Giacinto Scelsi and Austria

FWF – Austrian Science Fund
Project number: P 22433-G21

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Federico Celestini
Project assistant: Mag. Dr. Elfriede Moschitz

Recognition of and knowledge about the Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905–1988) was only attained near the end of his life. Despite this slow beginning, artistic and musicological activities relating to his work and his music-aesthetic thinking picked up and developed at a formidable rate all over Europe and beyond. Of particular note is Scelsi’s interest in non-European cultures as well as the peculiarity of his composition, where improvisation, work character, compositional subjectivity and its very opposite are combined equally. His perseverence and dedication to the pursuit of sound quality and the multitude of dimensions he investigated and released through his compositional processes remain as impressive today as they were thirty years ago. In Austria, programmes of Scelsi’s works at the Musikprotokoll Festival in Graz in the late 1980s were influential for the reception and propagation of Scelsi’s work throughout the country and beyond. This relationship between Scelsi and the Austrian musical scene in the 20th and 21st Centuries is the central focus of this reasarch project. Austrian composers and interpreters of contemporary music were interviewed about their encounters with Scelsi’s work and the influence of his music and thoughts on their own creative work. The research project was not intended to present a historicising retrospective, rather, aimed to discover Scelsi’s significance for the present. What do Scelsi’s “intercultural” thoughts and compositions mean in today’s global world? Which role do myths, archetypes and metaphysics play for contemporary composers? Which aspects of Scelsi’s music inspire young composers these days? The terms „composition“, „inspiration“, „improvisation“, „score“, „work“ and „artist“ can only be used extremely carefully in connection with Scelsi. In the context of a discussion on Scelsi’s work, they must be continually questioned and/or they demand new borders for definition, or indeed total redefinition. This was mentioned time and again in the interviews. Inspired by Scelsi, the artists interviewed were able to broaden their horizons in respect to the topics and terms mentioned, which attain new connotations in the course of discussion. The research project was undertaken directly after the opening of the Scelsi Archive in Rome in 2009, which allowed the study of tape recordings and autographs that had been previously unavailable and enabled new orientation for research on Scelsi.



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Symposium "Giacinto Scelsi heute / Giacinto Scelsi today"

 Download Folder (German)

 Download Folder (English)

 Download Programm (German)



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