The exchange project Vienna – Poznan 2017 – 2019

University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and Music Academy Jan Paderewski Poznan

It all started in 2011, when young polish composer Ewa Fabianska joined my composition class at the mdw as an Erasmus student. During the following years I was invited several times to contribute to composition and music theory conferences in Poznan and I got to know the wonderful Sepia Ensemble, which is based in Poznan and now is regarded as one of the finest ensembles for new music in Poland.

Composers on the move
Composers on the move

So in 2017 I set up a project with this ensemble (together with my collegue Iris ter Schiphorst). We initiated a composition contest in our classes and in the end chose four student compositions that were then rehearsed and played by the Sepia Ensemble.

We invited the ensemble for a three-day-visit in Vienna in October 2017, our four students had the opportunity to work intensely with this professional ensemble and to hear their pieces (for eleven instruments) in a concert in Haydn-Saal together with four compositions of young Polish composers.

Composers with conductor Yaroslav Shemet and Sepia Ensemble
Composers with conductor Yaroslav Shemet and Sepia Ensemble

The second part of the exchange project took place in Poznan in April 2019, where our four students (Tatyana Juraszek, Hristina Susak, Atsuko Ezaki and Peter Weinlich) and me had the opportunity to present a „Vienna program“ at the Poznan Spring Festival – the four student pieces were played again and I myself wrote a new composition, that was premiered in the same concert on April 4 in the Aula Nova. During the same week I also held a Masterclass in the frame of the Erasmus+ program at the Academy.

We are very proud that we could make the project work, because the positive learning effect of such an intense exchange for the students can not be overestimated! Of course it was not easy to finance all this, so we are very grateful for the support by mdw (Institute 1), Academy of Music Poznan, Erasmus+ program and the city of Poznan, who made this extraordinary project possible.

Composers with Sepia Ensemble
Composers with Sepia Ensemble

Here are two comments of participating students:

Tatyana Juraszek:

Back in 2017 I had a chance for the first time to work with a professional ensemble specialised in contemporary music. There is a random possibility for young composers to write and afterwards stage the pieces for an ensemble that includes more than 5 people because of the limited budget for the performance. We, a group of composers, had a great chance to work with Sepia Ensemble in 2017 thanks to the University of Performing Arts Vienna. And this collaboration continued in Poznan, Poland. I am grateful to the University for financial support of this trip. We had a very warm receive in Poznan with Polish hospitality.

Eventhough the timing for the rehearsals wasn’t perfect, Sepia Ensemble made a great effort to prepare all of our pieces on high level. The acoustic of the hall was above my expectations. Sepia Ensemble are young professional musicians, very warm and friendly, that I would like to keep in touch with and collaborate for the future projects.

Composer students Tatyana, Atsuko and Hristina
Composer students Tatyana, Atsuko and Hristina

Atsuko Ezaki wrote after the concert in Poznan:

Thank you for the wonderful performance! For the first time in my life I was asked for an autograph from the audience (*_*)❣ People here seem to enjoy new music very naturally and casually, regardless of their age. Bravo, Sepia Ensemble! Their enthusiasm for new music and heartwarming care for us as well as the excellent interpretation of our music moved me to tears! I am very glad that I kept composing to this age.

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