Author Archives: sbbd746

Newton Armstrong on BBC Radio 3 and RTBF (Belgium)

Newton Armstrong has recently featured on programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio Télévision Belge Francophone. In December, Armstrong was interviewed on a Radio 3 Music Matters feature programme on American composer Milton Babbitt, titled “Milton Babbitt: Changing the way we think about music.” Earlier this month, Armstrong was the subject of a profile feature on the RTBF programme “La touche contempo.”

The programmes can be streamed at the links below:

Milton Babbitt: Changing the way we think about music (BBC Radio 3, Music Matters).

La touche contempo: Newton Armstrong (in French, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone).

 

‘The world according to Bob’ features on BBC Radio 3

bob-gilmore-cropforoto_page_image

Bob Gilmore

A selection of music recorded by the BBC in the Music Department’s Performance Space will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Hear and Now’ programme on Saturday, 3rd September 2016, at 22.00 (GMT).

The recordings were made during The world according to Bob, a two-day sequence of concerts and talks, hosted by the Music Department, celebrating the life, work, and ideas of the influential musicologist Bob Gilmore.

The programme includes a performance by Ian Pace of Horațiu Rădulescu’s Piano Sonata No. 2.

Full details of the programme can be found at the ‘Hear and Now’ website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07rkv2y.

 

Nico Casal part of Academy Award winning team

Nico Casal — a graduate of the MA Programme in Composition — is celebrating after a win at the Oscars.

Nico composed the music for Stutterer, which was named Best Short Film at the 2016 Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Stutterer explores the challenging experiences of a young man with a severe speech impediment. The Academy Award is one of several awards the film has already won, including: the Best Foreign Film prize from the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival; the Special Jury Award at Savannah Film Festival; Best International Short Film at Kerry Film Festival; and the Best Drama award at Aesthetica Short Film Festival.Stutterer1

Andrew Lambert awarded Silver Prize by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists

andyInterdisciplinary PhD student Andrew Lambert has been honoured by the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) for his outstanding contribution to the field of computer science.

The Information Technologists Company makes information and communication technology (ICT) accessible and usable to everyone; campaigns for the removal of barriers to accessible IT for all; and encourages greater professionalism in the design, assessment and support of accessible ICT.

Andrew, whose PhD (supervised by Dr Tillman Weyde and Dr Newton Armstrong) focuses on oscillating networks for music generation, is the holder of an MSc in Creative Systems from the University of Sussex and a BA (Hons) in European Theatre Arts from Rose Bruford College.

The Department of Music welcomes Dr. Aaron Einbond

aaron_einbond_photo_soili_mustapaa_paris2015-3

The Department of Music is delighted to welcome Dr. Aaron Einbond as a new member of the academic staff.

Aaron’s work explores the intersection of instrumental composition, sound installation, field recording, and technology, bringing the spontaneity of live performance together with computer interactivity. His recent music has focused on audio transcription as the center of a creative process bridging composition, improvisation, and interpretation, questioning the thresholds of perception between instrument, stage, room, and loudspeaker. Recently Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente released his portrait album Without Words on Carrier Records, and SWR Experimentalstudio produced his Giga-Hertz prizewinning Cartographies for piano with two performers and electronics for the 47-loudspeaker Klangdom at ZKM in Karlsruhe. Upcoming projects include a new work for cellist Séverine Ballon and the TAK Ensemble, a concert-installation for Yarn/Wire, and a collaboration with OperaLab Berlin. He is Co-Artistic Director of Qubit New Music Initiative with whom he curates and produces experimental media in New York.

Aaron has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and an Artistic Research Residency at IRCAM in Paris. He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Huddersfield, and Harvard University. He was born in New York in 1978 and studied at Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, the University of California Berkeley, and IRCAM with teachers including Mario Davidovsky, Julian Anderson, Edmund Campion, and Philippe Leroux.

At City University Aaron will be teaching Composition, Materials of Music, Multidisciplinarity, Critical Listening, and Sound Design as well as supervising undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in music composition and technology.

