Jannie Pranger is a singer and musicologist. She is a ‘real’
performer in the sense that for her the charm of any one performance depends on
a proper going together of components, which only become defined within the
process of performing. Highlights of her career are the staging of Iannis
Xenakis’ Oresteia where she sang the roles of Kassandra and Goddess Athena. Her
recital Music for solo voice created sensation at the Beijing Normal University.
In collaboration with pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama she revisited the traditional
recital by addressing its musical and ritual conventions. Composers knew how to
find her and she premiered many pieces. Improvisation constitutes a recurring
part throughout her career. She worked with outstanding improvisers such as
Roscoe Mitchell and the late Lawrence D “Butch” Morris, John Zorn, Wolter
Wierbos, Peter van Bergen, and many others of the Dutch and international
Currently Pranger is doing research, at the Utrecht University for a dissertation on re-thinking musical performance. She explores how to think music from within the occurring, which involves thinking with music in accounting for its dynamic reality. This is an approach that differs considerably from familiar research that starts from a pre-defined musical object, in order to see, for instance, how it is constructed, or to say what is means.
Pranger’s dissertation is situated at the intersection of musicology, musical practice, philosophy, and science studies. The point of intersection concerns a shared interest in the generative working of relationality between temporality, materiality, and sociality. Her approach may also be gathered under the name of new materialism.
For one of her case studies she turns back to a certain fork
in the road, where singers were directly confronted with the materialities of
technological machines: the arrival of the electro-acoustic sound reinforcement
system at the beginning of the twentieth century, with the microphone as its
most striking icon. The microphone’s transducer changed the topology of music
production, performance and experience, and effectuated a reconfiguration of
the musical field along the lines of entertainment and industry. Specific
emphasis is put on how the transducer encourages rethinking musical time,
space, materiality and sociality.