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Interview with Mario Mary (winner of the musica nova 2002 competition).

MARIO MARY (born 1961, Argentina), graduated in composing and conducting at the National University in La Plata. In 1992 he continued his studies in Paris in GRM, the Paris Conservatoire, and IRCAM. In 2001 he obtained a PhD at the University of Paris 8, and he currently teaches there himself.

He is the holder of the 1st Prize in the International Competition L. Russolo 1994, Pierre Schaeffer 1998, TRIME 1998 and 2001, and the composition competition PanAccordion 2000. In 1992 he won an honorable mention in the International EA competition in Bourges. At the Musica nova competition 2002 he took 1st place in Category B for instrument (s) and EA with his piece Aarhus -- for violin and E medium.

This year's Musica nova 2002 International Prize for EA Music attracted 125 entries from composers from a total of 30 countries. The other winners were: Ka-Ho Cheung (China) with the piece Lost Souls Sketches, which came first in Category A for EA. In Category B there were honorable mentions for Michele Biasutti (Italy) with his piece Ricercare and Kotoka Suzuki (Japan) with his composition Slipstream. The prize for a Czech composer went to Ondrej Adamek for his composition Strepy z Kibery [Shards from Kibera]. The pieces were presented at the Concert of Laureates on the 16th of December 2002 in the Inspirace Theatre. The competition was organised with the support of the Czech Ministry of Culture, the City of Prague, the Czech Music Fund Foundation and the Copyright Foundation OSA.

You compose both acoustic and electro-acoustic music, do you think its a good thing for EA composers to have a general training in composition, and -- from the other point of view -- what influence does composing EA have on your instrumental work?

For me instrumental composing is the inexhaustible source nourishing EA music. Having a training in composition enables me to think more deeply in EA too about aspects like orchestration, polyphony, macro-microform and so on, which are sometimes still on the margins of interest in EA. Composing EA then extends the parameters of sound material (spectrum, spatial quality). It's a mutual enrichment For example for a long time I've been working on EA orchestration, which makes possible the most minute and intricate arrangement of sound elements in space. The various levels of acoustic movement enrich the inner life of the sound. Work on sound material, spatial distribution and the resulting structure is extremely closely connected in EA.

What do you think of the methodology of teaching EA? What is your experience in this context?

In EA compose we must first create the sound material itself, and so teaching must contain knowledge of acoustics and the technology of instruments (analogue and informatic). But we must never forget that we are concerned only with instruments in the service of musical creativity. Just getting the latest versions of the software and hardware serves no useful purpose from the musical point of view. Learning how to structure materials (mixing, form) will be easier for people who have been trained in ordinary composition.

In France I had the chance to study EA composition and informatics at GRM, at the Paris Conservatoire, at IRCAM and at the University of Paris 8. At GRM there is a stress on developing special sensitivity to sound and the meaning of the spatial arrangements of a composition in concert performance. At the conservatoire students often take courses in instrumental composition, including analysis and theory, alongside EA. At IRCAM I had the chance to specialise in music information studies. It's a very dynamic atmosphere and composition takes first place there (Murail, Fernyhoug and others). At the University of Paris 8 you can study computer composition, and I got my doctorate there. The stress is on research there (i.e. they see themselves more as researchers than as musicians).

What do you think is the point of international competitions in composing?

International competitions give the winners the chance to get to know each other and test out their work in competitive conditions. The prizes are important not just as a psychological boost, but sometimes as a way of opening doors to other creative and publishing possibilities.
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Author:Dohnalova, Lenka
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EXCZ
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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