Tim Parkinson: Eight Questions for Edges

The University of Huddersfield’s Edges Ensemble, directed by Philip Thomas, will perform composer Tim Parkinson’s opera time with people at this year’s City Summer Sounds festival. Tim interviewed five members from Edges in the lead-up to the performance.

IMGP2281

 

How would you define yourself?

A mature student who is constantly surprised by what he is achieving and as a person who tries to define himself on a daily basis. It is sometimes hard.

I’m primarily a composer… of acoustic and electronic music. Normally it involves dots and lines, at least at some point. I don’t think I’m good enough to write text scores, for example. Even the most abstract text scores have a real precision to them… you can hide a lot of ambiguity of meaning behind a wall of notes.

An emotional music composition student, who always likes to try new things.

As a fun-loving kinda guy who likes to listen to jazz music and take long walks in the countryside on bank holiday weekends.

I am a performer & new music instigator, and more recently a researcher as well. I play new and experimental music on the violin and think a lot about tuning systems. 

 

How does being a member of Edges relate to your life?

It started by opening my eyes to a new world of so many possibilities and hasn’t stopped. The wonderful, generous, Philip Thomas being a conduit to this new world that constantly informs they way in which I think about my work as a composer, musician, artist… I now cannot imagine a world without it!

I haven’t been a consistent member for a long time, but I’m always coming back for this or that thing. When I rehearsed with Edges often, it was a bit of a relaxing thing to do on a Friday. I wasn’t there for anyone else but me, so I left when experimental music started to take over all my headspace. I had been writing some music and essays for a module on Experimental music that year, and I just kind of overdosed on it.

I always found performing in general a bit of a chore and quite a lonely experience regardless of how many people were on stage; Edges doesn’t feel like that. It feels like a community of freely associated individuals who just happen to have found their way onto a stage and are going to do these very considered actions for the next hour or so.

How does it relate to my life? I realise I haven’t really answered the question. 

Finally I have a chance to perform, which I really enjoy playing experimental pieces!

Edges is the T’ai Chi of my life. It’s a mental, emotional and occasionally physical workout I do roughly once a week. It requires deep concentration and effort, even though at times it can look pretty easy to an outsider. Just swap chi energy for wandelweiser vibes and you’re about there.

It’s one of the bands I’m in. 

 

Where are you now as you write this? Describe what is in front of you. And what time is it?

I am in the Coffee Kabin, Huddersfield with the woman I love. This place has been the venue for so many wonderful musical performances this year it will forever be connected to really wonderful coffee and The Bacon Jam Collective of which I am a member. There is a brown leatherette sofa, some tables and a blackboard with a list of ‘AMAZING BURGERS’ on it. There is a big table right in front of me with some film studies papers on it which my partner is marking and a mobile phone a glass of lemonade and a pot of sugar. It is 16.20 on Friday afternoon and I should be in the studio. Ha! I am reminded of the author Nicholson Baker as I describe the room…

I’m at home, it’s 20 to 2 in the afternoon. Directly in front of me is a painting my dad made in the 1970s. It has a 60s feel to it. Very bright colours, and psychedelic patterns. He didn’t like it, so he gave it to me. I’m short sighted, so I can’t see it properly unless I get up close. If I get really close, I can see whole other worlds in a few inches. Maybe he doesn’t like it because he can see it all at once. It’s mysterious to me because I can’t connect the dots. I would try looking again with my glasses on, but that might spoil it. 

At home on the sofa, flatmate is playing FIFA just next to me at 21:45.

I’m at home in Huddersfield, opposite the beautiful surroundings of Greenhead Park, but my room faces the other way so I can’t see it. Instead I’m looking on to a slightly unorganised desk and through a window that overlooks our neighbours garden. Occasionally I see them doing weird exercise videos or having a barbecue or hanging out their underwear. It’s Thursday 21st May at 10:27.

I’m on the train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston, returning home from Huddersfield. It’s a gross Virgin train, very loud in the quiet coach. My laptop is in front of me, and behind that (on the seat opposite) a heavy (and unwieldy) winter duck down duvet, which I’ve had to cart back from Huddersfield on foot, stuffed in a giant lime green M&S bag. It’s 8:15pm.

