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February/March 2011

New challenges new opportunities Composers take a DIY approach The magazine of

Chicago’s rising stars The new jazz names to watch Jonathan Cole Substance over style Brian Ferneyhough By Ivan Hewett


Welcome to the February/March issue of INTO As the landscapes of music publishing, performance and promotion change along with shifts in technology, education and funding, composers are adapting to these challenges with a surge of DIY activity. In our cover story, Shoel Stadlen looks at how composers are working with performers to form networks, produce events and market and promote themselves, showing that there are many ways of getting your work out to audiences, and profiling some of the exciting new ensembles and collectives who are doing just that. A similar collective energy is at work in Chicago’s new jazz scene, Daniel Spicer finds in his feature on the new venues and groups springing up in the wake of Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra and others. The processes and challenges of composition are the focus of Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s profile of Jonathan Cole, and Ivan Hewett’s introduction to Brian Ferneyhough, a composer whose work can seem sometimes unapproachable. Ivan’s brief intro gives us Published by Sound and Music www.soundandmusic.org Contact: into-magazine@soundandmusic.org

some insight into the tensions and conflicts within Ferneyhough’s work, reminding us that a composer’s body of work is constantly evolving. This focus on practice and initiative makes for a heartening final issue of INTO. As you know, after this issue, Sound and Music’s magazine will be ceasing publication as SAM discontinues its current membership scheme. In the place of INTO, the Sampler website (thesampler.org) and fortnightly e-mail will be taking on an increased role, while the main SAM website will host features and resources such as the Artists Toolkit and Opportunities (see the Artists area of the site) and essays, interviews and other features (see the Features area of the site). I’d like to thank all those who’ve contributed to INTO for their superb work, and all our readers for their support and enthusiasm. Frances Morgan Editor Managing Editor: Shoël Stadlen Editor: Frances Morgan Designed by: Tatiana Woolrych Original Design: PostParis, www.postparis.com


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Want to print your issue of INTO? Click here to download the PDF

What’s on in the UK? Click here to visit Sound and Music’s UK Listings

Cover: Luke Styles and Natalie Reckert in Polar, developed by Lisa Ilona Jäntti, Natalie Reckert and Luke Styles and performed at Jacksons Lane Theatre, London. Photo courtesy of Ensemble Amorpha. The opinions expressed in INTO are those of the authors and not necessarily those of INTO or Sound and Music. Copyright of all articles is held jointly by Sound and Music and the authors. Unauthorised reproduction of any item is forbidden.


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Contents

C ntents 07

MARCh 2010

What we’re INto Pages 6–7

WhAT We’Re iNTo

NEWS Pages 8–19

Benedict Shlepper-Conolly, To Find Out The Dawn Hour

Jez Riley French

Trailer for La Feute des Fleures film about Kazuki Tomokawa

outham, Rivers No formed by tina Petrowska o

WIRED Lab

Tim Hecker

Perfect Wave magazine

Home Train by Peter Paelink, produced on the Touch ‘Art of Listening’ residency, January 2011 Marcus Boon interviewed by DJ/ Rupture, WFMU

paul griffiths Pages 20-21

jonathan cole Pages 22-29


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Chicago’s new jazz stars Pages 30-37

brian ferneyhough pages 46-49

Contents

NEW Challenges, new opportunities Pages 38-45

opportunities pages 50-52


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What we’re into

What we’re INTO is a small monthly round-up of some of the new music and sound that we’ve been enjoying at Sound and Music. Follow the links to see and hear our audio, video and interactive selections.

