“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.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Encompassing Contemporary Concert Music, Opera, Multimedia and Cultural Events
Marios Joannou Elia (born 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 composition and polymediality (alongside all the associated media) during the process of staging.[Read Essay]
July 10, 2014
ULM’S MINSTER TOWER 125th ANNIVERSARY
interview at regio tv (de)
The cathedral tower in Ulm will be 125 years old in 2015. Contemporary composer Marios Elia has dedicated a celebratory musical work to honour the occasion. Here he will explain the first sound experience that was influential in his career, how he is inspired by Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elias” and how he integrates machinery in his work.[Watch Interview]
July 6, 2014
THE HARMONY OF ANGLE GRINDER AND STONE SAW
transforming the cathedral’s construction cottage into musical scenery
Marios Elia is in the Münsterbauhütte (cathedral construction cottage) of Ulm Minster between all the machines and tools of the stonemasons, with a pneumatic hammer and a screwdriver attachment in his hand. He experiments. How does he create with such little fragments or without sound? How does it resonate when someone holds a hand in front of the nozzle? Suddenly he smiles. The rhythm emerges! At first almost swinging. Then the pneumatic hammer transforms into an instrument: rapping, and producing the first pneumatic-hammer-minster-sheds-rap sound…
June 27, 2014
400 CONTRIBUTORS AND EVEN MORE SOUNDS
press conference at Ulm’s town hall
On the 24th June Marios Elia was at Ulm’s Town hall taking questions from the press. In less than a year, his spectacular “Ulmer Oratorio” will be premiered at the cathedral square. The preparations are in full swing. Elia and his production team gave details about the project.
UPCOMING HIGHLIGHT 2015
an open-air music spectacle for 500 musicians
the highlight celebration of the 125th anniversary of Ulm Minster, the tallest church in the world
Elia has been commissioned by the City of Ulm to compose ULMER ORATORIUM (working title), which is an open-air music spectacle for approx. 500 musicians – the highlight of celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the completion of Ulm Minster (2015) which is the tallest church in the world. The premiere will take place at the Muensterplatz, the central square of the city (in front of the church) and will be performed by the Ulm Minster Chantry (motet choir, oratorio choir and children’s choir), Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Ulm, Theatre Ulm (singers, speakers, choir), Junge Blaeserphilharmonie Ulm and Ulmer Spatzen Children’s Choir, amongst others.
ULM MINSTER 125th ANNIVERSARY
Elia takes up artistic director’s position
a large-scale participatory music project in Ulm, Germany
The highest church tower in the world belongs to the Ulmer Muenster (Ulm Minster), which is at the center of Ulm, Germany. The height of the tower is 161.5 meters. Its completion in 1890 was celebrated by the performance of the oratorio “Elias” by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy with the participation of 320 singers. Alongside the huge instrumental and vocal forces of “Symphony No. 8” by Gustav Mahler, Elia was inspired to design a large-scale project for the City of Ulm for which all major music groups of the locality will unite for the first time and work together towards the premiere of a newly composed and ambitious oratorio with the participation of the Cultural Department of the City of Ulm, Ulm Minster Chantry (Muensterkantorei), Theatre Ulm, Musikschule der Stadt Ulm and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE ECoC
pafos 2017 – open air factory
The Board of Directors of the Organisation Pafos 2017 has unanimously elected Marios Elia as the Artistic Director of the European Capital of Culture 2017. Elia is the youngest person ever to direct a European Capital of Culture. Pafos 2017 sets up a contemporary Open-Air Factory with its cultural machinery installed mainly outdoors. The motto “Linking Continents, Bridging Cultures” covers a wide range of projects, organized into several production areas such as “Myth and Religion”, “World Travellers” and “Stages of the Future”.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
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.).
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.
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.
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.