HEUREKA is a composition for english horn, percussions, vocal ensemble and audiovisuals by the Icelandic composer and poet Ragnheiður Erla Björnsdóttir. The piece is an artistic research on astrophysics and music and will premiere with live visuals in the Planetarium of Laupheim in Autumn/Winter 2021/22. Commissioned by John Cage Competition first prize winner, Ewa Lovrenović, for a unique event where modern astrophysics and contemporary music will be brought together.
HEUREKA received a grant from the The Composer Fund of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and began as an artistic research on astrophysics, resulting in a forty-minute composition in seven parts. By commissioning the piece, one of Ewa Lovrenović's aims is to enrich the repertoire of the english horn. The composer worked with the instrumentalists in three workshops in Munchen, Erfurt and Vienna in search of musical translations to the subject. Just as the universe expands, the instruments in Heureka do so too with extended techniques and ever-growing pulses. Throughout the piece, the english horn is in the foreground, dealing with the subject of gravitation, mimicking internal movements within time and tidal forces.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
HEUREKA, a composition by the Icelandic composer and poet Ragnheiður Erla Björnsdóttir, explores black holes and gravitation in a musical context. The piece, composed for the english horn, accompanied by percussion, a vocal ensemble and audiovisuals, is a part of english horn player Ewa Lovrenović's newly created event VON DER AUSDEHNUNG DER DINGE. The project will launch at the Planetarium of Laupheim with three shows in Autumn/Winter 2021/22 as part of their 30th anniversary program, inviting the audience to embark on a journey where modern astrophysics and contemporary music are brought together in diverse ways throughout the evening. The interdisciplinary event will begin with a ten-minute lecture by an established astrophysicist, leading the audience into the world of astrophysics. Followed by the premiere of HEUREKA. The composition will emerge from complete darkness - but slowly, live visuals from the planetarium will appear, creating a specially-tailored audiovisual experience. Afterwards, for an even closer look, the audience is invited to the top of the planetarium to gaze at stars through an astronomical telescope. The event will end with a Q&A, where the musicians and the scientist engage in a conversation about Heureka, music and astrophysics with the audience.
Why would you support this project?
The aim of the project is three-fold. First of all, to bring music and science together in a dialogue with modern astrophysics and contemporary music. During the event, the audience will be guided with diverse ways to approach the subjects; a lecture, a concert with live visuals from a planetarium projector, followed by an experience of stargazing on the top of the planetarium and lastly, ending with an Q&A with the scientist and the musicians. Second, since the english horn is not composed for as frequently as many other instruments, the aim of the project is to create a contemporary composition for english horn players around the globe to perform. Therefore, the score will be made accessible to buy after the premiere, as well as a professional recording will be made. Third, is to encourage a conversation of the importance of female-lead projects in the field of contemporary music. Heureka is a female-lead project, aspiring to bring new music by young female composers forward whilst motivating others to do the same. After the premiere, the project will continue as the ensemble plans to perform internationally, aiming to present the piece at the contemporary festival "Dark Music Days" in Iceland in the newly built planetarium of Perlan.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
Although everyone on the team is very passionate about the project, it is paramount for HEUREKA to pay their musicians a proper wage. This is a serious job that demands serious specialized skills. The Crowdfunding will be used to pay the 7 musicians for the premiere plus two shows (3 shows in total) in Germany. It is a particularely difficult score, as the piece lasts about 40 minutes and must be performed by heart, as the visuals do not allow any lights to read the music. This also means, that there cannot be an extra conductor - the musicians have to rehearse the piece to a level where they can interact without visual contact.
Who are the people behind the project?
Ewa Lovrenović - english horn player, project manager Ragnheiður Erla Björnsdóttir - composer and poet, project managing partner Mathias Lachenmayr - percussionist Brigitte Jäger - 1st soprano Eva Kristl - 2nd soprano Julia Pfänder - alto Sergey Lavrentyev - 1st baritone Daniel Di Prinzio - 2nd baritone