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Sheet music for Edson Zampronha
The key word in the music of Zampronha is re-interpretation, understood as the act of understanding in a different way what had been previously listened to. This re-interpretation will be exemplified in three different aspects of his work.
This re-interpretation appears clearly in his extensive use of musical rhetoric resources. Zampronha’s main rhetoric strategy is first to induce the listener to understand the musical discourse in a specific way. Then, during the development of the work this understanding surprisingly changes to another one. There is a change of meaning in what we listen to. However, the first meaning never completely disappears. Thus, the old and the new understandings overlap, creating a highly dramatic effect that becomes the axis of the composition, grasping the listener attention from the very beginning of the work
Another aspect of this re-interpretation can be found in the special use of sound materials and their references. A sound material can make references to a specific musical context or a specific historical period (even a very recent period) without being a quotation. When inserted in a different context (the musical work is this new context), a polyphony between references appears: something new dialogues with something known; the displacement of a reference from its original context create musical conflicts, and the meaning and values these references carry out give a historical and contextual perspective to the sound materials. In this way, new sound materials are more than isolated sound objects. The original use of their references can produce new musical expressivities and gestures that cannot be achieved by traditional means. Known sounds can be listened as never listened to, and new sounds can be listened as familiar ones.
Concerning his harmonic language, Zampronha uses non-traditional, perfectly intelligible chords comprising many notes (from 6 to 18, or even more). Instead of being aggressive, these chords are expressive and appealing, each chord concentrating a specific sensation or emotion in itself. These chords are unities that are fragmented by the use of specific extra-notes. In this sense, the concept of dissonance is re-interpreted. Another very interesting re-interpretation is that a specific sequence of these chords can generate a harmonic new-functionality, as if we were listening to purely harmonies and, at the same time, a kind of harmonic tension and resolution that produce some unique directionalities inside the work.
Edson Zampronha was born in a family of musicians. He started out his musical training since his first years, at home. His first lessons included musical composition, history of music, theory, harmony, counterpoint and musical analysis, besides piano playing. His family moved from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo in 1969. In 1978 he was introduced into electroacoustic music composition, and his first experiments were done in a four-channel Revox tape recorder.
In 1983 he starts the course on Music Composition and Conducting at the São Paulo State University. Two years before its conclusion he was invited to be a professor at the São Paulo Municipal School of Music. In 1991 he concludes a Master Degree in Musical Composition at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and in 1992 he starts a large and fruitful period as a professor of musical composition at the São Paulo State University. In 1998 he concludes the Doctorate on Communication and Semiotics – Arts, at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, were he first applied semiotic tools for music composition.
As of 1999 he starts an intense international agenda. In many opportunities he has been invited composer at outstanding studios as the Laboratory for Musical Informatics and Electronics at the Center for Diffusion of Contemporary Music (LIEM-CDMC, Madrid); the Phonos Foundation at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona), and the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (England). He has developed two pos-doctorate researches to improve his theories on music and meaning, one at the University of Helsinki (Finland), in 2000, and another one at the University of Valladolid (Spain), in 2005. During this period the re-interpretation term was coined.
Since the 1990s his compositions have gone beyond the specialized circuits. He has received commissions from different groups and institutions, as from the Museum for Applied Arts, Cologne (Germany), in 2006; from the fashion designer María Lafuente for her catwalk show at the Pasarela Cibeles also in 2006 (Madrid, Spain), and from the São Paulo State Symphonic Band for the 100th Anniversary of Sao Paulo State Art Gallery, in 2005 (São Paulo, Brazil).
In 2006 one of the leading classic music labels in Brazil, Clássicos, releases a CD fully dedicated to his compositions for piano, for the first time including a CD dedicated to contemporary music in their collection.
In 2008 he interrupts a sequence of 16 years as a professor of musical composition at the São Paulo State University. He transfer his residency to Spain and he starts a new period of musical composition and researches.