In light of the growing body of research around collaborative models between composers and performers, the exposition by Jennifer Torrence offers reflections through the perspective of the performer. The presentation argues that the relation a performer has to the composer, and their shared conception of what the performer is 'for' in the realization of a new musical work contributes to a performer's overall artistic practice. Expounding on the performer roles of interpreter, adviser, and deviser, the exposition ultimately makes the claim that the performer as deviser is the most radical rethinking of what a performer is 'for' in contemporary music. Reflecting a personal (and developing) devising performance practice, the article closes with a collage of work examples, texts, images, videos, and dialogues from Torrence's current research.
Darla Crispin, Editorial committee
Jennifer Torrence is a percussionist, performer, artistic researcher, curator, and teacher based in Oslo, Norway. Her practice explores themes such as the body, noise, precariousness, queerness, and collective making in experimental music. She has performed in diverse settings in twenty-five countries across four continents and is currently a member of Pinquins and an artistic researcher and percussion teacher at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
Abstract: The performer’s perspective and the impact of collaboration on the performer’s artistic practice is often overlooked in frameworks designed to analyze collaboration in contemporary music. The conception of what a performer is ‘for’ in the development of a new musical piece is, at least in part, what constitutes a performer’s artistic practice, whether that is the performer as an interpreter and executor of scores, as an adviser to the composer, and/or as a co-creating deviser. The interpreter-adviser-deviser model is conceived as a framework for considering the ways composer-performer collaborations can influence and contribute to the construction of a performer’s artistic practice and subjectivity. Collaboration is not only a method of creating new works, it's also a method for creating artistic practices. Drawing on examples of devised practices as exhibited in Jennifer Torrence’s artistic research, practices which are communicated through reflections, dialogues, images, and videos, the article ultimately argues that it is the performer as deviser that offers the most radical rethinking of the purpose, role, and potential of the performer in contemporary music collaboration.