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Symposium: Michel van der Aa's work at the interfaces of the arts

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Institute for Theatre Studies (DE)

The stage works of the Dutch composer, film and theatre director Michel van der Aa (*1970) are characterised by an indissoluble coexistence of acoustic and visual components. His strategies include, for example, the clash of scenic action and film recording, the dramaturgically deployed juxtaposition of live performance and audio/video feeds or the linking of instrumental/vocal sound and electronic soundtrack. With these elements, he aims at a constant fluctuation of different, complementary, or overlapping spaces of perception and experience, which he uses as a tool for exploring and negotiating philosophical and social questions. Michel van der Aa's work offers a starting point for examining how contemporary music theatre can participate in current social debates. In this context, the focus is on the question of how compositional and media tools are used which, beyond scientific argumentation, can contribute to a gain in knowledge for the audience through the creation of specific aesthetic experiences.

The interdisciplinary symposium Music theatre of contemporaneity – Michel van der Aa's work at the interfaces of the arts of the Institute of Theatre Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum deals with Michel van der Aas Musiktheater. The aim of the symposium, which is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, is to explore Michel van der Aa's projects and describe them in terms of a "music theatre of contemporaneity". In addition to the composer himself, who will take part in the panel discussion via video, 12 scholars from various disciplines such as musicology, theatre studies, media studies and psychology, as well as two performers, will participate. The musicologist Dr. Jelena Novak (Lisbon) could be won as a keynote speaker to present her theses on the significance of Michel van der Aa's oeuvre for the theoretical concept of "post-opera" that she has developed, thus creating an important framework of reflection for the other lectures.

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September 15 – 17, 2022
Blue Square, Bochum