Dusan Bogdanovic: Tradition and Synthesis
Tradition and Synthesis
Dusan Bogdanovic (1955 - … )
Tradition and Synthesis is a ground-breaking work which focuses on the creative act of synthesis or fusion in composition, improvisation, and performance: jazz guitarist/composer Bruce Arnold explains his approach to improvising classical masterpieces (Monteverdi, Messiaen, and Webern, among others); composer-performer Dusan Bogdanovic musically deconstructs the pioneering work of the composer Maurice Ohana; theorist-composer Xavier Bouvier, who has just returned from a six-month sabbatical in China, describes his approach to negotiating intercultural exchange and dialogue; an independent scholar/author and lecturer, Ellen Dissanayake illuminates the human biological predisposition to being musical; Catalan composer-guitarist Feliu Gasull, shares his insights and experiences regarding fusing flamenco in contemporary idiom in an interview; the Iranian composer-guitarist Golfam Khayam focuses on compositional synthesis based on traditional Persian idiom; an interdisciplinary artist and "avatar of experimental music", David Rosenboom, exposes his ideas of the artscience school of thought; composer/author and educator Michael Tenzer talks about fusing traditional Balinese gamelan with South Indian and Western music.
A commonplace of Western artistic thinking is that the idea of modernity is specific to this part of the world, and epitomized in Baudelaire's famous dictum: Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable. Moreover, the very idea of progress - whatever it may mean in the artistic field - has long been supposed to be genuinely Western. Recent research has made this conception obsolete and reveals that modernity may happen at any time in any society keen to renew and question its own tradition, in addition to be ready and curious to draw examples from other times and/or places. This process can be expected to speed up with globalization, leading to fresh reflections on universal artistic values as well as techniques and finally, to understanding multiple modernities not as a grey and abstract meta-synthesis of contemporary crafts and skills, but as the lively, possibly contradictory dialogue of composition and interpretation practices.
This "multiple book" of essays on multiple modernities is one outcome of an ambitious research project lead at the Haute école de musique de Genève with the support of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, the other one being an extensive colloquium and festival gathering of many composers/performers from all around the world keen to share their music. This project is a perfect example of true artistic research, where reflection cannot be disconnected from actual practice but thoroughly experienced in a concrete musical manner. Needless to say, the Haute école de musique is itself a place of many different musical traditions, not only Western but global, not only dealing with art music but also with popular and non-written music, embedded in an international community and network. Multiple modernities therefore informs its curricula and thus prepares its students for a variety of professional activities, both regional and abroad. It is my pleasure to address my gratitude to all the authors of this book, especially to Dusan Bogdanovic and Xavier Bouvier who carefully supervised its preparation, and to our publisher Doberman-Yppan. I am convinced that they have authored a conceptual milestone in the process of cross-cultural dialogue, which is so important when traditional politics and diplomacy show, alas, an almost daily lack and failure.
Haute école de musique de Genève