September - November 2021 — Music
Swiss musician of Czech and Pashtun descend, Miron Andres’ diverse musical focus is shaped by free improvisation, avantgarde, experimental and postmodern/contemporary classical music. His roots however are in historical performance practice (medieval/renaissance and baroque). Recently, he has been exploring the musical practices of South Asia and collaborating with audio and visual artists.
Miron explains his work as closer akin to visual artist than traditional composer. “I work with concepts, themes, political ideas and especially the abstract idea of cultural identity,” he says. “My solo pieces aim to create a cross-cultural language. The sound itself must not be part of any culture. Cultural detachment is to be seen as the highest aim.”
Cultural identity and a sense of belonging are central themes in Miron’s work. These are deeply informed by his personal history and experiences. Born between different worlds, different cultural identities, and the persistent feeling of not belonging anywhere; being rootless, ‘homeless’: this describes Miron’s biography and music. “Music has always been a sanctuary for me,” Miron says, “it has taught me how to express myself where words usually fail. It is a safe heaven without prejudice.” This has informed Miron’s interest in learning the musical practices of different cultures, and developing a universal musical language through which he can express himself.
For his residency, which will take place in part remotely, Miron will work with Johannesburg-based multi-instrumentalist João Orecchia as “critical friend”. João will facilitate connections in the South African art context and function as a sounding board. Miron is interested in the history of South Africa and how this has shaped contemporary culture, identity and social politics.
He explains, “South Africa is so incredibly rich in different cultures and religions, like only few other places. To reside in Johannesburg, this melting pot, will give me access to a vast amount of diversity. Not only regarding music, but also arts in general, which will enrich my work as a music creator. By getting to know the culture and history of Johannesburg more closely, I will be able to expand my musical language and create an installation that hopefully will truly deliver my message.”
Miron plans to develop an installation comprised of several sound pieces that would each relate to a particular chapter of his life. Together, the compositions would relate the artist’s ongoing quest for belonging.
Miron Andres’ primary instrument is the viola da gamba. He studied the “early repertoire” at the Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität (Austria) with Pierre Pitzl before completing his BA in music in the specialisation of medieval and renaissance performance practice at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel, CH). Feeling caged by the limitations of “historical correctness” he fled to the Netherlands to pursue a Master’s in contemporary music, with Margaret Urquhart, as well as taking up private lessons with Joshua Cheatham. Since having touched the viola da gamba for the first time, Miron has been driven by improvisation. Over the years this has evolved into new compositions and ideas that have lead Miron to compose conceptual audio pieces. Miron has performed in festivals and stages across Europe, such as the Tampering (Tampere, Finland), Opera Forward Festival Amsterdam and Prix Annelie de Man, (Amsterdam) and the Festival de Musique Ancinene de Callas (France), Festivalul Baroc Tmisoara (Romania), and the Grachtenfestival Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Since 2019, Miron is also artistic co-director (and co-founder) of “Ambigu”, a concert series in Amsterdam that provides a stage for lesser-known and more rarely heard very early as well as brand new music.
Image © Dymphna Vandenabeele