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Serge Verstockt
1957 -
Picture Picture
S. Verstockt
Serge Verstockt (28/02/1957), a Belgian composer (born in Braschaat). He was familiar from an early age with the artistic world as both his parents were visual artists. His father, Mark Verstockt, was known as a pioneer in a contemporary form of contructivism. Serge Verstockt was quickly drawn to artistic endeavours. In this he did not follow his parents into the visual arts, but instead chose music. After an initial period of experimentation, during which he was largely self-taught, he received his first music lessons on the organ. At the age fifteen he attended music school for piano lessons. After secondary school, Serge Verstockt attended the Brussels Conservatory, where he studied solphege and sound engineering. In this period he also followed lessons in image and sound editing at the RITS (National institute for the dissemination of theatre and culture). At the age of 18, he complemented his studies on the piano and organ with clarinet lessons. After completing his studies at the Brussels conservatory, he continued his studies on the clarinet at the Royal Music Conservatory in Antwerp with Walter Boeykens. There he earned his first prize for solphege and clarinet. Through Joris Delaet’s SEM (Studio for Experimental Music), he came into contact with techniques of electronic sound manipulation.
From 1983 to 1985 he studied at the ‘Instituut voor Sonologie’ in Utrecht with Gottfried Michael Koenig. Koenig is a pioneer in the field of computer-assisted composition. He introduced Verstockt into formal practices of composition and revealed to him the opportunities offered by computers. These elements were to be of great importance throughout the composer’s subsequent career. Verstockt became a strong defender of the computer-assisted composition. In 1985 he organised the ‘Antwerp Electronic Music Days’. Serge Verstockt taught at the conservatory in Arnhem.
Verstockt has also been active as a performer. He has given concerts of contemporary music, both instrumental and electronic, including concerts with the SEM-ensemble. In the early 1980s there was a lack of professional ensembles interested in performing contemporary music in Belgium. In order to try to meet this demand, he set up the ensemble Champ d’Action in 1988. In 1997, he resigned officially as artistic director, although an intensive collaboration has continued on the artistic level.
He has received composition commissions from ‘Antwerpen, Stad aan de stroom’, IPEM, deSingel, Antwerp 93 and November Music. From 1997 to 1999, Verstockt was ‘junior fellow’ of the KBC Chair for New Music in the department of musicology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
Requiem für eine Metamorphose
Period:21st century
Composed in:2006
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Jan Fabre
In memory of:Jan Fabre's parents
Jan Fabre is creating his own Requiem. It will be a theatrical mass for the dead with life at its heart. Fabre is returning death to the midst of life, where we revel and dance, where death is venerated as part of a cycle that is always able to recommence. Death is a moment charged with mysterious silences. But also a deafening concert of memories, images, and bits and pieces of episodes from lost lives. In death, life returns as a mess: a puzzle comprising anecdotes, trivialities, private rooms and sublime mortality. Death is full of tears, but deep beneath this wailing, long afterwards and sometimes right at that very moment, there comes life's odd mocking laugh. Again and again. Death bedevils life. Life bedevils death. In our world we are not sure how to deal with death. Though in fact we know very well how: by keeping it as far away as possible. There is literally no longer any place for the dead. In this way we deny ourselves one of the deepest mysteries of life. Death is not a clinical event. It is a phase of transformation, when the soul moves on, the body withers, and the skin fades and disappears. The earth, that great heap of dead, sets its jaws into what remains, hungry and indefatigable. And a short while later life is once again crying in our faces. Maturing and rotting. It's not much more than that. But in its eternal unruliness it overflows with unbridled energy. Like the sea crashing on the sand. Without end, without beginning. Requiem is a mass for the dead. Fabre takes us into the burial chamber of the dead. He takes the pulse and temperature of the dead and taps his buttocks. The mass for the dead is a feast, a farewell, a new beginning.
Text, direction, scenography, choreography : Jan Fabre
composition : Serge Verstockt
Dramaturgy : Luk Van den Dries, Miet Martens
Jan Fabre (1958, Antwerp, Belgium) is a Belgian multidisciplinary artist, playwright, stage director, choreographer and designer.
J. Fabre