Claudio Calmens was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, on 15 December 1962, Calmens is a tertiary-level teacher of guitar after graduation from the Gilardo Gilardi Provincial Conservatory and is also an attorney at law through his degree from the National University at La Plata.
He is presently devoting himself full time to the creation, teaching, and performance of music. Though a former student of classical guitar under professor Raquel Barragán and the Maestro Jorge Martínez Zárate. He is currently emphasizing performance of the contemporary repertory on the classical, electric and midi guitars. In this role as an interpreter of vanguardist works, he frequently includes in his presentation pieces within the musical-theater idiom or performs as part of chamber group. He has participated in concerts on numerous occasions in halls such as the Centro Cultural San Martín, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Asociación Pestalozzi, Radio Municipal (e.g., Programa Electromúsica, of Ricardo Dal Farra [April, 1998]).
Since 1992 he has furthermore studied in depth contemporary compositional techniques with the aid of electronic media and has benefitted greatly from his association with Donald Haggerty and Graciela Peralta López as theatrical consultant. The Argentine artist Susana Palomeque, under the inspiration of Calmens's music, has produced original canvasses on related themes.
Among his many presentations as soloist, the following appearances are especially noteworthy:
Radio Provincia (Programa Opus, 1986), Teatro Serafín, Junín, Buenos Aires Province (December, 1999), Club Universitario of La Plata (October, 1997 and at the end of 1999)Opening concert in the XIV National Encounter of the Students of Music, Berisso, Buenos Aires Province; featuring works by Larry Polansky, Warren Burt, and Howard Skempton, Colegio de Abogados, La Plata (August, 1994 and June, 2000).
During February of 2001, he visited the United States, sponsored by the Dartmouth Dickey Endowment for International Education, and Frog Peak Music, (a composer's collective). Larry Polansky, the Chair of the Dartmouth College Music Department, and Warren Burt, an American musician living in Australia, composed pieces especially for Calmens's tour, for instance this Fast Random Walk around a Microtonal Fingerboard.
with Christian Wolff & Larry Polansky
On this tour, Calmens both gave solo concerts and performed in duet with Polansky; he also held two improvisational sessions with the Christian Wolff - Larry Polansky - Kui Dong Trio. The venues included Dartmouth College, Bates College (the annual concert sponsored by the Alvin E. David Endowment Foundation), Outpost Performance (Albuquerque, NM), Open Space-Deep Listening Foundation (Kingston, NY), Galapagos Art Café (Brooklyn, NY), and Kalvos & Damian'sNew Music Bazaar (web radio).
Calmens currently holds the academic titles of teacher of music at the Gilardo Gilardi Provincial Conservatory, La Plata, Argentina (in guitar and music appreciation) and at the Berisso School of Arts (in guitar and chamber ensembles).
He has also recently completed a concert tour with them to Cuba as guests of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Camagüey, where they premiered their own pieces, as well as works of others, for chamber ensembles and for orchestra.
During 2004 September and October he has been invited to participate to the Podewil Cultural Center in Berlin playing solo and sharing the “Ensamble Otro” directed by Guillermo Gregorio. Since January of 2005 he is a member of the activities of the cycle ¨Experimenta¨, at Buenos Aires,curated by Claudio Koremblit.
On february and march 2006 Claudio visited Canada, exchanging activity with artists of Toronto, Montreal and Quebec. He has been at the York University, where he was invited by Professor Brian Katz´s Improvisation, and Klezmer classes,
On March the 10 Th. 2006 he played in free improvisation at the concert organized by Professor Casey Sokol at YorkU.
Zypce (percusión), Grod Morel (procesamiento en tiempo real), C C ( guitarra) Adriana de Los Santos (piano) y Claudio Koremblit (guitarra y objetos)
He also has made in 2008 free improvisations with the Latvian -Australian flutist and performer Vineta Lagzzina, that dedicated a piece called ¨Desert¨ For solo guitar.
On january2010 he integrated The Experimenta Quintet, that makes a tour to Ocenia! Including Australia and New Zealand with Adriana de los Santos, Zypze, Grod Morel, Claudio Koremblit and the host, Jim Denley. There, he has premiered a Catherine Schieve´s Piece: ¨Whooping Crane.¨
As a performer, Calmens has developed a repertory of experimental music for both the classical and electric guitars as well as his voice including (among other works):
"II V I" and "34 Chords, Christian Wolff in Hanover and Royalton" was inspired by a chorale of Morton Feldman entitled "Christian Wolff in Cambridge".
