The annual contemporary culture event, White Night, will take place in Riga on September 6. As in previous years Skaņu Mežs will host a night of experimental music in the Anglican Church continuing into the small hours of the night. Several current French experimental musicians will be performing at this event, amongst others the electroacoustic project, Kessel Jaeger, the improvisational organ player, Jean-Luc Guionnet, as well as composer Luc Ferrari’s widow, Brunhild Ferrari, who will be playing her husband’s compositions. The evening will be opened by Latvian composer Andris Dzenītis’ new composition. The concert is financed by the department of Education, Culture and Sports of the Riga City Council.
In keeping with this year’s White Night organizers’ wishes to remind us of the event’s French origins, the concert organized by Skaņu Mežs wishes to bring together the best of French innovative music. Improvisational organist and saxophonist, Jean-Luc Guionnet, is participating with an approximately three hour long performance which received rave reviews at last year’s White Night event in Paris, and can be considered one of the most meaningful French contributions to electroacoustic music. The second part of the concert is also devoted to this genre and will see appearances by Brunhild Ferrari who will be perform pieces by her late husband Luc Ferrari, as well as a performance by Luc’s disciple, François Bonnet or Kassel Jaeger. It’s important to note that both musicians in this performance have ties to the historically significant experimental music and sound collective, GRM. Guionnet has also once been the student of prominent GRM musician, Greek composer Iannis Xenakis. The evening will be introduced by a representative of the local academic music scene, Andris Dzenītis, with a new piece performed by his group, Woodpecker Project. This promises to be the largest event hosted by Skaņu Mežs as part of White Night. The event will start at 9 PM.
Luc Ferrari is considered one of the most notable figures in the history of 20th century contemporary music. He is also held in high regard as an innovator in the world of electronic music. Ferrari used both a large variety of acoustic instruments, as well as electronic devices when creating his compositions. He often combined the two, made use of ambient sounds and put forward bold ideas and commentary on John Cage’s theses which are so central to contemporary music. His music will be performed at the White Night event by his widow, Brunhild Ferrari, who has worked on this material extensively together with her late husband. The performance includes both well known pieces like “Les Arythmiques,” as well as less known pieces like “Unheimlich Schön.”
Jean-Luc Guionnet is a many-sided figure in the world of French experimental music. Firstly he is one of the most respected free-improvisers playing within all and any conceivable styles, starting with aggressive free jazz with the group Ames Room, and ending with quiet and introvert improvisation in collaboration with, for example, percussionists Eddie Prevost and Seijiro Murayama. Secondly, Guionnet is active in the fields of sound art, electroacoustic music and computer music and has also received critical acclaim for his organ music. It is his organ music that he will be performing in the Anglican Church during the White Night performance.
Francois Bonnet, who works under the pseudonym Kassel Jaeger, is one of the most interesting inheritors of the traditions established by the GRM institute, where he worked for a while as a sound engineer. Bonnet’s music, or more specifically his last three albums, including his collaboration with the Italian Giuseppe Ielasi, are released by the avantgarde music publishers’ “Editions Mego.” Currently Bonnet is working on a collaboration with the German composer Stephan Mathieu. Bonnet’s book, “Les Mots et les sons,” which is devoted to sound and the art of hearing, came out in 2012.
Andris Dzenītis is better known in Latvia as a composer of academic instrumental choir and orchestra music. His works have won prizes at several international competitions. In 2007 he received the highest award given to music in Latvia – Lielā mūzikas balva (The Grand Music Award). Dzenītis is, however, also interested in academic electronic, and electroacoustic music. Even though he is mostly self-taught, he is a pioneer in these genres in Latvia. He focuses more on the intuitive, psychoacoustic and emotional elements of electronic sound and goes further than Western European academic scientific research does within this genre. He is indirectly inspired by rock, noise, and spectral noise aesthetics.