Forum Wallis IX (2015) Festival für Neue Musik Festival

Event Start Date:
23. May 2015
Event End Date:
23. May 2015
Event Venue:
SCHLOSS LEUK, 3953 Leuk, Switzerland

SAMSTAG – 23 MAI 2015 – 20h





ULTRAS, 2012

The work starts with Bassem Youssef’s voice, an Egyptian surgeon and
broadcaster, saying “those dead young men were not just football fans;
they were standing as men in the field and outside of it. Their guilt was
saying the word of truth, whilst many others surrendered early. Righteous
men who kept their word until their death”. Afterwards an original
cheering from a previous football match is played, saying: “when I stop
cheering, I would definitely be dead”. In the background, we hear a
recording of the part of the piece “Ultras” as a playback with a
deformation-technique accompanied by an obstinate sound from the Cello
playing the same rhythm of the previously heard cheering. This piece
reflects the panic, fear, escape, chaos and agony which broke out when
hundreds of thugs brutally attacked peaceful football fans, killing 74 of
them and injuring hundreds with no ambulance vehicles nearby to give any
help, even the closer ones ran away from the area leaving the young men
alone to face death.


The piece for bass-clarinet and live-electronics depicts a journey
to the clarinet’s sound through a process of real-time signal processing. 
The name of the composition is a play on the German words
“Klangfarben” (timbre) and “Fahrt” (ride or journey). 
The digital processing was programmed with Pure Data and MAX/MSP.

ver-bin-gun-gen (for Percussion, B-Clarinet, E-Cello and Live Electronics)

Dumpf, dann Hell


Khaled Abdallah E.- violoncello
Nesma Abdel Aziz – percussion
Sherif el Razzaz – bass clarinet
Bassam Halaka – live electronics


The Egyptian Contemporary Music Ensemble (ECME). Established by the European-Egyptian Contemporary Music Society e.V in 2010, the ECME presents a series of concerts every season as Guest Artists of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts at the American University in Cairo . This gathering of some of the finest Egyptian musicians from several generations serves to foster new composition and performance. All members of the ECME have pursued their musical education in Egypt as well as abroad, and by now occupy important positions in major cultural institutions and/or other professional ensembles. There is a strong desire among these performers to share their experience and pass on their practical knowledge by exposing students to important works of contemporary music. The concert series in the Ewart Memorial Hall in Cairo explore different themes, styles, epochs and regional characteristics of contemporary music. They are preceded by open rehearsals, and completed by lectures and master classes that provide deeper insight into the respective subject. Beside its residence at the American University, the ECME has over a very short period of time become an eminent cultural ambassador for Egypt. It is the only ensemble in the country to date to perform recent national and international productions in the field of contemporary music, and the only one to work with composers from other parts of the world who wish to develop new pieces with an Egyptian ensemble. After a very successful presentation in Germany in November 2011 in collaboration with the renowned Neue Vocalsolisten from Stuttgart and other German musicians and the first appearance of the Ensemble at a national festival in the course of the Cairo Contemporary Music Days 2012, the ECME celebrated its first international prestigious appearance the Mediterranean composers presentation Festival Prsences in Aix-en-Provence, the European Capital of Culture 2013. Beside different cooperation in Egypt the ensemble is planning several European concerts in 2015-2016 and working with Egyptian, Arab and European composers such as Oscar Bianchi, Thierry pecou, Vykintas Baltakas, Amr Okba, Hassan Khan, Zaid Jabri. and others.


Bassam Halaka is a composer, producer, musician, conductor and performer. His original style, that is mainly influenced by Eastern and Western music, creates an inimitable bond between the Orient and Europe. Bassam Halaka was born in Kuwait in 1977 and grew up in Cairo. Since 2009 he is living and working in Austria where he composed pieces for orchestra, chamber ensemble, choir and piano as well as sound installations and electronic music that have been performed in 14 countries. He finished his studies at the Helwan University in 2002 and the degree program in composition and conducting at the Cairo Conservatory in 2007. In 2012 he received his diploma in composition from the Joseph Haydn Conservatory Eisenstadt, Austria. He is currently finishing a Master degree in composition and computer music at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics in Graz, Austria. His compositions are a search for an art that combines “two souls in one musical body” and that aims to make the art, which everyone of us has inside himself – the tradition of our own culture – understandable to people from other cultures. In his search Bassam Halaka discovers mental borders even in a globalized world.