"Song 2", written for piano by Howard Skempton and transcribed for guitar by Larry Polansky, edited by Claudio Calmens.
"Ivtoo", by Larry Polansky and dedicated to Claudio Calmens, premiered in November, 2001 (Primer Encuentro de Artes Múltiples y Artes Integradas, La Plata).
"My Monodies # 2" is a piece written by Warren Burt. In an original approach to guitar tuning, Burt achieves an octave scale of 24 quarter tones.
"Fast Random Walk Around a Microtonal Fingerboard" also by Warren Burt, (Dedicated To Calmens too) is a work of three movements combining elements of performance-variable microtonality, aleatority, and algorithmic composition.
"Cancion y Danza" from the spaniard composer Ruiz Pipo’ well known in the Yepes version.
"Central Guitar" by The Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti,is also for classical guitar.
"Extremos" Louis Aguirre (Cuba-Denmark), 1993 for classical guitar.
"La Espiral Eterna" Leo Brouwer, (Cuba) for classical guitar.
"O" (Ben Boretz) arranged by Mary Roberts for electric guitar.
”Open" for electric guitar composed by Mary Roberts.
"Gamelan Vox" Philip Corner, for one or more electric guitars and voice (or by the addition of electronic means).
“Another Possibility”(2004) one of the last compositions of Christian Wolff and “Iyá” by Louis Aguirre ,variations from a García Caturla’s theme, in study.
"Poemus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5" for narrator and computer or digital recordig.
“Lingering Random Chords” Philip Corner, premiered in sepr 2008 at Domus Artis. BA
”Woody” Philip Corner, premiered in sept 2008 at Domus Artis. BA
. What do you expect from music?
I can enjoy or suffer it... -depending on the source and the moment in wich music happens-. I expect some music could help to me to spend the time in a better way...
I think music should be a mirror of the soul. A materialized unconscious, An object to be shared and enjoyed. A treasure to keep in secret. An infinite set of invisible colours, a travel through the ages, an expression of nature. Life itself.
. Which work of your own are you most surprised by, and why?
A classical trio that I composed in 1999. The performers were really good and I was really surprised. All of them are great artists. I always remember that work.
. What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?
Technique is important, I think is part of everything, including feelings, life, personality, honesty solidarity, health, etc... Can be seen as opposite to feeling or be passionate or poetics. But I think that everything goes together during the process of studying, composing or performing.
Trio circular por la luna y por el color, p. 4
. What quality do you admire most in an musician?
. What’s the difference between a good player and a bad one?
Humanity, expression, passion are found in a good player. A bad one is cold. Unexpressive. Mathematical, ruled.
. What are the challenges and benefits of today's music scene?
Challenges: extended music can be played. We can explore instruments with no bounds. Everything can be refused or accepted. We have to find our own field. We can invent our aesthetic.
Benefits : nowadays, everything is possible. Any aesthetic choice can be a little bit more tolerated. (But, not always.).
. Depict the sound you're still looking for.
A sound that represents the green of all different forests. A sound that contains the deep ocean. An eternal space. Snow falling slowly. La estepa Patagónica.
A sound that represents love and fraternity.
. What are your motivations for playing music?
Music has always been like air or water, and I need air and water to be alive.
. Can you describe a sound experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a musician?
A cello player that i could hear and see during a concert 35 years ago: Yehuda Hanani was the name of that cellist. He was incredibly expressive.
. Dream about a perfet instrument.
A perfect instrument would be made by a perfect luthier. They always surprise me. Year by year I discover innovations on new guitars or many other instruments. Sometimes, ancient instruments look perfect, vihuelas, tiorbas, charangos quenas shakuhachis, etc… they must be easy to be played. With a big range of dynamics an timbre.
What is your relationship with other disciplines such as painting, literature, dance, theater...?
I write short stories, poetry, I use to make collages with everything, I like to make short movies, photos, acting, etc..... Sometimes I interact with elements by different sources, such justice, I am a lawyer, and sometimes, arts are the mean to show victim´s suffering, and are a denouncement´s method.
. Where are your roots? What are your secret influences?
Sigmund Freud, Macedonio Fernández (a writer), justice,(it does not exist)... Folklore, Kafka, travels, cultures, my town, crazy people, poor people, suffering people. History, newspapers, old documents,,science fiction, Bradbury, movies, nouvelle vague, dada, surrealism, pathaphysics landscapes, all kind of life experiences, plants.
. What would you enjoy most in a music work?
I enjoy feelings shared with the public. Silences, gestures, jokes. The time that we are immersed.
