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“Man and the law; man and his continual search for the unknown; man and the drafting of laws with their transgressions. Prometheus is the man with his eternal thirst for new lands and new frontiers.”

Luigi Nono

The theme of the 43rd ENSEMS festival is Islands - refuges - paradises. Prometheus’ islands (isole) according to Luigi Nono invite us to listen. It is an archipelago of connected sound-producing islands. This year perhaps more than ever we would like to reflect on what is happening to us as a society due to the appalling pandemic. Such introspection will also invite us to become familiar with the world outside to discover and experience the sound-producing landscapes in our calendar. 

With this idea of an archipelago, we are continuing our attempt to create and make connections with different institutions. These are networks for collaboration that pool resources to create a calendar with many branches in an attempt to reach a diverse audience while helping to normalise the calendar of these musical proposals.

This year in ENSEMS we there will be a top class participant, the Valencia Community Region Orchestra, thanks to the festival’s close collaboration with the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía. Their participation together with the Valencia Muncipal Symphonic Band, the Castellón Municipal Band, the Alicante Municipal Band, the Orchestra of Valencia, the ADDA Symphonic Orchestra and the Valencia Region Youth Orchestra (JOGV) have made it possible to prepare an unprecedented symphonic calendar.

The calendar is divided into two blocks: one from 7 to 16 May, and another from 15 to 26 September. We shall be opening the festival in the public space with Occupy yourself performed by Alberto Bernal and Frames Percussion. This work expresses a desire for real communication between individuals. The “new everyday life” has created the situation of fake homes, of voyeurism into the private sphere, of island-individuals. It seems that with the “new normal” the intention is for everything to go on as before, even though real presence or contact between people has been eliminated or delimited, and with it the freedom and the right to enjoy public space. There is a false sensation that everything can be replaced by its virtual version. 

As for the representation of Valencian performers in the festival, we will be able to count on participation from Grup Illana, Paco Varoch, Synergein Project, Aión Dúo and Grup Instrumental from Valencia, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Trío Zukan, Luis Tabuenca, Barcelona Clarinets Players and Alfonso Noriega are the proposals included in the schedule that clearly show the high level of quality and the evolution of performances by new musicians in Spain. 

As regards international representatives, we can enjoy the young groups established on the international circuit Schallfeld Ensemble (Graz) and Ensemble Mosaik(Berlin) and Trio Agora (Lithuania). 

In order to foster contact for orchestra groups and formations with renowned international creators, we will have top class guests for the 43rd ENSEMS such as Liza Lim, as well as the Italian composer Pierluigi Billone.

Furthermore, ENSEMS is continuing its commitment to educational projects in different spheres of activity: the 33rd Composition Encounters, aimed at the professional sector, will be able to count on the participation of the aforementioned creators as well as the German composer Clemens Gadenstätter, the violist Alfonso Noriega.

The pedagogical project X-Ensems - Pleasure Island, produced by the Valencia Culture Institute (IVC) for ENSEMS in collaboration with the Caixabank Escolta València program, which is committed to sound experimentation and creation with young people. This year the IVAM and the Palau de les Arts will be taking part (within the ENOA project). 

It is worth noting that this year the Valencia Institute of Culture (IVC) has made a big investment in commissioning musical compositions in the context of ENSEMS. Hence, works by Enrique Sanz-Burguete, Víctor Vallés, Martina Sabariego, Claudia Cañamero, Carolina Cerezo, Nuria Núñez, Álvaro de la Cruz, Januibe Tejera and Josep Planells will be in the concert calendar of participating groups. In total, there will be twenty newly created works in ENSEMS, and about twenty more works will be performed for the first time in Spain.

In 2021 we shall continue to take ENSEMS beyond the city of Valencia. Our calendar can also be enjoyed in the Alicante Provincial Auditorium, ADDA; in the Castellón Contemporary Art Space, EACC; and in the Auditorium and Palau de Congressos of Castellón, as well as in the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía, the IVAM (Valencia Modern Art Institute), the Conservatori Superior de Música and the Teatre Principal in Valencia.

Once again we are grateful for the support from all of the public institutions involved, as well as from the different forms of private collaboration.

We need the arts to explain the world to us and yet to take us further from the world. This platform for music would make no sense if we did not lend a voice to these kinds of proposals, which are not common in the country’s musical calendars. Art itself involves asking onself questions, not answering. 

Even though the technology we have within our reach can help very much in communication, it should not replace encounters and human beings’ experience of their senses. That is why we invite you to enjoy ENSEMS, a space of and for sound. It is a music festival for all kinds of audiences, with no labels or complexes. We’re waiting for you here! 

Voro Garcia
Artistic Director



 

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