opus21musikplus collaborates only for project-based concerts or recordings. One of the first projects, realised together with Bavarian Radio, was their “Pierrot lunaire plus jazz” recording. The CD blends the poetry settings of Arnold Schoenberg with jazz improvisations by Maria Baptist. In September 2011, Konstantia Gourzi was commissioned to compose “time zero”. It received its world premiere by the opus21musikplus ensemble during the memorial ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.
In October 2013, the ensemble gave the world premiere of “flying carpet 2013 – Odyssey”, a contemporary opera for children, adolescents and adults as the closing event of the long-term collaboration within the education programme.
Further projects were the opening of the Franz Marc Museum, the extended composition of Haydn’s “Philemon and Baucis”, and the “New Greek Music in Munich” concert series. The ensemble’s current project is “Paharión”, a concert in motion.
Konstantia Gourzi’s composition Paharión, the Red Angel in the Garden of las Huelgas is the combination of sounds from different traditions, played on modern and traditional instruments. The piece combines fifteen sound dialogues between different cultures: Gregorian and Byzantine voice meet Western instruments like violin and clarinet as well as traditional ones from Eastern countries like the lyre and ney.
The musicians of opus21musikplus perform the piece together with Schola Antiqua from Spain or with the Saint Ephraim Male Choir from Budapest. The piece can also be staged in the concert design of Ilka Seifert and performed as a concert in motion.
The composition Stationen was inspired by the steel crosses of artist Jannis Kounellis, which were set up inside the Munich Cathedral on the occasion of “Artists’ Ash Wednesday”. The crosses function as an artwork of their own, but also as a stage and as a percussion instrument. Since the crosses were distributed across the sanctuary, the performance was carried out as a concert in motion.
Philemon and Baucis (1773-2003)
Opera by Joseph Haydn and Konstantia Gourzi
Konstantia Gourzi complements the fragmentarily preserved opera with her own compositions. The performances in particular venues offered the opportunity to fill spaces with music, where you would not expect to find it.
The performance space is integrated in the concept as a main source. Thus, “Philemon and Baucis” can be carried out as a “mobile opera” in order to explore the impact of music under these special circumstances of the performance.
Schönberg + Jazz – Berio
With this project, Konstantia Gourzi realised a longtime idea: improvising on Arnold Schönberg. Wishing to experience the music and dramaturgy of the music, she started to improvise on the themes of “Pierrot lunaire”, in order to create “breathing spaces” between the individual parts. Together with Maria Baptist she developed a new perspective on Schönberg’s work by combining the classical parts with improvisations.
Luciano Berio’s “Folk Songs” represent a musical contrast and a balance to Schönberg’s music. Also this juxtaposition enables a new perspective on Schönberg’s “musical fairytale”. This is the reason for performing the two compositions together and without a break.
flying carpet 2013 – Odyssey
Three Short Operas for children, youths and adults
After five years of successful work in primary schools, opus21musikplus’s education programme gave the world premiere of a contemporary children’s opera: “flying carpet 2013 – Odyssey”, in Munich in October 2013.
In choosing the composers, each of whom composing one short opera as part of the whole, it was important to Konstantia Gourzi to create a geographical connection to the Odyssey, and represent all the cultures found therein. These are: Judaism, represented by the composer Amos Elkana (b. 1967), who lives in Tel Aviv (Israel); Turkey/the Ottoman Empire, represented by the composer Sinem Altan, who was born in Ankara (Turkey) in 1985; last but not least, Greece, represented by the composer Giorgos Koumendakis (b.1959), who lives and works in Athens.
As part of the Munich International Meeting for World Peace, the Archbishopric Munich and Freising initiated a memorial service on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
time zero begins with a composition for the American Gospel singer. It is then disrupted by brutal percussion sounds – just like the events on 11 September 2001 violated and disrupted life in New York City. Next, three different cultures and religions pay tribute to all the victims of the catastrophe: with a lamento composition, accompanied by the ensemble and sung one after the other by an Arab singer, a Byzantine style psalm singer and a tenor. After these three pieces all musicians perform together – a composition that transforms all negative, sad and tragic, paving the way into hope. The children’s choir sings the last piece, the peace hymn.
New Greek Music in Munich Concert Series
Konstantia Gourzi started this series to raise awareness of Greek contemporary music beyond a folkloric perspective.
From 2007 – 2011 she presented the series New Greek Music in Munich, a less well-known side of Greek music. Instead of traditional folklore, works by older and young, famous and less famous Greek composers were performed.
The concert series was carried out in cooperation with – among others – the Greek Consulate Munich, the ensemble opus21musikplus, and the Akademie der Schönen Künste.
Primary school children experience contemporary music with their hearts, hands and mind. Konstantia Gourzi, her workshop instructors and artists of the ensemble opus21musikplus provide interdisciplinary access to new music with this programme for a young audience. The children painted and did craft projects about the music, had instrumentalists visit their classrooms and made music together with them. Melody, rhythm, form, dynamics and musical expression were creatively worked on through form, colour and movement.
The Education Programme lasted for one complete school year a time, and altogether more than 400 children from Munich participated in this project. Graduation from the programme was marked by a concert in the school, or in Munich’s Gasteig, in which the children appeared on-stage with musicians from opus21musikplus. Composers like Enjott Schneider, Minas Borboudakis and Masayuki Nakaji wrote new music for these concerts, and attended the world premieres. Choreographers from the Gärtnerplatz Theatre and pedagogues from the Munich Hochschule also accompanied the whole project.