Category Archives: Concerts

Ian Pace at Fifty Concert

On 20th April 2018, City University hosted a concert to celebrate the 50th birthday of Ian Pace, Lecturer and Head of Performance in the Department of Music, performed by the pianist himself. This concert was divided into two halves, each showcasing one of Ian’s many pianistic specializations: the first half included three lesser-known works from the early modernist period; while the second was reserved for premières of new works written specially for this occasion – a particularly well-suited decision which celebrates Ian as a promoter and advocate of new music.

The first piece to be performed was Arthur Lourié’s Deux poèmes op. 8(1912). This extremely chromatic piece is an early work and reflects the immense influence that impressionism, and in particularly Scriabin, had on the composer. Next, we heard Stefan Wolpe’s Sonata for Piano (Op. 1, 1925), a remarkable piece whose rhythmic first and second movements were a particular highlight. The first part concluded with a very intimate set of delicate miniatures by Frederico Mompou, entitled Charmes (1920–21).

In the second half, Ian performed 23 short pieces specially written for him in celebration of his 50th birthday. Most of these were gathered by the composer Evan Johnson into a single collection, though other composers also joined in. These works included compositions by Michael Finnissy, Lauren Redhead, James Dillon and Marc Yeats. Ian also performed a shorter version of a composition of his for piano, spoken voice and video projection entitled auseinandergerissene Hälften, which deals with themes of cultural classes and cultural freedom.

The full list of works performed in the second half (all of which were world premières) is found below.

CHRISTOPHER FOX      Fifty Points of Light (2017)

JAMES DILLON              amethyst (2018)

RODDY HAWKINS         Down-Time for Ian (2007, rev. 2017)

LAUREN REDHEAD        nothing really changes (2017)

MIC SPENCER                 A Maze I(a)n (S)pace (Space [G]race) (2017)

MICHAEL FINNISSY      Were we born yesterday? (2017)

SADIE HARRISON          gentle (2017)

BEN SMITH                     burnt (2017–18)

PATRÍCIA SUCENA DE ALMEIDA       Desperatio (piano piece no. 5) (2017–18)

ALWYNNE PRITCHARD     50 is a magic number (2018)

PAUL OBERMAYER             Fra (electronic music) (2018)

WILLIAM A.P.M.                  Fragment aus einem gebrochenen Geist „kaum intakt“ (2018)

WALTER ZIMMERMANN    Stars for Ian (2017)

IAN PACE                                auseinandergerissene Hälften (2018)

JESSE RONNEAU                    AGHB (2017)

ELERI ANGHARAD POUND  pbh (2017–18)

MORGAN HAYES                    Comparison (2018)

MARC YEATS                            exordium (2017)

ALANNAH MARIE HALAY     Progress always comes late (2017)

NIGEL MCBRIDE                      wide stare stared itself (2017–18)

ALISTAIR ZALDUA                   Sylph Figures for Ian Pace (2017)

WIELAND HOBAN                    Whiptail (2017)

EVAN JOHNSON                       qu’en joye on vous demaine (2017)

Several of these compositions were only a single page long and many made direct references to Ian himself and his birthday. For instance, Christopher Fox’s Fifty Points of Light is constructed using exactly fifty stemless notes, Morgan Hayes’s Comparison reuses material from an earlier composition written for Ian’s 30th birthday and Nigel McBride’s wide stare stared itself is structured upon conversations between the composer and the pianist.

This was great opportunity to hear a wide variety of contemporary piano music, in particular since the programme included a large selection of contemporary composers with many different approaches to music.

Ian said: “I was incredibly touched by the collection, assembled by US composer Evan Johnson, who wrote that this collection was ‘in recognition of a career built around the persistent championing of young or unduly ignored composers, and of difficult or otherwise unreasonable music: the sort often thankless effort that can indelibly shape a nascent compositional career, build decades-long collaborations, and begin to change the face of a repertoire”

A selection of excepts from scores can be seen on Ian’s blog page.

You can also can watch a recording of the concert here.

 

Gilberto Agostinho,PhD Composition student

 

 

City Chamber Choir Trip to Paris, April 2018

Members of the Music Department Chamber Choir travelled to Paris earlier this month for a collaborative performance on Tuesday April 10th of the Brahms Requiem with the choir and orchestra of Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) at the beautiful church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont close to the Sorbonne.

The collaboration was facilitated by Dr Alice Mesnard (from City’s Economics Department) and the concert was part of the Paris Sciences & Lettres spring music festival.

