NEWS

11th of September 2022

 Medusa cycle at Gaudemus Final night

We all have heard of the Greek mythological monstrous figure of Medusa, but what lies behind her story? The transformation of Medusa from a woman into a monster is a good example of the horrors and wounds that are inflicted on rape victims. Once a beautiful guardian of Athena’s temple, Medusa made the vows of chastity. Her beauty, mostly depicted by her voluminous hair, took the attention of many men including the God Poseidon who entered the temple, transformed into a bird, and raped the priestess. Athena, out of rage, blamed Medusa transfigured her into a beastly Gorgon and then isolated her in a distant island. Apart of losing her human features and living in isolation, Medusa also got the curse of transforming into stone anyone who would look into her eyes, thus making it impossible for her to have any human interaction. Many men and heroes tried to approach the island in order to kill her, but it was the semi God Perseus who finally succeeded in cutting Medusa’s head. It is said that Medusas sisters cried after hearing the news, their weeping made Athena feel pity, and she then created the double reed aulos to tell the story of Medusa’s death. 

Through this mythological Greek figure, I want to unfold the nightmare of the women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of gender abuse. A disorder that transforms the psyche of the victims obscuring and covering their initial personality. Victims feel misused, objectified, deprived of their human dignity…they feel ashamed, broken and incapable of assuming and communicating their pain as there usually is no one around able to decode what happens to them. Their reality is deformed by the vail of dissociative periods, anger outburst uncontrolled fears and, at times, suicide attempts. All these features, amongst many others, make them difficult people to be around with and isolation becomes a common outcome when their symptoms are getting out. 

 

18th of June 2022

 Dag van de Componist

On Saturday, June 18, 2022, New Music NOW launches the first Day of the Composer. A celebration of new music with more than 100 concerts on 1 day. Throughout the country you will hear music by over 100 composers active in the Netherlands: not only in concert halls and theaters, but also from bell towers, on the streets and in living rooms. Throughout the day, NPO Radio 4 is dedicated to the Dutch composer.
The Rotterdam Ensemble Oihua is happy to participate and has prepared the following program:
-Ronddolen for bass clarinet by Wim Henderickx ,
-Reversal of for bass clarinet by Saskia Venegas,
-Fantasy for violin by Femke Sonnen,
-Premonición for violin by Saskia Venegas
-Jayou for violin by Myrthe van de Weetering.
Bass clarinet Mayuko Takeda
Violin Ola Kwiatkowska
For further information about the Day of the Composer check out:

http://newmusicnow.nl/dag-van-de-componist

 

28th of Mei 2022

 At the Aegean shores 

Spanish premiere by Basque National Orchestra.

Musikaste 2022 and 28-05 19:00 Lekuona Renteria

At the Aegean shores is a programmatic piece that reflects on  what I witnessed working as a volunteer at a refugee camp in Lesbos during the summer of 2016.

The piece starts by depicting a rubber boat that fight’s its way through the wild current that separates Turkey from Lesbos. This energetic and textural passage ends in an abrupt clash that depicts the brusque arrival of a dangerously overloaded rubber boat to the “the land of hope”.  The previously agitated passage is replaced by a contemplative drone that will slowly be coloured with a melody inspired by the rich melodic gestures and modal flavours of Greek music. This melody will be accompanied by rhythmical patterns that represent the prayers of the Orthodox church (played by the corn anglaise) that are imposed to the inhabitants of the island through big speakers placed outside the church walls. The textural metallic fragments played by the string section represent the wind passing through the leaves of the trees of the island combined with the sound of the many insects that inhabit it. The continuous airy D and A drones performed by the Brass are a mixture of the variety of airy sounds that can be perceived in the island melted with the drones that are used to support soloistic sections of traditional Greek music.

The expressive melodic passage will attempt to develop itself but will gradually be swallowed by a new current (initiated by the strings) that will depict, the European bureaucratic system. A system which will strip the newly arrived of their autonomy to decide the direction of their own lives, a system that will fence their movement and freeze their daily routines into an endless wait for approval, an agonising non-existence. A system that drains the little spark left in their eyes.

