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Page 00000001 Some recent actions to preserve, document and disseminate electroacoustic music by Latin American composers Ricardo Dal Farra The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology ricardo @ dalfarra.com.ar Abstract Electroacoustic music has in Latin America a long, interesting, strong, prolific and not very well known (even inside the region) development. Many composers born or living in Latin America have been very active on this field, and in some countries experiences started around 50 years ago; but availability of recordings and information about electroacoustic music works in this region have been a problem either for educators, composers, performers, researchers, students or the general public. Recently, two actions to preserve, document and disseminate electroacoustic music by Latin American composers were realized: an extensive research focused on the composers and their work on this field and a musical archive. 1 Introduction Electroacoustic music development seems to be tied to a few countries where the pioneering activities started and that we all know. But the creation of music with electroacoustic technologies using a contemporary language was interesting also for composers living in countries of Latin America since the early 50's and before. The lack of information on this respect is significative and few extensive researches have been done in this area. Having started to work in the electroacoustic music field during the mid 70's in my natal country, Argentina, I found very difficult to know about electroacoustic music activities, not only in countries of the region but even in my own city. Even if not easy, it was possible at that time to get recordings of electroacoustic music by composers living in Europe or North America, but extremely difficult to find some by local or regional composers. What looked liked a paradox during my first years of research in this field became later more clear through an analysis of the social context. Composer's names and music's titles were around, but not the music. Then I discovered a place supported by the Buenos Aires City Government where a few composers were working with electracoustic medias, the CICMAT (Center for Research in Massive Communication, Art and Technology). I later found out that part of the equipments being used there had been used previously at CLAEM, the Latin American Higher Studies Musical Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute. During the 60's, CLAEM was a meeting point for students and composers from all over Latin America. Among many others, composers Luigi Nono, lannis Xenakis, Bruno Maderna, Aaron Copland, Olivier Messiaen, Vladimir Ussachevsky and Luigi Dallapiccola lectured there. The Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera founded the Center in 1962 and directed it until it was closed in the early 70's. But CLAEM and CICMAT were not the only places, neither the first ones to be involved with new medias in Argentina. With time, asking here and there, I found that there were many composers, researchers and technology innovators working with electroacoustic music and medias since the 50's. Centers or labs in some places, individual actions in others, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela had pioneering activities during the 50's and/or 60's. It took me a very long time to start getting some electroacoustic music recordings by composers living in Latin American countries, and to discover a sound world that was in part hidden, if not lost. Almost every recording and information I collected then was by finding and contacting each composer, as it seemed to be my only option. If there was so many people interested and so much music composed, why was it so difficult to find recordings and information? There is no simple answer, but I found some interesting tracks to follow while trying to understand this, the economical context being one factor but not the only one. After some time, while my personal archive was growing, I thought to not only share the music and information I had with colleagues and students but to explore other ways to make it widely available, considering there could be many others interested by it. Lectures, concert series and also (South American) activity reports published during the early 80's in the newsletter of the International Computer Music Association (at that time: Computer Music Association or CMA) were part of some early actions that later included more than 10 years of radio broadcast (Misica electroactstica y por Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000002 computadora, Electromusica and Musica y Tecnologia series on the National Radio of Argentina and the Buenos Aires City radio station) and CD artistic productions (published by Leonardo Music Journal, oodiscs and Computer Music Journal). Thinking about how to organize and make available as much as possible the materials I collected during more than 20 years, and at the same time wishing to go deeper with this research, the possibility arose first with a UNESCO commission to write an extensive report on the