Annual Music Research Afternoon Features PhD Students and Staff

On Wednesday 7th June 2017, the Music Department held its annual research afternoon with presentations by research students and staff.

The afternoon started with presentations by first year PhD students Gabrielle Messeder and Alice Jeffreys. Gabby talked about her research into the role of music in the ongoing Syrian conflict, with a paper  entitled: ‘YouTube battleground: Revolutionary and counter-revolutionary songs of the Syrian civil war’. This was followed by composition student Alice Jeffreys speaking about ‘YX (2017) for Ensemble XY: Discontinuity and Obscured Linearity’.

The next speaker was 4th year PhD student Sam MacKay, whose presentation was entitled: ‘Geopoetics of the French South: La Nòvia in Marseille’. This was followed by a staff presentation, with Claudia Molitor asking: ‘Where do all the earthworms go?’.

By this point in the afternoon, everyone was ready for tea and cake! After refreshments, we had another staff speaker, Adam Harper, talking about ‘Elysia Crampton: Geologies of Identity, Geologies of Sound’. The final final session featured presentations by 4th year PhD student, Emaeyak Sylvanus: ‘Finlandia and Biafra in Nollywood: Transnational aesthetic objectivity and the metaphoric journey of identity’ and 3rd year composition PhD student Elizabeth Black: ‘Texture Defined: an examination of Texture in instrumental music’.

We had a thoroughly stimulating afternoon. Many thanks to all the speakers and our very active and engaged audience!

Elizabeth Black Presenting on 7th June

City University Chamber Orchestra Summer Term Concert

by Carlota Rodriguez Ruiz-Healy, MA Music Student

The City University Chamber Orchestra gave its final concert of the year on May 19th, kicking off the City Summer Sounds festival, a three-week music festival in the Music Department at City, University of London.

Conducted by Tim Hooper, the orchestra performed at the atmospheric St. Clements Church, close to the university. The concert featured Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, Charles Gounod’s Petite Symphonie and Edward Elgar’s Chanson de Nuit and Chanson de Matin, Op. 15, No. 1 and 2. 

These works exhibited the versatile talent of City’s Music students. The Schubert, which began the concert, was played by the entire orchestra and gave an invigorating start to the evening. This was followed by the Gounod, a lovely work which showcased the orchestra’s wind players. The evening concluded with the orchestra re-joining to play two beautiful short pieces by Elgar, featuring Andrew Losq on piano. A great way to start our Summer Sounds Festival!

Laudan Nooshin Presents Keynote at Film Music Conference

On Friday 16th May, Dr Laudan Nooshin presented a keynote address at the conference ‘Exoticism in Contemporary Transnational Cinema: Music and Spectacle’, hosted by the Humanities and Arts Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Laudan’s keynote was entitled ‘Windows onto Other Worlds. Musical Exoticism in Iranian Cinema: Between National Imaginary and Global Circulation’ and explored the role of music in exoticising processes of constructing and representing otherness in Iranian films, focusing on the earliest Persian-language sound film, The Lor Girl, made in Bombay in 1933 and selected films from the period following the 1979 Revolution. The conference brought together a range of speakers from film studies, ethnomusicology and area studies, each dealing with different aspects of music and exoticism in transnational cinema.

Middle Eastern Music Events at City

The Department of Music recently hosted a series of events focused on the musics of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia as part of the City Summer Sounds festival.

The latest instalment of the bi-annual Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum, convened by Head of Department Dr Laudan Nooshin and Dr Rachel Harris (SOAS, University of London), took place on Monday 22 May. Alongside scholars from institutions within the UK, the day included speakers from as far afield as Israel and the United States. Laudan was part of a roundtable discussion in the afternoon, with Tom Parkinson (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Dr Abigail Wood (University of Haifa), which focussed upon ‘The Ethics and Aesthetics of Studying Music in Situations of Conflict and Violence: Perspectives from the Middle East’. Also presenting her research was City PhD student Gabrielle Messeder, whose paper explored competing political narratives from the Syrian Civil War through musical examples shared and circulated on YouTube.

