Unity in Diversity #2

The second edition of the European lute song project Unity in Diversity starts at the end of April. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn and mandolin virtuoso Alon Sariel will be joined by singers Lore Binon and Elly Aerden, by Vittoria Pagani on the Indian Sarod and by the ney and lavta player Christos Barbas. The creation takes place during LUNALIA, Festival of Flanders Mechelen, and is part of the Mechelen city festival Construct Europe, which coincides with the Belgian presidency of the EU Council. The premiere will be followed by concerts in Hasselt and Dilbeek.

To tune in, you can listen to the podcast made by Evita Nossent, in which the musicians talk about their experiences during the first residency at Laus Polyphoniae Antwerp. They testify about their personal music practice and how they set themselves up for new encounters.

In the words of Alon: “...what we present on stage is the wishful thinking of what could be in Europe in the future, if the European dream actually works”.



The Mass Man at O. Festival

On 17 May, The Mass Man, a collaboration between Zefiro Torna and Muziektheater Transparant, will be a guest at the O. Festival in Rotterdam.

Director Wouter Van Looy, video artist Wim Catrysse and writer Peter Verhelst base the performance on Elias Canetti's book 'Mass and Power'. The Nobel laureate describes his experiences of mass movements in the early 20th century and mixes them with impressive sociological and anthropological insights. The book not only reads like a reflection on the past, it is also a guide for today.

Soloist singer/performers, instrumentalists on lute, cornetto, trumpet and drums, a sound installation artist and electronic soundscapes give new form and expression to a wide range of subgenres of medieval crusader song. They deliver a nuanced picture of a complex time and turning point in history, marked by changing identities and worldviews.




L’ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona

Next week we will begin the rehearsals for music theater performance L'ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona, at the Teatro Nacional de Catalunya. Michael De Cock created and directs a theatre adaptation of the book The Abyss by Belgian writer Marguerite Yourcenar. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn joins the stage and, together with composer Alain Franco, provides the soundtrack for the story, which is set in 16th-century Europe with a focus on the last years of the Bruges doctor and alchemist Zeno and on universal themes of humanity and freedom in turbulent times.

The premiere will take place on the 11th of May 2023. The tickets are on sale vie TNC.


Release documentary PAST >| ORALE

As an introduction to the performance PAST >I ORALE Zefiro Torna asked film maker Mathias Ruelle to create a short documentary. Through the eyes of five characters, this film highlights a few elementary parts from which the performance originated. The music of PAST >I ORALE - a wonderful mix of Beethoven, sound art and alternative pop - resonates as a soundtrack.

> Watch the documentary here (from June 15th until July 13th)


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— riddles in music & visual art (2020)

ZEFIRO TORNA - Ensemble Variances - AMVK

Taking J.S. Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer as a starting point, ZEFIRO TORNA, ENSEMBLE VARIANCES (FR) and visual artist Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (AMVK) join forces in an exceptional program around the symbol of the retrograde. Underneath a purely technical charm seems to lie hidden a symbolic purpose. Maybe it is an attempt to control the relentlessly ongoing concept of time? Is it the expression of a negative world view: a waning society in full regression? Or could it be a magical intervention: is it actually possible to rewind an event and undo it by chanting or playing backwards? Or can we, this way, connect the end with the beginning, the alpha with the omega?

Throughout music history, musical puzzles and chanting backwards have been a returning particularity. Emblematic scores in the shape of a lobster carrying the world on its back (Cancer Cancrizans), circular compositions that depict the circle of life or music relating to the symbol of the labyrinth or of self-sacrifice form the common thread through the BACHC®AB programme. The audience travels from the 14th-century song En la maison Dedalus or the 15th-century Tout par compas suy composés, to the ritual dances of the 20th and 21st centuries with George Crumb and Thierry Pécou, whose Miraris Mundum received its world premiere. Heinz Holliger explores the physical limits of the individual performer while Louis Andriessen’s Inanna’s Descent recounts the journey of the mythological Sumerian goddess to the underworld. The enigmatic canons from Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer connect old and new.

A video artwork by Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven reinforces the ritualistic character of this concert.

Zefiro Torna

  • Annelies Van Gramberen vocals
  • Kristien Ceuppens oboe, cor anglais
  • Dimos De Beun recorder, clavicymbalum
  • Liam Fennelly viola da gamba, fiddle
  • Jurgen De bruyn mandolin, archlute

Jurgen De bruyn concept, artistic direction
Dr. Prof. Katelijne Schiltz musicological research
Anne-mie Van Kerckhoven visual art
Gert Aertsen video technique

Ensemble Variances (FR)

  • Carjez Gerretsen (bass) clarinet
  • Thierry Pécou or Marie Vermeulin piano
  • Elisa Humanes, David Joignaux, Arnaud Lassus percussion
  • Thierry Pécou artistic direction of Ensemble Variances

In coproduction with DE SINGEL, Antwerp and with the support of The Flemish Community and the Belgian Federal Government’s Tax Shelter