subject for its Digi-Arts worldwide project. Later, as a recipient of a grant as Researcher in Residence at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology I moved a big part of my audio files from Buenos Aires to Montreal to build an archive and database with them. 2 UNESCO Digi-Arts Report Invited to participate at the first UNESCO Digi-Arts meeting held in Paris during March 2002, when this project was still at an early stage of planning, the idea to contribute to a Latin American electroacoustic music perspective was always around for me. When the UNESCO commissioned me to write a report about the subject I began to organize information that I was collecting and receiving for a long time. The research was conducted searching and analyzing hundred of letters, thousand of emails, concert program notes, books, newsletters, magazines and journals, scores, recording sleeves and other documents, as well as personal interviews and communications. Three major reports were produced over a year, two of them in English and one in Spanish. The original version in English (produced in two phases, one report each) includes more than 73,500 words written about the researched subject. A second version written in Spanish was later produced, not a translation of the previous one but a different version (complementing the other in some way) including information and documents found or received after the English version was realized. Table 1 shows the number of composers named on the English version and their related countries, considering this as the places where they were born or developed part of their professional career. Table 1. Composers and related countries represented on the research's text (English version): Argentina: 191 Bolivia: 14 Brazil: 90 Chile: 39 Colombia: 39 Costa Rica: 5 Cuba: 44 Dominican Republic: 3 Ecuador: 11 El Salvador: 5 Guatemala: 6 Mexico: 73 Paraguay: 4 Peru: 15 Puerto Rico: 12 Uruguay: 27 Venezuela: 35 The texts "Historical aspects of Electroacoustic Music in Latin America. From the pioneering up to the present days" and "La musica electroacustica en America Latina", both from 2003, include introductory information on historical aspects of the electroacoustic music development in the Latin American countries already mentioned, references to as many composers and their electroacoustic music works as it was possible to find, bibliography, and a list of published recordings (on cassette, vinyl LP and CD). While the information is being published online on the Digi-Arts UNESCO Knowledge Portal (http://portal.unesco.org/digiarts), the full document is also available to download from the web sites of The Daniel Langlois Foundation, The EMF Institute and other organizations around the world. 3 DLF Recording's Archive As part of the idea to give public access to information and musical works that could be of interest, and to keep as safe as possible the large amount of material I already had, and considering that a big part of that material would be hard to find and listen to in Argentina or neighboring countries, I was searching for a place where preservation of documents was not only important but also possible. I felt that the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology in Montreal could be the right place to propose a project like mine, taking into account their mandate, objectives, human, technical and financial resources, as well as the more stable economical context and the conservation laws of Canada. I applied in the Researcher in Residence program of the Foundation with a proposal different than what they were expecting, asking not to work on one of the collections of their Centre for Research and Documentation (CR+D) but to develop an archive and related database with my own collection. Two consecutive grants as Researcher in Residence during 2003 allowed me to work for almost 9 months with recordings on open reel, cassette and DAT tapes, vinyl LP's and CD's, digitizing and/or converting from different formats, editing and baking when needed, filling also the database of the Foundation with all the available information on those pieces. At June 2004, there are more Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000003 than 1,800 audio files archived at the Foundation's CR+D using the AIFF, stereo, 16 bits and 44.1 KHz format. Most of the information on the audio files included in the database is available online through the Foundation's web site (http://www.fondation-langlois.org); there is also a small selection of pieces available for listening through Internet at the same address. In most cases, the composers represented in this archive were born in Latin American countries. There are also some composers that, even if they were not born in the region, developed at least part of their musical career in Latin America. The database has information about composers related to 17 Latin American countries. Table 2. Composers and related countries represented on the archive: Argentina: 134 Bolivia: 8 Brazil: 35 Chile: 19 Colombia: 15 Costa Rica: 3 Cuba: 17 Dominican Republic: 3 Ecuador: 7 El Salvador: 1 Guatemala: 6 Mexico: 21 Paraguay: 3 Peru: 6 Puerto Rico: 5 