Jolanda Rodio is a person who has worked intensively with new things all her life. She was born in Zürich in 1914 and having grown up there, she came to Denmark in 1938 after her marriage. ("I never really lived before the war"). After the 2nd WW and her divorce she started to study singing and piano at the Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. In the 50s and 60s she made a name for herself as an opera singer and interpreter of numerous new musical works, and undertook extensive tours throughout Europe. In 1959 she received the coveted "Tagea-Brandt-Prize". In 1963 she founded her own Chamber Music Ensemble "Prisma" ("so that I could be completely independent from everything possible and impossible in what I wanted to perform"). She moved from Denmark in 1988 and returned to Switzerland, where in 1972 she bought the old mill in Lützelflüh in Emmental, which was in a questionable condition. She had it renovated and turned it in the mean time into the well-known Kulturmühle.
She lives as she preaches. In her flat there is no central heating or bath or hot water. A voice in the wilderness? There must be such people, she replies decisively. Jolanda Rodio is by no means a resigned individual, who has crept into a hypocritical world of bio-bread country air and hand woven clothes. She has precise views of what man is and should be. As a means of obtaining this necessary positive structuring of freedom, or more exactly way of life, she offers her Child Drama. This is no oven-ready recipe - she has an abhorrence of this - but an offer, by which everyone can see if he can get further.
It is extraordinary what Jolanda Rodio has achieved and suffered in her life. It is these extraordinary people who have the desire to be known as a "crazy person". That creates no problems for her. "I don't care if people laugh at me and say "oh, your tiny contribution is like a drop in the ocean". That is highly possible. But somebody must do something!" Once more a dig at the new, powerful adversary: "The more computers there are, the more people will be drawn towards themselves and this animal.
She has always been impossible, says Jolanda Rodio. She remembers her schooldays
and her "beloved repression instrument" a teacher who used to hit
his pupils across the back of their hand.
The passion that this woman has had, from the beginning of her musical career, for new music, has a deep meaning. In an essay about twelve-tone music, Jolanda Rodio wrote many years ago, the singer must know that dodecaphonic music is not only the relationship of single units to a whole, or vice-versa, but "that everything is concentrated on the value of that one sound and that this must come freely from itself".
What Jolanda Rodio is saying here about remarkable characteristics of the music of our century, also has parallels with her views of people: "Every tone (person) has a particular intrinsic value and should only exist purely for itself, free from anticipation (prejudices), leading notes (e.g. demagogues), and from dominant-subdominant-tonic-systems (from any political or religious subordination)".