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6 Questions with Mesias Maiguashca

img  Tobias Fischer

What’s on your schedule right now?
I began writing instrumental music. Since my arrival in Germany, I have linked electronic music very tightly to my work. Furthermore work with sound objects that require specific ears and methods to "write" the music, certainly very different than instrumental music. In 2010 I will devote myself to writing instrumental music, with no electronics. My wife plays the cello and I have written many compositions for her, all with electronics or other instruments. I am planning a Cello Sonata, no electronics, only amplification. Whatever I learn in the Sonata will flow into a String Quartet which I will write for the Pellegrini String Quartett. No electronics. And to crown the year I expect to write a composition for a string orchestra for the Amadeus String Orchestra led by my friend Freddy Cadena, in Moscu. No electronics. A string year.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

Somehow, my work can be described as organized improvisation. Once I have circumscribed the "sound world" I wish to use, I proceed to discover it by means of wild improvisatory methods, completely empirically. Once I have become ONE with the material, then I compose. Only then do I feel the need for discipline and control.

Would you say that a lack of education is standing in the way of audiences in their appreciation of contemporary composition?

Yes and no. Of course information is important when approaching any new experience - in this case, new music. However much of the education imparted has very negative qualities. It is too normative. It suggests that there is "good and bad music". It teaches to accept as good that which is labelled as such by the "musical authorities": critics, radio managers, concert managers, etc. This kind of "education" destroys the capabilities of perception that every free human being has. I have often used the word "innocence" to describe a non-biased openness in the reception of experiences of any kind, for example in the reception of music. Of course: you can be "innocent" and "educated". Or "educated" and "innocent". However, "innocence" is for me much more important than "education" in approaching art. Much of the "education" destroys this innocence and makes the public subject of "management" politics of the music industry. "Education" turns in to marketing.

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
The business of being alive forces us to develop perspectives and strategies. Two experiences are basic in our lives: the first (or second) is that we are aware that we live in a collective, the second (or first) is that we want to "feel" ourselves, we want to "be". The business of living is regulated by these two forces. How to solve it, is each ones business. I have tried to synthesize this duality in the following precepts:

I think that my most important right is liberty, liberty to "be". I think that my most important duty is to try to be honest with myself. I wish I could. It is not easy at all.

I hope that I have answered your question. Or did I confuse you?

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
I would resign.
I think Germany is a paradise for the arts and for the artists. Also for foreign artists. I think that in few places in the world upper art hast been integrated in such an effective way. Of course this is the result of the capacity of Germans to administrate. Probably one of the most important concepts in German life is "verwalten" (to administrate?). Everything is administrated. Everything that emerges is administrated. "Underground", by definition the non-administrable, also. Art in Germany has no non-administrated "underground".

And there begins the problem. The paradise is in a way a "paradise lost".
Recently, in the Freiburg area, an initiative of the musical administration took place. It was thought that the youth did no take part in the official musical cultural life. A program was developed, "der Schrei" („the scream“), with posters, concerts, press, television, etc. Interested youngsters were put together and then told to shout. They shouted. Everyone was happy.

(There must be "underground" somewhere).

But I insist, Germany is a paradise for the arts and for the artists.

Any contradiction?

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
Yes, it was premiered about three years ago in Quito in my home country, Ecuador. The name of the composition is BOLETÍN Y ELEGIA DE LAS MITAS based on a text of an Ecuadorian poet Cesar Davila Andrade. It is scored for an orchestra of folk instruments, three choruses, sounds objects (created by myself), electronics and a visual part consisting of about 200 pictures of faces of Indians of Ecuador. It is an Oratorium-like composition of about 90 minutes duration. Theme of the poem is the episode of the Mitas y Encomiendas, in the 16th and 17th Century. The Indian population was used ruthlessly by the Spanisch Conquerors for their enrichment. The native population was destroyed physically and psychically. It has taken centuries until the Indian population has regained confidence on their own powers. I conceived the composition as far back as 1963. I finished it in 2006. I have made a Video-documentation which will be released by October 2010. I very much wish that this piece be performed in Europe, "mother of modern colonization".

Somehow this composition defines me. 

Mesias Maiguashca Discography:

Tongeographie I
Holz arbeitet I
La Celda
Cello in My Life
Ayayayayay, Übungen, The Wings of Perception I, Intensidad y Altur

Mesias Maiguashca

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