Pulsating skin performance. Photos Santiago Villar Martín.

Pulsating skin performance. Photos Santiago Villar Martín.

Darmstadt Summer Course

Posted on August 1, 2021

Justina attended Darmstadt Summer Course – the international platform for contemporary and experimental musical practices and composition. Her new piece Pulsating skin for 4 snare drums and electronics was performed by Pablo Mena Escudero, Federico Tramontana, Romane BouffiouxCorentin Barro and Justina Repeckaite herself by the Saint Ludwig church in Darmstadt. It was part of the workshop Music in the City led by Christian Dierstein, Francoise Rivalland, David Helbich & Cathy Milliken.

Program note of Pulsating skin 13″

4 snare drums have transducers – small loud-speakers that transmits sound towards the interior of the instrument, attached to their skin. Sound is being sent to drums that act like resonating bodies manipulated by human touch. These harmonies are inspired by the physical models, the resonance of a circular membrane tuned to a snare drum frequency. Performers illuminate the sounds they are hearing (and feeling!) with no score to follow. The pulses that guide musicians are created from a superposition of slightly different frequencies as the sound alternately interfere constructively and destructively thus creating pulsation (beats). Snare drums radiate mechanical pulses characteristic to the city combined with allusions to the nature still present in urban surroundings.

Performance of Pulsating skin. Photo David Helbich.

Performance of Pulsating skin. Photo David Helbich. Other pictures Santiago Villar Martin.

Duo Dubois also performed Repeckaite’s composition Ciclo Continuo (2021) for soprano saxophone and percussion in the Open Space of Darmstadt Summer Course , available online.

Justina’s participation at the festival was supported by i-Portunus creative mobility program.

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In an article Darmstädter Ferienkurse 2021 from the journal TEMPO (Cambridge University Press) musicologist Max Erwin writes:

“Right next door in front of the steps leading up to the Ludwigskirche, Justina Repečkaitė’s Pulsating skin began as four snare drum membranes began to vibrate from the effect of transducers placed on their underside, just as the title promised. The four percussionists here – Corentin Barro, Romane Bouffioux, Pablo Mena, and Federico Tramontana – acted not so much as traditional action-oriented drummers but more like the gardeners or doting chaperones of the sounds their instruments produced as they evolved, a task they accomplished with both surgical focus and elegant sensitivity. This piece really just worked – it adapted to the outdoor space and transformed it, creating a new environment while somehow not backsliding into sound installation territory. To underline this point, as I write this, I can’t really remember a single specific aural event from Pulsating skin (and, since this was one of the few concerts not recorded and broadcast online, I can’t refresh my memory), but the overall impression and sensation of it – inviting, constantly changing, gritty and lustrous – are fresh in my mind. It was generally agreed that, had a Kranichstein prize been awarded this year, Repečkaitė would have been a strong frontrunner.”

Tempo , Volume 76 , Issue 299 , January 2022

Tempo , Volume 76 , Issue 299 , January 2022

TEMPO exists to document the international new music scene while contributing to, and stimulating, current debates therein. Its emphasis is on musical developments in our own century, as well as on music that came to prominence in the later twentieth century that has not yet received the attention it deserves. The articles and reviews cover the new music scene in all its complexity, featuring discussions of compositional trends, performance practices, listening practices, new music contexts and reception histories. TEMPO is sympathetic both to writing about new forms of creative practice (electronic, interdisciplinary, performance-based) and to writing that employs innovative methods of enquiry that differ from the aims of traditional musicology.

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