2019 __ SJU __ otcop-tpus








SJU - otcop-tpus
opening the composition process to public spaces

Simone Conforti/JIP/UMS (CH/I)
Kollektivkreation, 2019

Simone Conforti (CH/I)
WhatAreWeWaitingFor, 2018

Burgerspittel, 2018





Neue Formen - musikalische Räume und nichtlineare Erzählweisen ausserhalb des klassischen Konzertformats

SJU is a laboratory bringing together four musicians, composers and researchers with a common purpose defined by specific projects. It consists of S(imone Conforti), J(IP), U(MS), basically working on electronics, voice and recorders. SJU designs a new listening and music exploration experience by extending the traditional audience and stage setting exhibiting music itself.

. SJU rethinks and reshapes the music experience and exploration for both musicians and the audience: for a long time in human history, music has been exclusively related to a specific place where people have been performing live. Since the possibity to record and broadcast music, especially since the appearance of digital media, this has deeply changed. For this, extending the possibilities to access music and sound is an important issue: both by composing and performing differently, as well as by considering space and time differently. 

. SJU can look back on many independent and common research as well as artistic projects: Recorder Map and Recorderology (recorder playing techniques mapping, web app programming, Musikforschung Basel), PRIME Research (Paetzold Recorder Investigation for Music with Electronics, HEMU Lausanne), common keynotes and publications at the International Computer Music Conference in Utrecht 2016, at the Web Audio Conference in Atlanta 2016, Musikakademie Basel 2014, Elektronisches Studio Basel 2015, festival appearancies at RESET Museum Tinguely Basel, Forum Wallis 2018, Archipel Geneva 2017, specific and experimental recordings documenting the repertoire of UMS 'n JIP, pluriannual work and research at highly specialized enterprises such as http://www.musstdesign.com (hi-end loudpeaker systems) and http://www.musi-co.com (algorythmic composition).

BISHER: 2018 bespielten SJU 2 Stöcke des historischen Burgerspittels im mittelalterlichen Städtchen Leuk im Wallis mit zwei unabhängigen installativen Arbeiten von insgesamt 1h Dauer (WhatAreWeWaitingFor und Burgerspittel). 2019 werden diese Arbeiten neu aufgelegt und für Schulklassen zugänglich gemacht.

NEU: Zugleich entwickeln SJU eine neue Arbeit/Installation/Performance, welche nun das ganze Gebäude des Burgerspittels in Leuk bespielt. Deren musikalisches Format visiert einen nicht linearen Hybrid von Live-Performance und Installation an, welcher dem Publikum die Möglichkeit bietet, seine eigene Erzählperspektive und sein eigenes Erzähltempo zu definieren.

ZIELE: Mit diesen Arbeiten, welche die Qualität der Hörerfahrung an sich sowie die individuelle Hörerfahrung in den Mittelpunkt stellen, werden langfristig Museen und Ausstellungsräume als Spielstätten anvisiert. Deren Vermittlungsstrukturen und Räumlichkeiten eignen sich a priori für diese Art von Arbeiten am besten und schaffen beste Voraussetzungen für eine breite Bevölkerungsschichten erreichende, nachhaltige und  qualitativ hochstehende Vermittlung und Sensibilisierung für Klang, Klang und Raum und Klang im Raum sowie für Neue Musik.




Leuk, 5/2018

ESB Basel / Festival Archipel Geneva, 2017

WAC Atlanta 2016


Reset Museum Tinguely 2018

ESB Basel, 8/2017






Simone Conforti, born in Winterthur (Switzerland) in the 1979, has been graduated in Flute in 1999 at the Conservatory of Florence and in Electronic Music in 2004 obtaining the maximum evaluation. He works as researcher since 2003 in the MARTLab, developed by the Conservatory of Music "L. Cherubini" of Florence and the ISTI Institute (part of the National Research Council CNR), center involved in research and production for the sound documents preservation and restoration. As a teacher, he worked, for the Music and New Technologies department (Bachelor and Master courses) of the Conservatory of Music "L. Cherubini" of Florence, since 2004. He also works regularly as a teacher for courses and workshops reguarding musical technologies, relationship between musicians and the contemporary music (especially in the field of relationship between acoustic and electronic sounds) and sound documents preservation and restoration. He works as electronic composer composing his own musics and collaborating, with many musicians and artists, in the development of the electronic music for their works. Between these we find: Ivan Fedele, Adriano Guarnieri, Daniele Lombardi, vocal ensemble L'homme armé, Maurizio Nannucci and Roberto Ciaccio, such activity has brought him to execute various jobs in important locations like Festival MANCA in Nice, the GAM of Turin, the MART of Rovereto, Festival Acanthes 2009, Teatro dal Verme, Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica. In 2003 he won the competition "Severino Gazzelloni". He published for AIB (Italian Library Association), ISTI Institute (part of the National Research Council CNR), Biennale Musica (Venice), Suvini Zerboni, Mudima Music, die Schachtel, Neos.



