The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music category goes, in this eighth edition, to Georges Aperghis for carving a unique path in the realm of musical theater, employing new scenic devices whereby everything becomes music, starting from the performer’s gestures and including sounds produced by scenic elements or objects used as percussion instruments.
His work deals in situations that are often contentious, paradoxical or playful, which do not sit within a linear discourse or deploy traditional psychology. The subjects are fragmented, the form arising from a surrealist assemblage. The relationship with language is redrawn: Aperghis often writes his own texts by creating imaginary languages, along the lines of sound poetry.
Aperghis’ productions, where he is creator, stage designer and composer, redefine the form of opera, while taking on board the latest research on sound, language and the interaction between the two. In 1976, Aperghis founded his own theater workshop, ATEM, on the outskirts of Paris, which is run in the spirit of a troupe; a collective that develops projects together, often based on group improvisations. This theater, which is constantly renewing itself, has attracted new audiences by making contemporary music once more a part of the shared theatrical experience.
His works of chamber or orchestral music bear witness to this same spirit, defying genres and conventions and constantly inventing vivid and thought-provoking experiences. Georges Aperghis’ original approach has helped expand the frontiers of the contemporary sound world by inviting musicians to rigorously follow the path of fantasy.