Michèle Rusconi | Research TripMauritius | Multi-Disciplinary
April - May 2023 — Multi-Disciplinary
Michèle Rusconi is a Swiss musician and composer. While on a research trip in South Africa for a project about the Coelacanth, she chanced to view a particular diorama in the East London Museum. This has inspirated her current project, “The Other Egg of the Dodo”.
The new project will take the form of 50-minute poetic musical audio drama at the interface of contemporary music, literature, history and science, and weave together a collage of sounds and stories about the unlucky Dodo bird. The “The Other Egg of the Dodo” is inspired by the story of how the only known remaining egg of the extinct bird found its way into the collection of the Eastern Cape natural history museum. Michèle explains that the story will trace “an imaginary journey following the spice trade route of the 17th century Dutch East India Company VOC, specifically nutmeg from the Banda islands. The voyage will begin in Amsterdam enroute to Batavia and the Maluku Islands in the “Dutch East Indies”, continuing on to the colonising of Mauritius, before passing the Cape of Good Hope to return to Amsterdam. It is a story about the fragrance of a nut and the innocence of a flightless bird, about greed and power, the destruction of fauna and flora and the memory of a lost paradise.”
During her research trip in Mauritius from 20 April to 20 May 2023, Michèle will collect sensory inspiration, field and archive recordings for the audio play: the soundscape of birds, rivers, wind and the ocean. The mélange of languages spoken on the island in the streets, at the beach, the market, in the temple, at the port and in the bar. Conversations with staff members at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, with local historians, politicians, musicians, poets and story tellers.
Swiss composer Michèle Rusconi has worked in a variety of musical styles and has lived in many countries on several continents. She obtained her master’s degree in
composition at the Freiburg University of Music with Mathias Spahlinger and then became a student of Hans Wüthrich. This was preceded by a jazz degree from Berklee College of Music, a Bachelor of Performing Arts from City University in New York, and thirteen years as a jazz pianist in New York. Michèle’s works are performed by ensembles in Europe and America including Phoenix, Aventure, Collegium Novum, Meitar Ensemble, Pellegrini Quartet, Amar Quartet, New Juilliard Ensemble, Bugallo / Williams Duo, Camilla Hoitenga.
[Pictured: Gunung Api volcano in the Banda islands, which, the story goes, would erupt when the Dutch ships arrived.]