Extraordinary diversity describes the composer and multi-instrumentalist Ulrike Mayer-Spohn who plays the recorder (with a focus on contemporary music), as well as historical string instruments (fiddle and baroque violin). She studied composition and audio design with Erik Oña at the Studio of Electronic Music, Academy of Music, Basel, beginning to compose in 2007, and receiving commissions from the festival Forum Valais and the international New Music Days, Shanghai. Her work has been performed by the Stuttgart Vocal soloists, Ensemble Phoenix Basel, Vertigo, DissonArt, L'Arsenale, cool a cappella (1st Prize world choir games 2008) and her own ensemble Ums' n Jip in Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Russia, Australia, the USA and China, premiered under the baton of Beat Furrer, Mark Foster, Tsung Yeh, Jürg Henneberger and Filippo Perocco and broadcast by the Swiss radio. She was awarded the 1st Prize at the London Ear Festival Composition Contest in 2016, the 1st Prize at the Walter Ferrato Composition Contest in Savona, Italy in 2017, the 1st Prize at the Weimarer Frühjahrstage für Zeitgenössische Musik Composition Contest in 2017, the 2nd Prize in the composition competition Culturescapes 2010, 2nd Prize in the composition competition at the Bern music festival 2011, the Scholarship Award for 2011 at the Music Village Mount Pelion in Greece and the Call for Scores Award L'Arsenale Treviso, Italy 2011. In the ensemble Ums' n Jip she has undertaken research in the field of musical theater (chamber operas One, Two, Three, Four, Five), live electronic music and sound spacialization. She studied recorder with Ulrike Mauerhofer at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe, with Conrad Steinmann and Corina Marti at the Schola Cantorum Basel before specializing in contemporary music and studying with Dorothea Winter at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. From 2009-11 she studied for a specialized master's degree in contemporary performance at the HSM in Basel supervised by Jürg Henneberger, Marcus Weiss and Mike Svoboda and has taken masterclasses with Marion Verbruggen, Peter van Heyghen, Sebastien Marq and Gerd Lünenbürger. She studied baroque violin and viola with Martina Graulich and David Plantier and fiddle with Randal Cook in Basel. Ulrike Mayer-Spohn works with internationally leading composers and annually plays more than 20 world premieres dedicated to her, which she has recorded for the radio as well as VDE Gallo on CD. Together with the Swiss composer and singer Javier Hagen, she established the experimental new music duo Ums `N Jip for voice, recorder and electronics, which, alongside the Ensemble Modern, Intercontemporain and Kronos is one of the most active ensembles worldwide and in 2011 won the prestigious MusiquePro scholarship. Since 1999, Ulrike Mayer-Spohn has also performed as a recorder player, violinist, violist and fiddle player in specialized early music ensembles such as the Amsterdam Barok Compagnie, Freitagsakademie, Collegium Musicum Stuttgart, La Chapelle Ancienne, Musica Poetica, Muscadin and La Morra and has performed in Germany, China, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.



