I caught up with percussionist Renzo Spiteri prior to his next appearance in a collaborative event with Scandinavian saxophonist Thomas Agergaard – IMPROVISATIONS, to be held at the Manoel Theatre on January 29. I know that Renzo always has something new and exciting up his sleeve. Let’s see what’s on the agenda this time.
Denise: What made you choose to collaborate with saxophonist Thomas Agergaard?
Renzo: I think that it was quite an instinctive thing. I had seen Thomas perform and, in the conversations that followed, I realised that there were a lot of common factors between the two us – what we look for in our music, the sensitivities that trigger us to create music, what we listen to and more. I also fancied the idea of working on this project with a musician from the Northern hemisphere because I feel a very strong affinity to a lot of different social and cultural aspects.
D: Is this your first collaboration?
R: Yes, this will be my first collaboration with Thomas.
D: Will you be introducing any new instruments or unusual elements?
R: One unusual element is the fact that I will not have a defined set-up of instruments much before we set foot in the theatre. I am also thinking of incorporating other sounds that are not strictly percussive, some of which I will manipulate electronically on stage – sounds that enhance the whole musical environment.
D: Will all the pieces be improvised? Will they be improvised from scratch or will you take existing pieces of music as a starting point for your improvisations?
R: All the material that we will be playing is new so I guess we will be ‘premiering’ quite a few pieces!
D: How are your preparations for the performance getting along? What do the preparations involve? Do you get to rehearse with Thomas?
R: Thomas and I will spend some time playing and having fun making music, which will also serve as a means to get to know each other better. The preparations for this concert will be somewhat different from other concerts where one would rehearse the material that will be presented on stage. Trust plays a very important role in this very particular situation, but we both can’t wait to be on stage and share this experience with our audience.
D: Are rehearsals necessary before an improvised performance?
R: This performance is based on improvisations, which will take the form of a musical dialogue between me and Thomas. Therefore, I wouldn’t call the time that we’ll be spending together as rehearsal time but, I’d say, a time to explore possibilities and develop a more profound musical language between the two of us.
D: What will the highlight of this performance be?
R: I think the highlight will be the creative process that will serve as the vehicle for our shared effort and the joy of sharing this process with the audience.
D: Any further points you would like to make?
R: I wanted to ensure that we present this musical event at the Manoel Theatre. Apart from the fact that I have a particular soft spot for that stage, I know the theatre very well. I think that this is a very important aspect for the project’s maiden trip and, although it will be Thomas’s first visit there, I know that he will quickly warm up to the venue.