 

What were you doing exactly one year ago?

Almost to the day I was putting the finishing touches to my Masters Thesis… coming to the end of a frenetic but rewarding year.

Last year I was an assistant tutor at a sixth form college in Manchester, teaching A-level music and music technology. It ended up being a bit of a drag. I hardly wrote anything and I didn’t perform much.

I did get to see some of the most important people in my life much more frequently, though, as they live in Manchester. I lived in a semi in Withington, a town I’ve always had a strong connection with. It was nice to find myself in the place where the most vivid memories of my childhood are set. It hasn’t changed a lot.

I had to prepare my performance exam but I was planning my trip to Italy. 

I’m going to cheat here but almost exactly one year ago – Eurovision night 2014 – I was in a cramped house in London waiting so long for my housemates to get ready for a night out that I managed to watch the entirety of Eurovision on TV. We then went out, and I was lucky enough to meet a beautiful woman that night I would continue to see for a few months afterwards until I left back for Huddersfield. So obviously it sticks in the mind.

I was in Oslo, performing a recital of solo violin music for nyMusikks Komponistgruppe (the composers’ society of nyMusikk Norway).

 

What is Time With People all about? What is your view from the inside out?

It is about the person within, the person with whom we rarely engage. It is about happiness and melancholy. It is about being a social animal and about being alone in the world. This is probably a common state for us all. It is a statement on the modern malaise that effects us all. It is about connections, both to our inner selves and to our past incarnations. It talks of a big picture in terms of the microcosmic – or as my dictionary puts it humankind regarded as the epitome of the universe. 

As an insider it is about spending time with people who have become friends and friends who I have got to know a little better. It is also about chaos and melancholy, about searching and finding, it talks to the child within; this child is still very apparent and it sometimes gets me into trouble. Something about this work sticks to your insides and will not let go!

If you made a series of short film clips, filming normal people going about their lives… and then you took an eraser to it until all that was left were these bits of debris, fragments, dents, and impressions. These small details or traces of details, completely detached from their context – the things we don’t normally even notice.

Well I think it’s the real world – natural human movement in time and space, everyday life. No extra musical concern. Especially in movement 4 & 5 I really enjoy and I can feel myself in the reality, staying alone in this chaotic world. Also, I can just being myself, unlike other conventional performance. 

I think it’s funny for a starter. But the kind of funny where it’s because it reminds you of something or someone or sometime that you don’t want to remember, and it’s a bit awkward so you start to laugh. I think Time With People is also about reclaiming music (especially classical music, and opera, and contemporary music) for everyone. You don’t particularly have to know or understand what you are doing or watching to enjoy it, and you could possibly even ruin it by trying to read too much into it. Some bits are very hard, but there aren’t really any barriers that would stop someone with no musical background participating or enjoying the piece. I don’t know, that’s just what I think. I’ve heard people say things like ‘Time With People is what music will be like after the near-extinction of the human race’ and I kind of agree, but at the same time I don’t really care. It’s just fun to be a part of.

Dancers practice an exercise called ‘witnessing’  — one dancer holds a posture while another ‘witnesses’ their form by fitting his or her own body into the negative space left by the posture. The first dancer then departs, leaving only the new posture created by the act of ‘witnessing’. Through viewing this new posture, both dancers gain better understanding of their forms.

From inside, Time With People is something like this. We witness the objects (sounds, people & circumstances) of performance. The audience witnesses us. And we also witness them.

 

Are you just making it up as you go along?

Yes, of course. Being a teenager, being a partner, being a parent, being an older person – who told us anything about how to contend with all of this. I have always done this until I made the decision to leave work and come to university. Probably the first thing I have ever done, consciously. It was a good thing indeed! It seems to me it goes like this, you make some stuff up then you find out that it was a good thing or a bad thing, if it is bad then you make something else up and just keep going.  