Ann Southam, Rivers No 8, performed by Christina Petrowska Quilico

Marcus Boon interviewed by DJ/ Rupture, WFMU

WIRED


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What we’re into

Benedict Shlepper-Conolly, To Find Out The Dawn Hour

Jez Riley French

Trailer for La Feute des Fleures film about Kazuki Tomokawa

D Lab

Tim Hecker, ‘Hatred of Music I’

Perfect Wave magazine

Home Train by Peter Paelink, produced on the Touch ‘Art of Listening’ residency, January 2011


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News

NEW PENINSULA ARTS FESTIVAL CONNECTS SOUND, MUSIC AND SCIENCE

EDUARDO MIRANDA

This year’s Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival at the University of Plymouth explores the connections between new music and the developments in science with a programme of performance, film, lectures and media between 10 and 13 February. Entitled Re-Sounding Science, and organised in partnership with the University of Plymouth Interdisciplinary

Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), the festival aims to celebrate the possibilities of interdisciplinary work, with projects such as Alexis Kirke’s Cloud Chamber, which uses subatomic particles to generate a new score for synthesizer and violin, and the two-day NeuroArts Conference, which examines the relationship between music, art and neuroscience.


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News

CLOUD CHAMBER

The diverse programme also features the world premiere of Eduardo Miranda’s Mind Pieces; films from Semiconductor; a discussion with composer Nigel Morgan and textile artist Alice Fox about cross-media collaboration; new work from Audio Politca inspired by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, and an event at which Liminal discuss Organ Of Corti, which won the PRS New Music Award in 2010.

Following Re-Sounding Science, the Peninsula Arts Whale Festival takes place on 18-20 February, also hosted by the University of Plymouth. This time, marine biology is the focus, along with films, literature, art and music that explore the cultural significance of the whale, and new music from Sam Richards and Tim Sayer will form part of the programme. www.peninsula-arts.co.uk


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News

NEW NEW NORWEGIAN MUSIC AND IMPROV LEGENDS AT GATESHEAD INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

STIAN WESTERHUS

Norwegian guitarists Stian Westerhus and Eivind Aarset are among the acts performing at the seventh Gateshead International Jazz Festival from 25 to 27 March 2011 at the Sage Gateshead. Aarset performs with FOOD, the duo of percussionist Thomas Strønen and British saxophonist Iain Bellamy, while Westerhus, a recent winner of the prestigious Norwegian JazZtipend award, plays a solo set that promises to stretch the boundaries of electric guitar technique. Iain Bellamy will take part in a pre-concert talk about his collaborations with Norwegian jazz musicians, with Alyn Shipton of BBC Radio 3. On the last night of the festival, acclaimed improvisers Evan Parker and Lol Coxhill will perform with the Glasgow Improvisers’ Orchestra, led by Raymond MacDonald, in a new piece dedicated to the late trumpeter Harry Beckett. The concert is the final event of an eclectic festival that also includes workshops, masterclasses, choirs, and projects for children and young people. www.thesagegateshead.org


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News

RECESSION SOUNDS FROM LOUDSPKR

BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA PRESENTS NEW Will GREGORY OPERA

LOUDSPKR’s 2009 call for submissions on the theme of ‘recession’ has generated a new compilation, The Sound of Ebb, which is now available to listen to and download at www.soundofebb. wordpress.com.

A new opera by Will Gregory will be premiered by the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Southbank Centre’s Ether festival on 1 April, in a production directed by Jude Kelly.

While the project remains ongoing and artists can still submit work, this compilation brings together submissions from countries including US, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Australia, Spain, UK, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Bulgaria, Finland and Israel, with radio plays, soundscapes and field recordings alongside compositions. LOUDSPKR is a platform for experimental music and sound, media art, film and video, performance and multi-disciplinary arts, organizing events, exhibitions, and artistic and curatorial projects in these fields.

