Composition Colloquium: Marco Stroppa
Colloquium | April 7 | 3 p.m. | CNMAT (1750 Arch St.)
Composer, researcher and professor, Marco Stroppa was born in Verona on December 8, 1959.
He undertook a range of musical studies - piano, choral music and choir conducting, composition and electronic music under Laura Palmieri, Guido Begal, Renato Dionisi, Azio Corghi and Alvise Vidolin at the Conservatories of Verona, Milan and Venice. He also studied computer music, cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence at the Media Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1984-86.
Between 1980 and 1984 he worked at the computer music centre (CSC) of the University of Padua (Italy), where he produced his first mixed piece, Traiettoria, for piano and computer.
In 1982 Pierre Boulez invited him to leave Italy for Paris where he worked as a composer and researcher at IRCAM (Institute de Recherche and Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the largest institution of the world devoted to computer music. He was appointed as head of the Music Research Department in 1987, but resigned in 1990 to fully concentrate on composition and research. He also taught regularly at IRCAM since his arrival there and his constant contact with this institution has been fundamental to his musical education and work as a composer.
A highly appreciated and active educationalist, he has lectured widely, has written several essays in a number of international reviews and is preparing a book on his own work with composer and musicologist Francis Courtot. In 1987 Mr. Stroppa founded the composition and computer music workshop at the International Bartók Festival in Szombathély, Hungary. During thirteen years at its head, he met the greatest musicians in the country and broadened his horizons by reading a great deal of poetry. The pieces élet...fogytiglan, An imaginary dialog between a poet and a philosopher for ensemble, and Hommage à Gy. K., for piano, clarinet and viola, illustrate the intensity and value of this experience.
He taught composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and Lyon and since 1999 he has been full professor of composition and computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts (Musikhochschule) in Stuttgart, as successor to Helmut Lachenmann.
Mr. Stroppa composed for both acoustical instruments and new media. His repertoire includes works for concerts, one music drama, two radio operas and various special projects. He is often inspired by reading poetry and studying ancient myths, and by the personal contact with performers (among others, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Cécile Daroux, Florian Hölscher, Thierry Miroglio, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Benny Sluchin). His keen interest in sound and space has often led him to rethinking the placement of the instruments on stage so as to achieve a spatial dramaturgy that will be revealed and highlighted by the unfolding of the music.
He often groups several works around large cycles exploring specific compositional projects, such as a series of concertos for instrument and a spatialized orchestra or ensemble inspired by poems of W.B. Yeats (Upon a Blade of Grass, From Needle's Eye), a book of Miniature Estrose, seven pieces for solo piano totalling almost one hour of music, a cycle of works for solo instrument and chamber electronic music inspired by poems of e. e. cummings (Auras, little i, I will not kiss your f.ing flag), and two string quartets (Un Segno nello Spazio, and Spirali, with spatial projection).
He approaches chamber and choral music relatively late (Nous sommes l'air, pas la terre, for accordion and viola, Ossia, for piano, violin and cello; Cantilena, for a 16-part choir divided into three groups, Lamento for a 6-part choir), and has just started a cycle of pieces for two instruments (2 horns).
Among his previous works, we mention: Traiettoria (1982-84) for piano and computer, Hiranyaloka (1993-4) for orchestra, Proemio (1990), in cielo in terra in mare (1992) two radio operas, Zwielicht (1998) for double bass, two percussion players, electronics and 13-D sound projection. He is currently composing a piece for the Orchestre de Paris (Ritratti senza volto), a concerto for cello and orchestra (And one by one we drop away) and a concerto for piccolo and string orchestra (No Boughs).