Category Archives: Outreach

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.

 

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.

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

‘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:

http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/classical-music/review-seattle-symphony-and-audience-show-rachmaninov-the-love/

http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/breathtaking-performances-dausgaard-and-melnikov

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:

http://www.cappellaromana.org/the-russian-chant-revival/

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

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.

 

City Hosts School Outreach Day, featuring an iPad Orchestra Premiere

IMG_0193

The iPad orchestra, featuring three primary schools from across the UK, performed to a large audience in the Performance Space

On the 19th of May City hosted an outreach event involving children from three different primary schools from across the country. As well as participating in workshops on film music and gamelan, they performed an original piece of music on iPads and watched a performance by members of the City University Experimental Ensemble.

The Two Rivers project was originally developed by Ben Sellers of Transformance Music, an iPad music education organisation based in London, and Matthew Hogg of Chiltern Primary School in Hull, to bring three schools together to collaborate to create new music with contemporary technology. The children wrote Garageband compositions based on their experiences of the place in which they live and on their respective rivers, the Humber and the Thames. They also learned to perform songs by other artists, from Madness to Beethoven, using various apps. Throughout this development process the three schools updated each other, communicating using their instruments to send video postcards and rehearsal footage. This allowed them to get to know both their partner schools, and the specificity and multiplicity of behaviour that these technologies afford.

The final piece performed in City University’s concert space is composed of sections and fragments of these children’s own compositions and the pieces they had learned to perform during their instrumental development—a postmodern collage of their recent education in music. With focus which one would not expect at such a young age (age 10-13), and the charms and quirks which one does, the amount of effort put into this piece by both children and adults shone through. Moreover, the idiosyncrasies present in the children’s original compositions had not been ironed out by the project leaders—only weaved into a cohesive structure and modified for the ensemble—still exhibiting the excitement and innocence of a child at play. The range of compositional styles and approaches which could be heard within the melting pot of the work too, showed the range of musics and techniques which these children have been exposed to by the project leaders. Not only does this dialog between theory and practice aid the children’s understanding of music, but it introduces them to the critical perspective one must take toward music in later study.

The collaboration between Transformance Music and City University not only gave this project a platform and an opportunity for a performance, but contributed to the continuing development of these children’s education. Dr. Diana Salazar (Lecturer in Music) is a regular contributor to Widening Participation and Outreach events at City, and was keen to provide the children with knowledge about the opportunities for further study that an education in music affords. Performing in an acoustically-treated concert hall, eating in the student canteen, and rehearsing in an ensemble room amongst a variety of Western and non-Western instruments—these all help to give an insight into what university music departments are, and what university students do—an insight which many students have to wait until the first open day they attend at the end of their A-Levels to receive.

IMG_0187

During the day Gamelan expert Andy Channing delivered Javanese Gamelan workshops to two classes of pupils from Sandringham Primary School

 

A performance by both myself and Phd researcher in informatics, Daniel Wölffe, on handmade electronic instruments built in a workshop conducted by the composer John Richards, showed these children the potential and diversity of music technology. The reception for these interactive, skin-conductive instruments and our performance on them was astounding, when the aesthetic of the sounds they produce could easily be seen as noise, and noise-music is often associated with very niche musical communities and styles. The workings of the core circuitry in this piece is extended twice over—into an arrangement of nails on the instrument itself, and then to connections between mine and Daniel’s hands—making the abstracted and seemingly complex working of electronics tangible and gestural. Showing these students that the technologies used to create music are not restricted to the use of the newest and most expensive hardware and software, reinforces the idea of the artist and musician as a creator, rather than a consumer.

Collaborations such as this, between community-based projects and academic institutions, are significant in that they nurture the relationship between the academy and the society which surrounds it, and break down ideas about ivory-tower academics which are still rife outside of scholarly circles. Moreover, this partnership showed both primary school children and their teachers the various trajectories which one can progress down for a future in both music and music technology, and that these are many and not limited to their previous conceptions of what the academic study of music concerns. Events such as these are important for reaching out to the next generation of students, and showing them that a future in music is worth pursuing and that higher education is a valid and valuable avenue down which to pursue it.

Sam Kendall, current MA (Music) student

 

China and Hong Kong Recruitment Visit

In April Dr Diana Salazar, Lecturer in Music, Admissions Tutor and INTO Link Tutor, travelled to China and Hong Kong to deliver a number of presentations about the Music Department at City University London. She travelled to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Hong Kong where her schedule of activities included speaking at ‘Visit London Roadshow’ events, talking to Higher Education agencies, liaising with INTO regional representatives, visiting School counsellors and prospective students, and delivering interactive workshops. All of the presentations and meetings focused on City’s BMus undergraduate degree and City’s new International Foundation Programme in Music, which is run in partnership with INTO. Highlights of the visit included a performance workshop and presentation with Huafu School students and regional music teachers in Guangzhou (pictured), and the Visit London Roadshow events that brought together education agents and advisors from various regions (Guangzhou event, pictured)

Huafu School, Guangzhou

Dr Diana Salazar at Huafu School, Guangzhou

Huafu school 1_Guangzhou

Dr Diana Salazar (centre) with students, staff and invited regional music teachers at Huafu School, Guangzhou

Experience London_Guangzhou

Dr Diana Salazar with educational agent and advisor attendees at the Visit London Roadshow event, Guangzhou