Piccard In Space, which was commissioned by the BBC, is about the life of adventurous Belgian physicist Auguste Piccard, who attempted by prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity by making a record-breaking balloon flight into the stratosphere in the 1930s. Will Gregory, also known as a member of electro duo Goldfrapp, collaborates for the second time with the BBC Concert Orchestra, following a live scoring of 1924 silent film He Who Gets Slapped in 2007. This semi-staged production forms part of Electronica, the BBC Concert Orchestra’s ongoing exploration of electronic music. www.bbc.co.uk

www.loudspkr.org


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News

NEW ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY AND SONIC PRACTICE AT WHEATSHEAF LECTURES

BRITTEN SINFONIA AND MARK PADMORE TAKE ENGLISH SONG AROUND UK

A series of lectures on aspects of sonic practice will continue with two events in February and March at the Wheatsheaf pub in Rathbone St, Central London. Organised by the London Consortium and associated with the London Sound Seminar, Henry Stobart (reader in Music/ Ethnomusicology at Royal Holloway) will present ‘Saturating the Soundscape? Conceptualizing Sound and Silence in the Andes and Beyond’ on 16 February. On 1 March, science and technology historian Karin Bjisterveld of the University of Maastricht will talk about ‘Car Sound Ecologies: A History of Listening to and in the Automobile’. These lectures follow previous talks by David Toop and Eric Clarke, and aim to explore the ideas of sound and noise from a number of disciplinary perspectives. www.londonconsortium.com

A programme of English music for voice and strings brings together tenor Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia this spring, with a series of performances around the UK from 6 to 13 February. Celebrating a rich tradition of poetry and music, Padmore will perform works ranging from Purcell through to more contemporary pieces by Michael Tippett and John Woolrich. He will be joined by the Sinfonia’s strings, led by Jacqueline Shave, and for three dates of the tour Stephen Bell will provide the horn part for a performance of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. www.brittensinfonia.com


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News

Photograph: Brian Gilbert

MANTIS FESTIVAL REVEALS THE SOUND OF MANCHESTER

MANCHESTER’S SONIC META-ONTOLOGY PROJECT

MANTIS (Manchester Theatre in Sound) have announced two festival dates for 2011, as part of its ongoing series of performances based around 48-speaker MANTIS system at the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound Art at Manchester University. The MANTIS Festival will take place on 5 March and 10 June 2011. This year’s theme is the ‘Sonic Meta-Ontology’ of Manchester, which will encompass soundwalks around the city as well as concert events. The theme invites us to consider whether Manchester has a ‘sound’ of its own – and if so, how can it be experienced and understood? www.mantisfestival.com


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News

NEW XENAKIS IN PERFORMANCE AND DISCUSSION

LAURENCE CRANE AT 50

The work of Iannis Xenakis is the focus of conference at Goldmiths University, London, and the South Bank Centre in April 2011. The conference, which reflects the growing interest in Xenakis’s music since his death in 2001, will take place from 1 to 3 April, and has invited discussion of topics such as the study of the Xenakis Archives, and Xenakis and architecture. Organised by Goldsmiths’ Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures and hosted by the Southbank Centre, the conference runs parallel with a concert by the London Sinfonietta on 2 April of key works such as Eonta and Phlegra. On 3 April Ensemble Exposé will perform works by Xenakis as part of a programme that includes new works by Michael Finnissy and Haris Kittos. Both concerts take place at the Southbank Centre. www.gold.ac.uk/ccmc/ xenakisconference

The Plus Minus Ensemble with Juliet Fraser (soprano) celebrate the 50th birthday of Laurence Crane with a concert of his music at King’s Place, London, on 21 February. The programme, which was selected by the composer along with the ensemble, will present a selection of Crane’s work from the last two decades, including Weirdi, from 1992, and the more recent work ‘Piano Piece No.23 ‘Ethiopian Distance Runners’ (2009). This concert sees Ensemble Plus Minus (+-) continue their longstanding relationship with Laurence Crane, who has composed a number of works for them. www.kingsplace.co.uk


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News

MILTON BABBITT (1916 – 2011)

