Saskia Venegas joins climate debate with her work ‘Premonición’

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Climate change is a fact and it is sending out clear signals calling for action. Government leaders and heads of state meet every so often but rarely produce satisfactory results. In the face of such a global problem, can personal commitment make a difference? A scientist, an activist, an environmentalist and composer Saskia Venegas will debate this, moderated by Klara presenter Sander De Keere…   

The voice of science will be heard by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, professor at UCLouvain and Belgium’s best-known climate scientist. His book In het oog van de klimaatstorm (In the eye of the climate storm) offers a look behind the scenes of major international climate conferences. The second speaker is the Spanish-Belgian composer, violinist and music theatre artist Saskia Venegas Aernouts. Among other projects, she has composed music for Milo Rau’s socially engaged theatre. To what extent is her work influenced by issues such as climate change? The third person to take part in the debate was delegated by Extinction Rebellion. Eka van Baaren has been active in the Belgian branch of this radical environmental movement since 2018. The debate will be opened by violist Rhea Vanhellemont, one of the laureates of SUPERNOVA 2020 with the Desguin Quartet, who will perform Premonición (Premonition) by Saskia Venegas Aernouts.


Premonición is a programmatic piece that depicts the emotional struggle of a person confronted with a painful life situation: the death of a loved one. Something inside her tells her that there will be no solution, and although not all possibilities of a cure have been ruled out, she feels that the end is already near. The fear of loss, the fear of death is unbearable and she does everything she can to create some hope.

The composition is characterised by contrasting textures that interrupt each other as a metaphor for the inner conflict that arises when we try to silence our instincts in order not to look the future in the eye. Woven into the structure of the piece, we hear fragments of the first part of a lullaby that reflects the character’s love and care for the person she is about to lose. These caring feelings are interrupted with outbursts of pain, anger, fear and hopelessness. One emotion leads to another, and although they are extreme and antagonistic, they are all intertwined.

The composition was originally written for violin and later, on the occasion of the Peter Benoit Fund Autumn Concert 2020, arranged for viola.

The debate takes place on Tuesday, March 16 at 19h and can be attended online.

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