaming-only format was developed in collaboration with our label partner col legno and is now, a small pebble in the infinite ocean of music, accessible to the public.
An essential part of our work is formed by international cooperations and exchange projects. It is both important and enriching to us to work with composers from differents parts of the world and to make acquaintance with ever new approaches and ideas regarding music. In addition to that, organisational work between different countries and varying persons and institutional partners is, each time anew, challenging and educative. Furthermore, being in touch with very diverse cultural conditions and relations aids in becoming aware of one's own limited perspective. In this regard, we already proudly collaborated with partners from and performed in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Romania and the USA. In many cases, pieces have been written specifically for these projects or received their world-premiere in the course of our journeys. Often, new and unexpected perspectives on being and working as a composer, on the concert as a situation, on music in general, came to us...friendships and connections developed, and still do. Travel broadens the mind - nothing could be truer.
In the course of our multicoloured work, we occasionally created a series of concers, calling it, in correspondence with its purpose and end, „under the Mark of the Unknown“. Originally sub-titled „the permanent podium for too littlely listened-to music“, the main idea of the series was and still is, indeed, to present little or not-noticed, although great music, put it into varied perspectives and, in doing so, make it accessible. The very diverse concerts, generously hosted at Echoraum Wien, so far featured works from international Calls for Scores, concepts for improvisation, commissioned pieces...Frequently, the presented composers are also present in person, a provisional high-point of the events of this series was delivered by Under the Mark X: Groove – a veritable dance-party. Our balancing skills for these concerts need to be very, very well-developed, because, evidently, there are many more things unknown than known, and so we are indeed looking forward to further spells from the witches' kitchen of variety.
Ein Versuch darüber, das Publikum vom Sessel zu heben.
Fußwippen und Headbangen? Träumen und Abtanzen zu Neuer Musik? Aber ja! Im Projekt „Im Banne des Groove – der Platypus-Tanzabend“ fungiert das Ensemble als Tanzcombo, es gibt einen singenden Conferencier, eine coole Bass-Section, Bläser-Riffs, Barpiano und einen Beat, der in die Beine fährt. Die vielen Komponisten, die unserer Aufforderung nachgekommen sind, ein paar Stücke für dieses Projekt zu schreiben, sind einerseits ihrem jeweiligen Stil und ihrem „Zeitgenossen-Sein“ treu geblieben. Gleichzeitig haben sie – offenbar lustvoll - ihre Musik in Chansons, 7/4-Walzer, Heavy Metal-Nummern oder Pop-Balladen verpackt. Die Ergebnisse sind so unterschiedlich wie die beteiligten Leute, der Gesamteindruck des Abends aber auf ganzer Linie bewegt, fröhlich und voller Groove.