American composer Milton Babbitt died on 29 January, aged 94. One of the twentieth century’s leading serial composers, he was infamous for his systematised approach to composition and generating material. He was cast as the embodiment of modernist musicians’ retreat from engagement with audiences following the publication of an article entitled ‘Who cares if you listen?’ (an editor’s title, not his own) in 1958. Yet he had a following, including his former

student Stephen Sondheim, for whom his cerebral approach was the means to create a deep and moving listening experience. Watch the new 2011 NPR documentary on Babbitt: www.npr.org Read transcriptions of a 12-part interview with Babbitt: www.newmusicbox.org Listen to a selection of works on YouTube: www.youtube.com


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sound and music news

NEW MUSIC AND TEXT MEET AT OFF THE PAGE GREEN GARTSIDE

A unique festival about music and writing, produced by Sound and Music in partnership with The Wire, takes place from 11 to 13 February in Whitstable, Kent. Off The Page brings together music critics including Kodwo Eshun, Ken Hollings, Dave Tompkins and Rob Young and artists Robert Wyatt, Christian Marclay and Green Gartside to discuss words and music in a number of panels and conversations on such subjects as Concrete music, the post-Cageian universe and the history of the vocoder. A panel on the art of listening invites artists, theorists and critics SalomÊ Voegelin, David Toop, Lee Patterson and Daniela Cascella to discuss sound and sonic art, while a performance lecture by Jennifer Walshe, Sarah Nicholls and Claudia Molitor looks at different methods of scoring. Film programmes chosen by Lux and the BFI will complete the weekend, with screenings of rare films about John Cage and Tristram Cary. There’s also the chance to discuss music criticisms with staff of The Wire at a special workshop for writers. www.soundandmusic.org/projects


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sound and music news

LEARNING TO LISTEN Sound and Music are preparing to launch a radical new learning initiative this March, which promotes the art of listening in the classroom. ‘Minute of Listening’ is a schools-based project that encourages students and teachers to take part in 60 seconds of focused listening per day, using a custom-built downloadable application. The project is aimed at introducing young people to a plethora of sounds and music they might not otherwise hear, as well as developing their listening and concentration skills. The ‘minutes’ range through a whole spectrum of sounds; from recordings of howler monkeys and water boatmen, to saxophone improvisation and choral music.

‘Minute of Listening’ is being piloted in ten primary schools in Norfolk from March to April 2011, in partnership with Norfolk and Norwich. Classes in each school will undertake one minute of listening each day for a five-week period, as well as testing a range of creative extension exercises around the day’s sound. Sound and Music hope that Minute of Listening has the potential to have a lasting impact on the way classes engage in listening and how sound is used in the classroom, with the potential for the project to roll out nationally later in the year. Natasha Chubbuck, Learning Producer www.soundandmusic.org/projects

ADÉS AND REICH ON TOUR www.soundandmusic.org/projects/minute-listening The tour, produced by London Sinfonietta with Sound and Music, showcases Adés’ In Seven Days – Concerto for Piano with Moving Image, which uses video projections by Tal Rosener. This new work is paired with key works by Reich including Music For 18 Musicians. Selected works by Steve Reich and Thomas Adés will be performed at three www.soundandmusic.org/projects concerts in London, Birmingham and Glasgow from 13 to 18 February 2011.


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sound and music news

NEW FORTHCOMING AT CAFE OTO ROLF JULIUS

Sound and Music’s collaboration with Café Oto continues in February and March with two major events. After Balloon and Needle’s residency in January, which introduced audiences to cutting-edge Korean music, Londonbased sound art gallery SoundFjord presents an exhibition and performance of Lost Sounds by the late German sound artist Rolf Julius and Japanese artist Miki Yui. Sadly, Rolf Julius passed away on 21 January. It was his wish that this collaborative piece should go ahead, and he left detailed plans for the work’s execution, which will be carried out by Miki Yui.

