Category Archives: In the press

Dr 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, states that:

“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.


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:

Many of the concerts were sold out and the festival generated considerable interest in the media. Here is a review from the Huffington Post:ärt-festival-in-portland-oregon-exceeds-expectations_us_58a7712fe4b026a89a7a2ae2

‘Innovative and Thought-Provoking’: Russian Chant with the Seattle Symphony and Cappella Romana

Dr Alexander Lingas of City and the men of the American-based vocal ensemble Cappella Romana recently completed an innovative collaboration with the Seattle Symphony that highlighted the roots of Sergei Rachmaninov’s orchestral music in the sound world of Russian liturgical chant. For three successive days, Dr Lingas led the singers both in pre-concert lecture-demonstrations of Russian sacred music and in two short vocal works sung immediately before splendid performances of Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto and Second Symphony directed by SSO Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard. The concerts were hailed by audiences and critics, with the Seattle Times describing the participation of Cappella Romana as ‘highly atmospheric’ and ‘an innovative and thought-provoking entry into Rachmaninov’s musical world’. Full reviews are available here:

During this busy weekend Cappella Romana also presented performances in Seattle (at St James Roman Catholic Cathedral) and Portland, Oregon (at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral) of a full-length concert tracing ‘The Russian Chant Revival’ of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Full programme notes are available here:

A video of Dr Lingas’s informal talk before the Portland concert is here:

#RussianChantRevival pre-concert lecture in #PDX

Posted by Cappella Romana on Sunday, April 2, 2017

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)

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


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:


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 Middle East in London Magazine Features City Staff and Student

The Middle East in London magazine is published five times a year by the London Middle East Institute at the School or Oriental and African Studies. The February/March 2016 issue is a special issue on Iranian music and features articles by City lecturer Dr Laudan Nooshin and PhD student Roya Arab, as well as a review of Laudan’s 2015 book Iranian Classical Music: The Discourses and Practice of Creativity (Ashgate Press) by Stefan Williamson Fa.

Laudan’s article ‘Sounding the City: Tehran’s Contemporary Soundscapes’ is based on her recent field trip to Iran in August/ September 2015 and explores the relationship between sound and the urban environment as a means of understanding individuals’ engagement with the sensory sound-worlds that they inhabit. Roya’s article – ‘Swaying to Persian and Middle Eastern Tunes in London’ – offers a snapshot of Iranian and Middle Eastern music in London.

Pdfs of the two articles and book review are available below.

Nooshin, MEIL article Jan 2016

Roya Arab Middle East in London Magazine Article (Jan 2016)

Review of Laudan Nooshin, Iranian Classical Music, MEIL Jan 2016

Laudan Nooshin Presents WOMEX 2015 Professional Excellence Award in Budapest

Laudan Nooshin was in Budapest last week to present the 2015 WOMEX Professional Excellence Award to Iranian music producer Ramin Sadighi. Sadighi set up the Hermes record label in 1999 and has since produced some of the most innovative and boundary-breaking music in Iran. WOMEX is the annual world music industry exposition which this year was held in Budapest from 21st to 25th October and attended by over 2,500 artists, producers, promoters, journalists and others involved in the world music industry.

Laudan chaired a Q&A session with Ramin on 24th October and presented his award at the closing ceremony. Here is an extract from her speech:

“I am deeply honoured and humbled to be presenting the 2015 WOMEX Professional Excellence Award to Mr Ramin Sadighi. I believe that WOMEX has shown great foresight in giving this award to a man who – I think it is no exaggeration to say – has changed the face of music production in Iran, setting new standards, challenging stereotypes and opening new musical spaces.

As someone who has been involved with Iranian music for more than 30 years, I am grateful for this opportunity to publicly thank Ramin – and Hermes, the label that he founded 16 years ago. And, of course, this award is also intended to recognise all of those working in the independent music sector in Iran, and to pay tribute to their amazing resilience and creativity. And, given the overwhelmingly negative media representations of Iran, it’s all the more important to have such moments of recognition.

When I think of Hermes, four words come to mind: Vision. Quality. Integrity. Trust.

Hermes’ work is visionary and boundary-breaking. Above all, it has provided a space for supporting, promoting the work of, and creating an audience for music which crosses boundaries of many kinds, musical and cultural.

Hermes has set new standards of quality for music production in Iran, from the music itself, the presentation of albums, the many concerts at home and abroad – in particular bringing musicians to Iran; and numerous events such as discussion and listening sessions and film screenings. Hermes is much more than a record company – it has created a community around this music.”

Womex 2015 Awards Ceremony Ramin Sadighi by Yannis Psathas 20151025_123859_resized IMG_3044  IMG_2943

Gramophone names Passion Week an August Editor’s Choice

The latest recording by City Reader in Music Alexander Lingas and his US-based ensemble Cappella Romana has been named an Editor’s Choicesteinberg_passion_week in the August issue of Gramophone, which features a rave review of the disc by Malcolm Riley:

This important and exciting release from the Portland, Oregon-based 26-strong chamber choir is a notable successor to their ‘Good Friday in Jerusalem’ disc (5/15). Under their inspiring director Alexander Lingas they turn their attention to a recently rediscovered choral gem, the 47-minute long Passion Week by the Lithuanian-born composer Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946). 

… The a cappella textures spread variously and luxuriantly into 12 parts, requiring, as might be expected, the sopranos to soar with jewel-like brilliance and the basses to delve to their reedy subterranean depths. Cappella Romana cope with all of this with an eloquent brilliance, singing with tremendous relish, as though this obscure masterpiece had been in their repertory for years. Their unanimity of attack and fastidious approach to dynamic contrasts are just two hallmarks of an outstanding achievement. Hats off, too, to Preston Smith and Steve Barnett for their superb engineering and production. …the finest advocacy from these fine musicians. This is definitely a disc to savour. 

Read the full review here.