The white waters of the Archipel festival

Spread the love

According to the dictionaries, an archipelago is a group of islets separated by water but united by a common identity, or at least a geology. The 2021 edition of the Geneva festival of the same name – devoted, to put it in simple words, to contemporary music – will meet the definition particularly well.


First of all, by its format. The Who-you-know-19 being still with us, Archipel 2021 had first bet, before the relaxation decisions taken on April 14 by the Federal Council, on a purely online metabolism, but which would launch a riot of ropes mooring linking us to each other and to the beating heart of the event: the seventy concerts and / or performances (given in situ, the musicians travel to Geneva) will be accessible free of charge, and the public will be provided with content additional (interviews, etc.). The opening decreed Wednesday by Alain Berset changes the situation a bit. “In all likelihood”, the festival could, in strict compliance with health standards and according to a gauge yet to be defined, afford to welcome a share of the public at the concert venues.

This year, Archipel will also build bridges between the different families of contemporary music. The new management team (Marie Jeanson and Denis Schuler) decompartmentalizes – and at the same time messes up. The aspects that we will say “heritage” are of course not forgotten – pieces by James Tenney, Horatiu Radulescu or Sofia Goubaïdoulina (with his Garden of joys and sorrows from 1980, as beautiful as a calm Zen garden) are on the program. Likewise, honor will be paid to Eliane Radigue, a great figure in French experimentation, with two of her plays (Occam V, and Occam Ocean) and a round table.

Read our portrait:
Eliane Radigue, mother of sounds at the fringe of the auditory spectrum

But the festival also shines its lighthouse under the shadow of the grown-ups. In this context, we will be attentive to several recurrences: Anthony Pateras, electric jack-of-all-trades from New Zealand, will schedule a series of hallucinatory evenings between ad hoc ensembles and solo piano; the Geneva-based collective Insub, for its part, will produce no less than eight pieces for duo commissioned last fall from a whole series of current composers from here and elsewhere (Michael Pisaro, Jacques Demierre, Sarah Hennies, Jürg Frey, etc. ).

An article on the parts ordered by Insub .:
“Sound beyond the walls”

The evening of Tuesday, April 20 will be yet another highlight, in two stages: the first will see the Geneva ensemble Batida collaborate, for the creation of kil0Girl $, with Antye Greie-Ripatti, perhaps today one of the finest analysts of the links which unite music, poetry and new media. Finally, the Lausanne-based Francisco Meirino will work with the Ensemble Contrechamps to set up a magnificently dangerous game by which the soloists of the formation will attempt to reproduce the textures of the sounds he produces from his deviant electr (on) ical systems. The piece is titled Imitation of an action, and it promises a dialogue full of surprises.

Archipelago, Geneva. From April 16 to 25.