Brussels – February 2015
Sturm und Klang Ensemble, conducted by its artistic director Thomas van Haeperen, performed five different pieces from European composers: Mihailo Trandafilovski (Macedonia), Mate Balogh (Hungary), Lynne Plowman (UK), Pertti Jalava (Finland), Jean-Luc Fafchamps (Belgium).
Referring to the pre-romantic notion of Sturm und Drang, a movement conducted by youth who had ideals such as freedom, passion and the emancipation of the individual, Sturm und Klang (“Storm and Sound”), possess energy, ardour and enthusiasm as their major assets.It is in this spirit that the musicians of the orchestra, established in 2000 by Thomas Van Haeperen, share a momentum and a commitment to projects that claim their dynamism, their sensibility and their creativity.
Depending on the repertoire, Sturm und Klang either comes together as the Sturm und Klang Orchestra,or in a smaller formation as the Sturm und Klang Ensemble.
Download the programme here.
Máté Balogh was born in Győr, Hungary, in 1990. Graduated of the Conservatory of Pécs, where he specialized in the theory of music and composition with István Győrffy, he finished his studies in composition at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest under Zoltán Jeney. Currently he is working on his doctoral degree and besides he is a professor-assistant in composition at the Liszt Academy. In 2013, he spent a semester in Trieste, Italy, studied composition with Fabio Nieder. He has participated in masterclasses with Péter Eötvös, Christian Wolff, Louis Andriessen, Petr Kotík, Gyula Csapó and Larry Polansky. His pieces have been performed in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. He won the 1st Prize of the composer competition of the Liszt Academy in 2011. He also won the 1st Prize of the competition of the Hungarian National Choir with a piece called ’The Four Parts of the Year’. In 2013, he won the 3rd Prize of the UMZF Composer Competition. As a musician, he sings baritone in the Capella Silentium chamber choir. He is also the member of the Hungarian Soundpainting Orchestra.
Jean-Luc Fafchamps, born in 1960, is a pianist and composer. He studied at the Conservatoire de Mons and at Louvain-la-Neuve University. As founding member of the Ictus Ensemble, he took part in many concert performances in large ensembles or chamber groups and in mixed performances, particularly accompanying dance and theatre. He made recordings for Sub Rosa of works by Bowles, Liszt, Feldman, Dallapiccola, Duchamp, Scelsi and Berio and contributed to numerous recordings with the Ictus Ensemble and several singers. His compositions were hailed by the UNESCO International Rostrum of Young Composers (Attrition for string octet) and won him the Octave des Musiques Classiques 2006. The Ictus Ensemble, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Musiques Nouvelles, the Danel quartet, the National Orchestra of Lille, Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, TM+, Gageego and many more performed his work. It has been on the programme of many international festivals like Ars Musica (Brussels), Présences (Paris), Vilnius, Biennial of Venice, Warsaw, Lima, Budapest, etc.. He is currently developing several long-term projects in which his sense of synthesis is blossoming into mutually referential pieces. Among those, a vast network of cycles – the Lettres Soufies – has occupied him for fifteen years. He also teaches musical analysis at the Conservatoire de Mons.
Pertti Jalava was born in Turku, Finland, in 1960. He has composed numerous works for orchestra and various chamber ensembles, including four symphonies, four string quartets and a piano concerto. He has also written an extensive jazz output for big band and his own jazz ensembles, in which he has played drums and keyboards. He also wrote a handful of choral works. Pertti Jalava has won prizes in several national and international composition competitions with works for string orchestra, wind band, chamber ensemble, jazz ensemble and big band. Works by him have been performed in Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Serbia and USA (New York, North Carolina, Virginia). Jalava has studied composition – and music in general – almost entirely on his own. In 1993, having already created an extensive repertoire influenced by progressive rock and classical music for his own jazz ensemble, he studied theatre composition with the American Craig Bohmler on a six-month course run by the Finnish Music Theatre Association. As his final assignment he composed a chamber opera called Paradise.