Uruguay: 14 Venezuela: 15 Table 3. Number of archived audio files (music) related to (composer's) countries: Argentina: 862 Bolivia: 18 Brazil: 230 Chile: 60 Colombia: 67 Costa Rica: 23 Cuba: 128 Dominican Republic: 13 Ecuador: 25 El Salvador: 2 Guatemala: 22 Mexico: 108 Paraguay: 11 Peru: 35 Puerto Rico: 16 Uruguay: 111 Venezuela: 72 It must be noted that not every audio file is a full piece, as there are cases where each movement of a composition is stored as a different file with its corresponding individual information. A significant number of compositions from the 60's and 70's were archived, and much more from the 80's, 90's and recent years. Only a few pieces from the 50's were found and included, but even if many early compositions are lost or the master damaged, there are still many tapes around that could be saved. There are tapes in private studios, universities or composer's houses, but also many of them have been sleeping in public institutions for decades, with no actions to preserve those works or give access to the people interested in these compositions. I hope this archive will trigger other similar projects that will help to preserve, document and disseminate electroacoustic music, both in Latin America and other regions in the world with comparable historical situations. Table 4. Timeline. Number of compositions included on the database according to different periods: 1956-1959:3 1960-1969: 73 1970-1979: 124 1980-1989: 307 1990-1999: 824 2000-2004: 271 I am still in the process of identifying the production's year of some compositions, thus some numbers in the tables above seem to not match between them. Considering the aforementioned difficulties for public access to this music, even in centers with hundred or thousand of hours of musical recordings and major human and technical resources, I see as a major achievement the free and public access to listen to any of the recordings included in this archive at the Daniel Langlois Foundation's CR+D. I hope that in the near future this archive could be mirrored in other research and/or educational centers and wish that other institutional archives will also open to the public. 4 Conclusion I expect that the outputs of these projects are going to be useful by providing introductory information about the electroacoustic and computer music and on the people involved with it in Latin America. In spite of the difficulties to produce a report and a musical archive on such a complex aspect of modern Latin Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000004 American culture, a very rich and creative one but with no support in terms of documenting and preserving carefully the produced works, I expect that these actions will bring some positive and interesting results to our community. These are not finished or closed projects. Being on one hand an electronic report published on the Internet and on the other a digital musical archive + database, I wish to be able to keep adding information and correct any mistake that could be found. The included data was taken from bibliographical information, personal or email communication with composers and institutions, interviews and program notes from concerts and recordings. No simple correlations should be done between the amount of lines written about composers or researchers' work and the quality or relevance of their achievements. In most cases it was very difficult to collect the data, and it happened frequently that different sources didn't match dates or names. Please make these works living projects both by making a good use of them and by sending any additional information, suggestions, comments, updates and corrections to Ricardo Dal Farra: firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 Acknowledgments Thanks to Coriun Aharonian, Jorge Antunes, Rafael Aponte Ledee, Isabel Aretz, Ricardo Arias, Enmanuel Blanco, Andres Burbano, Carlos Barreiro, Cesar Bolafios, German Caceres, Ludovic Carpentier, Graciela Castillo, Otto Castro, Joel Chadabe, Rolando Cori, Hugh Davies, Manuel de Elias, Igor de Gandarias, Alfredo del M6naco, Alain Depocas, Susana Enriquez, Irina Escalante, Milton Estevez, Carlos Ferpozzi, Rajmil Fischman, Eduardo Flores, Martin Fumarola, Jean Gagnon, Fernando Garcia, Enrique Gerardi, Miriam Goldszier, Norberto Griffa, Adina Izarra, Alejandro Iglesias Rossi, Sofia Izurieta, Bernarda Jorge, Douglas Keisler, alcides lanza, Doyun Lee, Jose Augusto Mannis, Ariel Martinez, Raul Minsburg, Ramiro Mufioz, Alejandra Odgers, M6nica O'Reilly, Joaquin Orellana, Carlos Palombini, Javier Parrado, Catalina Peralta, Jacques Perron, Sylvia Perez-Reinoso, Julian Pont6n, Hector Quintanar, Manuel Rocha, Arturo Rodas, Ernesto Romeo, Francisco Ruiz, Arturo Ruiz del Pozo, Maria Rosa Salas, David Schidlowsky, Federico Schumacher, Francis Schwartz, Conrado Silva, Luis Szarin, Aurelio Tello, Ricardo Teruel, Daniel Teruggi, Lidia Formiga de Tosco, Horacio Vaggione, Edgar Valcircel, Carlos Vazquez, Fernando von Reichenbach, Tereza Wagner, In6s Wickmann and all the colleagues and friends that have been supporting and helping to develop these projects. 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