Selected Performance Examples

films and recordings of Zachàr Laskewicz


Songs of Incantation

Ritual composition based on Ancient Greek text
for masked flute performer and tape

Songs of Incantation
is a music-theatre composition exploring the relationship between rational and irrational language use, between what can be encompassed by verbal language and what can only be communicated with raw sounds. The primary texts used in this composition are in Ancient Greek. Using Ancient Greek text frees the composition from the restrictions of semantic meaning, allowing the words to exist in a sound world where every vocalisation has equal importance: a whisper, a moan or a scream. The theatrical context of the work examines the musical nature of language in ritual.



The emergence, artificialisation and alienation of language, represented in sound and movement.

Based on the work of Velemir Khlebnikov, a Russian futurist poet.
for performer, slides and tape


ZAUM-1 uses poetry by the important Russian cubo-futurist poet Velemir Khlebnikov. Khlebnikov believed strongly in the almost 'magical' power of vocal sounds both to signify and even affect the world in a way beyond signification. The work begins in a state without language, only sounds. Through a developmental process a connection is made between certain movements and vocalisations. By the end of the work, words and sounds initially stepped in primordial and ritual significance, are stripped of meaning and are presented as obsessive gestures.

Meanwhile on the Tower . . .

word play for tape, performer and slides
The menace of the text: words by Edward Gorey, fragmentation by Zachar Laskewicz.
for performer, slides and tape

Meanwhile on the Tower. . . is a composition in which the text itself becomes the musical material. The performer, using a selection of various communication systems including sign language, gestures and the use of images, attempts to tell a story which becomes increasingly hard to follow as the text fragments are repeated and the story begins to make less and less sense. The disintegration of the text questions the purpose of the language, and the controlling function of the musical form suggests the existence of 'musical' structures that we are not even aware of when approaching discourse.

He presented it with a length of string. . .

Or possibly an umbrella. . .

On which she flung herself over the parapet. . .


Traditional performance language turned inside-out in a Russian futurist cabaret piece.
Based on the work of Alexei Kruchenykh, a Russian futurist poet.
for performer, slides and tape

This work is influenced by the zaum poems of Alexei Kruchenykh, a Russian futurist poet who rejected all forms of traditional artistic communication and suggested that a radical zaum language was the only possibility for contemporary art. In ZAUM-2 traditional meanings are stripped from already existing gestural and vocal models and new and ridiculous 'meaning systems' are presented in their place. The performer becomes trapped in an extremely limited performance language, evoking the restriction of verbal communication.







April, 2008 Nachtschimmen Music-Theatre-Language Night Shades, Ghent (Belgium) *
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*Last modified:
April 24 , 2008