di Giulia Sarno
[Carola Schaal is a German clarinetist, bass-clarinetist and performer. She studied in Darmstadt, Düsseldorf and Hamburg, but it was at the Opus XXI course for contemporary chamber music and improvisation in Avignon, France, that she discovered her passion for New Music. She now resides in Berlin. She will be performing in Florence on May 11 for Tempo Reale Festival].
You are part of Hamburg-based contemporary music ensemble Decoder. As a group, you have recently been invited by prestigious Elbphilharmonie to curate a concert series “Below Deck“: what is it like to bring your experimentations in such an institutionalized context? Have the concerts been successful so far?
Yes, I am a founding member of Decoder. We have been working together since 2011. Barbara Lebitsch, the former head concert dramaturge and current artistic chief operating officer of the Elbphilharmonie, offered us an own concert series “Below Deck” starting in 2017. From 2002-2008 she was production manager of the Festival Wien Modern that is why she is familiar with New Music and is well versed in this area. With full trust of Christoph Lieben-Seutter, the director of the Elbphilharmonie, and Barbara Lebitsch Decoder is in the wonderful position to make all artistic decisions on our own. The concept of “Below Deck” is that we always collaborate with one curator who has an outside look of our ensemble, for example we worked together with Brigitta Muntendorf, Simon Steen-Andersen and for the upcoming season 2020/21 Decoder will present concerts curated by Michael Beil and Trond Reinholdtsen.
Because of the still persistent initial euphoria regarding the Elbphilharmonie we have a wide-ranging audience that is challenging and enriching at the same time and so far all concerts were sold out, so I would say in all modesty that the concerts have been successful so far!
One of the current projects of Decoder Ensemble is SILENT POSTS, «a community-based composition framework» conceived by Alexander Schubert, who is also part of the group. Since you are going to perform two “silent posts” at Tempo Reale Festival, could you please give us your personal point of view on this project?
“Silent Posts” is an interactive composition-project by Alexander Schubert based on Source Pieces starting in 2016. In this context I – as an interpreter – created for the first time own works and discovered my passion for audio and video editing. “Silent Posts” as a project has a quiet free form and everyone can participate under certain conditions, which is – at least for me – very liberating and inspiring! All realizations within the project are documented and collected on the specially created website www.silent-posts.net. The opening piece about needs for my concert at Tempo Reale Festival shows the expansion to pure body work in addition to video and audio. For this Silent Post realization I worked together with my choreographer Heinrich Horwitz. The second realization Ruth is a video work of mine inspired by one image of the Source Piece A, which shows a burning upper body of a woman.
Tempo Reale Festival’s title this year is “Borderscape”: what does this concept evoke to you? What is your idea of borders in music?
I really like this kind of wordplay! My first impressions were: does that mean “borders/cape” or “borders to escape”? I can relate to both associations! As an artist I am definitely interested in touching and constantly questioning borders: as a musician and composer.
The first impression “borders/cape” means for me that it is important and essential to shift borders but always save and treat them carefully (cape in the sense of a protective raincoat). The second impression “borders to escape” encourages me in this: as a qualified classical clarinettist, do I really have to play clarinet on stage? Gladly I discuss with you after the concert about this question!
Photos © Gerhard Kühne, Torsten Curdt, André Fischer, Gerhard Kühne