Blas Emilio Atehortua composed in front of the camera (Photo: Grupo Interdís)

An investigation team led by a Russian mathematician and a Colombian electronic engineer are traveling the world to document persons who had an important influence on Colombia’s heritage of classical music.

Galina Likosova and Hernan Humberto Restrepo started in 2007 with an interview with famous Colombian composer Blas Emilio Atehortua in Venezuela’s capital Caracas.

Instead of only interviewing Atehortua, they tried to document the musical mastermind’s creative activity in every audio-visual way possible. This meant that they recorded his daily life and work by video camera and microphone for twelve hours a day for one week.

“Unlike conventional documentaries, ours are never really finished, they remain open. The research doesn’t stop when a documentary gets published, but we keep investigating, searching and sorting,” one of the investigators told local newspaper El Tiempo.

This particular way of working resulted in the making of a film documentary on Atehortua which included the artist composing a piece of music “live on camera.”

But the investigators went further than just producing an audiovisual documentary; they try to become a part of the personal lives of the musicians they are working with, creating a close relationship in order to truly seize the essence of their characters.

This special approach might stem from the interdisciplinary make-up of the group which dubbed their unit “Interdis.”

The group includes a doctor, a historian and a sculpture artist, apart from the mathematician and the electronic engineer leading the group. What keeps the group together, according to them, is “the shared love for music.”

The group started to travel to Bogota, New York, Washington, Madrid, Buenos Aires and Paris to meet the persons considered of having influenced the heritage of Colombia’s classical music in a special way.

During their travels, the investigators documented the daily life and creative work of influential musicians like poet, composer and radio legend Hans Federico Neuman, and pedagogue and composer Rodolfo Perez.

The results of this work are eight documentaries covering eight of the most influential persons of Colombian classical music which have won numerous international prizes in movie competitions worldwide.


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