If anyone got that impression, it would be a bad performance or they weren’t paying attention. Even a decision not to overthink is still a decision, and to come to that decision it has to be have been discussed or thought through. Even if I thought I could get away with it, I wouldn’t; It would be unfaithful to Tim’s intentions… and I don’t think that’s a very ethical approach to the performance of any music somebody has composed.

Yes most of it.

Time With People? No! It’s all composed! We’re just following the composer’s strict instructions! Philip Thomas told me that if we deviate even the slightest bit from the score we would be struck off from the ensemble! I’m kidding of course, there are freedoms in the piece and there are choices we have to determine ourselves. But a lot of the chorus parts have to be exactly right to fit in with the rest of the group and sound good. I wouldn’t say I was making it up as I went along. A lot of the choices we make we have to make in rehearsals and then stick to, mainly for practical reasons (what weird sounds am I going to bring with me? what clutter do I have lying around the house?) and then the piece becomes quite set by the time of the performance.

No. I like to be deliberate when performing. 

 

What is your next performance after this?

I hope to perform at Soni[K]ab next year. Distant plans to perform with my noise duo, Tout Croche, in Montreal. But nothing fixed.

I haven’t decided yet. James Wood and I have designs on collaborating for a new record. I’ve seen him do free improvisation a number of times now, and I found it very inspiring. 

I don’t have any plans after this. 

A string quartet concert with the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists at Union Chapel, 31 May, 3pm. 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say? 

I would like the question I have proposed for my PhD to be a little more rigorous! On the 1st of June I have to hand something in that will define what I will be doing for the next few years. By saying it out loud hopefully it may help in some way! But I doubt it! 

I just want to thank Tim for creating such a wonderful piece of music and Philip for inviting me to help realise it. It’s nice to have something to be doing now that all my degree work is in. I don’t like to sit still for too long. I have a tendency toward hedonism when I’m bored, and that’s fine, but not for too long.

Thanks for the opportunity 🙂 

‘The performer behaves in a situation partly determined by the composer, partly by himself, partly by ambient conditions. There is an elegant consistency which allows each of these elements to manifest its own nature, without imbalance, without imposition. Ambient sound penetrates the intended, is “included” in the music. It is relevant to the situation in which the music arises/relevant to the music, which is ever situational.’ — George Brecht, cited in Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (John Lely & James Saunders, 2011)

 

Contributors

Stephen Harvey

John Aulich

Dorothy Lee

Anonymous

Mira Benjamin

 

 

Alex de Lacey featured in Songlines magazine

ProfilepicAlexdeLaceyThis month’s issue of Songlines magazine (#108) featured one of our Masters student’s guide to the world’s best festivals. Following a successful internship for Songlines in 2013, Alex de Lacey has been regularly contributing reviews and columns to the publication, but this is his first full feature to be published. It builds upon our strong relationship with the highly regarded world music magazine, with many of our students completing internships with them as part of our Professional Placement programmes offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

You can purchase the new issue from participating retailers or direct from the Songlines website: http://www.songlines.co.uk/world-music-news/2015/05/new-issue-june-2015-108-on-sale-now/.

Valentina Monsurro (MA Ethnomusicology alumnus) Reflects on her Recent Internship

Valentina Monsurro completed the MA in Ethnomusicology at City in September 2014. Between November 2014 and March 2015, she worked as an intern at Songlines, the world music magazine Songlines.

We asked her about her work there:

Can you start by telling us about the organisation that you have been working for?
Songlines is a world music magazine based in Brixton, south London. It covers traditional and popular music as well as contemporary and fusion, with a focus on artists and bands from the world music scene.

What did your internship involve?
As an intern with no previous experience in the publishing sector I was given the possibility to choose some areas of interest within the activities involved in the production of the magazine. This included editing, writing, design, page-setting and communications management. I also attended group meetings where I was invited to take notes about ideas and strategies to improve the magazine. This gave me opportunity to follow the creative process that leads to the final draft of the issues. The magazine also has an online blog which is constantly being updated and I was often required to write short reviews and posts about music events and new releases. Other duties involved doing research for the blog updates, archiving CDs, managing databases and managing contacts with artists or their agents.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?
Songlines was a very relaxed and friendly environment to work in. Apart from the practical skills I gained, working as a part of the Songlines team gave me the opportunity to get an insight in the daily work of the editorial staff and gain a better understanding of the world music market. It is an experience I would recommend to recent graduates.

