Agata Zubel photo - NIFC
Written for soprano, chamber ensemble and electronics, the composition is a setting of Samuel Beckett’s dramatic monologue ‘Not I’, a logorrhoea of fragmented sentences in which an elderly woman tells the story of her life.
Respecting the writer’s intention, Agata Zubel has devised a video layer to accompany the performance. In it, a light blue mouth, against a background of a blackened face, utters or sings the individual fragments of the text. The spotlight is cast on the soloist, with the remaining space in darkness.
‘Not I’ was presented at the International Rostrum of Composers in a recording from last year’s Sacrum-Profanum Festival in Kraków, with Klangforum Wien conducted by Clemens Power and Agata Zubel as the soloist.
Born in 1978, Agata Zubel is one of the most interesting igures on Poland’s contemporary music scene. Born in Wrocław, she graduated with distinction from the city’s Music Academy where she studied both composition and voice. She continued her studies in the Netherlands and has held grants from such prestigious institutions as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ernst von Siemens Foundation.
Zubel has won several competitions (national and international), for both singing and composition ad highlights in her career have included the premiere of her Second Symphony (commissioned by Deutsche Welle) at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn (2005).
In 2010 her opera-ballet ‘Between’ was premiered at the National Opera in Warsaw.
She has served as composer-in-residence at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco (2011) and at the Kraków Philharmonic (2010-12).
As a vocalist, Agata Zubel specializes in new music.
Foreign tours have taken her to Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Korea, Canada and the United States.
Her discography consists of more than a dozen albums, including two CDs dedicated exclusively to her compositions and interpretations: ‘Cascando’ with her own chamber music and ‘Poems’ with her performances of songs by Copland, Berg and Paweł Szymański.
She once said: “I believe that every composer should also remain a performer, and every performer ought to compose.”
The International Rostrum of Composers has been organized since 1955 by the International Music Council affiliated to UNESCO and is an annual review of new compositions offered by public radio stations.
Ten years ago the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by another prominent Polish woman composer, Hanna Kulenty, gained the highest score at the event. (mk)