Tag Archives: London Contemporary Music Festival

London Contemporary Music Festival: The Music of Bernard Parmegiani, 20-23 March

131122-bernard-parmegianiThe Department of Music is happy to be supporting a major event organised by the London Contemporary Music Festival, themed around the music of Bernard Parmegiani.

The Department enjoys close ties with the festival via the involvement of several of its staff and students: among the performers are Professor Emeritus Denis Smalley, lecturer Diana Salazar, and former PhD students Peiman Khosravi and Ambrose Seddon. The festival is co-directed by PhD student Sam Mackay, and the acoustic consultant is PhD student Georgia Rodgers. As with the inaugural edition of LCMF in 2013, the Department is making available some of its cutting edge sound equipment.

The upcoming series marks the UK’s first major retrospective of the music of Bernard Parmegiani, the legendary French electro-acoustic composer who died in November 2013. For this series LCMF takes over a 20,000 sq ft former carpet factory near Brick Lane.

Parmegiani’s rich body of work, spanning nearly 50 years, stands as among the most important in electronic music, influencing generations of artists within the academy and beyond. Colleagues from the renowned Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) will be among those diffusing his music, rendering it in vivid sonic detail and demonstrating what Parmegiani meant when he said sound was “like a living being”. Alongside his acclaimed acousmatic pieces such as ‘La Création du Monde’ and ‘Dedans dehors’, the three-day series features guest performances from artists touched by Parmegiani’s broad influence, including Florian Hecker, Rashad Becker, and Vessel.

20 -23 March: The Music of Bernard Parmegiani
Britannia House, 68-80 Hanbury Street , E1 5JL

Department of Music sponsors first edition of the London Contemporary Music Festival

City’s Department of Music was happy to sponsor the first edition of the London Contemporary Music Festival, which took place from 25th July – 4th August at Peckham multi-storey car park. The festival featured performances from an array of artists including Glenn Branca, Tony Conrad, Jane Chapman, SND, Leon Michener, Max Baillie, and many others.

Current MA student Sam Mackay was co-director of the festival, and recent PhD graduates Peiman Khosravi and Erik Nyström were the audio engineers for most of the events. Both were also involved as performers: Peiman Khosravi performed Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘De Natura Sonorum’ and the tape part for his piece ‘Violostres’; Erik Nystrom performed his own 2012 piece ‘Catabolisms’. Finally, another recent PhD graduate, Ambrose Seddon, gave the world premiere of his piece ‘Secure’, inspired by the sounds of the womb.

The festival was the brainchild of four young contemporary music enthusiasts with a shared desire to bring new classical music to dynamic, appropriated spaces. At the same time, it was crucial to mobilise the best talent the scene had to offer, even booking iconic artists based abroad such as Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad. Discussing the festival’s ambitious approach in The Daily Telegraph, critic Ivan Hewett said the following:

“This determination to seize the moment and “kiss the joy as it flies”, is exciting. One feels the tremor of something that touches on real cultural energies, which is at least as valuable as any purely musical experience the event might offer. Everything has happened at top speed; the tickets mostly melted away within a few days of the festival’s announcement… All this has happened in joyous defiance of the accepted way of launching an arts festival”

A controversial debate was sparked following the festival’s climax, a sprawling 90 minute piano recital by Mark Knoop which culminated in a performance of Philip Corner’s Piano Activities. The piece, which calls for the destruction of the piano, was described by The Guardian as ‘morally dubious’ and ‘creatively redundant’, charges which were fiercely debated by a number of musicians and critics in the subsequent days.