PhD Music student Gabrielle Messeder

In the evening of 22 May, the Performance Space hosted a performance by Syrian Kanun player Maya Youssef and her Trio. Performing pieces from her recently-recorded debut album, the evocative Syrian Dreams was a particularly moving highlight of the evening.

Posted by Aghsan Kh on Monday, May 22, 2017

 

On Tuesday 23 May, a one-day conference convened by Visiting Lecturer and department alumnus Dr Stephen Wilford focussed upon Music, Technology and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa. The event brought together scholars, filmmakers, musicians and industry professionals to consider the role of technology and digital culture in the Middle East and North Africa, in both historical and contemporary contexts. The final session of the day included a presentation by Dr Cristina Moreno Almeida (King’s College London) and Moroccan rapper Omar Souhaili (aka Dizzy DROS), and a discussion between Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo) and City PhD student Sam Mackay. The conference was part of the Music and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa project, and was supported by both City, University of London and the Institute of Musical Research.

Music PhD student Sam MacKay in discussion with Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo)

Stephen Wilford, City Visiting Lecturer and PhD Music alumnus

Miguel Mera Publishes New Book

Reader in the Department of Music, Dr Miguel Mera, has published a new book, The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound. Co-edited with Ronald Sadoff and Ben Winters this  volume provides a detailed and comprehensive examination of screen music and sound studies, addressing the ways in which music and sound interact with forms of narrative media such as television, videogames, and film.

Reviewers comments:  

“It would be difficult to imagine a more wide-ranging or more skilfully assembled collection of essays on the richly varied subject of screen music and sound than this magnificent book.”

“It heralds a re-thinking of what is studied and how: a must-have collection for aficionados of music and sound on screen.”

 

City students perform at London venue IKLECTIK

City University Experimental Ensemble (CUEE) – an 18-piece student ensemble directed by Tullis Rennie –  recently performed a public concert of freely improvised music at central London venue IKLECTIK. The programme included works of graphic notation, animated scores and brand new pieces composed especially for the ensemble.

CUEE at IKLECTIK Ryan Ross Smith

CUEE play Ryan Ross Smith’s animated score ‘Study no. 40.3 [pulseven]’

Composer and baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts featured as a guest artist , while MA composer Leon Lewington premiered his new work aMass.

CUEE at IKLECTIK Cath Roberts

Cath Roberts introduces ‘March of the Egos’, written for CUEE

Anna Vaughan and Jamie Turner – two final-year undergraduate members of the group – wrote about their experiences of playing at one of London’s most respected venues for improvised music.

Anna: “I am a a third year student who played the electric violin in CUEE. One of the best gigs in my uni experience was on April 5th when CUEE got to play at IKLECTIK right in the heart of London. We played pieces that had been written specifically for the ensemble which was such an incredible feeling. Having a London composer work with us gave it an immense professional presence. The outcome of the gig was an incredible feeling. A general public audience who came to enjoy young artists perform new experimental music gave it such an incredible atmosphere. Like I said before, one of the best gigs I’ve played at thanks to the effort that has been put into this ensemble.”

Jamie:  “I was ecstatic after CUEE’s IKLEKTIK gig, it’s the furtherest the ensemble has traveled from the university grounds and the experience was invaluable for us performers. The venue was well sourced for our brand of contemporary music, all members of the ensemble engaged passionately and professionally throughout the evening, and the public turn out helped to reassure us that there is still an audience for this style of music. Over the past year the transition from a student led independent group to a fully accredited ensemble has been seamless and I am confident that CUEE will continue to develop and expand its reach exponentially in the years to come.”

CUEE at IKLECTIK Anna Vaughan Jamie Turner Cath Roberts

Anna Vaughan (violin, centre) and Jamie Turner (guitar, right) perform Cath Robert’s ‘Wasps/Wolves’ with Leo Bennett (piano, left)

City Summer Sounds: 2017 Festival

It’s now ten days before the start of our annual music festival, City Summer Sounds. We have three weeks of events, including jazz, world, experimental, electronic and classical chamber music, reflecting the diverse interests of the Department of Music. Everything is open to the public and free to attend.

