Why have you applied for the Stockhausen INORI project?
Diego: Because it is an interesting project and a rare opportunity.
Winnie: A chance to try new ways of communication and expression through art is always exciting and this piece is so rarely performed and the project is so unique in its training, I had to do it.
What is your artistic background?
Diego: I am a musician – a clarinetist currently working on my doctorate degree, and I also studied dance in university. I am an informal Beyoncé scholar.
Winnie: I am a performing violinist and even though I have never studied dance, my active collaborations with composers over the last few years often question the physicality in contemporary performance. Yoga is also a very important part of my daily life.
How do you feel about taking on and preserving such a special cultural heritage?
Diego: I feel pretty good about it. It’s a beautiful piece with personal and globally spiritual implications. The four of us have strong personalities and different life experiences from all over the world, two of us are dancers and two of us are musicians, some of us like cheese and some of us do not, so perhaps together we represent some kind of utopian global cultural heritage for INORI. But Stockhausen gathered inspiration from around the world and he was an incredibly prolific worker. We are doing our best to continue that in mind and body.
Winnie: It is such an honor to be linked to this piece – to learn from the artists that premiered and have performed it over the last 40 years, who worked with the composer himself, to have an exchange with them and to both preserve and evolve the work for today’s audiences. This piece celebrates differences in cultures and embraces humanity, and I feel so proud and privileged to be a part of that heritage.
How does the instruction with Alain Louafi and Kathinka Pasveer work? Both of them collaborated closely with Stockhausen himself.
Diego: We are learning INORI from an incredibly rich array of sources. We have the dancer score, the full partitur, a video of Alain and Kathinka in performance, the orchestra recording, and last but not least our relationships with Alain and Kathinka. THEIR relationships with the composer were incredibly close and lasted for many years. What they graciously offer us is an invaluable and incredibly rare primary source to have when learning music. Some details of the piece were not notated in the score and were just passed down through Alain and Kathinka over the course of decades, some parts Stockhausen liked done in a certain manner, etc. So, all these sources plus the luxury of time gives us the space to practice, discuss, rehearse, and solidify our performance of the piece, TOGETHER. We can only hope that Stockhausen would have been proud.
For more than 10 months you have been working hard and rehearsing this piece for dancer-mime. What is/was the greatest challenge?
Diego: The greatest challenge is working hard for 10 months on one huge piece. I do not mean that inspiration fades, but the work is immense and intense, and the piece is over 70 minutes long. It’s as much memory as it is physical work.
What changes has it brought for you personally since the project has started?
Diego: I’m now able to sit on my knees for more than 30 minutes without crying!
Winnie: A deeper appreciation of our changing body – we only have one.
How do you practice if you are alone and not together? Do you have a daily ritual?
Diego: No daily ritual, because each day’s perspective is different, (although stretching our feet and hips always helps!), but I usually lay out all the tangible materials when learning a new section of INORI. The video open on my iPad, partitur to my right, dancer score to my left, the orchestra on my phone and in my ears, and a perfectly fluffy cushion underneath me. And maybe a cat wondering around for distraction. I do full run-throughs of the piece a couple times a week and trade videos/notes with Winnie, my lovely partner.