The Venice Music Biennale
The Venice Music Biennale, aka the “International Festival of Contemporary Music”, was founded in 1930 and runs annually in September/October. This post gives its history, a full report of the Music Festival of 2021 and details of the upcoming October 2023 event.
In 2021, the events took place in various historic locations in Venice, with the intention of highlighting the Venetian musical tradition; by linking it to current contemporary composition. The 65th International Festival of Contemporary Music; was directed by composer Lucia Ronchetti, in the first of her four-year appointment. The program featured several daily events, focused on the dramaturgy of vocal sounds in the practice of today’s music. The activities of the Biennale Music College were as usual, part of the Festival’s program.
For 2023, the 67th International Festival of Contemporary Music, will run from 16-29 October 2023, directed again by Lucia Ronchetti. The programme will feature daily events focused on the new forms of computer and algorithmic composition, experimental performance, and generative music. The activities of the Biennale College Musica will be part of the Festival’s programme as usual. Lucia Ronchetti studied Composition and Electronic Music at Conservatorio Santa Cecilia and graduated in History of Music at La Sapienza in Rome. She studied with Bussotti, Sciarrino, Grisey, and Murail. Her new chamber opera Pinocchios Abenteuer was premiered in November 2022 at the Hannover Staatsoper.
The Venice Music Biennale – HISTORY
The history of “La Biennale di Venezia”, dates back from 1895; when the first International Art Exhibition was organised.
The Venice Biennale was transformed into an autonomous board, by a Royal Decree of 1930 and the financing and the board’s articles of association were established in 1931.
With this transformation, the Biennale passed from the control of the Venice City Council to that of the Italian fascist state. Thanks to increased funds and the impulse provided by its president, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata; new events were set up (Music, Cinema, and Theatre) and the Biennale took on the multidisciplinary character that it has to this day.
1930, saw the 1st International Festival of Contemporary Music, taking place initially every two years and then from 1937, annually. Over the years, it would see premieres of international quality, with works by Stravinsky, Britten, and Prokofiev.
Following the outbreak of hostilities during the Second World War, the activities of the Biennale were interrupted in September 1942. It was not until 1947 that the Music Festival was resumed.
In October 2020, new artistic directors were appointed for the four-year term 2021-2024: Alberto Barbera (Cinema), Wayne McGregor (Dance), Lucia Ronchetti (Music) and Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte, (Theatre).
Please note. I have retained the 2021 Festival programme of Events, to give you a “feel” of what the Music Festival offers
The 65th International Festival of Contemporary Music (2021). “Choruses – Vocal Dramaturgy“
The festival took place from September 17th to 26th, directed by composer Lucia Ronchetti.
(Lucia Ronchetti, was born in Rome in 1963 and studied Composition and Electronic Music at the “Conservatorio Santa Cecilia” and graduated in music history at “La Sapienza”, Rome. She studied with Bussotti, Sciarrino, Grisey, and Murail. In 2021, three new productions will be premiered at the “Oper Frankfurt”, “Berlin Staatsoper” and “Deutsche Oper am Rhein”).
Entitled “Choruses – Vocal Dramaturgy”, Ronchetti stated that the focus of attention will be on “composing for the voice; based on the monumental choral works of the past decades, to the dramaturgical explorations of the most recent vocal productions”.
The Music Festival took place in various historic locations in Venice and highlighted the Venetian musical tradition, by linking it to current contemporary composition.
Concerts, sound installations, experimental performances, vocal happenings, a processional opera and a chamber musical theatre work; presented the many facets of the voice in contemporary creativity.
The festival featured important Venetian choral ensembles, the Choir of the Cappella Marciana and of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, along with some of the most representative choral and vocal ensembles in Europe: the Theatre of Voices from Copenhagen, SWR Vokalensemble and the Neue Vocalsolisten from Stuttgart, the vocal ensembles Sequenza 9.3 and Accentus from Paris, with the participation of the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice and the Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble.
The Centre for Computer Music and Multimedia of La Biennale di Venezia (CIMM) was responsible for the diffusion and spatial effects of the electronic parts, in some of the works.
The festival featured composers from different generations, who created important vocal and choral a cappella works, vocalists and performers from different musical traditions and sound artists who integrated the voice into their sound projects. The young composers and performers selected by the Biennale College; composed new works in the diverse forms of composition represented in the festival.
The encounters, lectures and “Lezioni di Musica”, in collaboration with Rai Radio3; served to highlight the relationship between the Venetian vocal musical tradition and the contemporary age.
Choruses was a wide-ranging festival, that was an invitation to a sort of “listener’s pilgrimage” through historic places and theatres: from the Arsenale (Tese and Piccolo theatres, Sale d’Armi) to the Basilica di San Marco, the Teatro La Fenice, the Teatro Malibran, the Auditorium Lo Squero at the Fondazione G. Cini, the Conservatorio B. Marcello and the Teatro Parco Bissuola in Mestre.
Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho iwas the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement “for the remarkable technical and expressive level she has achieved in her choral scores and for her original use of the voice”. The Award ceremony, took place on the Inauguration day of September 17th, at Ca’ Giustinian.
The vocal ensemble Neue Vocalsolisten from Stuttgart was the winner of the Silver Lion “for its creative collaboration with some of the greatest living composers and for its development of a vocal a cappella repertoire within the field of contemporary composition”. The Award ceremony, took place on September 20th in the Sala delle Colonne at Ca’ Giustinian.
The Venice Music Biennale – (2023)
The 67th International Festival of Contemporary Music (2023), will run from 16-29 October 2023, directed by Lucia Ronchetti. The programme will feature daily events focused on the new forms of computer and algorithmic composition, experimental performance, and generative music. The activities of the Biennale College Musica will be part of the Festival’s programme as usual.
Lucia Ronchetti studied Composition and Electronic Music at Conservatorio Santa Cecilia and graduated in History of Music at La Sapienza in Rome. She studied with Bussotti, Sciarrino, Grisey, and Murail. Her new chamber opera Pinocchios Abenteuer was premiered in November 2022 at the Hannover Staatsoper.
Note. The program as of 30.3.2023 is not yet available. Please consult the Official Website link below, for updates
LINKS (internal – external)
The Venice Music Biennale The Venice Music Biennale The Venice Music Biennale The Venice Music Biennale