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Whether it is through concerts of the Sixtrum Series, or of the Youth Series, or concerts on tour, Percussion Ensemble Sixtrum shines and makes contemporary music for percussion shine as well. To understand the impact of Sixtrum in the careers of its performers, I propose a series of blogs based on interviews with the musicians of the group. The question which is at the heart of these interviews: "What does Sixtrum represent in your career?" To open this series of blogs, here is a summary of the interview conducted on November 28th with Fabrice Marandola, the co-founder of Sixtrum.
Fabrice’s professional career is quite diverse: he is a teacher, a performer and an ethnomusicologist. Even though he sees teaching as the primary activity of his career, performance also occupies a very important place, and it is Sixtrum that he describes as his main performance project. His activities as a teacher and as a performer are complementary as he is required to maintain "a high level of artistic activity of an international caliber" at his post as percussion professor at McGill University, according to the formula used by the university. Sixtrum nourishes Fabrice’s teaching, a professional reality that he finds particularly interesting.
One point which Fabrice emphasised throughout the interview was the distribution of tasks within the group. Each musician of the ensemble takes on extra-musical tasks. Fabrice’s main task concerns writing program notes and grant applications. While this kind of division of administration is often seen in musical ensembles, having a collective art-direction is much less common. This is one of the particularities of Sixtrum that Fabrice finds particularly stimulating: "It’s something important to my musical career, and we don’t often have the opportunity to be part of a group like this. With Sixtrum, unlike when you are a freelancer, you are part of the heart of the project, and you can have a real influence on where you go. This motivates us even more."
The time invested by Fabrice in the ensemble is incalculable: "It is all the time. We are always on the lookout; we are always thinking of possible projects and about the projects that are in progress. We are always thinking about the organization, so it is difficult to quantify in terms of hours, but it is every day. In addition to the administrative concerns, the time of individual and collective practices can be over hundreds of hours for a single concert.
Fabrice describes Sixtrum as a major step in his career. On one hand, he sees the ensemble as an accomplishment, because it is a project he has wanted to achieve for years. On the other hand, he sees his time in Sixtrum as the beginning of a long adventure. It is a long and successful future that Fabrice predicts for Sixtrum, and he sees the ensemble in twenty years as "one of the most famous ensembles on the international stage. Known as well for the quality and the originality of the different projects."
When I asked Fabrice what his involvement in Sixtrum represents for him, it is without any hesitation that he responded: "Well, what it represents in the first place is happiness, and that, I believe that we must never forget. It is the pleasure of playing good music (even very, very good music!), the pleasure of being with people who are ultra-competent, and with whom we all have affinities. [...] The pleasure of being 6 or 7 around something that is our artistic object, and if I didn’t have this, I don’t know what I would do actually." Of what to briefly summarize the importance of Sixtrum in the career of Fabrice!
Transl.: Kristie Ibrahim
Friday, March 2, 2012 - 10:12pm
Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 10:13pm
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 8:26pm