Javier Hagen is one of the most astonishing classical singers of his generation: new music, performance art and Swiss folk music rank equally in his repertoire alongside opera and early music. Hagen was born as Javier-Ignacio Palau-Ribes (JIP) in 1971 in Barcelona and raised on the Mediterranean and in the Valais Alps. He studied classical singing (both tenor and countertenor) in Germany, Italy and Switzerland with Roland Hermann, Alain Billard and Nicolai Gedda, and composition with Heiner Goebbels and Wolfgang Rihm. He studied Lied with Irwin Gage, Hartmut Höll and Ernst Haefliger and early music with Karel van Steenhoven and Kees Boeke. He has a four-octave vocal range. Hagen has worked with world-class composers such as Reimann, Kagel, Rosemann and Eötvös and leading artists from the worlds of concrete poetry and constructive art. Guest appearances have taken him to the modern music festivals in Donaueschingen, Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Karlsruhe, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Bologna, Milan, Prague, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Adelaide, Riga, Avignon and Berlin. Alongside operatic roles such as Handel's Giulio Cesare, Zsupan (Kalman), Dardanus (Rameau), Stanislaus (Zeller), Bruno (Roesler), Toni (Kalman) and Pappacoda (Strauss), Javier Hagen has premiered more than 200 works, including operas 'à l'air en verre' by Daniel Mouthon 'eismeer' by Christoph Schiller, 'poem ohne held' by Regina Irman, 'esther de racine' by Boris Yoffe, 'The Madman's Diary' by Guo Wenjing, 'Marienglas' by Beat Gysin, 'Les Musiciens de Brème' by Wen Deqing, 'Keyner nit' by Mathias Steinauer, 'Ushba et Tetnuld' by Nicolas Vérin and almost all vocal works by Maria Porten. He has made more than 50 recordings and broadcasts for Swiss, German, French, Czech, Chinese, Mongolian, Spanish, Egyptian, Italian and Latvian radio and television. He won prizes at international contemporary music and composition competitions in 2001, 2004 and 2008 in Basel, Lausanne and Dusseldorf. In 2003, his distorted folk song arrangements "s´sch mr alles 1 Ding" were released on CD on the Swiss label "musiques suisses". His compositions, in particular the vocal works, are performed throughout Europe, Israel, China, Korea, Russia, Australia, North and Central America, by ensembles and conductors including Titus Engel, Ensemble Phoenix, dissonArt, Taller Sonoro, Basler Madrigalisten, Schweizer Jugendchor, Männerstimmen Basel, Philip Bride, Eliana Burki, Amar Quartet. In 2012, a selection of his graphic scores was shown at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art ‘haus konstruktiv’ in Zurich. At the European Youth Choir Festival 2012, Javier Hagen represented German-speaking Switzerland in the context of 'Swiss Composers meet Europe'. With Ulrike Mayer-Spohn, Hagen formed the experimental new music duo UMS 'N JIP, which, with over 100 concerts annually is one of the most active and prolific contemporary music ensembles around the world and winner of more than 20 awards, among them the prestigious scholarship MusiquePro. Javier Hagen, who speaks 6 languages, also directs the international contemporary music festival Forum Wallis, hosting Stockhausen's famous Helicopter String Quartet with Arditti in 2015. He is called as an expert on experimental music theater for the University of Arts in Bern, President of the Swiss Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM Switzerland), of IGNM-VS, as well as a board member of the European Conference of Promoters of New Music ECPNM, Swiss Music Edition and Swissfestivals. He presents guest lectures at universities in Shanghai, Moscow, Adelaide, Thessaloniki, Barcelona, New York, Riga and Hong Kong. He is a jury member at national and international composition and new music competitions (a.o.ISCM World Music Days Young Composers Award, Bohol Int. Choir Competition Philippines) and a member of various committees on behalf of Valais as well as for the inventory of the cultural heritage on behalf of UNESCO. In 2007 he was nominated for "Walliser of the Year." In 2013 he was awarded the Prix Culturel de l'Etat du Valais. In 2017 he has been elected to the Academic Board of the Escuela de Invierno, the FNOBA Contemporary Opera Academy at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.







This feeling extended to several events at Forum Wallis that were either centred
upon improvisation or unconventional approaches to music-making.
The most discombobulating were the two 45-minute experiences that were
a cross between an installation, performance art and a concert,
designed to open “the composition process to public spaces”.
Conceived and performed by Javier Hagen, recorder player Ulrike Mayer-Spohn
and Simone Conforti, and taking place in Leuk’s large, derelict Burgerspittel
(where two nuns dual-handedly cared for the old and infirm for many years),
this involved the bringing together of reworked excerpts of existing compositions
popping up quasi-randomly at various points throughout the building,
which was filled with a huge array of equally quasi-random objects.

This paraphernalia ranged from strategically-positioned lights
that enhanced parts of the building itself – which was somewhat creepy,
particularly in the late evening when this was taking place –
to disarming sights such as a large collection of crucifixes,
a desk illuminated from the inside and topped with a candelabra,
a room filled with low-resolution computer graphics spilling across a crumpled foil sheet,
and various musical gadgets the output of which could be embellished by manipulating
various children’s toys (which were rigged to interact with the electronics).
In roughly equal parts fascinating, inscrutable and absurd,
it would be uncharitable to call it pretentious as the whole thing
was clearly designed as a holistic sound and light encounter
in which inner connections or meanings (if any) were entirely one’s own.

The performed excerpts were all taken from works composed
for Hagen and Mayer-Spohn (who have been active as a duo – UMS ’n JIP – since 2007),
two of which in particular were breathtakingly memorable.
A section from ar by Swiss-Armenian composer Varoujan Cheterian
featured Hagen and Mayer-Spohn sitting in cupboards on either side of a connecting wall.
Being in separate rooms, it wasn’t at first obvious that a duet was taking place,
but when the penny dropped it was if the wall between them became immaterial,
the duo’s soft dialogue – flitting to and from a unison F, like an embellished drone –
intimately focused and poignant. At the opposite pole of behaviour,
a burst of Pollaple Roes by Mehmet Ali Uzunselvi, the duo now at either end of a small room,
was a dazzling demonstration of closely-coordinated chaos,
so fiery in its raw emotional charge that the air seemed to crackle around them.
These performances – and the others too, plus the way the duo wove them together
in their movements through the space – prevented the Burgerspittel experience
from being merely a superficial sequence of weird tableaux, grounding it in
disorienting but thoroughly human interaction.


Burgerspittel, Leuk, 6/2019