Sara Caneva

(MA) composer, conductor

The core of my compositional thoughts is the sound quality, declined in many branches of the listening perception, also in relation to the gestures that produce sound and to the environment. ”Eclipse” is an opera project for singing soloists, choir, one percussionist and electronics. The opera’s plot deals with an old man seeing his first total solar eclipse, and the impact of this phenomenon on his repressed painful memories. Essential musical components in the opera will be a Nordic sea soundscape and its orchestration, and a sea soundscape from the north-east of Italy, described in the novel “Eclissi” by E. Sinigaglia. The choir will take the place of instruments and will serve not as a words speaker, but as a tool for soundscape orchestration. During the residency, I would like to deepen the concept of ”blind concerts”, i.e. performance situations in which both audience and players act in complete darkness. The absence of visual cues influences the acoustic perception: on this topic, I will lead a study and sketch scores to find effective potential and practical applications in dramatic and musical contexts.

I expect to work at Saari through 2 phases: In the first, I will make recordings of the local soundscape, analyze the recordings, draw a work plan and a macro musical structure; then, I will set some excerpts of the final work (electronics or choir). November and December will be dark and cold months, that, nevertheless, might enhance my mind’s productivity and experience of working in a safe environment without distraction.

I usually prepare my composition plan first by writing verbal journals: this aligns my personal development with my work and cleans any possible uncertainty around the main point of my projects. Then, this turns into musical sketches. I realize all my scores directly digitally. I do often a conspicuous amount of preliminary research on extra-musical intersecting topics and make as many recordings as possible of the sonic local environment and people. This, I get an overall theoretical and concrete view that I can interpret and push forward with creative means.

Sara Caneva (1991) pursued her studies at Rome and Milan Conservatoire and the Stuttgarter Musikhochschule, graduating in Composition, Orchestral Conducting and Piano. In 2020 she has been a nominee for the Classical: NEXT Innovation Award and one of the twelve selected conductors at LaMaestra Competition-Philharmonie de Paris. From January 2021 she will be PhD researcher in Musical Composition at the University of Birmingham, exploring the influences of visual stimuli on acoustic perception and potential developments of musical performance in full darkness. 

Sara got composition commissions from Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia,  Salzburg Mozarteum, Festival Pucciniano, Romaeuropa Festival, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, a. o. and has been granted from institutions such as Kone Foundation (2020), Land Steiermark Kultur Amt (2019), Bogliasco Foundation, Schleswig-Holsteinisches Künstlerhaus (2018), Ticino Musica, Residencia de Estudiantes (2017). 

Her music has been performed by groups such as the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Schallfeld Ensemble, Mdi Ensemble, MCME/MACM, NAMES Ensemble, a. o., broadcasted on Italian and Austrian national radios, and published by Edizioni Suvini Zerboni. In 2016 she won a two-year Young Artist Position at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, where she brought on stage her new opera “ON-OFF”, world premiere, under her own baton.

As a conductor, she went in-depth in her training at the International Ensemble Modern Akademie (IEMA) and Peter Eötvös Foundation, specializing in contemporary repertoires. Among her recent commitments, she collaborated with the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, the Schallfeld Ensemble and Helga Davis for a new multimedia opera tour, and with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia at the Quirinale within Rai Radio3 Concerts. Also, since 2018 Sara led audiences through soundwalks in several places across Europe, with keen attention to sound ecology, biodegradable instruments, open-air sound installations and land art.