Ceci n'est pas un concert

28 August 2020

Ceci n'est pas un concert

Inês and Claudio on their love for Early Music, Italian Culture and Online Concerts

Inês d’Avena and Claudio Ribeiro both studied and now teach at the Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire. The two also form a very successful Duo and won numerous international awards.

The Early Music Department as a Second Home
In 2001, 17-year-old Inês decided to move from Brazil halfway around the world to study Early Music in The Hague. She applied at different schools in Europe, but she instantly felt at home at the Royal Conservatoire. ‘The Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire was THE place to be. It was a very big department with lots of great teachers and many talented students.’

Coincidentally, a fellow-Brazilian was sitting in her entrance exam behind the harpsicord and accompanied her. Claudio would later become Inês partner on and off stage and they still make a great team.

‘I really enjoyed my time as a student. There was always someone to play chamber music with’, Claudio remarks. ‘The Early Music Department was very diverse with students from all over the world and different levels and backgrounds. We would all be in the same class, which was very motivating and inspiring. When I heard a very talented 3rd year student play, I would say to myself: this could be me in three years!’, Inês adds. The department head at the time was Jan Kleinbussink, an internationally acclaimed Bach expert. Kleinbussink shared his passion for Bach with his students and played every month one Bach Cantata with the entire department.

Both stayed at the Early Music Department as teachers after graduation. ‘It’s not just nostalgia that connects us to the department. It is the sense of belonging and the tradition of the place. We are still shaped by the history and the beginnings of the department.’ Inês explains.

Their former classmates are now successful musicians and form a very strong network internationally. ‘Sometimes, I read the news and see a review from a concert in Australia and think: Oh, I know that guy, I played with him before. This happens a lot. Many people in the Early Music scene have passed through The Hague, either as a teacher or a student’, Inês remarks.

Ceci n'est pas un concert
Everything started with Claudio saying during the lockdown: ‘I want to create something’. And so, the Duo which would usually be swamped with concerts in spring, started to brainstorm. Inês: ‘At some point, everyone started with online concerts, but I thought to myself. This isn’t a concert! I felt that those online concerts were very static, having only one camera position and missed the interaction between artist and audience.’

Usually, the audience only sees the end of a very long and creative process in form of a concert or a CD release. After a concert, people from the audience often come up to the stage and ask: How did you come up with this idea? Then, Inês and Claudio can explain their inspiration. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, these interactions are gone. So, why not share the entire creative process online with the audience, the Duo thought. If you go to their website, you can re-live their creative journey.

Behind each piece of the puzzle, you find a source of inspiration. ‘Some of the steps might have nothing to do with music or make no sense, but they were still part of the creative process. You need a spark to get the process going und suddenly, you end up with a project.’, Inês explains.

And so, you can click through beautiful fabrics of the 17th Century in ‘Embroideries’ and arrive at a recording of composer Dieupart, who is from the same era. The video is in 360 degree view, so just in a real concert setting, you can wander the room with your eyes while listening to the beautiful music.

Explore Embroideries on Inês and Claudio’s website
Explore Embroideries on Inês and Claudio’s website

Tonight, a new puzzle will come online. ‘Drama’ will take us to one place that has a special place in Inês and Claudio’s heart: Italy. Both are Brazilian nationals, but their families have Italian roots.

‘We will explore Naples in the 18th Century. The word drama means to act out and if you walk through the streets of Naples, you can feel that the whole city is one big act, embodied in the expressive characters, their use of language and even in the richness of the local dishes.’ Inês points out. This in a positive way exaggerated lifestyle can be also found in the local music.

We are already looking forward to tonight’s unveiling of ‘Drama’ on Ceci n'est pas un concert. The two are currently preparing their artistic residency in Venice from September onwards. We will follow-up on Inês and Claudio’s next projects.