Interview with saxophonist Lois Alen Gonzalez

In addition to world-class artists, large scale of the audience and fantastic atmosphere, International festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum is proud of initiating and supporting volunteer work and very good cooperation with the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac. Students from the Department of the Music in Media are Festival’s volunteers, and as part of this work they have the opportunity to interview artists and to apply in practice what they have learned. Under the mentorship of Dr. Marija Ciric, professor and master Katarina Lazarevic, assistant lecturer at subject Media forms of Music, students prepared and carried out interviews with the performers of this year’s Festival.

On the second evening of the Third International Festival of Chamber Music Convivium Musicum, Lois Alen Gonzales, a member of the ensemble Trio Affekti was interviewed by Aleksandra Lukić, a second year student at the Department of Music in the media. This interview was published in the journal “Muzika Klasika” no. 23, year VII, April-June 2016.

Performance through the prism of interaction and progression of art

At the Third international festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, held in Kragujevac from 14th to 17th March, we had unique opportunity to talk to an artist, whose name has remarkable reputation in the elite academic circles throughout Europe. Spanish saxophonist, Lois Alen Gonzalez (1984) is perfecting his Lois Alen Gonzaleseducation since he was sixteen years old in the class of Professor José Fungueiniño at Conservatiorium of Lalín and he won his first awards at age of nineteen at competitions in Santiago de Compostella and Remangen. As some critics say, his uniqueness derives from the incredible musicality, elegance and explosiveness, which Gonzalez in a very skillful way combines at the scene. As a member of the Orkan Quartet he had a unique opportunity to meet a large number of people, gain new experiences and make close friendships. Thus, in 2013 he founded the ensemble Trio Affekti with colleagues from the University of Music and Dance (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz) in Cologne, which proved to be the perfect blend of seemingly disparate but actually very close cultures and instruments. Over time, the style of this ensemble is shaped by using an innovation regarding the interpretation of classical music, especially the one which is not in the standard repertoire of concert halls. As one of the members, Gonzalez tells us what inspires him, what kind of challenges are ahead of him, which segment of art, in his opinion, possesses the greatest degree of originality and more. We talked with the artists immediately after the concert held at the festival Convivium Musicum.

Are you in Serbia for the first time and what do you think about the audience tonight?

Yes, this is my first visit and I must say that I am deeply impressed. It’s such a great thing that people still have interest to come to events like this. Considering of our extremely unusual trio, which can’t often be seen on the European classical scene, it is an incredible feeling to see so many people who came to hear something which is completely different from what they are used to.

How did you decided to found Trio Affekti? Whose idea was it?

The idea was, actually, mine. I wanted to present saxophone as an instrument whose persistent role can’t be only in domain of jazz music, but also in the classical music. I always wanted to compile a group of three instruments: violin, saxophone and piano, for which is very difficult to find the original score, but for what we successfully managed to create a good arrangements. Of course, we did it with a big respect for artists and their way of composing. The audience had the unique opportunity to hear one of it at tonight´s concert, Brahms Trio in E-flat major.

What are currently your main artistic challenges?

There are a lot of them, but the greatest of all is certainly the development of performing techniques and presenting the saxophone through new forms, and interpretations of works by contemporary composers. For one artist, searching for new challenges in the area of music is an important and extremely necessary thing, primarily because of wide range of music education and advancement in this area. Considering saxophone as an instrument with relatively short historical past, we could say that its time is coming very soon.

Do you feel it important that the audience is able to deduct the process and ideas behind the work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?

Performance always has to be original, intentional and most importantly of all, in cohesion with the concept of the composer. What I love about music and art in general include achieving a successful interaction between artist and audience. By all means, I can’t make any boundaries between for what the audience should pay attention to, and for what not, primarily because of the nature of the whole process that has to be individual.

How do you feel the connection between you and the audience?

Every time I perform in front of the audience, there is a certain tension because nobody actually knows what is going to happen, and that is the most exciting of all. I am always trying to present the piece how I experience it at the moment, but in the same time how the composer wanted to be performed. The audience, of course, always has a right to express emotions and criticism, and my duty as a stage performer and an artist is to accept and receive it as a suggestion and guidelines for further work.

What do you think about the commercial which is in every single part of our society and whether its expansion changed the main purpose of the pure, classical music?

Art is constantly searching for perfection of form and expression, but in correlation with the current way of life it is getting a new purpose and becomes subservient to the needs of the audience. I have nothing against people who listen to commercial music, because after all we should all strive for what fulfills us. We live in an extremely fast time, which does not leave much time for the research, and after all, people should choose only the very best, just as they are searching for the right book.

What are some of the areas where you currently see the greatest potential for originality and who are some of the artists that you find inspiring in this regard?

Originality is something perpetually in demand for the centuries, in order to found something completely new and extremely ambivalent. When you think about the development of musical art, I always remember the words of the composer who once told me that is inevitable path from Haydn to Schoenberg, and from Schoenberg to the present, in order to achieve the development of the existing forms and conceived new genres. As artist who inspires me, I want to mention Jonathan Brown, who is now my biggest inspiration and one of the greatest professors at the university HFMT in Germany, as well as Navukuo Mai, Jean-Marie Londeix, Franc Emerson, Ferenc Rados.

Aleksandra Lukić
Second year student at the Department of Music in the media, FILUM, Kragujevac