Petra Strahovnik: HEALING, world premiere by Ensemble Modern

There is a particular concept of performance art that was developed by Black Market International and focuses on different artists performing in the same space simultaneously. No one knows what will happen, the performances aren’t directed. Although coincidences and improvisations occur regularly, each artist sticks to their ideas and ways of performing. They are separate performers in their own space and discovering their own material. Implementing music into this concept is my current artistic exploration.

The process of discovering our own identity can bring up difficult questions about our own existence, our connection and meaning to the outside world as well as our responsibility to better ourselves and contribute to the world and people around us. It demands an honest exploration of all the influences that were imprinted on us through our family, friends and society at large. While fighting for individual rights we mustn’t forget our responsibility to uphold the rights of others.

A performer on the path of discovering and exploring a chosen material has to be aware of the space around. Observing other performers, their material and its development. Focusing only on own material, and not being tentative and observant of the state of others, can lead to a distinct narrative that will corrupt the audience. Sometimes one needs to go “into the shadow” and offer support to another performer. Other times that support can cause a disruption in the overall balance. In the process, it is essential to be aware of the impact that a single event can have and the consequences that linger for a long time.

A performer who is about to discover and explore a certain material must be aware of the space around her. Must be aware of other performers, their material and its development. If you focus only on your own material and don't pay attention to the others, it can develop into a narrative strand that influences or manipulates the audience. Sometimes you have to stand back, "stay in the shadows" to support another performer. Then again, such support can upset the balance. In this process, it is important to be aware of the impact that a single event can have, as well as the consequences that cannot yet be foreseen.


The Ensemble Modern first came to the musikprotokoll in the late 1980s. One of the young composers of commissioned works at that time, Karlheinz Essl, remarked on what a wonderful opportunity it was to write a piece for the “Rolls Royce” of ensemble music. The musikprotokoll could only afford the Rolls Royce rather infrequently, but the time has come again in 2022, and this time the program will consist exclusively of works by female composers. These include (Austrian) premiere performances from Croatian-Austrian composer Mirela Ivičević and Serbian-German composer Milica Djordjević, as well as from Slovenian artist Petra Strahovnik, Justė Janulytė from Lithuania, and last but not least, Tania León, who was born in Havana in 1943 and has lived in the USA for the last several decades.

8th October 2022 at 7:30 pm

Festival Musikprotokoll
Graz, Austria
P. Strahovnik: Healing
Ensemble Modern
Commissioned by the ORF festival ‘musikprotokoll’ and Ensemble Modern

Petra Strahovnik: HEALING, world premiere by Ensemble Modern on Spotify

Petra Strahovnik: HEALING, world premiere by Ensemble Modern on SoundCloud

Published 1 week ago

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