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Battle of a Lonely Man

April 2, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:10 pm

“Battle of the lonely man is the second concert of a series where Lautaro Mantilla (DMA, Contemporary Improvisation) explores some of the struggles of the contemporary society. After the battle of the working man (an eight-hour set of improvised music reflecting on the dilemma of humans being replaced by machines during the standard eight-hour work day), the battle of the lonely man is a set of improvised vocal music reflecting on the conflicts and paradoxes for humans facing different types of depression. This battle includes a solo-amplified voice and a 24-voice “noise” mixed choir.

According to a 2017 study on Major Depressive Episodes from the National Institution of Mental Health (NIMH), some form of depression has affected an estimated 350 million people around the world. Depression is considered the most prevalent mind-brain illness and it is the leading cause of disability for ages 14 to 44.

Over the last 5 years, I have compiled a large number of letters from people that have struggled (or lost the battle) with depression as a way, for me, to understand the complexity and paradoxes of this illness and the repercussions for the sufferers and the people around them. This research led me to find a connecting thread between all the stories: A profound feeling of loneliness. Loneliness even if one is in a room surrounded by a million people; loneliness understood as the loudest silence one could hear with no off switch. Additionally, I found several letters comparing the battle with depression as being inside of a black hole. What is a black hole? According to American astronomer Andrea M. Ghez “it is a region of space where you have mass that’s confined to zero volume, which means that the density is infinitely large, which means we have no way of describing, really, what a black hole is”.

The battle of the lonely man uses 60 different letters as sources for the solo voice improvisations. By translating the text in to a form of sound poems, the soloist will battle with words/sounds for the course of the performance. This battle is framed and contextualized by Samuel Beckett’s axioms “every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness” and “words are all we have”. The Choir has no previous knowledge of the musical material and will be reacting and improvising from a set of rules giving by the composer. The members of the audience are invited to experience the performance sitting on the stage or the balcony, as well as standing next to the performers.”

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April 2, 2018
8:00 pm - 9:10 pm
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Williams Hall at the New England Conservatory
30 Gainsborough St
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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