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Philippe Albèra

Musical Complexities

The term complexity is often used with regards to contemporary music, especially to describe the difficulties associated with understanding the meaning. It is largely related to the fact that the idea of a unitary construction, turned towards a finality and perceptible within a unique perspective, has been replaced by a multi-pole construction, that constantly (re)defines itself by offering a multitude possible readings. A composition of occasionally homogeneous, occasionally heterogeneous musical layers that cannot be reduced to a lowest common denominator has replaced the former polyphony based on the intertwining of independent voices.
More: The Symposium's Musicological Interludes

Born in Geneva in 1952, Philippe Albèra studied in Geneva and Paris. He created Contrechamps in 1977 and was director until 2005. He also created Ensemble Contrechamps in 1980, the Revue Contrechamps in 1983, and the Éditions Contrechamps in 1991 that he continues to run. As coordinator of the Salle Patino, a contemporary art venue, he created the Archipel festival in 1992 and worked in close partnership with different institutions as a consultant (e.g. Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Festival d'Automne à Paris). Albèra teaches at the Hautes Écoles de Musique in Geneva and Lausanne (history of music and analysis). He has published writings on numerous composers as well as essays in journals and encyclopedias; a collection of texts was published in 2008 Le son et le sens, essais sur la musique du XXe siècle, by the Éditions Contrechamps. He was awarded the Prix de la Ville de Genève in 2003.