Nemanja Radivojević (1981, Serbia/Switzerland) was born in Novi Sad. His works have been performed by, among others, Asko/Schönberg (Amsterdam), Ensemble Recherche (Freiburg), Lucerne Alumni Ensemble, Contrechamps (Geneva), Matka (Geneva), Ensemble Proton Bern, Hodiernis (Bern), Ensemble Interface (Frankfurt), and AdHOC (Cluj, Romania), Construction Site (Belgrade), and Studio 6 (Belgrade).
Radivojević has composed music for ten theatre plays by Brod Teatar (Novi Sad) and works as a music critic for the Swiss music journal Dissonance.
After studying guitar at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Radivojević continued studying in Geneva, where he earned an MA degree in music theory, and then in Bern, where he acquired, in September 2015, an MA degree from the composition class of Xavier Dayer.
And the Angel saw the Black Swanwas commissioned by the Swiss Composers’ Society, with support from Pro Helvetia and Nikati de Luz. It was premièred at the Lucerne Festival in September 2016.
The metaphor of the angel stems from one of Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, inspired by Paul Klee’s drawing Angelus novus. Written shortly before the philosopher’s tragic demise at the beginning of the Second World War, Benjamin’s text captivated me with its description of the Angel, who prophetically announces the end of History. For Benjamin’s Angel, events, which humans see in terms of a causal procession, constitute a single catastrophe. Opposed to that is the metaphor (borrowed from Nassim Taleb) of the black swan, which stands for an unpredictable and sudden event, whose phenomenality a posteriori seems obvious and only logical enough.
The work’s two sets of materials develop independently, stemming from my fascination with, first, parallel structural-formal flows and, second, the phenomenon of bodily movement, as well as music in which pitch as a parameter is replaced by the degree of audio saturation.