Heroines of Sound
Over the past few years the presence of women in electronic music has become increasingly remarkable, as women have seized the opportunities afforded to them by the technology, with musicians from Jlin to Holly Herndon creating some of the most compelling contemporary music around.
In fact, this situation is nothing new; female composers have been integrally involved with the form since its early days, and female musicians who may once have been regarded as marginal, from Pauline Oliveiros to Delia Derbyshire to Eliane Radigue, have been reinscribed in their proper place in musical history.
Heroines of Sound is a festival celebrating female electronic musicians past, present and future, who are working across genres from classical to pop music.
2016’s edition of the festival focuses on three seminal figures from the past – the work of Cathy Berberian is reinterpreted, a vocal pioneer whose unique stylings would expand vocal with style and wit, and inspire John Cage and Luciano Berio to write pieces for her.
Also celebrated will be Beatriz Ferreyra and Christine Groult, two under-appreciated composers from the GRM. Founded by Pierre Schaeffer, the GRM (Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète) would pioneer the form of musique concrete, with the first purpose-built studio for electroacoustic music in the world, producing classic work from Pierre Henry,Boulez, Messiaen and Stockhausen.
Ferreyra and Groult’s work is much less known, not least by me, so it should be fascinating to see their music explored.
There will also be a wide range of concerts from leading contemporary musicians, including Dorit Chrysler, the theremin maestro whose talents have been in demand from Mercury Rev to Marilyn Manson, and celebrated improvisatory guitarist Annette Krebs.
One particular highlight promises to be a new installation from Miako Klein which explores concepts from Japanese aesthetics combining performance, sound and video.
The programme is complemented by a range of films and workshops on the issues raised by the festival – if you’re lucky enough to be in Berlin in December, the festival is on in Kreuzberg at HAU 2, from the 8th to 10th December.