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Annual Music Research Afternoon Features PhD Students and Staff

On Wednesday 7th June 2017, the Music Department held its annual research afternoon with presentations by research students and staff.

The afternoon started with presentations by first year PhD students Gabrielle Messeder and Alice Jeffreys. Gabby talked about her research into the role of music in the ongoing Syrian conflict, with a paper  entitled: ‘YouTube battleground: Revolutionary and counter-revolutionary songs of the Syrian civil war’. This was followed by composition student Alice Jeffreys speaking about ‘YX (2017) for Ensemble XY: Discontinuity and Obscured Linearity’.

The next speaker was 4th year PhD student Sam MacKay, whose presentation was entitled: ‘Geopoetics of the French South: La Nòvia in Marseille’. This was followed by a staff presentation, with Claudia Molitor asking: ‘Where do all the earthworms go?’.

By this point in the afternoon, everyone was ready for tea and cake! After refreshments, we had another staff speaker, Adam Harper, talking about ‘Elysia Crampton: Geologies of Identity, Geologies of Sound’. The final final session featured presentations by 4th year PhD student, Emaeyak Sylvanus: ‘Finlandia and Biafra in Nollywood: Transnational aesthetic objectivity and the metaphoric journey of identity’ and 3rd year composition PhD student Elizabeth Black: ‘Texture Defined: an examination of Texture in instrumental music’.

We had a thoroughly stimulating afternoon. Many thanks to all the speakers and our very active and engaged audience!

Elizabeth Black Presenting on 7th June

City students perform at London venue IKLECTIK

City University Experimental Ensemble (CUEE) – an 18-piece student ensemble directed by Tullis Rennie –  recently performed a public concert of freely improvised music at central London venue IKLECTIK. The programme included works of graphic notation, animated scores and brand new pieces composed especially for the ensemble.

CUEE at IKLECTIK Ryan Ross Smith

CUEE play Ryan Ross Smith’s animated score ‘Study no. 40.3 [pulseven]’

Composer and baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts featured as a guest artist , while MA composer Leon Lewington premiered his new work aMass.

CUEE at IKLECTIK Cath Roberts

Cath Roberts introduces ‘March of the Egos’, written for CUEE

Anna Vaughan and Jamie Turner – two final-year undergraduate members of the group – wrote about their experiences of playing at one of London’s most respected venues for improvised music.

Anna: “I am a a third year student who played the electric violin in CUEE. One of the best gigs in my uni experience was on April 5th when CUEE got to play at IKLECTIK right in the heart of London. We played pieces that had been written specifically for the ensemble which was such an incredible feeling. Having a London composer work with us gave it an immense professional presence. The outcome of the gig was an incredible feeling. A general public audience who came to enjoy young artists perform new experimental music gave it such an incredible atmosphere. Like I said before, one of the best gigs I’ve played at thanks to the effort that has been put into this ensemble.”

Jamie:  “I was ecstatic after CUEE’s IKLEKTIK gig, it’s the furtherest the ensemble has traveled from the university grounds and the experience was invaluable for us performers. The venue was well sourced for our brand of contemporary music, all members of the ensemble engaged passionately and professionally throughout the evening, and the public turn out helped to reassure us that there is still an audience for this style of music. Over the past year the transition from a student led independent group to a fully accredited ensemble has been seamless and I am confident that CUEE will continue to develop and expand its reach exponentially in the years to come.”

CUEE at IKLECTIK Anna Vaughan Jamie Turner Cath Roberts

Anna Vaughan (violin, centre) and Jamie Turner (guitar, right) perform Cath Robert’s ‘Wasps/Wolves’ with Leo Bennett (piano, left)

City Summer Sounds: 2017 Festival

It’s now ten days before the start of our annual music festival, City Summer Sounds. We have three weeks of events, including jazz, world, experimental, electronic and classical chamber music, reflecting the diverse interests of the Department of Music. Everything is open to the public and free to attend.

City Summer Sounds Logo

You may wish to look over the complete listings here and sign up for tickets: http://www.city.ac.uk/city-summer-sounds

City Summer Sounds is an opportunity to showcase our students’ work, with performances by all our instrumentalists, and premieres by our composers. Immersive, multichannel electronic music is also a major part of the programme, studio work being a proud and significant part of the department’s legacy.

