ASAA/NZ 2018 Conference: Improvisation as the Fundamental Phenomenon of Life

Composer and performer Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) will give a sonic performance as part of the ASAA/NZ 2018 ‘Improvising Lives’ conference on 6 December 2018.

“Improvisation as the Fundamental Phenomenon of Life”

Rob Thorne

Rob Thorne

Date: Thursday 6 December 2018
Time: 10am
Venue: 4B06, Massey University’s Wellington Campus

Improvisation is one key to unlocking both the necessities and the mysteries of the recently revived broken tradition that is modern taonga puoro practice.

A large part of reclaiming, re-learning, rediscovering and reviving the traditions of taonga puoro has come out of a practice grounded in improvisation. Improvising instrument construction, improvising playing methods and styles, improvising how something should sound according to specific memories of people present and passed, improvising whole instruments from scant and rare, or singular, historical descriptions, and sometimes even improvising on knowledge when large parts of accounts have been mislaid/covered over (lost). Improvising composition.

Being a professional practitioner of improvised musical performance, I have come to realise that a fundamental element of the act is in the doing of intuition, and that this requires listening: to self, and context. I perceive the nature of improvisation as conversational: linear over time yet circular, multitudinous, meaningfully emergent, osmotic and unfolding, reflective yet performative. A phenomenon. Where letting in and letting go blend. Engaged, resonant, fundamental. As my youngest child once asked randomly in a conversation “what is improvisation?”, to which my eldest promptly replied “what you are doing now”. Improvisation is life, and living is improvisation.

The performance will be live streamed, click here for access at the scheduled performance time.

New Zealand Māori composer-performer Rob Thorne, M.A, (Ngāti Tumutumu) is a diverse explorer in the newly revived evolution of Taonga Puoro (traditional Māori instruments), fusing these ancient voices with modern sounds, technology and techniques to create ethereal, immersive and powerful works that range from stage to site-specific through to contemporary chamber music and ground-breaking electronica - with expert knowledge, a grounded academic perspective and a deep respect of tradition.