The Assistants

Score for 10 musicians, 21 min, 2018

Violent injuries Sedje Hémon sustained in her youth abruptly ended her career as a musician, but significantly influenced her understanding of physicality and its relation to music making. Until the end of her life, she used this knowledge to teach others how to relieve and prevent pain though seemingly simple exercises and bodily manipulations. I learned the movements in Hémon’s RSI (repetitive strain injury) prevention courses and transformed them into musical and choreographic instruction, which I then taught to Ensemble Modelo62’s musicians. In The Assistants, the musicians expand their roles as music performers in acknowledgement of themselves as bodies-in-transformation. The title is inspired by Giorgio Agamben’s essay of the same name, and deals with the specific physical and emotional relationships musicians have to their instruments and to each other. The piece also playfully problematizes teaching methods and the desire to help.

Premiered by Ensemble Modelo62 in Korzo, The Hague, May 3, 2018 in a 6-city tour with performances in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Apeldoorn, Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam. Choreographic advisor: Astarti Athanasiadou. 

Generously supported by Performing Arts Fund NL, Gemeente Den Haag, Gemeente Rotterdam, Stroom Den Haag, The Mondriaan Fund, Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds, and the Sedje Hémon Foundation.