Some instruments are labelled “traditional” without a second thought, as if they had no potential for innovation. For more than ten years, Erwan Keravec has been exploring new possibilities of expression with the bagpipes in close collaboration with various composers. Also active in the fields of improvisation and jazz, the musician has opened up new perspectives on the instrument with projects such as “Urban Pipes” and the SONNEURS group.
At MaerzMusik, he will perform three works of contemporary music, two of which were written especially for him and his instrument. Heiner Goebbels’ “N°20/58” is a piece that plays with the positioning of the musician in relation to his audience as well as with musicological quotations – more precisely, references to Johann Sebastian Bach.
As part of her ongoing series exploring the untapped sonic potential of acoustic instruments, Éliane Radigue composed “OCCAM XXVII” for Keravec, a piece that brings him in close proximity to the audience. It is an unusual work that brings forth unexpected tonalities from the instrument. “Two Pages” by Philip Glass stands out in the programme as the only work not composed for the bagpipes. Keravec’s adaptation of the piece originally written for piano and organ proves how elegantly the principles of minimalism can be transferred to the bagpipes – building a bridge between different traditions whose history is still being written.