For their current project [Unlearn], the members of Mà3 are on a quest to explore the line between performers and composer/performers in a classical music setting.
It used to be a common practice among classical musicians up until the second half of the 20th century be a composer/performer and to write and perform their own pieces, from Bach to Beethoven and Rachmaninov. Nowadays, it is still a common practice in jazz, pop and electronic music. However, in classical music, it developed into the dualism of a composer on one side and a performer on the other, communicating through the means of a score. Mà3 realised that if they wanted to take a step further with their contemporary classical music ensemble they will have to write their own music.
To accompany the three musicians on their journey, they approached four renowned composer/performers to learn from their experiences, to collaborate and ask the following questions: How is your performance influenced if you wrote the music for yourself vs. if somebody else wrote it? — and concerning the compositional process: How is your compositional process different if you intend to play the music by yourself vs. if you write it for somebody else? Can we then unlearn the conventions that we usually deal with to create something new?
Next to the trio's new compositions, the four composer/performers each wrote a composition in close collaboration with the ensemble while exchanging views on the process. They are the jazz pianists Kirke Karja (EST), Franz von Chossy (D), Michel Reis (L) and the band leader/saxophonist Luise Volkmann (D).
As experienced collaborators with composers in the field of contemporary music in ensembles such as United Instruments of Lucilin (L), Looptail (NL), Ensemble S (D) the musicians of Machine à trois bring to the table a deep understanding of the dualistic relationship between a written score and the processes that led to it. They let their experience fuse this project and bring to the stage their own compositions joined by four compositions of like-minded artists. The sound result promises to be an exciting mix of contemporary classical music.
[ What does it mean to you to be a part of this project? ]
Franz von Chossy
“The idea of merging the worlds of improvised music/jazz with thoroughly composed music seems to be getting more and more popular. Musicians from both worlds are inspired by each other, yet collaborations often lack mutual understanding. The “Classical world” tends to have a different approach to rhythm than musicians with a jazz background. The great thing about “Machine à trois” is that all the members have the rhythmical accuracy and versatility of “jazz players” but also the technical finesse of classically trained musicians. This enables me as a composer to go much deeper into the development section of my work as if I am writing for a jazz ensemble, as well as to make use of all the rhythmical adventures derived from the contemporary jazz world. I am very delighted and looking forward to compose for this outstanding ensemble.”
“I am really looking forward to writing music for Rachel, Laurent and Pascal, this instrumentation is very inspiring, their approach to finding new music is profound. And I really enjoy the fact that we are trying to do things together, finding new ways and trying some things out together.”
“I am very happy to have been asked to compose a piece for Machine à trois, an interesting constellation of an ensemble whom I will be very excited to share my musical ideas with. It will be real treat for me to hear the final result performed by these exceptional musicians.”
“As an instrumentalist from the improvisation scene, I am looking for an extension of this way of thinking through the means of composition: I also try to think of the written form of improvisation from an oral tradition. It is important to me to emphasize the personal strengths of instrumentalists and to find a smooth transition between fixed and organic thoughts. Machine à trois’ new project appeals to me on a very personal level: a collective that dissolves the boundaries between instrumentalist and composer, between genre boundaries, and between individual language and ensemble sound.”