Having completed this course, a turning point in his career, Jalava embarked on an intensive course of private study and attended the composition laboratories held by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Turku in 1994, 1996 and 1998. He has been a full-time composer since 2001.
Although Jalava keeps his two areas of interest (jazz / chamber and orchestral music) separate, and does not engage in crossover, he allows influences to flow both ways and there are some common factors between the two: a prominent role for rhythm and melody, polyphony, visual narratives and profusion of events. His primary objectives are, Jalava says, emotional and narrative expression. Such aspirations leave no room for exclusions of any kind. In his music he uses strong contrasts, thereby achieving dramatic effects and aesthetic accents. Sometimes ugliness is needed to emphasise beauty: distorted harmonies, sharp timbres and aggressive rhythms. At other times these negative messages have to be offset by unashamed beauty in order to be experienced to the full. Rhythm occupies a major role in Jalava’s music. It is often motor-like and frequently asymmetric. Yet a meditative quality, or a kind of floating, carefree mood is also characteristic of his music. Despite drawing mainly on twelve-note techniques, most of Jalava’s classical works create a feeling of tonality. In his most recent compositions he often lets their nature determine the music or employs other methods of his own devising, assigning row technique only a secondary role. Nor does he belittle the role of humour, the very salt of life and music.
Lynne Plowman is a composer and flautist based in Wales. In 2003 she was awarded the British Composer Award for Stage Works, for Gwyneth and the Green Knight. Since then, she has composed three more operas, all with the librettist Martin Riley, two of which were shortlisted for British Composers Awards. In addition to her stage works, Lynne Plowman’s music ranges from intimate songs, solos and chamber music to dramatic large-scale vocal and orchestral works. A series of commissions for the London Mozart Players includes The Return of King Raedwald (2001), The Stargazer (2002), a setting of scientific quotes and poetic fragments for tenor voice and strings; Cries Like Silence (2006), commissioned for Remembrance Day in Portsmouth Cathedral and a chamber ensemble score to the classic film, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (2009).
Lynne Plowman is a composition tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2007. She is also the resident composer for Dyfed Young Composers, supporting young composers in secondary schools across West Wales. Her next premiere is a new orchestral piece, Catching Shadows for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff next April. « The Stargazer was commissioned in 2002 by The London Mozart Players to celebrate their residency in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire. They asked for a new work which would have a direct connection with the area. When I visited, I was struck by the vast, unpolluted night time skies. Alfred Tennyson and Isaac Newton both lived in East Lindsey, so this gave me the idea for The Stargazer – a setting of fragments of text for tenor and strings, sometimes poetic and sometimes scientific, all relating to the stars.
Macedonian-born composer/violinist Mihailo Trandafilovski studied at Michigan State University, USA (BMus) and the Royal College of Music, UK (MMus, DMus). His studies and research have been supported by the Open Society Institute, the Macedonian Ministries of Science and Culture, and the British Government (Chevening scholarship), amongst others. Prizes/awards include the United Music Publishers Prize for composition at the RCM and the Panče Pešev Award for best new work at the contemporary music festival Days of Macedonian Music. Recent commissions have come from the Macedonian Composers’ Association, clarinetist Roger Heaton, violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, and the New London Chamber Choir. Other performers include Quatuor Diotima (France), Pierrot Lunaire and Reconsil ensembles (Vienna), chamber orchestra Arcata Stuttgart, mmm… (Japan), Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Ensemble ConTempora (Macedonia). A portrait CD with his chamber music performed by Lontano and the Kreutzer Quartet was released in 2011 by LORELT, and his clarinet quintet Magnets, Lava, Crystals, written for Roger Heaton and the Kreutzer Quartet, was released by Clarinet Classics in 2013. A new portrait CD is in preparation. As a violinist, Mihailo has performed across Europe and America, and is a member of the Kreutzer Quartet. A particular interest in his research is the application of new music to pedagogy, for which he was awarded his doctorate. He is also one of the founders and a music director of FuseArts, a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2009, supporting shared projects among the arts and promoting contemporary artistic creativity to a wider audience.