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An Interview with the REMA President, Peter Pontvik
Mr. Pontvik, on 21st March, the musical world celebrates the European Day of Early Music for the second time. The significance behind choosing this day is clear: on 21st March one of the most important composers was born – Johann Sebastian Bach. Nonetheless, why did you want to relate this day to the name of the German composer?
Johann Sebastian Bach is probably one of the most renowned music composers in the world. Even people who are generally no experts in early music or classical music have heard his name at least once in their life time. This is the reason why the day of March 21st was chosen for our whole early music concept, as it also symbolically marks the beginning of spring. In my opinion, it is not about Johann Sebastian Bach, but the early music represented by this great name.
The European Day of Early Music is a project of wide scope. Which are the participant countries this year?
Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Great Britain, Sweden are on the list of countries partners with REMA, but certainly there will be events like this in other countries as well.
Whom are the artists involved in the programme design for this year and how does the schedule look like?
The artists will be elected by the local administrators; therefore we are not making a general selection for this European day. Each country is responsible for the preparation of its own programme presented on the European Day of Early Music. The events will be broadcast live on the internet as well, as there is such an extent of the new media.
All of the countries involved are therefore equal?
Yes! This is a very democratic process. Any European country is free to take part in this celebration to give the event even more richness. We have noticed an increased interest in the event this year, perhaps because of the UNESCO sponsorship. Last year, the European Commission sponsored the event. We are very pleased that due to UNESCO’s involvement, the European Day of Early Music will be connected to the rest of the world, as it is a grand organization.
Music – be it early, romantic or modern – can almost always be related to arts such as dance, theatre, painting and even architecture. Is there such a connection between music and other arts in this year’s European Day of Early Music programme?
Due to the diversity of the presented programmes I cannot answer with certainty, but generally speaking, there will be conferences and seminaries which will show the relation between early music and other means of artistic manifestation. From my point of view, music is closely related to theatre, dance and other arts; hence we are very interested in building bridges between different art forms at the conferences held by our REMA organization.
What do you hope to achieve by orchestrating the European Day of Early Music? What is the purpose of this event?
I think that the purpose would be to attract attention over the diversity of European musical inheritance. The event is dedicated to early music lovers, as well as curious music lovers. It is a celebration for the experts, as well as the public. This moment offers the opportunity to discover what early historical music can offer us, contemporary people.
Translated by Roxana Țicămucă and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest