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Interview with Frank Madlener

"We are impatient to see you again around this common passion: music that imagines, experiments, is played here and now.."
Publish date
June 25, 2020
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On the occasion of the unveiling of the ManiFeste-2020 festival program  (August 31-September 13), meet with its director, Frank Madlener, who explains the commitment of the Institute's teams to artistic creation.

Frank Madlener, how to can one create today after (with) the crisis?

In an improbable, shaken up, and extraordinary period, IRCAM was able to mobilize its teams to support artists, in particular the emerging generation of artist. Artistic creation is an essential facet of life and the ManiFeste festival gives it free rein. From August 31 through September 13,

In an exceptional edition programed from August 31 through September 13, ManiFeste-2020 opens the seasons at the Centre Pompidou, La Scala-Paris, and the Théâtre Gennevilliers with a condensed edition, momentarily deprived of its academy and orchestral formations, but not of its international character. A ManiFeste for concerts without performing simply to perform, and for installations that combine the living and artifice, a festival for vocality—lyrical voices and literary fiction, voices of conviction and intimacy, voices of conviction and intimacy, voices from the past and from the present. A return to life that is not simply survival. Through the theme "Music-Fictions", ManiFeste-2020 meets artistic vivacity.

Ircam was very active during the quarantine, and not only on social media. What new projects have you initiated?

Faced with an artistic and cultural cataclysm, our missions have been reinforced in terms of intensity, necessity, and relevance. We need the longer time frames of science and of building imagined worlds, of creation.  We need digital innovation— such as the virtual concert halls or online studios—to overcome paralysis. Short, dynamic circuits, but over a long period of time. When reality explodes, the focus becomes controlling the present and anticipating the decade to come.

During the quarantine, IRCAM forged and strengthened its alliances in France and in Europe, with the Conservatoire national supérieur musique et danse de Lyon and the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris, with the Ulysses European Network and our partners in the Taipei C-Lab. New research programs offer a broad perspective for what is to come at the Place Stravinsky. In the midst of the quarantine, Ircam Amplify took off. It aims to support the audio revolution in everyday life. Faced with the domination of the visual, it is a commitment to the powers of sound and technology. Confined but active; IRCAM has grown!

You were one of the first to advocate the return of musicians and companies to the stage.

I campaigned very early on for the return of artists to abandoned rehearsal halls, simply to rehearse in them, while respecting the sanitary guidelines that also apply to the audience. All the new works initiated were rescheduled during the IRCAM festival and the artistic season it inaugurates. Events cancelled in Europe aren't able to produce this type of portrait of Rebecca Saunders? She will be in Paris with many other composers. 

In culture, we never cease to intertwine; in art, we feel.  Artistic work unites like no other field, symbols and meaning, the making of unique worlds and the emancipation of the individual who inhabits them. The IRCAM teams and I are impatient to see you again around this common passion:music that imagines, experiments, is played here and now.

Interview on June 22, 2020