Gemma Luz Bosch is a pianist, composer and improviser.
She investigates and uses sounds that aren’t normally used in music. This research brought her into making her own ceramic instruments. With these instruments, musical objects and prepared piano she creates live soundscapes.
Besides improvising, she give’s shape and structure to sound by composing for piano and small ensembles. In her performances she invites the audience to think about the relation between sound and music.
We are all ears to hear about this week’s takeover artist! Gemma Luz Bosch is a sound artist, currently in her final year of Musician 3.0 at the HKU. This study is aimed at making musicians follow their own path, improvise and create.
“I didn’t plan on studying something related to music. I did not want to limit myself to just one or a few categories, like only a pianist. However, in this study I can freely decide what I want to do and create.”
Creating a work always begins with sound research. From there, Gemma has started making her own instruments with, for example, ceramics. She’s made several ceramic flutes: some you blow into like normal, but others require to be filled with water and moved back and forth, or be slowly emerged which in turn pushes the air inside of it out. All the instruments produce a wide variety of sounds, tones and timbres.
“It never really feels like I’m starting with something entirely new. What I’m making now determines what I will be making next year. It’s a continuous development, which is often happening unconsciously.”
Gemma likes to explore all possibilities of an instrument, using unconventional methods to see a fuller range of sounds that it can make. She may put things in between a piano’s strings to change its sound, but she can also use a bow she made to directly play the piano strings instead. Apart from creating instruments and playing them, she also composes music, and asks other musicians to play with her handmade instruments. Sound always requires movement to be produced, which makes Gemma think of how to implement that visually. An installation or a person may be needed. This may give her work a performative character at a glance. It’s however not about the performance, but purely the movement. She wants to shape that movement.
“I thought of a term to call myself: A sound choreographer. This is because movement is vital in producing sound. Also, in a partiture that a musician reads, it technically describes the movement you need to make to play an instrument.”
The physical aspect of showing her work is very important to Gemma. The vibrations of sound made by the instruments can directly enter the ears of the audience. A video or sound recording of her work can be used for documentation, but a physical space is more direct and adds to the experience. On top of that, the space used provides resonance, like a sounding box.
During her takeover Gemma would like to show what she is currently working on, and how she goes about creating a work. Through stories she also wants to directly interact by asking questions to the public. She doesn’t want to only send information out, but also receive back. She would love to bring more awareness to our sense of sound and the beauty of the experience of hearing. Let’s listen carefully this week!
“When I was little I used to talk a lot with my dad about what “music” means. At this moment my image of what sound is and what music is, is such that there is barely any difference between the two.”
#165 (31/05 – 04/06, 2021) written by Robin Speijer
Interview by Derk Müller and Joris Broekhoven