Mid-Study Presentation – Faidra Chafta Douka

Bodies in Resonating Action

This research project investigates the initiation of composition and compositional process through the body of the performer. The body, not only in its obvious characteristics of materiality and movement in space, but also in other of its fundamental elements, such as thinking, breathing, presencing. The compositional material focuses on the physical and mental processes of the instrumentalists as well as the observations of the interplay between them and the resulting sound manifestations. Close and systematic work with single musicians is the core of the methodology, which aims at understanding and discussing the mechanics of an instrument, established technique as well as extending that already embodied knowledge by exploring other conceptual possibilities, boundaries and limitations. This practice leads to the question of how the performer’s experience can inform and shape the material of composition.

Since the traditional western notation system is constructed with the purpose of describing sound, composing from the body inherently poses important questions in regard to notation and the role of the score in rehearsal and performance. Aside from the purposes of describing sound to make the work reproducible, developing notation is fundamentally a way of visualizing and depicting a way of thinking. This way of working and notating described above however renders the piece often dependent on the individual performer and composer, and in this way moves away from the notion of creating a work as an object in itself, complete and reproducible.

Investing time to delve into and explore the communication and interaction with the performers, which is a method widely used for instance in theatre or dance, underlines the value of rehearsing in this research process. In this way the ritual of performance seems to be extending into the rehearsal space, and generates the need to observe the role of the composer in this ritual situation, as well as the performer in this dichotomy between ‘ritual’ and ‘ritualizing’, between performing structures and experiencing in the body.

Internal Supervisors and External Advisors: Isabel Mundry and Jörn-Peter Hiekel (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste).

Faidra Chafta Douka


Faidra Chafta Douka (b. 1990 in Athens) is a composer based in Berlin. She studied composition and experimental music theater at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Hochschule für Musik Dresden and the Universität der Künste Berlin. Since 2019 she is a Doctoral candidate for artistic research at the Kunstuniversität in Graz and KHdK in Zürich, where she researches compositional methods starting from the body of the performer, the process of rehearsing, issues of notation as a visualization and expression of thought and the concept of ritual. Her artistic activity includes instrumental, music theatre and performance pieces often exploring process, repetition and the poetry deriving from the captured fictional frame of a live performance. In the recent years she focuses more on working in groups, as well as closely with performers creating the space for constant and immediate interaction and feedback.

Her pieces have been performed in workshops, festivals and other concerts among others by Ensemble Proton Bern, Ensemble Ascolta, Manufaktur für aktuelle Musik, Dissonart Ensemble, AuditivVokal Dresden, Dresdner Philharmonie and trio sostrenuto. She has held a scholarship from the Ad Infinitum Foundation (AIF) and the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst (DAAD), as well as the Elsa-Neumann Stipendium des Landes Berlin, and she has been a resident artist at the Künstlerhof Schreyahn in Niedersachsen.