Ana Cristina Bernardo

Performative creativity in 21st century piano music: Ombres as a case study

Based on the cognitive model, which shows the parallel between spoken language and music, a score is considered as a script to be explored, subjected to the internal reality of the performer, whose creative process depends on several factors. On one hand, the individual’s imagery is subjectively framed; on the other hand, creativity is an inherently human element of social interaction, in this case adjusted through the collaboration between the interpreter and the composer, and crucial to the performative act itself. The cultural and stylistic contextualization of the piece is an analytical element to be considered, as it promotes a better knowledge of the musical work’s internal connections, elements which also develop the performative imagery.

Considering interpretation as a collaborative model between interpreter and composer, and given that performance analysis is indispensable for building interpretative imagery, it is intended to analyze Ombres, composed by Isabel Pires in 2007. As it is a 21st century piece, this study is particularly fruitful, thanks to a more direct research trough contact with the composer, which is an asset for its practical and analytical results.

The goal of this study is to analyze all of the performer’s creative process, from the first read of the musical piece until it is ready to be presented in concert. The creative roles of the performer, of the composer, and of the collaborative result among them is questioned, within the framework of 21st century music, which has social, cultural, stylistic, and thus performative, specificities which are revealed in a plurality of options.

The performer/researcher resorts to a case study, the piece Ombres, analyzing it and interpreting it based on their analytical assumptions and their personal narrative. The performance is enriched through the available tools, which support a pluralist characterization of the langued used by contemporary composers. This pluralism is identified in the blossoming of current performance as a quintessential creative activity.

In order to clarify the performative construction, recordings of the several interpretative phases, which aim to develop creativity and the resulting musical expression, will be analyzed. The

constant exchange of ideas with the composer promote a mature commitment towards this piece’s language. Performance analysis is thus a means to deepen the different orders of connections on the compositional process and its performative vision, assisted by putting the semiotic connections which build significance into perspective. The theoretical framework of this field, namely regarding studies on cognition, contemporary music performance, creativity and collaboration between interpreter and composter, encompasses research on the development of performative creativity.

This project therefore intends to contribute to the research on the performative studies field, namely regarding piano contemporary music.


GIMC — CESEM, Nova University, Portugal

Is graduated in piano at the Escola Superior de Mu!sica de Lisboa. Holds a master’s degree in music/musicology, from the Faculdade de Cie”ncias Sociais e Humanas and ESML. Holds a PhD in Music/Musicology from the University of E!vora, with the orientation of Professor Eduardo Lopes and co- orientation of Professor Jose!Eduardo Martins (University of Sa#o Paulo). Was awarded with a Foundation for Science and Technology grant. As pianist presented several chamber music recitals, highlighting contemporary Portuguese music. Presented several paper scientific communications among which in the London Piano Symposium at the Royal College of Music. Member of the Research Centre in Sociology and Aesthetics of Music at Universidade Nova de Lisboa(GIMC).