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'Composing is a search for the truth, a way to push boundaries and find new ideas.'

Gaudeamus Award 2016 Nominee

Giulio Colangelo

For Italian composer Giulio Colangelo composing is a search for the truth through music. He tries to lay bare and contain the complexities of nature. “Art,” for him, “is where philosophy and craft come together.”

“Composing is trying to control the chaos,” explains Colangelo. “Crystalize and fix it, but also facing your own unconscious parts and trying to control that.” The performative installation [re]BO[u]NDS (2014), which he created with the collective LOXOSconcept, a collaborative project with composer Valerio de Bonis, is a telling example. They quote Walter Benjamin in the programme note: ‘Form enchants chaos momentarily into world.’ Colangelo continues: “it is a complicated process, trying to make rational what is not.” The double meaning of the title is also revealing: on the one hand sound echoes and bounces freely; on the other hand it needs to be bound together, tied up in a composition.

A similar idea can be found in Colangelo’s string quartet Organismo Aperto No. 1. It is an open, self-developing organism that needs to be contained. The composer becomes a controller who tries to capture complex structures. Colangelo relates it to natural processes: “nature shapes complicated organisms. An organism is something that is surrounded by a skin. It needs to be contained, otherwise it would occupy all the surrounding space. The skin holds it together.”

Philosophical and mythological concepts often form a starting point for Colangelo’s compositions. Composing is a search for the truth, a way to push boundaries and find new ideas. Thauma, a dialogue for percussive guitars, is a good example of this. The title refers to philosophical wonder “that moves man to knowledge. I think this search for the truth is the most important thing in human culture. Thinking makes us human. That is why art is important, but, like philosophy, it belongs to the past. Right now the economic culture is more important. That is the wrong direction, our culture is dehumanizing.”

Photo © Anna van Kooij