And while time passes these stories become “old news” whereas boats continue to arrive and people continue to be stuck in huge inhuman camps.

I hope we will be able to find a decent way to include and assist all those who escape from horror. I hope that in the future we will not have to look back at this moment in history and say “we should have …”.

 

6th and 7th of November 2021

 

Medusa cello cycle performed by Maya Fridman

Premiere 2nd movement The Bird at Erato Festival  at 20:15.

Premiere 3rd movement The Cave at  November Music 16:30 and 17:30

Saskia Venegas wrote ‘Medusa’ for Maya Fridman, a four-part piece for solo cello, with electronics and voice. The mythical Medusa was raped as a priestess by the god Poseidon, turned into a monster as punishment and banished to an island for an existence in solitude. Saskia Venegas used the myth as the basis for a piece that reflects on the symptoms of PTSD. The first part, ‘The priestess’, premiered during the Cello Biennale 2020. The second and third movements – ‘The Bird’ and ‘The Cave’ – will be heard for the first time on 6 and 8 November during the Erato Festival in Meppel and November Music in Den Bosch.

See New Music Now for more in depth information about this project.

 

18th of June 2021

 

The beast’s dream

During the Walden Festival (18.07), visitors were able to learn about Musica’s DIY instrument ‘The bEAST’, with an open workshop where they could experiment to their heart’s content. Composer Saskia Venegas also presented the performance ‘THE bEAST’S DREAM’ based on a soundscape compiled from previous improvisations with The Beast. The composition was played by Bert Van Laethem (violin) and Maarten Lingier ( piano) accompanied by a soundscape and the public’s intervention playing the Beast.

The bEAST is a collaboration between Musica, Impulse Centre for Music and KlaraFestival, within the framework of Sounds Now, co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme.

Registration: Fabelfilm & ReMusic.

 

 

12th of June 2021

 

Islands of peace

An intimate concert in an intimate setting.
“Islands of peace” is a solo violin recital created by violinist and composer Saskia Venegas. For this concert, a new composition for violin and electronics will be written, which will be combined with existing repertoire chosen because of the spiritual background of the unique location: a hofje.
The name hofje comes from the Middle Ages and is connected with the beguine movement. This movement started in the twelfth century and was closely related to “minne” (to live), a word that has disappeared from our vocabulary. The minstrels sang of courteous love and so music was central. It is known that the strophic poems of Hadewijck, a poet and beguine from the thirteenth century, could be sung. Hadewijck is seen as a spiritual leader, a woman who participated actively in community life. .

This project was financed by Fonds Podium Kunsten balkonscenes

 

5th and 6th of June 2021

The weekend of silence

A project by Ensemble Oihua

‘The weekend of silence’ is a project by Ensemble Oihua based on the ‘Day of Silence’.
 ‘Day of Silence’ is a campaign that seeks to shed light on what many LGBTQ youth experience daily. Initially intended to focus on this problem within the school system, it has since expanded into workplaces, university campuses, and sporting events. Yearly, millions participate by staying silent for the duration of their day, representing the silencing of LGBTQ students.
 
Having this subject as point of departure, Ensemble Oihua is willing to help awareness be spread through music and a selection of stories given by people from the LGBTQ community.
 
Our program consists of 4 solo pieces:
 
Ronddolen  by Wim Henderickx, 
Aphasia by Mark Appelbaum 
Premonición by Saskia Venegas Aernouts
On Command by Panos Gklistis.
 

18th of March 2021

Klarafestival 2021

The air we breath

Composition/concept Saskia Venegas

Violin/voice Dimmanda La Berge Dramm

Visual/concept Nele Fack

Do musicians get the last word in the creation of a film, a video clip, a digital concert or do visual artists get the final say? KlaraFestival ventured a unique experiment and commissioned four duos, each consisting of a composer and a visual artist, to create new work.

