Author Archives: sbjm131

A Riot in Helsingborg

Two members of the City Music department recently travelled to Sweden for world premieres of new works commissioned by the London based Riot Ensemble.

PhD student Georgia Rodgers and Senior Lecturer Dr. Aaron Einbond were selected to take part in the project during the Riot Ensemble’s 2017 Call for Scores, which received nearly 300 applications. An open workshop with the ensemble followed in September 2017, taking place at London’s Southbank as part of the Nordic Music Daysfestival. Six composers took part in total – Aaron, Georgia and Donghoon Shin based in the U.K, and Ansgar Beste, Marcella Lucatelli and Asta Hyvärinen from Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Each composer then had around six months to complete their new piece before meeting in Helsingborg, Sweden, for a concert of premieres by the Riot Ensemble, given as part of the Swedish Society of Composer’s centenary celebrations (#FST100) on 14thApril.

The concert was really successful and Aaron and Georgia’s pieces were very well received. Georgia’s pieceMaeshoweis based on the resonant frequencies of an ancient site on Orkney. The instruments approximate these ‘room modes’ in various ways, and are overlaid with sine tones at the exact frequencies. Aaron’s piece Kate Frankensteinlooked into his family’s history, using video projection, live and pre-recorded sound to explore the story of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant Riot Ensemble, who were: Ausiàs Garrigos (clarinet), Andy Connington (trombone), David Royo (percussion), Fontane Liang (harp), Neil Georgeson (piano), Louise McMonagle (cello) and Aaron Holloway-Nahum (director). We thank them very much and hope to collaborate with them again in future, and with our new Scandinavian friends!

—Georgia Rodgers


Lecturer Aaron Einbond interviewed by The Times and BBC Radio 5 live on audio compression

times-black screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-2-27-00-pm

I was delighted to be interviewed by The Times yesterday and BBC Radio 5 live today on the use and overuse of compression in broadcast audio. An ironic task for a quiet composer! Here are my equanimous remarks and my plea for more quiet music: (57:09)

City Research Seminar with Tom Perchard

IMG_3574On 9 March the research seminar welcomed Tom Perchard from Goldsmiths to speak on “Placing Audio in the Postwar British Home: History, Technology and Listening“. The stimulating — and entertaining — talk led to lively discussion from the members of the City community and visitors in attendance.

Tom seeks to challenge some current narratives of “hi-fi” as an exclusively male domain in 1950’s-60’s Britain, such as Keir Knightley’s 1996 article “‘Turn It down!’ She Shrieked: Gender, Domestic Space, and High Fidelity, 1948-59“. While this trope — of hi-fi audio as a gendered escape from the domestic space of the suburban post-war home — may have described some experiences, it may have been more significant as an advertising ploy than as factual reality. With evidence garnered from the diary collection of the Bishopsgate Institute, Tom points to women of diverse ages and economic backgrounds who were just as enthusiastic and sensitive hi-fi listeners as their male counterparts. In parallel Tom documents the development of advertisements in periodicals HiFi and Ideal Home, tracing the evolution of hi-fi from DIY hobby to interior design trend in the increasingly mediatised space of the post-war home. In parallel the iconic figure of the lone adult male seated in a leather chair in a pose of intense listening — whom Tom likens to Caspar David Friedrich’s wanderer — eventually yields in the mid-1960s to hi-fi ads featuring teens and women as societal and market forces change.

The compelling topic and engaging delivery accompanied by, at times humorous, vintage hi-fi ads touched an audience with a wide range of interests, criss-crossing fields of historical musicology, popular music studies, gender, and techno-culture. Questions and discussion that followed brought up issues of privacy and access to diary documents, the simultaneous evolution of the television as media and domestic object, and differences between British and North American domestic spaces. Many thanks to Tom for opening up this fascinating field for us!

Aaron Einbond, Lecturer in Composition