Maya Youssef

Maya Youssef (22nd May). Photo by Sarah Ginn

We’re also joined by internationally acclaimed guests and friends of the department, including Syrian kanun virtuoso Maya Youssef (22nd May), Australian pianist Zubin Kanga (5th June), jazz bassists Tom Herbert and Ruth Goller (7th June) and award winning Irish composer Ailís Ní Ríain (8th June).

Zubin Kanga (5th June). Photo by Richard Hedger.

On the 6th June, we launch a new group, the City Pierrot Ensemble, who will be performing Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, Michael Finnissy’s wild, rarely-performed music theatre piece, Mr Punch, and Roger Redgate’s mercurial Pierrot On The Stage Of Desire. The vocalists will be two astonishing performers, Adam de la Cour and Alwynne Pritchard.

Alwynne Pritchard

Alwynne Pritchard (6th June)

 

Reserve tickets now – and see you there!

 

City Speakers at the 2017 British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, Sheffield

This years’ British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference was held at the University of Sheffield from 20th to 23rd April 2017. There were over 150 attendees from the UK, Europe and beyond, and the keynote speaker was Professor Michael Bakan from Florida State University. City’s Music Department was represented by two of its academic staff: Professor Stephen Cottrell and Dr Laudan Nooshin, who both delivered papers. Stephen’s paper was entitled ‘Ethnomusicology, Music Information Retrieval and Big Music Data’, and considered the ways in which computational analysis of large audio data sets might impact on the study and understanding of music traditions around the globe. Laudan presented as part of a roundtable which she convened on ‘The Ethics and Aesthetics of Studying Music in Situations of Conflict and Violence’. Her contribution focused on some of the issues raised by music video responses to the 2009 contested presidential elections in Iran. The roundtable generated interesting discussion across a range of issues related to undertaking research in situations of conflict and violence.

The size and success of the conference again demonstrated the strength and vitality of British ethnomusicology, and the large numbers of early career scholars who attended – including some from City – augurs well for the future development of this part of the music studies field.

City Music Alumna Wins Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year

City University Music alumna, Siân Dicker (graduated 2014), was awarded the Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year award after competing in the final at Maesteg Town Hall on Saturday 25th March 2017. The competition was adjudicated by David Jackson (Artistic Director of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World) as well as Welsh singers Rebecca Evans and Gary Griffiths. Siân is currently in her second year of a Masters in Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama studying with Marie Vassiliou and Janice Chapman. As a result of winning the competition, Siân was awarded £2,500 towards her tuition fees for next year.

Siân’s upcoming engagements include her Wigmore Hall debut performing new music in collaboration with GSMD composers, opera scenes at Milton Court studio theatre in July as well as various recitals at the Guildhall school. See further details on her website: https://www.siandicker.com/

 

City Chamber Choir Concert at St Clement’s Church

The City University Chamber Choir gave its Spring Term concert at St Clement’s Church on Wednesday 29th March, conducted by Tim Hooper, featuring a wonderful selection of pieces, including the sublime ‘Locus Iste’ by Bruckner, a full performance of the Vivaldi Gloria and the word premiere of acappella vocal piece ‘Sleep’ by first year BMus student Jacob Collins. For the Vivaldi, the choir was accompanied by a small chamber orchestra featuring BMus students Anna Vaughan (violin), Daisy Heath (‘cello), Stamatios Solonos (oboe), Jacob Collins (Harpsichord) and MA student Carlota Rodriguez Ruiz-Healy (viola). Vocal solos featured Emilie Parry Williams, Nia Rees and Carolina Herrera. A very enjoyable concert and the harpsichord also enjoyed its first outing of the year!

Tim Hooper will be conducting the Chamber Orchestra in a concert on May 19th as part of the City Summer Sounds Festival

City Composers Visit King’s College London, March 2017

At the beginning of the academic year, Marcos Stuardo, a PhD composition student at King’s College London, proposed an exchange whereby composers studying at Kings would give presentations on their work at City and vice versa. Following a departmental research seminar last November at which four PhD composers from King’s discussed their work, two of our PhD composers, Georgia Rodgers and William Cole, and Masters student, Dorothy Lee, visited King’s College on Wednesday 29th March, accompanied by our “Composition Tsar”, Aaron Einbond.  

William was the first to take the floor, discussing a performed sound installation that was staged last year. After William outlined ideas behind the work’s conception and played a short sample of a recording of the performance, a lively dialogue ensued as the King’s cohort questioned its ontological and experiential structures, and its relationship to more traditional operations of music-making.