“The air we breathe is a reflection on human impact on the environment,” explains Saskia Venegas Aernouts. “Our overconsumption, overexploitation, pollution and deforestation have led to a collapse of resources, a meteoric reduction of wilderness, extinction of animal and floral species, raise of the global temperature… This is our work, the result of our lack of empathy and respect towards the earth and all its living species. I frequently ask myself if we are actually that ‘human’. This piece is an invitation to stop taking and start giving, an invitation to reverse the damage we have created. Everything is not yet lost.

Play Video

Artist in Residence 2021 at

Cultureland

In collaboration with

Two Envelops

Nieuwe Noten Amsterdam

Cultureland is a foundation that organizes creative work periods, projects and activities at the cutting edge of culture and nature. Cultureland started the Artist In Residence program in 2017, giving artists time and space to develop work relating to the (urban) landscape and (natural) environment. 

 

28th of October 2020 -Premiere

Medusa – The priestess

 For singing cellist and electronics

Premiere on the 28th of October at the Cello Biennale Amsterdam by Maya Fridman

The priestess is the first movement of a 5 movement cello solo piece that will go under the name of Medusa. 

 We all have heard of the Greek mythological figure of Medusa, but what lies behind her story? The transformation of Medusa from a woman into a monster is a good example of the horrors that are infected on rape victims.Through her story I want to unfold the nightmare of women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of gender abuse.
 
You can hear the first part of the piece at minute 14:59  at the YouTube link.
 

7th of March 2020

Kyma

For string orchestra, aleatory ensemble, plastic ware, percussion and electronics

Piece commissioned by CoMA Eindhoven

Kyma is a Greek word that means wave. Since many years water is an element that inspires my work. Its transformability, its cyclic character, its omnipresence… The sea is the realm of water and in this moment its resources are slowly decreasing, its ecosystem diminishing its landscapes polluted… We would scarcely be directly confronted with the scope of our actions if it wouldn’t be for the response of the waves that return to the shores the waste that belongs to us. In Spain we also use the word wave to describe an event or situation that has a massive chain reaction with a direct and big impact, something ones attention cannot escape to. During this past year we have seen how the youth has gradually but steadily stood up to march and protest in order to protect our mother earth.

Kyma is a piece with a programmatic character which refers to the effects of pollution to our planet as well as echoes the efforts of the global youth movement Friday’s for future .

29th of February 2020

Spain’s silenced voices

The core of this project is commemorate and spread the work of the Spanish composers who suffered the consequences of Francoist repression. Being 2019 the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish civil war I started searching in Spanish archives for the names and scores of those whose music was banned from public performance. 

The result of this research will be performed for the first time on the 13th of November as part of the 13th Historical Memory and Human Rights edition in Soria, Spain.The concert will have a historical and informative frame where original compositions and my own arrangements will be performed by Ensemble Oihua. The event will finish with my composition A veces, el silencio es la peor mentira (sometimes, silence is the biggest lie).Which is a critique of the political social and historical silence that Spain still suffers from.This programatic piece describes the inhumane proportions, dark past and actual function of  The Valley of the Fallen where Franco has been buried till October 2019.

1st of January 2020

Familie by Milo Rau

In 2007 in Calais, a whole family hanged themselves: the parents and their two children. Never a motive was found, the suicide note stated” “we messed up, sorry”.

Familie is staged by a real family: actors An Miller and Filip Peeters do not only act together as a couple, but for the first time in their career they are on stage with their two teenage daughters Leonce and Louisa- and their dogs.

What reasons, what traumas underline such a suicide? Familie   is an experiment, an ethnological study of today’s private life, an exhibition of everyday: on stage we see the house of family Demeester – or is it the house of the family Peeters-Miller?.Together they reconstruct  the mysterious case of the family Demeester, following the journey of their own family, questioning the construction of family as rteh cell of life and origin of our world today.

13th of November 2019

Spain’s silenced voices

The core of this project is commemorate and spread the work of the Spanish composers who suffered the consequences of Francoist repression. Being 2019 the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish civil war I started searching in Spanish archives for the names and scores of those whose music was banned from public performance. 

