The Auvillar Community Connection

VCCA’s programming in Auvillar is greatly enriched by the Auvillar community and it's surrounding areas.

This has become clear during the Etchings Festival when a number of community members welcomed guest composers, performers, and participants into their homes. Jacques and Annick Sarraut hosted a beautiful dinner for the entire Etchings Festival as well as others from the community. After a successful first concert, Joelle Cywie welcomed the Etchings guest composers, performers, and staff into her home for celebratory champagne and dessert.

VCCA-France has members in the United States, Auvillar, and the surrounding communities. Many of these members support the programming by welcoming VCCA Fellows in residence or program participants into their homes for cooking demonstrations and meals, and by taking them to visit local sites during their time in Auvillar as well as attending events hosted by VCCA. The VCCA-France is currently helping to raise funds to purchase a keyboard for…

Etchings Is Underway!

The port of Auvillar is full of music now that the Etchings Festival has begun. From the banks of the Garonne River and walking along Esplanade du Port, part of the Saint Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage route that runs through Auvillar and right in front of the Moulin a Nèf, you can hear the creation of music in progress. 

Beginning with the arrival dinner on June 30, the guest composers, performers and participants have come together in the village to create, polish, and explore contemporary music.

A view from the lavoir on Rue de la Fontaine across the river. Rue de la Fontaine is part of the steep hill up to the village from the port. 

The lavoir is a nice spot for a breather, as it is just past the steepest part of the hill and there is a small population of frogs and fish that live in the water there.

The Etchings Festival returns to Auvillar

Beginning June 30th, the Etchings Festival for Contemporary Music will again come to the village of Auvillar. In its tenth year, this festival is a collaboration between VCCA and ECCE and hosts world-renowned master composers and participant composers to develop new contemporary music.
The Etchings Festival will host 18 composers from five countries for eight days of workshops, as well as performances for the community in the beautiful village of Auvillar. This years master composers will be Philippe Hurel, Erin Gee, John Aylward, and Martin Brody.
On Friday, July 6th at 2p.m., 20 students visit from the Music School of Deux Rives in Valence d'Agen, will attend a rehearsal and a presentation by Jean-Philippe Wurtz.

Dana Jones, Assistant Director of Artists’ Services will be in Auvillar working in support of the Etchings Festival and will share her perspective throughout her visit. Check back for updates or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for an insider’s view of this unique f…

Residency opportunities in Malta and Gozo with Fondazzjoni Kreattività

Fondazzjoni Kreattività in Malta, formerly known at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, is now inviting applications from creative artists in all fields to apply for an immersive and community-based artist-in-residence program for 2019. Residencies range from two to four weeks, with residencies and projects taking place between January 2019 and December 2019. Those interested should apply directly to Fondazzjoni Kreattività here.  Although the two entities are no longer in direct partnership VCCA encourages its Fellows to apply for any of the Fondazzjoni Kreattività’s residency program strands.
Fondazzjoni Kreattività and VCCA have exchanged artists, writers, and composers since 2001.  This wonderful partnership was celebrated this fall when VCCA’s Deputy Director Sheila Gulley Pleasants visited Valletta and attended a reunion of Maltese Fellows who had been in residence at Mt. San Angelo through the exchange. (photo)
Since the establishment o…

In Memoriam: Colette Inez (1930 – 2018)

Belgian-born poet, Colette Inez died in January 2018. Here at VCCA, we mourn the loss of a good friend. This award-winning poet was in residence twelve times from 1983 – 2010.Inez with her auburn air and bucket hat was a wonderful summer presence at VCCA.See her tribute to a VCCA hornet in her poem below.
Inez was the author of eleven books of poetry and a memoir, and her work was published in over one hundred anthologies and textbooks. She collaborated with several VCCA Fellows, among them Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and VCCA Fellow David del Tredici. Inez and del Tredici produced a song cycle titled Miz Inez Sez for a CD that “may be the best new music album of the year” wrote The New Yorker. At the time of her death, she was collaborating with VCCA composer Gina Biver on a piece that is scheduled to premiere in October 2018.
Among her honors were fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and three prizes from…

A Kaleidoscope of Pitch

Alexander Blank is working on a solo piece for flute. This might seem like enough to fill a residency, but it is not a typical musical score. Much of the music that Blank writes is microtonal, or “using pitches that lie in-between the white and black keys of the piano,” and these explorations have opened up his compositions to literally billions of additional possibilities.

Blank uses a natural phenomenon called the harmonic series to organize his musical ideas and sound palette. For this piece, Blank looked at the first 64 pitches found in the harmonic series and narrowed that number down to 21 unique pitches that vary in how far “out-of-tune” they sound. He then ordered them “from the highest level of sharp to the lowest level of flat” and placed that range on a gradient colored scale. This visualization assisted him in analyzing the properties of each of the chosen pitches and how they relate to each other in various ways. He calls it “a kaleidoscope of pitch.”

“The visualizations…

Open Studios: Avy Claire

Avy Claire has been busy. Mid-way through her residency she moved to a larger space and has ordered paper multiple times while at Mt. San Angelo. The result is a VCCA studio full of work—paintings hanging on the walls and sculptures resting on every flat surface and suspended from the ceiling.
Having worked in a variety of mediums, Claire is currently painting, and says,“For the past few years I’ve been consciously focused on what a brush stroke does in a painting and how I could pare that down and get really spare.” While at VCCA, she has been experimenting with cutting out those brush strokes, wondering what would happen if they became objects that people could experience in three dimensional ways—even by walking around them. To that end, Claire says she has been doing “a lot of tests.” By trying different paper, different weights of paper, and different adhesives, she has created pieces that work on the wall while at the same time have the potential of being cylinders. She has als…