The concert was a great experience for everyone involved and a good opportunity to meet and make friends with the French student performers. We look forward to further collaborations and are hoping to invite them over to London next year.

The preceding Friday, 6th April, the whole Chamber Choir performed the Brahms in the beautiful setting of St Giles Cripplegate, in the Barbican, conducted by Tim Hooper and with Ian Pace and Ben Smith accompanying with the piano duet version. The soprano solo was performed by 3rd year BMus student, Emilie Parry-Williams.

Both concerts were a great success. Many congratulations to Chamber Choir and thanks to Tim for all his dedicated work with the choir this year!

In rehearsal

Celebrating afterwards

 

 

 

Five Forgotten Female Composers Celebrated in Concert at LSO St Luke’s

The work of Visiting Research Fellow Graham Griffiths was featured at a wonderful concert at LSO St Luke’s on Thursday March 8th to mark International Women’s Day.

The concert was part of the AHRC/BBC project ‘Five Forgotten Female Composers’ and included the first performance in over 120 years of the Symphony in b minor, op.4 by Russian composer Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940), a performance only made possible through Dr Griffiths’ research.

The other composers whose work featured were:

  • Marianna Martines (1744-1813), an Austrian who enjoyed fame throughout Europe in her lifetime
  • Florence B. Price (1887-1953), an estemeed African American Symphonist
  • Augusta Holmès (1847-1903), a French-Irish Writer of largescale oratorios and operas
  • Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868-1941), an Austrian whose works range from chamber music to orchestral tone-poems and oratorios

The concert was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Jane Glover.

Leokadiya Kashperova, born in 1872, was a Russian pianist and tutor who wrote Romantic songs and instrumental music. After marrying a revolutionary with links to Lenin, she was forced to leave her home city during the 1917 Russian Revolution and her music was never published or performed again. She died in 1940.

Dr Griffiths has been studying Kashperova since 2002, when her name appeared during his research for the book, Stravinsky’s Piano: Genesis of a Musical Language. He found that she was the piano teacher of the great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, but little else was known about her life.

As part of his research, Dr Griffiths, embarked on several trips to St Petersburg and Moscow, during which he uncovered the composer’s biography and her lost compositions, including a symphony, which was completed in 1905.

He said: “One of the great thrills of my most recent visit to Moscow was the discovery of many musical manuscripts – not sketches, but complete works ready, as it were, for publication and performance. Kashperova herself never heard them except in her head”.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and can be heard on iplayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e8ncd4

Find out more: https://www.city.ac.uk/news/2018/march/leokadiya-kashperova-bbc-radio-3-forgotten-female-composers

 

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

 

City University Chamber Orchestra Performs at St Clement’s

The City University Chamber Orchestra gave their first concert of 2018 at St Clement’s Church, close to City, on the evening of Friday 25th January.

Conducted by Tim Hooper, the orchestra performed Bela Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances (1917), the beautiful Pavane by Gabriel Faure (1887) and ended with Haydn’s Symphony no 101 in D Major, also known as the ‘Clock Symphony’ (1793/4).

Many thanks to Tim Hooper and to Leo Chadburn for his concert organisation, to St Clement’s for hosting the concert, and of course to everyone who played!

The orchestra’s next concert will be part of the Department’s Summer Sounds Festival in June.

City Chamber Choir Performs in Trafalgar Square!

The City University Chamber Choir has had a busy end of term with three performances in just over a week. The first was its annual Christmas Concert at St Clement’s Church, King Square, on Wednesday 6th December, with a seasonal mix of carols and a complete performance of Bob Chilcot’s ‘A Little Jazz Mass’.

The following week, on 13th December, the choir gave a lunchtime performance of carols at the main university entrance, in conjunction with the University Chaplaincy.

The choir finished its trio of performances with singing under the christmas tree in Trafalgar Square on the evening of 13th December. Despite the damp weather and competition from the bells of St Martin the Fields (!), much fun was had by all, fuelled by plenty of mince pies! We raised £170 in aid of Mind and the Islington Law Centre.

The City Chamber Choir is conducted by Tim Hooper and is open to anyone in the university. Just email music@city.ac.uk if you’d like to find out more about singing with us.  

 

Tullis Rennie releases new record ‘Muscle Memory’

Muscle Memory is a new record by composer Tullis Rennie, featuring two recently composed sound pieces made in collaboration with Matthew Bourne and Graham South.

The new release was recently described by The Wire Magazine as “a piece of meta art; an album about listening to music”.

