Santiago Díez Fischer - Composition

Transforming an everyday object into a musical instrument: a trigger for composition

In this research project I am investigating the process of transforming an everyday object into a musical instrument and how this transformation influences the compositional process.

In recent years, my compositional process has been based on the use of everyday objects as new instruments. In Spanish there are two words for the word "play": "jugar" if you mean a toy, and "tocar" if you mean an instrument. In this project, I experiment with actions and sounds by "playing" ("jugar") with an object: When an action on the object produces an interesting sound for the composition, it is selected and systematised to make that action repeatable and standardised for sonic, compositional and performative purposes. Jugar" becomes "Tocar" - playing with a toy becomes playing an instrument. 

I ask: What happens in the transformation of an everyday object into a musical instrument? How does this transformation influence my compositional process? To answer this question, I will analyse each moment of the process of transforming an object into an instrument: possible actions applicable to each object, dimensions and physical forms of objects, and how these factors are transformed into a sound produced by a repeatable action on an object. I will study and analyse composers who have used objects in their search for new sounds, from Luigi Russolo to contemporary musicians. 

In the course of this research project, I aim to compose four musical works based on the use of objects as new instruments and create an online library of object-based instruments that can be used by composers, performers and sound designers.

First Supervisor: Carola Bauckholdt, ABPU
Second Supervisor: Dr. Ellen Fallowfield, Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB


Santiago Díez-Fischer’s (Argentina) music is based on the search for an organic sonority that combines the acoustic sounds of instruments and different objects with a very personal way of using electronics: a «tactile» music that invites the listener to explore the sculpture of his music.

His music has been performed by ensembles such as Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Distractfold, Eunoia Ensemble, Lovemusic, Ensemble Sur Plus, KNM Ensemble, Ensemble Soundinitiative, Vortex, Le balcon, TM+, BIT20, CAIRN and L’imaginaire. As a composer, he has participated in residencies and festivals as for instance IRCAM - CURSUS, Schloss Solitude Akademie 2011, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Impuls Akademie, Festival Borealis. He received commissions and awards from Siemens Foundation, Pro Helvetia, Borealis Festival, the French Embassy in Argentina, Argentinian Mozarteum, Cité internationale des Arts, Clang Cut Book Berlin, Mixture Festival, Joan Guinjoan Prize, among others.

Díez-Fischer is professor of composition at the Pantin Conservatory in Paris. For 5 years he was assistant professor in the composition class at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland. He did a Master's degree in composition and in choral conducting in Argentina and studied in Germany with Rebecca Saunders and in France with Philippe Leroux.