Sunday 26 June 2016 was a very special day for me.
My two last master student composition presented their scores. Both may be feel very proud. A large crowd witnessed the birth of their scores.
Mirek Coutigny got the greatest distinction for his large scale work ‘Station Eleven’ based on the eponymous novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Scored for a large ensemble which includes electric guitar and synthesizer, the piece aims at conveying the feelings, longings and expectations one experiences when following a TV series, though restricted time. (though the whole piece still has a duration of 50 minutes, roughly the duration of one episode.). The sense of color and handling of the ensemble dazzled audience and jury alike. This is a piece which deserves an second outing and not only within the confines of the school. Knowing that Mirek is an incredibly good pianist as well as a sound engineer, festival co-organizer, chamber music musician and budding film composer, I can only wish that his career rockets beyond the visible stars! Moreover I’m very grateful he dedicated the piece to me. Rounding off so in the most pleasurable way six years of inspiring meetings. Thank you Mirek.
Gillis Sacré, receiving a great distinction, is a whole other kind of animal 🙂 We only had the chance to work for three years, for he came over from another conservatory, after already having obtained a master for piano as well as for harmony, counterpoint and fugue. Deeply steeped in the arcane science of renaissance polyphony and attracted to languages living and defunct, he decided to present for the first time an hour long concert which in a way clarifies the dichotomous aspects of his artistic soul. On the one hand Gillis longs for stillness, for extreme simplicity, even way beyond the holy minimalistic idiom as defined by eg. Arvo Pärt, though on the other hand, there’s a craving for the complexities as exemplified in many contemporary scores. His song cycle ‘Entre deux chemises’ is based on 10 texts all in different languages. The piece is characterized by diversity on all levels though at its most condensed manifestation. A Double Concerto for piano and double base was presented too and moves even more strictly between the polarities of his artistic search. The vocal piece went right to the heart of audience.
Hereby I want to thank all the performers (a big thumb up for the percusionist Jonathan Bonny), soloists (thank you Barbara Baltussen, Bart Delcroix and Esther Kouwenhoven and conductors (Pieter Vandermeiren & nicolas Taboulot) (thank you Pieter, how could we survive without your yearly engagement?).
I leave classroom 17 of the Conservatory of the School for Arts Ghent with deep gratitude for having been allowed to witness the incipient greatness of the next generation of super gifted composers.