A new work for piano conceived, devised and directed by composer Óscar Mascareñas in collaboration with dance artist Nora Rodríguez. The work was created as part of Mascareñas’ research at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick.
The central premise of FIGURES is based on the notion of ‘sound in the logic of movement’. In this series, Mascareñas explores the production of sonic material through the somatic experience of Rodríguez, something that he calls ‘choreosonography’, a concept that involves the physcalisation of sounds and the sounding of physicalities. The aim here is to transform somatic forces into sounds through an exploration of the relationship between the piano and the body resulting in a contrasting interweavement of sounds and movements, sometimes euphoric, sometimes delicate. In FIGURES sensation is the score, and the piano is not only seen and understood as a musical instrument, but also, and most importantly, as a space where the body moves, plays and interacts with its physicality and its sonic potential.
What is unique to the approach taken here is the training of the performer. She has not been trained as a classical musician, nor as a musician in any other tradition. Her ear does not codify the sound in the same way as the ear of a trained (Western art) musician does. It does codify it, but not following the traditional structures of harmony, melody and rhythm. Consequently, harmony is achieved in the Cagean sense; and melody, rhythm (duration) and dynamics, are constructed through sensation. Rodríguez is a dancer/performer that enters the field of sound not with the purpose of moving to it, but rather, of instigating it through movement. Thus, FIGURES is an experience that aims to expand the borders of dance, particularly in its encounter with music, or, in more general terms, the boundaries of displacement at the meeting of noise. FIGURES can be recognised as a musical piece, as a dance work or as the interdisciplinary encounter of two experiences. This polytropic quality stimulates the formulation of new questions that aim not only to shift the boundaries of established disciplines, but also to develop new paradigms that will eventually change the way we understand composition and performance within the realm of the performing arts.
- Britten Studio. Aldeburgh Music. (Vernissage). Snape, England. July 2015.
- Tower Theatre. Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. (World Premiere). Limerick, Ireland. November 2015.
- Coventry University. C-DaRE (Coventry Centre for Dance Research). (Film version). Coventry, England. January 2016.
- Jack Crystal Theatre. Tish School of the Arts, New York University. 6th International Conference: Dance Research Forum Ireland. (American Premiere). New York City, U.S.A. June 2016.
- Teatro del Centro de las Artes. VIII International Forum for Composers, Nuevo León. Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. July 2016.
- Dance Limerick. The Light Moves Festival of Screendance. (Film version of Study 1 – Durations). Limerick, Ireland. November 2016. (forthcoming).
For mixed ensemble. Premiered at the Teatro del Centro de las Artes, in Monterrey, Nuevo León, during the concert that celebrated the 15th anniversary of The Composers' Centre of Nuevo León. Commissioned by The Council for the Arts and Culture of Nuevo León (CONARTE). Performed by René de la Garza (guitar), Aylinn Heredia (cello), Sergio Hernández (viola), Robert Hoit Iii (bass clarinet), Óscar Mascareñas (voice), Pedro Martínez (trumpet), Adolfo Nava (piano), and Gustavo Ramos (percussion). Directed by Óscar Mascareñas. June 2014.
A choreosonography for 21 bodies and instrumental ensemble. Performed in the Sala Chopin of the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey (ESMDM). Commissioned by the ESMDM with support from the National Council for the Culture and the Arts, and the National Institute for the Fine Arts (Mexico). Created as part of the Cage-Cunningham Professorship in Contemporary Performance. Monterrey, N.L., Mexico. December 2013.
A multidisciplinary work based on Samuel Beckett’s Not I. Artistic Director. Sound Curator. The collaboration included choreographers Hester Martínez and Brisa Escobedo, theatre directors Juan Luna and Gerardo Valdés, and plastic artists Francisco Abad and Rafael Reyes; and was commissioned by the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey (ESMDM) and supported by the National Council for the Culture and the Arts, and the National Institute for the Fine Arts (Mexico). Performed by contemporary dance students of the ESMDM and theatre and plastic arts students of the CEDART ‘Alfonso Reyes’. Sala Chopin, ESMDM. Monterrey, Mexico. January 2013.