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"Roche Continents" takes place for the third time


One hundred students from across Europe explore the common ground of creativity in the arts, music and science

For the third time, Roche and the Salzburg Festival have invited 100 students to take part in “Roche Continents”. Students of science, music and the fine arts from 21 European countries will be spending a week together in Salzburg discussing the topic of creativity in their fields of study and uncovering the common ground in what at first glance seem to be very different disciplines. Once again, the programme includes “Kontinente”, a series of concerts that gives young people the opportunity to explore the work of a modern composer. The aim of “Roche Continents”, which first took place in 2007, is to encourage students to engage in a new and unconventional way of working together and in so doing to explore the concepts of creativity and innovation in the arts, music and science.

“Innovation is not just the key to success in our industry”, commented Franz B. Humer, Chairman of Roche’s Board of Directors, “there are many areas in life where people have to be willing to discover and embrace new things. The seeds of progress and innovation are sown in people’s minds, and our aim is to foster a climate of creativity, openness and listening in which students are encouraged to explore unfamiliar paths and try new things.” Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, added: “The arts are society’s laboratory for new ideas. At a time when the world finds itself in a state of bewilderment, it is more important than ever that we listen to artists as architects of change. The Festival is extremely grateful to Roche for making possible this joint venture between the arts and science.”

“Kontinente”, the series of concerts that Roche sponsors at the Salzburg Festival, will this year be focusing on the works of Edgard Varèse. Born in Paris in 1883, Varèse experienced as a young man the birth of a century that was hallmarked by technological innovation and the political upheavals of two world wars. Long regarded as the eccentric outsider of new music, his breakthrough came only towards the end of his life, when leading names in the post-war avant-garde such as Pierre Boulez and John Cage recognised his achievements and picked up where he left off. By the time of his death on 6 November 1965, Varèse’s small, but influential body of work had earned him a position of high esteem. As an artist who moved between and fused disciplines, Varèse drew much of his inspiration from discussions with leading physicists and acousticians and from his circle of artist and writer friends, including Antonin Artaud, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Le Corbusier, Henry Miller, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia, Man Ray and Joseph Stella. He repeatedly sought new ways of composing that integrated scientific concepts and the spatial thinking of the modern art movement into music so as to create experiences of sound in space.

Varèse saw himself as a revolutionary creator of new sounds and was particularly interested in ways of producing music mechanically. Although the technology needed to realise his aural visions was not available at the time, he was already considering the possibilities of electronic sound in the late 1920s.


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