Position triangulaire jaune-vert, 1972 244 x 121 cm acrylique sur toile Collection de la Fondation Guido Molinari
Guido Molinari, Position triangulaire jaune-vert, 1972, 244 x 121 cm, acrylique sur toile. Collection de la Fondation Guido Molinari

Devaux, Keiko, Dust (2019)

Dust imagines sound as a lingering memory or momentary mirage we might hold in our ears. I imagine the fragility and lightness of it to be similar to a dust-like substance, floating in the air and accumulating in areas as fine particles of a past matter, a past musical moment. This piece draws upon my two continual interests in music: the memory of sound and the imagination of sound. In Proust's "À la recherche du temps perdu", the fictitious composer Vinteuil's pieces are described in intimate detail and many historians have mused upon possible real life composers that the pieces are drawn from. As I share Proust's love for late Beethoven I decided to pull my personal inspiration for this piece, and concept of imagined sound, from Beethoven's String Quartet no 15. Working with a few momentary fragments of the work, I manipulated the audio into an imagined version of what these moments would sound like if the sound waves were left suspended in the air indefinitely. Using a radio transmitter and sending these manipulated versions to an occupied channel of my tube amp radio allows a convergence and tension between the competing signals. The oscillation of the signal became the principal inspiration for the musical character of the piece. Musical memories and sonic imagination serve as momentary mirages of sound that arise in our current sonic plane. These musical interruptions rise up and then fall back into their particle matter.

Keiko Devaux

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Keiko Devaux (1982)

Keiko Devaux (b. 1982) is a contemporary music composer based in Montréal.

Her works have been performed in Canada, France, Germany, and Italy by various ensembles including Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble musica assoluta, Ensemble Arkea, Quartetto Prometeo, and Ensemble Wapiti among others. She composes regularly for diverse ensembles, as well as collaborating with choreographers and filmmakers.

Her approach embraces a love of electroacoustic sounds and methodology by manipulating and distorting acoustic sound with digital tools, and then transcribing or re-translating these interpretations back into musical notation and the acoustic realm. Her interests include emotional experience and affect, auto-organizational phenomena in nature and living beings, as well as 'genre-blurring' by layering and juxtaposing contrasting melodic/harmonic skeletal elements of highly contrasting sonic sources. The distortion of the temporal, frequency, and timbral attributes allows the blurring between traditional tonal sounds and more electroacoustic-inspired 'noise' gestures.

She has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Prix Jan V. Matejcek for New Classical Music (2019), the Rotary Club Siena Award for distinction in her master courses with Salvatore Sciarrino (2018), the OUM composition prize (2016 and 2018), and the Jury and Public prizes of the Accès Arkea competition (2017). Her composition Ebb premiered by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne was nominated as Création de l’année for the 2017-2018 Opus awards, and her work Ombra was a finalist for the Prix du CALQ - Oeuvre de la relève à Montréal in the same year. In 2019 she won the inaugural Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, at $50,000 the largest of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world.

From 2016 to 2018, she was the composer in residence with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montréal). From 2020 to 2022, she is in residence with the NAC Orchestra (Ottawa) as a Carrefour composer. She is an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre, president of the board of directors of Codes d'accès, and past organizer of the Montréal Contemporary Music Lab.

Originally from British Columbia, she began her musical career in piano performance studies as well as composing, touring, and recording several albums in independent rock bands. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music (Écriture) and a Master’s of Music in instrumental composition from the Université de Montréal. She has also studied with Maestro Salvatore Sciarrino at l'Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy (2017-19). She is currently completing her doctorate in music composition and creation at Université de Montréal under the direction of Ana Sokolovic and Pierre Michaud.

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Keiko Devaux quatuor Dust

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