Unfortunately, this concert is cancelled. Tickets may be returned for reimbursement.

Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (photo: Achim Reissner)

Junge Deutsche Philharmonie

Ensemble Modern

Sylvain Cambreling conductor

Megumi Kasakawa viola

Gérard Grisey

Les Espaces acoustiques for Ensembles increasing in Size

Dates and Tickets

Tue, 31 Mar 2020, 20:00

Philharmonie | Introduction: 19:15



“Music is made with sounds, not with notes” – in a nutshell, that was the compositional credo of Gérard Grisey, French composer born in 1946. After studying accordion in Trossingen and Paris, Grisey was a composition student of Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux. He already began to take an interest in electroacoustics during this time, which ultimately gave a decisive impetus to his compositional development: with the rigour of a natural scientist, Grisey examined the overtone structures of sounds on computers and made them the starting point for a musical language which is now ascribed to the so-called “spectral music” movement.

The most ambitious compositional project by Grisey, who died in Paris in 1998, is arguably the Espaces acoustiques, which is performed only rarely. The work, lasting about one and a half hours, was composed in sporadic working steps between 1974 and 1985, and is based on Grisey’s analysis of different spectrums of sound: combinations of acoustic frequencies which determine a tone or sound’s individual timbre. Despite the technical and scientific approach of Grisey’s compositional technique, an almost meditative quality is characteristic of Les Espaces acoustiques: the audience is invited to embark on a voyage of discovery in novel and fascinating worlds of sound. At the same time, this composition “for ensembles of ever-increasing size” – the subtitle of Les Espaces acoustiques – offers the most varied of listening experiences: after all, the work begins with a large-scale viola solo, increasing gradually through various instrumental ensembles of seven to 33 players until a full-scale orchestra with eight solo horns plays at the end.

At the invitation of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, founded by highly gifted music students in 1974, and the Ensemble Modern, which emerged from that orchestra in 1980 and is entirely specialized in interpreting contemporary music, will take on the work at this concert. Megumi Kasakawa, who will interpret the viola solo in the first section, has been a member of the Ensemble Modern since 2010 and has an international reputation as soloist and chamber musician. With the French conductor Sylvain Cambreling, born in 1948, all the musical threads will come together in the experienced hands of a master of his field in this concert event across generations.

Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (photo: Achim Reissner)