City Summer Sounds Logo

You may wish to look over the complete listings here and sign up for tickets: http://www.city.ac.uk/city-summer-sounds

City Summer Sounds is an opportunity to showcase our students’ work, with performances by all our instrumentalists, and premieres by our composers. Immersive, multichannel electronic music is also a major part of the programme, studio work being a proud and significant part of the department’s legacy.

Maya Youssef

Maya Youssef (22nd May). Photo by Sarah Ginn

We’re also joined by internationally acclaimed guests and friends of the department, including Syrian kanun virtuoso Maya Youssef (22nd May), Australian pianist Zubin Kanga (5th June), jazz bassists Tom Herbert and Ruth Goller (7th June) and award winning Irish composer Ailís Ní Ríain (8th June).

Zubin Kanga (5th June). Photo by Richard Hedger.

On the 6th June, we launch a new group, the City Pierrot Ensemble, who will be performing Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, Michael Finnissy’s wild, rarely-performed music theatre piece, Mr Punch, and Roger Redgate’s mercurial Pierrot On The Stage Of Desire. The vocalists will be two astonishing performers, Adam de la Cour and Alwynne Pritchard.

Alwynne Pritchard

Alwynne Pritchard (6th June)

 

Reserve tickets now – and see you there!

 

City Speakers at the 2017 British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, Sheffield

This years’ British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference was held at the University of Sheffield from 20th to 23rd April 2017. There were over 150 attendees from the UK, Europe and beyond, and the keynote speaker was Professor Michael Bakan from Florida State University. City’s Music Department was represented by two of its academic staff: Professor Stephen Cottrell and Dr Laudan Nooshin, who both delivered papers. Stephen’s paper was entitled ‘Ethnomusicology, Music Information Retrieval and Big Music Data’, and considered the ways in which computational analysis of large audio data sets might impact on the study and understanding of music traditions around the globe. Laudan presented as part of a roundtable which she convened on ‘The Ethics and Aesthetics of Studying Music in Situations of Conflict and Violence’. Her contribution focused on some of the issues raised by music video responses to the 2009 contested presidential elections in Iran. The roundtable generated interesting discussion across a range of issues related to undertaking research in situations of conflict and violence.

The size and success of the conference again demonstrated the strength and vitality of British ethnomusicology, and the large numbers of early career scholars who attended – including some from City – augurs well for the future development of this part of the music studies field.

City Music Alumna Wins Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year

City University Music alumna, Siân Dicker (graduated 2014), was awarded the Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year award after competing in the final at Maesteg Town Hall on Saturday 25th March 2017. The competition was adjudicated by David Jackson (Artistic Director of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World) as well as Welsh singers Rebecca Evans and Gary Griffiths. Siân is currently in her second year of a Masters in Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama studying with Marie Vassiliou and Janice Chapman. As a result of winning the competition, Siân was awarded £2,500 towards her tuition fees for next year.

Siân’s upcoming engagements include her Wigmore Hall debut performing new music in collaboration with GSMD composers, opera scenes at Milton Court studio theatre in July as well as various recitals at the Guildhall school. See further details on her website: https://www.siandicker.com/

 

Cappella Romana, the vocal ensemble founded and directed by City Reader in Music Alexander Lingas, offered the first North American festival dedicated to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt between 5 and 12 February, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, USA.  Dr Lingas himself presented a lecture and directed four events, two of which featured instrumentalists of Portland’s Third Angle New Music ensemble: ‘Odes of Repentance’, a programme of a cappella sacred works; the   Passio Domini nostril Jesu Christi secundum Ioannem by candlelight (with the participation of the choir of Lewis and Clark College); the Missa Syllabica sung within the context of a Roman Catholic mass; and a gala finale concert at Reed College featuring Pärt’s Te Deum alongside works by Sir James MacMillan, the late Sir John Tavener, and Thanos Mikroutsikos. The full programme book including essays by Dr Lingas is available here: http://www.cappellaromana.org/apfbook/

Many of the concerts were sold out and the festival generated considerable interest in the media. Here is a review from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/arvo-pärt-festival-in-portland-oregon-exceeds-expectations_us_58a7712fe4b026a89a7a2ae2