The record is part autobiographic docu-music, part jazz-inspired dreamscape. It is available as a limited numbered vinyl only release from November 2017.

Each recording begins on the sofa in the house of a collaborator. Tullis joins Matthew in his idyllic Yorkshire hilltop live-in studio, and  Graham in his Manchester red-brick front room. From ‘listening-in’ to chat in these domestic spaces, we then float into abstract realms of electronic textures and improvised musical conversations between each pair.

The release was recently celebrated with a series of intimate listening parties held in living rooms in London, Hasting, Brighton and Manchester.

Dr Simon Waters, in a Contemporary Music Review article discussing the work, writing:

“Muscle Memory begins to answer questions about how one work can comment on and analyse or critique another through its own agency as music. It also demonstrates how a work can marshal autobiography and ethnography to illuminate the human capacity to manipulate and be manipulated by musical activity. It explicitly engages multiple modes of listening and points of view: documentary ‘field’ recordist; participant observer; soundscape composer; ‘amateur’ musicologist and music lover; DJ and remix artist; spectromorphological composer—and allows the listener to explore different modes of listening through these multiple and nested points of view such that this becomes the primary formal concern. The listening home (the point of view) is contingent and transitory as we move through the scant twelve and a half minutes of the piece, so the listener is constantly becoming re-involved with, and made conscious of, the act of listening”

Waters, S. (2015) ‘Tullis Rennie’s Muscle Memory : Listening to the Act of Listening’ Contemporary Music Review 34(1), pp.22–32.

 

Drs Lingas and Antonopoulos in Romania at the Iași Byzantine Music Festival

“Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre

During the last weekend of September 2017 Alexander Lingas and Spyridon Antonopoulos joined their colleagues in the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana for the inaugural Iași Byzantine Music Festival. The group was invited to Romania to perform its new programme of chant for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross as celebrated in the medieval rite of Hagia Sophia, a product of its participation in the research project Icons of Sound based at Stanford University.  Held before a capacity audience in the “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre, the concert began with hymns in Arabic and Greek sung by the choir of the Hamatoura Monastery in Lebanon. Dr Lingas also joining esteemed colleagues in the field of Byzantine music as a member of the festival’s Scientific Committee, an academic and artistic advisory board.

A video of the complete performance is available here: https://doxologia.ro/evenimente/video-concert-extraordinar-de-muzica-psaltica-la-teatrul-national-din-iasi

Alexander Lingas directs Cappella Romana in Iasi

Spyridon Antonopoulos chants with Mark Powell and David Stutz

Dr Spyridon Antonopoulos leads Psaltikon ensemble on Scandinavian tour

Psaltikon in Copenhagen

Dr Spyridon Antonopoulos, Honorary Research Fellow at City, recently led the vocal ensemble Psaltikon on a three-concert tour in Scandinavia. Psaltikon, founded by Antonopoulos in 2010, is a Boston-based vocal ensemble specializing in Byzantine chant and the music of the Eastern Mediterranean. For this tour, Psaltikon was joined by City University Reader in Music, Dr Alexander Lingas, along with Antonopoulos and six other singers. Prior to the tour, Dr Antonopoulos and Dr Lingas each gave papers at a Symposium on Religious Poetry and Performance at Uppsala University.

The tour program, entitled “Evenings Lights in Miklagård”, refers to the Scandinavian Viking name for Constantinople, the center of the world in the ninth century, when Halfdan the Viking carved his name into the parapet of the upper floor in Hagia Sophia’s southern gallery. The program explored chants which Halfdan might have heard while he inscribed his runes into Hagia Sophia’s marble. Central to the program were two kontakia, melismatic chants (whose text was originally composed in the sixth or seventh century), inscribed in the Psaltikon, the Constantinopolitan chant book for virtuoso soloists (the complementary Asmatikon contained the choral repertories). The kontakia were transcribed from a fourteenth century by the renowned musicologist Dr Ioannis Arvanitis, while the rest of the program editions were prepared by Dr Antonopoulos.

The tour’s first venue was the famous anatomical theater of the Museum Gustavianum. The ensemble then sang a concert for an audience of over 100 at Sofia Kyrka in Stockholm, before embarking on a five hour train through the Swedish woodlands to Copenhagen, where they were treated to a tour of the collections at the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae, led by Dr Christian Troeslgård.

 

The MMB, founded in the 1930s at the University of Copenhagen, is one of the most important research institutes for Byzantine musicology. The tour closed with a concert in the beautiful acoustic of St. Thomas in the Frederiksburg neighborhood of Copenhagen.

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!