Monday, June 16, 2008

Daniel Teruggi (GRM, Paris): The novelty of concrete music.

Daniel Teruggi (GRM, Paris): The novelty of concrete music. from U.S.O. Project on Vimeo.

Tempo Reale/Musical encounters
Florence - RAI/Studio C, 17th May 2008

DT: The GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales), institution that I represent, which celebrates this year (2008) the 50th anniversary, is an accident, it should not exist, and unfortunately it exists!
Pierre Schaeffer, who created the GRM in 1958, said that it was fundamental to invent “institutions which were useless, but necessary”. I think that this definition perfectly applies to the group with which I work.
Unfortunately, my business is largest than pure music composition. I always say that one day I’ll stop everything and start doing only my compositions. This day is not coming, now I have 56 years, it may be that when I’ll quit, I will finally compose as much as I want. However, I continue to make music regularly.
The GRM, a group of 13 people, is actually inside a research and testing department made of 60 people, which is part of the bigger INA (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel), where 940 employees work. This explains how small our group is, against the whole institution.
INA, born in 1975, even though it deals with audiovisual, not music, gives us the necessary confidence, it gives us all the necessary funds, the money that we need to develop our activities, gives us the missions that we have to follow.
Many structures similar to us that had developed in the fifties in Europe and United States have disappeared. But this “historic mistake” called GRM strangely survived.
To survive, is always a challenge, particularly in a world that don’t easily understands us, that is shifting, maintained by economic interests, in a world where the idea of creating a space for composers to build the sound and music of tomorrow, is almost exceptional, I would say.
We struggle for the uniqueness of our group, we fight for this mission that for us is historical, but it is written, our activity is not invented, not decided by us; we have contracts with radios, some very important.
We have an agreement with Radio France, saying that we have to provide 20 to 25 new music pieces, to produce 10 to 16 concerts, and to broadcast 50 to 80 hours of radio programs per year.
So this is our activity base, everything is absolutely positive, doing those three things is what we love. Radio France pays INA to do these jobs and we (GRM) do it.
Thirty years ago, the radio did not want to deal with the issue of music that involves technology.
Therefore they asked GRM to do this activity, to create radio programs where music with new technologies is presented.
On our side, we faced the challenge starting from the end: you need a radio program? It would be interesting to have original music, so let’s build the recording studio for production. If we do original music, airing it directly on the radio without having it heard in a concert was not so believable, so we decided to do the concert for the public before going on air.
It would be interesting, for the composers working in the studio, to have original technologies so we started the research for special tools to get the unique GRM sound.
After all this, there are new music, and how we handle all this music? So we began to investigate on perception, listening, musical analysis to understand the meanings of this music.
CDs, books, internet finally came, from a small, distant beginning that is the radio program we had to produce.
This is an up-to-date screenshot of the GRM today.

[an interview with Daniel Teruggi is available here - via Radio Papesse - mp3/italian only]

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