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Marco Eneidi: Pallettes of Color & Sound

By Published: May 27, 2013
ME: My days usually are spent practicing and working on music. Depending on what I might have coming up, if anything, I might spend anywhere from four to eight hours on the saxophone. I also play piano one to two hours a day. That is the ideal. But, of course, there are many other things that take away from that quite often, just dealing with all the bureaucracy of living in a foreign country.

AAJ: Do you still teach music?

ME: I am really not doing any teaching at the moment. I've not done any teaching since since I left the States in November, 2004 and moved to Vienna. I first came to Austria in the summer of 1992 to play at the Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen Festival, with the [trumpeter] Raphe Malik
Raphe Malik
Raphe Malik
1948 - 2006
Quintet. I then came back, one month later, with Cecil Taylor, to perform at the Saalfelden Festival. In the summer of 2004, I returned to Nickelsdorf for the festival, where I played a duo concert with the great Dutch drummer Han Bennik, as well as an orchestra conduction piece by Butch Morris. After the festival I stayed for a couple of weeks and saw how things were in Austria and Vienna.

AAJ: You work at The Neu New York/Vienna Institute of Improvised Music. What exactly do you do in the Institute?

ME: In Vienna, I am Artistic Director of the Neu New York/Vienna Institute of Improvised Music, an idea/organization which I founded. It is basically a "jam" session/workshop, meeting every Monday night since September 26, 2005. We are at somewhere around 375 consecutive Monday nights now. On many nights, there can be up to twenty musicians present, and an audience between of fifty and eighty. I put together groups on the spot to go up and play, mixing and matching whoever is available. This is my improvisation, putting together groups of likeminded players, not likeminded players and combinations of instruments.

There is a very wide variety of players who come, from complete beginners to very advanced—classical players from the symphony, electronic musicians, post-noise rock players...everything. Also dancers, poets and theater people come on occasion.

AAJ: By saying "putting together groups of likeminded players, not like minded players, combinations of instruments," do you mean you focus more on people than on instruments and sound?

ME: Yes, I put together different groups of people based upon who they are, what they play, and how they play. And then comes the next grouping of players, so that the entire evening of maybe ten different groups out of maybe ten different players becomes, in a way, the composition.

AAJ: Do you know in person any of the musicians who come to the workshops?

ME: The one main person who comes is Alexander Gheorghiu. He is the first chair concert meister violinist with the Niederoesterreich Tonkuenstler Orchestra. There are also several others from the Radio Symphonie Orchestra, as well as students and faculty from the University of Music and Performing Arts.

ME: It's rather uncommon for classical musicians to improvise ...

ME: Yes, it is rare for the classical players, who are only interpreters of other people music, to improvise. They are not composers/improvisers, and cannot or do not want to create their own music. When I first started this in 2005, there were also many musicians coming from North and West Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

AAJ: Who is your greatest music mentor?

ME: My two main musical mentors have been [trumpeter] Bill Dixon
Bill Dixon
Bill Dixon
1925 - 2010
, who I worked with in 1984-85, and Cecil Taylor, who I first worked with in 1992 and still do to this day, on occasion. The last time I was with Cecil was when I spent two days in New York City in October, 2011. I was at his house in Brooklyn every day working on new compositions he had put together for us as a duo. My composition style/technique is very much Cecil-influenced. I use the alphabet notation system and think in terms of cells and unit structures, I have also studied European composers and have a Masters degree in composition, with Olivier Messiaen being one of my main influences. And of course, Messiaen takes from Stravinski , who takes from Debussy.

In my early days, I also studied North Indian classical music at the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music in California where I studied voice and table; spent two years taking African music and dance classes with Tunji Vidal and C.K. Ladzekpo; Balinese music with I. Wayan Suweca; and played in the New York City Loisaida Scuola de Samba, whose members included Nana Vasconcelos
Nana Vasconcelos
Nana Vasconcelos

AAJ: Please explain the nature of the alphabet system and unit structures.

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