John Palmer’s ‘Conversations’

conversations-1John Palmer (City PhD, 1994) has published a major new collection of dialogues with 20 fellow musicians, Conversations (Vision Edition 003-MC).

“Musical knowledge is more than the performance information that is entailed in the analysis of a score. A heartfelt discussion with a musician can generate unparalleled knowledge of the musical work, prompt alternative discoveries about artistic creation and trigger a new awareness of the world through the shared experience of others.

This book is a result of conversations between John Palmer and 20 fellow musicians conducted over a timespan of 25 years, from 1990 to 2015. Featuring some of the most influential and pioneering composers and performers of their generation, the conversations develop organically, roaming between topics as far ranging as compositional technique, creativity and politics. Peppered with artistic vision, anecdote and biographical detail they stand as a unique record of how these artists regard their work and the world in which they live and work.”

Conversations with:
Celso Antunes, Richard Barrett, John Cage, Lawrence Casserley, Simon Emmerson, Luc Ferrari, Michael Finnissy, Jim Franklin, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Vinko Globokar, Jonty Harrison, Jonathan Harvey, Folkmar Hein on the Electronic Studio at the Technical University of Berlin, Carol Morgan on the piano music by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Heloise Ph. Palmer on Muïesis, Nuria Schönberg-Nono on Arnold Schönberg, Luigi Nono and the Luigi Nono Archives in Venice, the Modern Art Ensemble of Berlin, Elliott Sharp, Daniel Teruggi and the INA-GRM in Paris and James Wood.

Published by Vision Edition:   http://visionedition.com/index.php/en/conversations
Available from CE Books:   http://composersedition.com/books/ce-b-jp1c1

John Palmer: http://www.johnpalmer.org

 

Recently Awarded Doctorates in the Music Department

The Music Department is delighted to announce that the following students have recently been awarded their PhDs.

imageSpiro Antonopoulos: “The Life and Works of Manuel Chrysaphes the Lampadarios, and the Figure of Composer in Late Byzantium” (supervisor: Alexander Lingas).

This thesis is the first full length study of the fifteenth-century composer and theorist Manuel Chrysaphes, one of the most important musicians of the late Byzantine period. It recasts the figure of composer in the Middle Ages, arguing that a cadre of self-consciously authorial composers whose compositions reflect “works” in perhaps a more modern sense was active in and around Constantinople as early as the fourteenth century.

Spiro continues to maintain an active performance schedule, singing regularly with the internationally acclaimed ensemble Cappella Romana as well as directing the Greek Institute’s annual Byzantine Christmas programme. Sipro is Director of the newly-founded vocal ensemble PSALTIKON and a researcher for Bodies and Spirits: Soundscapes of Medieval Byzantium, a multidisciplinary project led by researchers at UCLA and USC, which focuses on the interplay of sound, space, and liturgy in late medieval churches.

Mark Porter: “‘That’s not my music’: Experiences of Contemporary Worship Music in Relation to Extra-ecclesiastical Musical Attachments” (supervisor: Laudan Nooshin)

Based on ethnographic interview work at St Aldates Church, Oxford, Mark’s thesis investigates the relationship between individuals’ diverse musical backgrounds and the ways in which they experience and evaluate music in a congregational environment. Drawing, in particular, on ethical and cosmopolitan theories, he proposes new frameworks for understanding the ways in which musical diversity functions within this setting.

Mark is currently spending much of his time teaching whilst awaiting the results of numerous postdoctoral funding applications. He has recently submitted a proposal to publish his thesis in book form, a project which he hopes to complete in the near future.

Mark and Spiro were jointly awarded the 2014-15 Mercer’s Company prize for academic excellence in recognition of their outstanding work at doctoral level.

Many congratulations to them both!