“Istantanee” – Collective Improvisation in Europe: Techniques and Styles - Fondazione Giorgio Cini Onlus

“Istantanee” – Collective Improvisation in Europe: Techniques and Styles

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
plus Mar, 1820 2021

This webinar is intended as a preparatory event for a workshop originally scheduled for 11-13 March 2020 and postponed due to the onset of the pandemic. Improvisation is an eminently practical activity, which takes place in real time and is based on the interaction of all those involved.

The online mode for this bridging event led to a reconfiguration of the program and objectives; has also posed new challenges, primarily that of explore the possibilities and the sense of collective performance with performers located in different places and sounds conveyed by the digital medium.


The basic idea remains: a close collaboration between performers and musicologists that is able to trigger a circle of mutual enrichment. The historical focus also remains: the styles and techniques of the European improvisation groups of the two decades in question. Finally, there remains the objective of an all-out teaching, in which technical-instrumental notions are combined with historical knowledge. The twelve young instrumentalists selected by an announcement have the task of interacting with teachers, asking questions and discussing the solutions of the performance techniques.


The reconstruction of the historical framework takes place in three phases: documentation and profiles of the groups, elaboration of theoretical and analytical issues, improvisation tests under the guidance of Walter Branchi, John Heineman, Evan Parker and Giancarlo Schiaffini.


In the first session, contexts and protagonists of the European scene will be presented. Valentina Bertolani (University of Birmingham) will talk about the British scenes, Floris Schuiling (Utrecht University) about the events in Amsterdam, Kai Stefan Lothwesen (Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen) by Alexander von Schlippenbach and the Globe Unity Orchestra, Sabine Feisst (Arizona State University) of the group New Phonic Art and Veniero Rizzardi (Conservatory of Padua) of Musica Elettronica Viva.


The second session is devoted to theoretical and analytical problems. It will be opened by David Bernstein (Mills College, Oakland, California) with a talk on the concept of freedom in improvisation; Vincenzo Caporaletti (University of Macerata) will show techniques of transcription and analysis of improvised music; Laurent Cugny (Université La Sorbonne, Paris) will talk about the relationship between free improvisation and the ontology of the musical work; Ingrid Pustijanac (University of Pavia) will focus on instrumental techniques; Pierre Michel (Université de Strasbourg) will propose concluding comments.


The third session focuses on performance: Ingrid Pustijanac and Veniero Rizzardi will dialogue with Branchi, Heineman, Parker and Schiaffini, alternating historical and theoretical reflections with rehearsals for solo performances and in variable groups.



The workshop will take place on 18, 19, 20 March 2021 (4.30pm to 7.30pm) and will be broadcasted on the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Youtube Channel.

Is it also possible to participate as attendees on the Zoom Platform, filling the following form.

You will recive instruction via e-mail.