Joseph Giovinazzo - Nen Dance

Program Notes

News ·

Nen Dance is clear and direct in its annunciation of sentiment and its tunefulness.

Light in texture, and bordering on the playful, it hopes to elicit a joviality and coordinated jostling, typical of the character of light dance. But its dance quality is an illusion; the piece is too rhythmically rarefied as a parlour activity. The dance, itself, occurs between the work’s two protagonists, the violin and the clarinet. Each has its own character, and, in their union, meld into a dance like dialogue, where, in the course of their embrace, generates an “ebb and flow” of interaction.


The Japanese word nen “connotes concentration, one-pointedness, thought-moment.”

Kisshomaru Ueshiba

This highly aesoteric term, nen, is made complex by virtue of its simplicity. At the heart of its meaning lies the Zen martial art concept of responding to the moment by being in the moment. To cloud the head with thought and preoccupation can impede response and, in a martial context, be devastating. It refers to a mental state that is free to respond, rather than clogged by anticipation. The freedom of response engendered by this form of mental “detachment", when transposed to the relationship between our dance protagonists, underlies their exchange, and, our, the listeners, response to the musical moment.


#Joseph Giovinazzo

Joseph Giovinazzo is an Australian art music composer and music educator, with performances in Australia, America, and Europe. He is active in the promotion of contemporary Australian art music, and has taught diverse aspects of music for a range of institutions. He was introduced to composition and contemporary music theory by Prof. Tony Gould, and is a graduate of the Music Department at La Trobe University, Melbourne (at the time, Australia's leading institution for the study of musical composition and contemporary art music), completing his Doctorate of Philosophy in the areas of music composition, orchestration, music analysis, and music theory.

He is an ardent, and long standing, practitioner of Aikido, a Japanese mind/body based martial art that focuses on understanding and exploiting the interaction of energies between people. His passion and enthusiasm for Aikido have contributed substantially to the moulding of his artistic and personal disposition.