I have been invited by Anders Beyer from Athelas Sinfonietta and Stein Henrichsen from BIT20 Ensemble to present the Integra project to the first meeting of the Ensemble Network, a network of new music ensembles in Europe. The first aim of the meeting was to establish if the setup of such a network was a good idea, and everyone agreed to it.
Among the participants I was delighted to see again Filippo Del Corno after many years. Filippo and I studied both in the same composition class at Milan’s Conservatoire, and share many musical memories… Filippo came as artistic director of Sentieri Selvaggi, an Italian new music ensemble representing an unusual success story in the often dire landscape of contemporary music promotion and performance in Italy.
Highlight: Bent Sørensen talking about the responsibilities of the ensembles: they risk becoming too institutionalized, like symphony orchestras. Innovation and flexibility are the key concepts here: innovation in the presentation of new music, flexibility in the instrumentation, to avoid the “sinfonietta” curse, with hundred of works written for the same instrumental setup and all sounding quite the same.
I met lots of very nice people, and many of them spoke Italian. It is amazing how many musicians from Nordic countries know how to speak Italian! Flattering, really.