7 October 2021
Artistic Research Journeys
Openness and Identity through Spatialization
In this presentation, I will discuss the results of my investigation. My project deals with the composition of musical works that are open and can be understood in multiple ways while retaining a coherent identity. Composers have sought to create open situations by using open scores that iteratively create different results in each performance. A central claim of my thesis is that open situations can instead be achieved by simultaneously localizing multiple activities in different positions in space. Spatialization in today’s musical practices is a ubiquitous topic. What makes my approach different is an emphasis on the relation between form and space. This investigation aims to create a multifaceted and open musical work through the disposition of sound sources. It explores the contingency of localized material by developing a series of compositional strategies. The notion of an open musical work implies the question of the agency of the material and its repercussions for the agency of the composer. As an artistic research project, this thesis also aims to articulate possible forms of artistic knowledge and develops a formulation of experimental practice.
The project is conducted using three principal methods: Firstly, there is the development and modeling of compositional strategies in a series of case studies assisted by a spatialization model developed as part of the project. Secondly, the project employs musicological research methods and studies the contemporary compositional context and their concepts of space, openness, and form. Thirdly, the case studies are analyzed in conjunction with formulations of the concepts of space, openness, form, composer, and experiment. The main results of this project are four compositional strategies and four new musical works, one of which is an orchestra piece commissioned by the SWR (Südwestrundfunk), as well as the reconceptualization of said concepts.
The kind of openness developed in the project is the product of the encounter of different layers of activities and materials localized in space, which is open to be interpreted by the listener during the performance. This practice of embracing openness proposes a non-hierarchical relation between composer and material, which implies a feminist reformulation of the figure of the composer, as well as of the notion of experiment as a critical practice.
In the first part of the presentation, I will briefly discuss the project as a whole and then focus on the compositional strategies and analyses of a series of case studies. These strategies are the tools and the sets of conditions used to create musical situations that offer multiple understandings. In the final part of the presentation, I will describe the results and relevance of this investigation and end with a short performance.
Lula Romero is a composer of electroacoustic and acoustic music and a doctoral candidate at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria, which completion is expected for October 2021. She holds a Master’s degree in Composition at the Royal Conservatoire and degrees in composition, piano, and art history for the Conservatoire and University of Seville.
In her compositional work she explores the phenomenon of space in music with regard to structure and material and their relation to theories and practices of feminism and questions of social equality.
Romero has been awarded among others with the GIGA-HERTZ Production prize 2014 by the ZKM | SWR Experimentalstudio Freiburg, the Kompositionsstipendium 2015 and 2012 and the Berlin–Rheinsberger Kompositionspreis 2011, and the Residence at the Deutsches Studienzentrum Venedig (Venice) 2017 by the German Government. In 2019 her Portrait CD “Ins Offene” was published by WERGO, “Edition Zeitgenössische Musik,” produced by the Deutscher Musikrat.
Her works have been performed by among others the SWR Symphony Orchestra, KNM Berlin, Vertixe Sonora Ensemble, Duo Hellqvist / Amaral, Nieuw Ensemble, Kairos Quartet and Zafraan Ensemble, while her music has been commissioned by festivals such as Donaueschinger Musiktage, MATA (New York), SPOR (Aarhus), Mixtur (Barcelona) and the Sonification Festival (Berlin).
She lives and works in Berlin. More information and samples of her work can be found at www.lularomero.com.
- Margaret Schedel (Stony Brook University)
- Federico Celestini (Universtität Innsbruck)