Nadar Ensemble


Sunday 28 June 2020 • 4.30 p.m. • 30' • Open doors
Buitenhof/Voorhof, Landcommanderij Alden Biesen, Kasteelstraat 6, 3740 Bilzen

EXIT F, a composition for ensemble and 4 hot air balloons, was written by Michael Maierhof at the request of the Nadar Ensemble.

Hot air balloons have no secrets for Nadar Ensemble. The ensemble is not only based in Sint-Niklaas (BE), which annually organizes one of the most important balloon festivals, but is also named after the famous photographer and balloonist Nadar.

Helmut Lachenmann's adage Komponieren is: ein Instrument bauen, applies to Michael Maierhof like no other. Every new composition by Michael is the result of an experimentation process in which existing instruments are played alongside everyday objects in unorthodox ways. New instruments are developed based on existing objects that are taken out of context by isolating their sound.

For example, In EXIT F the complex noise of the gas burners of the four hot air balloons becomes an elemental compositional building block that enters into dialogue with the other instruments: A cello and guitar are being played with electric toothbrushes and three ad-hoc players get to work with buckets, cups and nylon strings.

In addition to the auditory aspect in EXIT F, there is also a very important visceral and visual aspect that Maierhof uses: the impressive blasts of fire from the gas burners that are activated by the balloonists on the basis of a synchronized video score. The enormous energy movements of these fireblasts are also physically perceptible by the public, partly because the four balloons and the musicians are placed around the audience. The result is a highly impressive composition / sound sculpture / performance, in which hot air balloons have seldom sounded so musical.

EXIT F was commissioned by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival (thanks to Jelle Dierickx) and the City of Sint-Niklaas. In memoriam Annette Sax without whose support EXIT F could never have been realized.

Marieke Berendsen, violin - Toon Callier, guitar - Rebecca Diependaele, business management - Katrien Gaelens, flute - Yves Goemaere, percussion - Wannes Gonnissen, sound director - Pieter Matthynssens, cello, artistic management - Elisa Medinilla, percussion - Thomas Moore, percussie, productie - Melissa Portaels, production - Stefan Prins, artistic management - Familie Sax, coordination hot air balloons - Dries Tack, clarinet