Collaborative Composer/Performer Creative Processes: A Practice-Based Research on the Genesis of João Madureira’s Solo Piano Works

Ana Telles

CESEM – Évora University, Portugal


In the context of João Madureira’s total musical output, compositions featuring the piano represent about half the total number of works. Indeed, the piano integrates different instrumental typologies, very often having been employed in association with sung or spoken voice.

 In the latter works, the piano tends to assume an accompanying role; in ensemble pieces, it often structures the musical discourse, namely in what concerns harmonic and thematic treatment. More recently, the piano has been treated as field of experimentation and research, in the context of an intense collaborative process between me, as a performer/practitioner-researcher (Robson, 2002), and the composer; such shared creative work unfolded mostly between 2009 and 2015, having led to the creation of several works for solo piano, including a set of nine Literary Etudes – Portraits, of which a premiere audio recording is about to be released in the Melographia Portugueza collection (by mpmp – Movimento Patrimonial pela Música Portuguesa).

The present paper intends to present João Madureira’s Literary Etudes – Portraits, for solo piano, as a case-study for different types of composer-performer interaction (cf. hierarchical, consultative, cooperative, collaborative processes; Taylor, 2016), assuming a certain subjectivity inherent to a practice-based research of this kind (Gray, 1998). The theoretical framework for collaborative composer-performer interactions in contemporary music making will be provided by authors such as Hayden & Windsor, 2007; Kanga, 2014; Carey, 2016; Taylor, 2016; Redhead & Glover, 2018, while the methods adopted will rely on the observation of a diary I kept during the interactive process and correspondence exchanged at that time between me and the composer; musical analysis of different versions of the printed scores, as well of life and studio recordings of the works in question, will also be conducted. With this study, I intend to demonstrate how, in this specific case, performative issues may be considered creative tools in the shared compositional process.

Keywords: Collaborative creative process, João Madureira, Piano music



Ana Telles | Agregação (Música e Musicologia), Universidade de Évora (2017); Docteur de l’Université (Musique et Musicologie), Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne (2009); Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (Musique et Musicologie), Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne (2002); Master of Musical Arts (MMA, Music – Piano Performance), New York University (2001); Bachelor of Music (BM, Music – Piano Performance), Manhattan School of Music (1999); Bacharelato em Música (Piano), Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa (1995). Ana Telles performs regularly in Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Cuba, Brazil, Taiwan, Canada and the United States, as a soloist or integrated in chamber music groups. Her discography includes over twenty published CD’s. She develops research projects in the fields of Music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Portuguese modern and contemporary music, Piano music, having authored a significant number of book chapters, papers in peer-reviewed journals and musical editions, including a critical edition of Luís de Freitas Branco’s Piano Preludes (AvA Musical Editions). Associate professor with habilitation at the University of Évora’s Music Department, she is currently the Director of the School of Arts of the same university.