Spatial arrangements: Xenakis tonight

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In the lead-up to Synergy Percussion’s epic musical event – Xenakis vs Pateras – happening over the next two nights (22-23 April 2014) at Sydney’s Carriageworks, Joe Agius, a director of Cox Architecture Sydney and AIA NSW Chapter president, puts the Greek-French architect/composer Iannis Xenakis eloquently into context.

“Ultimately I think his work is about about nature, a search for the higher order truths that underpin everything from architectural expresssions to art, mathematics and engineering. He’s not restrained by the conventions of musical composition. It’s more spatial than temporal. It’s demanding work to listen to, but I think music should be demanding in some senses.”

Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001) was a music theorist-composer and architect-engineer, a contemporary of Corbusier, composer of music for pre-designed spaces, and an influencer of early electronic music. His 1978 piece, Pleiades, created for six percussionsists, will be played tonight in Bay 17 at Carriageworks with no central stage or organised seating. The musicians will perform from a ring of island platforms, amongst which the audience may freely roam throughout the one-hour performance, adjusting their visual and acoustic experiencing of it.

“The effect will be elemental, tribal, and kaleidoscopic, as celestial showers of percussive colours ricochet across the room between the players.” says Synergy Percussion artistic administrator Tim Hansen.

On the second night (23 April), the same staging will be used to present the world premiere of Beauty Will Be Amnesiac Or Will Not Be At All, a “hallucinatory counterpoint” to Xenakis’ masterpiece by Anthony Pateras. Scored for the same instruments, the work incorporates six channels of electronics generated from improvisations with Metamkine’s Jérôme Noetinger.

Read more and buy tickets for Xenakis vs Pateras.