Studies on Empathy (2016)

Studies on Empathy (2016) Adobe_PDF_Icon_svg
Alto Flute in G, Bass Clarinet in B♭, Harp, Percussion (Marimba, 2 Susp. Cymbals, Gran Cassa)
Duration: 12′
Commissioned by Ensemble Adapter, with funds provided by Madetoja Foundation (Madetoja-säätiö)
Fp: Ensemble Adapter, Tampere Biennale, 15 April 2016, Tampere (Finland)

The live recording below is from Ensemble Adapter‘s second performance of the work. It is recorded on September 16th 2016 in Berlin under the auspices of Rotation concert cycle and in conjunction of the Adoptions project.

Kristjana Helgadóttir, alto flute
Ingólfur Vilhjálmsson, bass clarinet (& paper)
Gunnhildur Einarsdóttir, harp (& electric fan)
Matthias Engler, percussion (Marimba, 2 cymb., G.C.)

(in case the player above is not working, click here to go hear the music for free over at, using your browser.)

Studies on Empathy
Commissioned by Ensemble Adapter
with funds provided by Madetoja-säätiö (Madetoja Foundation)

…the body in the voice as it sings, the hand as it writes, the limb as it performs…” –Roland Barthes, “Le grain de la voix” *

Studies on Empathy (2016) takes materiality as the medium of musical expression, i.e. the information that the sound carries of its own immediate production: how much force, resistance, friction, sensitivity… I experience this kind of listening as empathetic. This is an important aspect, because, as even modern neuroscience tells us, the opposite of loving your fellow man is not hating them—it is indifference.

Written in positive feelings of continuity, trust, passion and friendship, this work is my second Ensemble Adapter commission to date.

© 2016 Jarkko Hartikainen

* translation from the French original by Stephen Heath; Image Music Text, 1977

Composer introducing the piece before the Berlin premiere on September 16th, 2016:

performance history of Studies on Empathy

Sat 22 October 2016 – third performance, Estonian premiere
AFEKT Festival, Tallinn (Estonia)
Ensemble Adapter

Fri 16 September 2016 – second performance, German premiere
ExRotaprint, Berlin (Germany)
Ensemble Adapter

Fri 15 April 2016 – world premiere!
Tampere Biennale, Tampere (Finland)
Ensemble Adapter