Ivtoo by Larry Polansky
. If you could, what would you say to yourself 30 years ago, about your musical career?
I would say to me: Go on. Travel, walk. fly, sail, play, everything, meet other artists. meet other people. LIVE YOUR LIFE. That is… Be free. No matter the other´s opinion.
. What quality do you most empatize with in a composer?
Sense of humor. Sociability. tolerance. patience
. Which living or dead artist would you like to collaborate with?
Cage, Cagel, Berio, Nono, Stravinsky, Aguirre, Revueltas…
. What do you like the most about being a musician?
To compose as much I can, to play enjoying everything, to perform or improvise at the moment´s feelings.
with Mark II in Columbia Princeton
Gotas y Metal [Drops and Metal] (1997) is an aleatoric sound piece consisting in metal objects (vessels) drummed on by drops of water on the live stage. The work requires a plastic drop cloth, strategically positioned microphones, and metal receptacles either empty or filled to varying degrees with water. The performance technique—largely random, though partially controlled—is based on the realization of a series of instructions given by the composer, while the aleatority is directed both before and during the moment of execution.
Allegro Kumoi (1997) is a homophonic work that can also be performed by a real orchestra. The title alludes to the pentatonic Japanese scale on which this piece was composed in allegro sonata form.
Fuga 1 [Fugue 1], based on the structure of a neo-Baroque fugue and composed on a mixolydian scale, was designed to be played by either a string quartet or a string orchestra and was premiered in April, 2000 by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Camagüey, Cuba (recorded midi version in CD: IRCO 321, Fondo Nacional De LasArtes: Panorama De La Música Argentina).
Poemus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (1997-1998) were composed for narrator and either computer or digital recording, under texts of Oliverio Girondo or others.
Entrenamiento [Entertainment] (1997) is an improvisational text aimed at preparing the spectators for the telling of the story Futilidad [Futility], a necessary step for inciting the active participation of the audience envisioned for this work.
Futilidad [Futility] is a story created around a phonetic game involving a single consonant (F) which either occurs or predominates in a majority of the words of the text. The participation of the audience, as indicated in the body of the text according to manner prescribed to them in Entertainment , is to be prompted by the performer at the appropriate points during the narration.
Sol Freud (1996) is a literary-musical work stemming from compositional principles of pataphysique. The literary portion arises from the utilization of the program Sigmund Freud in CD with an automatic system of composition, while the musical part stems from the live sequencing on two tracks prepared in the software of the sequencer Cakewalk and performed on the midi guitar. During the performance pauses should occur as prescribed in the directions.
Atomizacion de tangos [Atomization of Tangos] (1998) was composed by a processing in real time of well-known tango sequences by means of the software program M (recorded version: CD IRCO 321, Fondo Nacional de Las Artes).
Las Hermanas Inhalaban Haschish En Holanda (1998) for narrator and Choir of Fairies. Is a story created around a phonetic game involving a single consonant (H).
Overture Soberbia for digital symphony orchestra, composed for recording and anchorman.
El Pesar de los Pájaros [The Birds' Sorrow] (1994) seeks to achieve a symbiosis between the dadaistic climate of its text and the sound capabilities of the midi guitar. The work was premiered in Rautenstrauch Hall of the Camping Musical Bariloche on 26 February 1994 as part of a composition workshop under the auspices of the Antorchas Foundation directed by Maestro Leo Masliah.
Espejos, Certeza, Cereza [Mirrors, Certainty, Cherry] by Claudio Calmens (1994), premiered in the Salon de Actos of the Colegio de Abogados of La Plata on 26September 1999, is a piece that utilizes to the maximum the hold device of the midi guitar while the composer-performer establishes a poetic-literary verbal interplay.
Trio Circular por la Luna y por el Color [Circular Trio For The Moon And For Color] for violin, cello, and piano was premiered by the Trío Gramatges: Louis Aguirre, violin; Nilda Brizuela, piano; and Maylin Sevila, cello, from Camagüey, Cuba, on 24 August 1999 at the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires.
Eili (1999) consists in four versions of the same traditional Yiddish religious melody achieved by means of composite computer processing, with the original recording consisting in the voice of the singer alone without any form of accompaniment.
Sweet Vivi (2000) for electric guitar + midi.
Higher Falls (2001) electro acoustic piece broadcasted in www.Kalvos.org.
Tremendo / Atroz two pieces for the K&D Kombat comeptition (Vermont, Usa, 2005)
Rama de Eucaliptos premiered a the contest K&D Kombat (Vermont, Usa) during 2005, for flute, french horn, 2 sopranos and oboe.