Elisabeth Schimana – Virus


CD – Chmafu Nocords

The metaphor of the virus has marked the history of art and contemporary electronic music perhaps more than any other concept over the last fifty years. The seminal visions of William S. Burroughs and Laurie Anderson’s “Language is a Virus immediately spring to mind – but think too of cyberpunk literature and memetic theories of cultural evolution that involve consistent and replicable entities. Elisabeth Schimana has been working as a composer, performer and radio artist since 1983. She studied electro-acoustics and experimental music at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna, computer music composition at the IEM of Graz, and musicology and ethnology at the University of Vienna. Her approach in this work seems improvisational, marked by sound manipulation, synthesis techniques and free form iteration. The work features elliptical acoustics, resonant bodies and spaces, and evolving interactions between the various elements in play. Schimana has said she believes that “there is no piece of music, we are the piece” – possibly meaning that as sound becomes information it can be transformed into movement and through instruments return to music. “A biological virus destroys the host by invading it. A musical virus creates something new from the experience of hearing.” Muffled reverberations, pulsing non-docile percussion, electronic envelopes, the sound of an oboe and a clarinet, gongs and unforeseeable connections: Schimana conducts the composition with ease, allowing the musicians freedom to express and interact. The virus activates many frequencies of mutation and a permanent tension remains in beautiful balance, underscoring the different emotional states produced by the sounds.


Elisabeth Schimana – Virus #3