Fifteen years ago you founded CMMAS. What were your initial intentions and how have they changed over the years?
When I first founded CMMAS in Morelia in 2005, the idea was to create a public institution with funding from the national government and the state government of Michoacán, which would provide other institutions, universities and research centres and artists in general with studio spaces and knowledge, with access to tools and materials, to our library and courses, but would also release CDs and publish journals. We began by providing spaces to other music programmes in the city, like the conservatory, the state and the national university. Over the years it became a studio space and eventually we had seven studios, where artists from Mexico and abroad could work, use our tools and even get grants. We also started our Acercamientos Sonoros, “sound gatherings“, where kids from underserved communities or schools could learn how technology works and how to use their own mobile tools as an expressive resource. Finally we have our own series of concerts every friday, either virtual or in person, and every September we have the Visiones Sonoras festival, which has been running annually for 16 years now.
Can you tell us a bit about your city and the cultural life of Morelia? What role does CMMAS play in the local musical landscape?
A couple of years ago, the city of Morelia became an UNESCO Music City. It is a very vibrant place and in terms of music, maybe after Mexico City – which is just three hours away – one of the most interesting places in the country by far. Not only of course for contemporary music, but there are several universities, the La Rosa conservatory, which is the oldest music teaching institution in the continent, and at least five or six music festivals, including one of the biggest classical music festivals in Latin America, the Morelia Miguel Bernal Jiménez Music Festival, where I am also part of the programming committee, a guitar festival, an organ festival, and of course our »Visiones Sonoras« festival for contemporary music and computer music. But there is a lot of traditional music, folk, popular music, jazz – so it is a very powerful music scene in Morelia.
Your organization puts a lot of focus on artistic exchange, on both a continental and an international level. What do you want CMMAS’s role in this to be?
We put a lot of focus on artistic exchange all over the world and it is certainly one of the reasons why I started CMMAS 15 years ago. Composers, performers, musicologists, creative people come to work here for a few months or a few weeks, then they also teach, do performances and community work around the centre. These interactions help our own students a lot. Artistic exchange through residencies creates connections and we have many success stories of students meeting composers here and going on to do their postgraduate degrees with them in other countries. Others create their own collectives here and present their work in a concert or a CD at the end of their stay.
CMMAS also offers artist residency programmes. How many musicians and composers visit the institution each year and what do you look for in applicants?
We have been offering residencies for years now. 2020 was of course a very atypical year, but we used to have 20 to 30 residencies every year, sometimes up to 50 with collectives or several artists working at the same time. We also used to have up to seven studios. Now we are down to three, due to the pandemic and the lack of funding. We have multichannel studios and also one studio with video facilities for artists to work on projects with a visual counterpart. You can find information on all the residencies, where they came from and what they worked on at CMMAS, in our archive. The call for residencies is always open to everyone and can run from three weeks to a full year. People can just get in touch with us or apply via our website. Depending on funding, the application process might take a little longer at times. We have collaborations with the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the Japan Foundation, and many other institutions in the US, Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile and Ecuador, who send artists to CMMAS at least once or twice a year.
Das vollständige Interview findet ihr unter https://karlheinz.blog/cmmas-morelia/.
Komponist, Professor und Kulturmanager Rodrigo Sigal ist Gründer und Direktor des mexikanischen Zentrums für Musik und Klangkunst. Hier werden verschiedene Programme zur Kreation, Bildung, Recherche und kulturellem Management initiiert.