The result of this research will be performed for the first time on the 13th of November as part of the 13th Historical Memory and Human Rights edition in Soria, Spain.The concert will have a historical and informative frame where original compositions and my own arrangements will be performed by Ensemble Oihua. The event will finish with my composition A veces, el silencio es la peor mentira (sometimes, silence is the biggest lie).Which is a critique of the political social and historical silence that Spain still suffers from.This programatic piece describes the inhumane proportions, dark past and actual function of  The Valley of the Fallen where Franco has been buried till October 2019.

 

20th of October 2010

Leading Ladies

With Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, Three Strong Women and Giovanna d’Arco on the poster, this fall the Mint is all about female heroism. The moment to take a detailed look at the place of the beautiful and strong sex in the history of the art form of opera and in contemporary opera.

Ad part of this event my violin solo piece “Premonción” will be performed, amongst two other pieces by Femke Sonnen.

 

 

1st of July 2019

On the 1st of July I was invited to Spanish National tv station, RTVE “La hora cultural” to speak about Ensemble Oihua’s project Los Silenciados.  

Here you can find a link where you can watch the complete interview:

www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/la-hora-cultural/horacultural-01-07-19/5309758/#

17th of April 2019

I’m very happy to share that my music will be part of Milo Rau’s next piece  Orestes in Mosul.

The Oresteia is not only the one single trilogy that has come down to us from classical antiquity and one of mankind’s greatest tragedies, but it also represents the myth of the foundation of civilisation, whereby the principle of the blood feud, the never-ending cycle of revenge, an eye for an eye, was replaced by the principles of justice, integration and reconciliation. Milo Rau will stage this tragedy with a mixed ensemble of European and Iraqi actors. The process includes research and activities in Mosul, where the Jihadi caliphate of ISIS was declared in 2014.

 

18th of February 2019

Ensemble Oihua is a young and dynamic ensemble dedicated to discover and perform contemporary music, engaging the public through their intense and energetic performances. Their debut piece A veces, el silencio es la peor mentira became a key stone and a representation of their engagement and their approach towards the social unrest of today. The eclecticism of their members offers a rich palette of sonic proaches that under the hands of their director melt into one another compounding a strong and firm sonic voice.

28th of December 2018

I’m very happy to announce that I will be writing a cello solo piece for the very talented Maya Fridman which will be premiered at the end of 2019. More information will follow up soon.

25th of October 2018

Due to the successful response of the audience Eiland will have extra performances on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4thof November. Don’t miss the chance and reserve your tickets at:

https://www.stormkop.be/programma

Eiland

30th of September 2018

My work “A veces, el silencio es la pero mentira” has been selected by ISCM Vlaanderen as one of the six pieces for the Call for works of the World Music Days Festival that will take place in Tallinn in Mei 2019. The piece is written for violin, viola, cello, contrabass, flute, clarinet, percussion, piano and mezzosoprano.

https://www.iscm.org/catalogue/composers/venegas-saskia-f-belgium

1st of August 2018

My violin solo piece Premonición will be performed by Ophelie Sanchez as part of the Belgian festival Zomer van Antwerpen.

The piece will be played on the 21stof August at the Zomerfabriek in Zurenborg, Antwerp

20th of June 2018

Theatre group The Navigators commissioned me to compose the soundscape for Eiland, an interactive theatre performance which will have it’s premiere on the 30th of June at The Antwerps’ droogdokken.

10th of Mei 2018

My pieces will be performed during the Composition Festival of the Antwerp Conservatory.

A veces, el silencio es la peor mentira, will be performed by the new music ensemble Oihua and conducted by Txemi Etxebarria at the white hall of the Singel.

The first half of my music theatre piece At night, Flamingos fly will have it’s premiere at the yellow hall of the Singel.

16th of April 2018

You can now watch the live recording of the premiere of A veces, el silencio es la peor mentira, performed by Hermes Ensemble on February 25th 2018, at AMUZ Antwerp.