Computer Music Journal 25.3 (2001) 14-21
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A Conversation with Beatriz Ferreyra
Kim S. Courchene
Beatriz Ferreyra (see Figure 1) was born 21 June 1937 in Córdoba, Argentina. She studied piano with Celia Bronstein in Buenos Aires (1950-1956), harmony and musicalanalysis with Nadia Boulanger (1962), electroacoustic music with EdgardoCanton (1963), and composition with EarleBrown and György Ligeti (1967). Between 1963 and 1970, she worked in the research department of the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française (ORTF), participating in the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), under the leadership of Pierre Schaeffer.
She contributed to Henri Chiarucci's and Guy Reibel's exploratory work "Rapport entre la hauteur et la fondamentale d'un son musical,"published in March 1966 in Revue Internationale d'Audiologie (Chiarucci and Reibel 1966). While at the GRM, Ms. Ferreyra aided in the realization of recordings for Pierre Schaeffer's Solfège de l'ObjetSonore (Schaeffer 1967), also working as a teacher and giving lectures at the Conservatoire National Supérierur de Musique de Paris.
Since 1970, shehas been working as a freelance composer. She worked with Bernard Baschet and his Structures Sonores in 1970, and in 1975 she became a Member ofthe Collège des Compositeurs created by the Groupe de MusiqueExpérimentale de Bourges (GMEB). She became interested in the field of music therapy (1973-1977) and wrote several related compositions. Ms. Ferreyra was granted a residency in electronic music by Dartmouth Collegeto work in their new digital music studio (1976), and again in 1998 to work on film music.
She has been a member of several international music juries, including the Fourth International Competition of Experimental Music in Bourges (1976), the International Competition of Radiophonic Music Phonurgia Nova in Arles (1978), the International Competition sponsored by "Musiques et Recherches," "Metamorphoses 2000" in Brussels (2000), and the Royal Conservatory of Mons Music 2000 in Belgium. She created the concert series "Rendez-vous de la musique concrète" at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Pierre Schaeffer (1998-1999).
Ms. Ferreyra has received commissions from several organizations, including the GRM, the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB), and the Association pour la Collaboration entre les Instrumentistes et Compositeurs (ACIC). She composes music for concerts, festivals, ballets, and films. Table 1 lists her principal compositions and awards.
Since 1961, Ms. Ferreyra has resided in France. This interview, which was conducted in English, took place by telephone on February 16, 2001, and was later augmented by electronic mail.
Courchene: You have said that your earliest musical memories were of Bach, jazz, and popular music. Did you find that those kinds of music had an influence on the kind of music you were writing at the time?
Ferreyra: Well, those were my earliest musical memories, but as a child I didn't compose. It was not something I did. I loved to improvise jazz at the piano, though. The composing came later when I was in Paris. And I think that all the music I heard in my childhood made me discover something very flexible and unique in sound--perhaps its inner freedom.
Courchene: Were you a student in Argentina before you left for Paris?
Ferreyra: Not a music student, no. I studied piano with Celia Bronstein, who had the same professor as Martha Algerich. I learned a technique based on freedom, flexibility, and strength. And I studied the violin for two years, but everyone around me was a pianist, and I did the same thing. But I did not think at all about composition. I came to Paris in 1961. It was difficult to have my own life over there in Argentina, because my family was very big. It was a little bit difficult. I just could not do it. I should have stayed, but I couldn't. [End Page 14]
Courchene: When you got to Paris, did you start writing music?
Ferreyra: No, I was a designer. Then I wanted to start exploring composition, so in 1962 I began working with Nadia Boulanger, until 1963. It...