ULYSSES Audience Research Blog #7 – IEMA at the Cresc… Biennale
11/2017 IEMA – DE
I’m on my way back from my latest Ulysses Audience Research survey visit in Frankfurt am Main, in cooperation with the International Ensemble Modern Akademie (IEMA) and the Cresc… Biennale. This year’s Biennale closed with a concert of works around the topic of ‘transit’ composed as part of IEMA’s International Composition Seminar, which invites young composers to rehearse and perform new works with Ensemble Modern.
I distributed the survey here and got a good response: 64 questionnaires were returned, so around half those present filled one out. Taking place at the Hessischer Rundfunk’s concert hall, the concert seemed to attract mostly an older audience of quite dedicated Ensemble Modern attendees, many of whom cited a personal or professional connection as their reason for coming.
The works varied a lot in style, ranging from more conventional ensemble pieces to a partially improvised sound performance, and this variety appeared to be reflected in the audience responses. The final work by Andreas Eduardo Frank featured a novel stage arrangement and lighting effects and was rated highly for its originality, whereas other pieces seemed to provoke more of an emotional response.
A significant component of the audience experience that evening was an extensive pre-performance event. This included a talk by Islamic scholar Lamya Kaddor, entitled ‘What is German?’ (in keeping with the festival’s migration theme), a performance of a short chamber work by Isang Yun and a brief round of discussion with Kaddor and one of the seminar composers. This introductory event certainly provided the audience with a lot of input even before the main concert and it will be interesting to see in how far this impacted their experience of the rest of the evening and played into their reception of the works.