Following William’s presentation, Georgia detailed her aesthetic interests in acoustic phenomena and explained how these concerns inform her compositional approach, which she demonstrated through an analysis of two recent works. The King’s composers were receptive to Georgia’s music and raised several interesting issues, resulting, again, in an exciting exchange of ideas.

Last to present was Dorothy, who showed how her work brings together Western and Asian musical concepts, highlighting a range of philosophical and creative influences, and illustrating how these influences play out in her music. Drawing the session to a close, yet another stimulating discussion occurred as Dorothy was confronted with a number of acute questions from the audience.

At the end of the seminar we retired to the pub, where we discussed possibilities of how this exchange might progress in the future and how we might incorporate students from other faculties across London. With the revival of our Listening Group next year, the composition arm of the Music department at City are keen to reach out and create opportunities for sonic artists across London’s universities (and beyond) to share their ideas and exhibit their work. The arrangement with King’s this year has demonstrated just how valuable cross-institution interchange is, and going forward it seems imperative that City capitalises on its potential to play a leading role in this. 

William Cole, Music PhD Student

PhD and MA Celebrations at City Graduation

January graduation saw no less than 6 Music Department students awarded their doctorate degrees. Students on the MA Music, MA Composing for Moving Images, MA Ethnomusicology and MA Composition also received their awards.The doctoral awards were as follows: 

PhD

Stephen Wilford: Bledi Cockneys: Music, Identity and Mediation in Algerian London’ (supervisor: Stephen Cottrell) 

Jocelyn Howell: ‘Boosey & Hawkes: The Rise and Fall of a Wind Instrument Manufacturing Empire’ (supervisor: Stephen Cottrell)

Alex Jeffery:’The Narrascape of Gorrilaz’ Plastic Beach: An Interdisciplinary Case Study in Musical Transmedia’ (supervisor: Miguel Mera).

Miranda Crowdus: ‘Hip Hop in South Tel Aviv: Third-Space, Convergent Dispossession(s), and Intercultural Communication in Urban Borderlands’ (supervisor: Laudan Nooshin) 

DMA

Ben Schoeman: ‘The Piano Works of Stefans Grové (1922-2014): A Study of Stylistic Influences, Technical Elements and Canon Formation in South African Art Music’ (supervisor: Christopher Wiley; Guildhall advisor:Ronan O’Hora).

Annie Yim: ‘Robert Schumann’s Musical-Aesthetic Influence on Brahms’ Piano Trio in B Major, Op.8 (1854 Version) as Illustrated by Schumann’s Piano Trio in D Minor, Op.63’ (supervisor: Christopher Wiley; Guildhall advisor: Joan Havill).

Many congratulations to all the students and their supervisors!

PhD Music Graduates, 30.1.17

MA Music Graduates, 30.1.17

Icons of Sound in Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine has recently published an article highlighting the participation of the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana in  Icons of Sound, a research project on acoustics and music of the ancient basilica of Hagia Sophia based at Stanford University. Chants performed for Cappella Romana’s most recent appearance at Stanford were edited from medieval sources by two researchers from City’s Department of Music: Alexander Lingas and Spyridon Antonopoulos. Click here for the article: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/you-can-hear-hagia-sophias-sublime-acoustics-without-trip-istanbul-180961563/.

Drs Lingas and Antonopoulos at Stanford University for Icons of Sound

Reader in Music Alexander Lingas and Research Fellow Spyridon Antonopoulos recently participated in a new stage of the Icons of Sound project on the phenomenology of worship during the Middle Ages at Hagia Sophia, the basilica built by Emperor Justinian I to be the cathedral of the city of Constantinople (modern Istanbul). This project is a collaboration between Professors Bissera Pentcheva (Department of Art History) and Jonathan Abel (CCRMA) of Stanford and Cappella Romana, the American-based vocal ensemble Dr Lingas founded in 1991.

Drs Lingas and Antonopoulos created new editions of medieval Byzantine chants for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September) that were given their first modern performances by Cappella Romana in Seattle (Washington), Portland (Oregon), and at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University. A preview of the Stanford event is available here: https://live.stanford.edu/blog/october-2016/mysteries-hagia-sophia-revisited

After the Stanford concert, Drs Lingas and Antonopoulos attended a scholarly symposium at Stanford before embarking on a recording of the concert repertoire at the studios of CCRMA. Photos of Cappella Romana’s residency at Stanford are available here:

http://www.cappellaromana.org/photos-icons-of-sound-hagia-sophia-reimagined/