Nakanojo is the kind of sleepy little town that, for one reason or another, we usually end up staying in. Every two years it awakens again with a sprawling Biennale of contemporary art that hosts over 100 artists. The Biennale focuses on repurposing abandoned and otherwise unused spaces as art venues, taking participants a long way from the white walls of galleries with some stunning results!
For one month, we stayed with Yannis Zhang and Yumo Wu (collaborators from our Iceland project) in their studio in Beijing. Following that, we moved on to Chongqing for a residency at Dimensions Art Center.
We have been planning our Asia tour for more than a year, and ended up scheduling a hectic but rewarding series of universities engagements and performances. After a year focusing on the Nordic countries, we felt like it was time to challenge ourselves and change continents.
Our Nordic Project took us to Denmark, Iceland, Finland (twice), Norway (twice), Sweden, and the Faroe Islands. We were able to premiere works by nine composers and perform at the Summartónar Festival (FO) and Dark Music Days (IS). Hafdís Bjarnadottír wrote us a piece called A Northern Year- we think it’s also a perfect title for our journey. Here are some of the highlights from each stop.
By now, Passepartout Duo has been to the farthest corners of the EU in each direction (Iceland in the northwest, Portugal/Spain in the southwest, Cyprus in the southeast, and the Baltics/Finland in the northeast). What these countries have really taught us, is just how remarkably diverse the EU is.
In July 2018, Passepartout Duo was in residence in Treis Elies for the Kammari Artist Residency, a completely new program starting up in a village of just 20 people. For us, Cyprus was culturally mind-blowing with diversity, natural beauty, fantastic people, and the best food.
Passepartout Duo just finished a 2-week-long artist residency in Åland Islands, at the Eckerö Post and Customs House. Åland is an archipelago/autonomous Finnish region in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.
Passepartout Duo's residency in Iceland lasted 9 weeks and we can assure you, none of them were boring. All of them were snowy. In the small fishing town of Ólafsfjörður (population 800), we ended up accomplishing so much more than anticipated.
Passepartout Duo's travels to Cuba were interesting and enriching: we performed at the Havana Contemporary Music Festival, and at Espacios Ibsen Festival. Thanks to plenty of local artists, we visited ISA, the half-abandoned art school, and ventured throughout the city.
Our summer kicked off in June with a two week trip to Spain for our residency at La Casa Del Herrero in Torralba de Ribota, Spain. Torralba is one of those magical rural towns: a beacon of life in the middle of the desert that somehow though barely obtaining wifi and electricity manages to boast three marvelously thriving artist residency centers.
The tour took place place in March 2017 with ten concerts where we presented the following repertoire: Hannah Lash - C, Georges Aperghis - Quatre Pieces Febriles, Andy Akiho - Karakurenai, Wally Gunn - Can You Hear Me?, Nikolai Kapustin - Burlesque op. 97 and Nearly Waltz op. 98, and Steve Reich - Quartet
During this tour Passepartout Duo presented three American compositions and two European ones in France, UK, Italy, and Switzerland. We wanted to include a variety of styles, and we decided to feature a vibraphone solo too, as an homage to Donatoni and the city where he was born.