I am a composer of acoustic and electronic music, including works for orchestra, chamber music, and non-traditional line-ups, which vary from short durations to concert-scale forms, require extreme performance specialization, and deliberately push against traditional concert formats of new music.

My works embrace sounds that remain not fully notatable by the composer and not fully controllable by the performer, are inherently unstable and constantly moving, come with their own logic of unfolding, presuppose a particular body-instrument relationship, and call for a new kind of listening attention. My compositional approach of developing materials that resist transmutation into gesture and pertain to the logic of embodiment points to a shift from an interval-based activation of sound to an encapsulation of timbre that pulls us toward the interior space of sound. My writing is often the result of extended research on idiosyncratic aspects of the mechanism of acoustic instruments, involving the physicality of the instrument design and the embodiment of sound. Except for giving prominence to these idiosyncratic sounds themselves, I am also deeply interested in their genuine combinations. To put it differently, I am concerned with orchestration, insofar as the latter is not simply understood as the sum total of particular sounds but, rather, as the form of the whole, where the whole is more and different than the sum of all parts or, in other words, where the whole generates new forms of sonic lived-space and new modes of listening awareness.

In my works the instrumental sounds and the voices of the performers are equally involved. The unconventional vocalizations of the performers are integrated into the idiosyncratic sounds of their instruments, whereas the wind performers direct their vocalizations entirely through their instrument, which turns into a mere resonator that both amplifies and modulates their voice. My preoccupation with the materiality of the voice does not negate the materiality of the instrument. Rather, it stresses the invention of a new musical language, a new identity of a performer who is assigned an active role of agency, and a new instrument that is no longer a mere musical tool but an open channel that connects us with each other.

Working with fragile sounds is for me a decision that manifests implications beyond sound. It forges a metaphor with the fragility of the world, the fragility of the processes that we undergo, individually and collectively, and the radical changes in the form of life, which is unstable, not fully controllable, or, in one word, fragile. In my work the bluntness of the voices, the raw use of the instruments, and the violence of the form onto the materials are not simply sound events, but also demarcate cruelty, brutality, and atrocity as political concepts, which, in turn, give prominence to our fragility and vulnerability. I like to think that our new form of life ought to be celebrating our fragility and contingency rather than hiding it, and, in my opinion, sound-making can also be part of this project as the art that so inherently embodies this fragility.

© 2020 Ioannis Angelakis