“Here at The Banff Centre, I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, because as an artist, I believe this is the only way I can move forward with my craft,” says composer and musician Ana Sokolovic. She came to The Banff Centre this spring with the Bozzini Quartet and choreographer Marc Boivin to work on herfirst self-prompted, multi-genre collaboration, called Commedia Ruzzante.
As a composer, Sokolovic has created more than 40 works,including compositions for stage, opera, orchestra, voice, and chamber ensembles (the Societe de musique contemporaine du Quebec’s (SMCQ) Homage Series has devoted its entire 2011 – 2012 season repertoire to her work, celebrating its scope, diversity, and quality). “In the past, the music I created just touched on one particular part of my personality, and of my creativity. With this project I’m incorporating more of myself – my love for theatre, stage, dance, and music – into one project.”
After receiving two 15-minute commissions around the same time – one for the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition and one for the Bozzini Quartet— Sokolovic decided to combine both into one long piece and include Boivin’s choreography. “I wanted to create something that was not limited to 15 minutes, and I had a very profound, artistic, human instinct that we would all go well together,” she says.
Inspired by the comedies of 16th century playwright and actor Angelo Beolco (also known by his nickname Il Ruzzante), Sokolovic wanted to explore the connection between dance, music, and role playing with her collaboration. “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a composer but I also have a love of the dramatic arts,” Sokolovic explains. “I’m trying to incorporate my passion for theatre – this side of my personality – into this project.”
Before coming to Banff to perfect the performance and work on stage, the group had been meeting together for over a year. “You’ll see that there are some elements of this piece that can only come from a friendly familiarity between all parties, and that’s from taking such a long time to get to know each other artistically.”
That familiarity has also given Sokolovic the freedom to do something else she’s never done before: allow the Bozzini Quartet to improvise with her music. “It’s the first time in my life that I’m allowing someone to improvise with my project, because I’m usually very controlling of the whole thing,” she says with a laugh.
Coming up, Sokolovic, Boivin, and the Bozzini Quartet, plan to evolve their performance of Commedia Ruzzante through summer and fall residencies at Circuit-Est Centre Chorégraphique and Agora de La Danse, where the work will have its Montreal premiere on October 24th, 2012.