“His proclivity for both monumental and historic performances is well known, but with his latest Project, 32-year-old Marios Joannou Elia, once again, exceeds all limits.”
Encompassing Contemporary Concert Music, Opera, Multimedia and Cultural Events
—Marios Joannou Elia (1978) has surpassed the customary boundaries of contemporary music to become the first composer whose singular work, the open air multimedia symphony AUTOSYMPHONIC (2010/11), was performed in front of a live audience of 20,000 people, achieving 55 million television viewers and two billion media contacts worldwide. In addition, he served as artistic director for this large-scale production. His work encompasses compositions in many diverse genres and backdrops for opera and modern concert including multimedia and eminent projects for cultural events. The central concept of this work, The Concept of Polymediality (2003), is based on a qualitative polymediality that is comprised of two dimensions: the work-immanent compositional and polymediality (alongside all the associated media) during the process of staging. [Read Essay]
June 23, 2017
reportage at Russian national television
June 1, 2017
“to hear the city with your heart”
“The composer Marios Joannou Elia, known for his original projects, is now working in Vladivostok. He is preparing the very first of its kind “Sounds of Vladivostok”… [Read Interview]
May 31, 2017
Elia has been named Cultural Ambassador of the City of Vladivostok. In this interview, he speaks about music and the Amur tiger, the musicality of the harbour, the undiscovered cultural richness in the Far East… [Read Interview] [Watch Interview 1] [Watch Interview 2]
SOUND OF VLADIVOSTOK
an acoustic portrait of the city
The second phase of the large-scale project “Sound of Vladivostok” has now been successfully completed. The project is composed and directed by Marios Joannou Elia and filmmaker Kostis Nikolas will create the music film. In total, 350 musicians and over 20 institutions are involved, such as the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the FEFU Academic Choir and the Hae Dong drum ensemble. Major partners include the Primorye Regional Philharmonic Society, Far Eastern Federal University and Pacific Tourism Alliance. The project is coordinated by Zarya Center for Contemporary Art.
The music is composed for theremin, electric guitar, saxophone, church bells, symphony orchestra, brass band, three choirs, children’s choir, snare drum squad, Korean drum ensemble, electric violin trio, small pop band and recorded sounds. [Learn More]
“Elia is considered in the music world to be the man for monumental events.“
THE CONCEPT OF POLYMEDIALITY
soon available by Schott Music, Mainz 2017
During the composition of “Strophes” (2003), in which the architectonic features of a high-tech factory influenced various parameters of the work such as the production of sounds, Marios Joannou Elia developed the concept of polymediality. This involved two dimensions: the work-immanent compositional dimension and polymediality in the process of staging. The prefix poly denotes a qualitative paradigm shift; not a quantitative much, but a qualitative, polyaesthetic more.
Written between 2007 and 2010 as a commentary focused on his opera “Die Jagd” (2008) and the orchestral piece “Akanthai” (2009), this book illuminates Elia’s concept of polymediality and, by providing a wealth of examples, how literary sources become an inherent polymedial element of his music. At the same time, the commentary elucidates a series of fundamental aspects of the music, including the model of imitative interaction, the concept of permanent fleetingness, the concept of polyaesthestics, and the question of musico-literary intermediality.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A group of 120 youths, who received a full-year’s free instruction in drumming in order to allow them to elicit sounds of the automobiles from the event, were chosen from the many casting auditions held in collaboration with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Popular Music Academy.
THE CREATION OF A CAR ORCHESTRA
consisting of 80 vehicles – from classic to modern super cars, busses and trucks
“The world’s first automobile orchestra”
Deccan Herald of India
In 2010 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile, Elia created “the world’s first automobile orchestra”. The central theme of the event provided the medium from which the music was generated: The sounds the cars made served as the basis for a nine-movement symphony, written for a large symphony orchestra, a car orchestra, a percussion octet, an adult chorus, a children’s choir and electronics.
The car orchestra consisted of a selection of 80 cars: classic cars, supercars, racing cars, roadsters, limousines and luxury vehicles, microcars, American cars, pickups, buses and trucks (Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Jaguar, Aero, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Trabant, etc.).
Stage 1/6: Car-castings all over Germany
More than 120 vehicles were evaluated by Marios Joannou Elia within a period of ten months. Each one was separately explored, and all extracted sounds – up to 35 from a single car – were meticulously documented (recorded by a sound engineer, filmed and photographed). During the casting, Elia analysed in great detail, the playing technique, tempo, articulation and loudness of each individual car element to decide which ones could be employed in the performance.
Stage 2/6: Audio recordings in studio
—After the car-auditions were completed, Elia evaluated all recorded sounds in a studio. The tone frequencies were also measured. Based on their qualities and individual characteristics, he chose 80 vehicles, including representatives from the entire automobile history. These formed the car orchestra of which approximately 800 car sounds can be found throughout the score. They were recorded in a professional studio which was especially built for this occasion, thus providing aural guidance and parameters to the performers.
Stage 4/6: Rehearsals on every car
The cars were scored either solo (featuring a single car element), and in smaller groups or orchestral tutti. Rehearsals began at first on percussion instruments, then on simulative utensils and finally on the cars themselves. In total 120 youths and 14 professional musicians took part in the one-year preparation process.[More about Project]
“Elia is well-known for his extravagant and popular music events.“
FEATURED MUSIC VIDEOS
for guitar quartet
“A performance which one is not likely to forget”
Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)
In STAUBZUCKER (2007), Elia creates an enormous amount of possibilities to provoke specific sounds by employing unusual playing techniques. The score requires 23 percussion instruments to articulate the diversity of required sounds. Additionally the instrumentalists create sounds with their own voice and body by clapping, flipping and rubbing on paper. A hint at the composer’s purpose gives the score: “Since the happily-failed encounter of Odysseus with the sirens, all songs have become ill” (Horkheimer/Adorno). Actually, it is not the destiny of the Greek hero that attracts the composer but the means with which its literary creator Homer causes tension. His own technique of using parallel plots, flashbacks, introductions, perspective and narration changes are the stimuli for which Elia declares are “like powdered sugar (Staubzucker) that can be used for a highly explosive alloy. The sound of the guitars bursts like the ‘diseased’ songs from the sirens”. [Read More]
Performed by Miscelanea Guitar Quartet, Salzburg (Aesthis Records).
for pop band vocal ensemble, symphony orchestra and choir
“This is neither classical nor popular music, but something new and challenging”
Conductor Johannes Harneit at m:con TV
According to Elia, polyaesthetics arise out of the polymedial employment of materials which is systematically intended and constructed for the development of the artistic process. In this respect, hybridity is a central aspect of his concept of polymediality. In terms of a musical amalgam, genre-like, it manifests in the confrontation between contemporary classical and popular music. In 2011, commissioned by m:con-mannheim:congress GmbH and the City of Mannheim, Elia composed DER TRAUM (THE DREAM) for symphony orchestra, choir and the German pop music band “Söhne Mannheims”. Xavier Naidoo, Germany’s most prominent soul singer, sang the solo vocals. [Read More]
The piece was performed by Söhne Mannheims, SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra, SWR Vocal Ensemble Stuttgart, Staging: Horst Hamann.