The event begins with a performance at Café Oto on 11 February before migrating to SoundFjord, in north London, where Lost Sounds will be exhibited until 5 March. The project, produced by Rie Nakajima with Helen Frosi of Sound Fjord, aims to explore the two different architectural spaces of the venues. In March, theorist and composer Michel Chion is in residence with experimental musician Ghédalia Tazartès for two concerts on 24 and 25 March, co-produced by Penultimate Press and Cenatus. www.soundandmusic.org/projects


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new features at soundandmusic.org

sound and music news

2011 SUMMER SCHOOL ANNOUNCED Dates for 2011’s Sound and Music Summer School have been announced, with this year’s course for young composers taking place between 31 July and 6 August 2011 at the Purcell School, Bushey, Hertfordshire.

Sound and Music’s new-look website now has a growing number of new features to read and listen to, including a monthly podcast, New Departures. One feature that makes interesting use of the website format is Frames of Reference, a series in which curators are given 18 ‘boxes’ to create a snapshot of a particular time, place or genre, using text, audio and video. Elsewhere, Sound and Music is collaborating with the Ear Room blog on a series of extensive interviews with sound artists, while there are also feature strands on the music and sound of different cities worldwide, and music and sound in film. www.soundandmusic.org/features

Last year’s course for 14- to 18-year-olds was another success for SAM, giving a group of young people the chance to work closely with tutors from across a wide range of musical traditions, from classical and jazz to non-Western music and film soundtracks. The tutors are back this year to offer more tuition in these diverse areas. As before, there is a bursary scheme in place, enabling more young composers to apply for this unique course. www.soundandmusic.org/ projects


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paul griffiths

TUNING IN TO THE 21ST CENTURY A decade into the 21st century, is new music harder than ever to find a way into? Critic, novelist and librettist Paul Griffiths, who has written key books on contemporary music such as Modern music: A Concise History from Debussy to Boulez, thinks otherwise, and is preparing a study day for listeners that will open their ears to new music. Griffiths, a former music critic of The Times, The New York Times and the New Yorker, presents ‘Ten 21st Century Pieces You’ll Adore’ on 19 February at the Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin, Herts. Find out more here www.benslow.org


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paul griffiths

In advance of the study day, Paul Griffiths presents an extract from the third edition of Modern Music and After, which is published by Oxford University Press in February 2010. We live in a musical time of huge variety but also great stability. In a heartening display of longevity, almost all the composers who were young in the 1950s and 1960s remained active into the first decade of the twenty-first century and in many cases beyond, working on well past the age of seventy, eighty in many cases, and even, in the astonishing example of [Elliott] Carter, a hundred. Older composers may feel no closer kinship with the great past than do their younger colleagues, but the weight of their own achievements – and the sense they would probably wish to feel of the artistic life as a progress – could contribute to a rising valuation of continuity, spilling over from the output as a whole into the individual work. Pierre Boulez provides an example, in how his Dérive 2 for eleven players (1988–2006) moves as a single sweep through well over half an hour, the basic shapes not so different from those of works he completed sixty years earlier but now participating in kaleidoscopic movement through fixed or fleeting harmonies. Even more surprising, after a lifetime of fragments, is György Kurtág’s twenty-minuteplus ...concertante... for orchestra with violin and viola soloists (2002–3). The reach of continuity extends, however, far beyond such senior figures, though continuity in the twenty-first century will tend to be, as in these works by Boulez and Kurtág, uncertain, liable to wear thin, aware of the dangers (or delights) of familiar paths, subject to sudden slippage or escape. There may also be, more in the music of younger composers than of those who took part in the post-war revolution, a stronger wish for continuity and connectedness with music of the past. As several composers found in earlier decades, the Middle Ages and Renaissance seem, through a loop in time, only a step away. The past is not moving on but staying there, and so leaving very little space for the present – which makes it all the more encouraging that so many composers are eager to project themselves into this straitened space. Where action in the decade or so after 1945 was in the hands of rather few, their successors two generations later have become legion, all contributing to a present that becomes increasingly unknowable as the past, too, goes on increasing, with the continuous recovery of music that had stayed silent through many decades, even centuries.

Taken from Modern Music and After by Paul Griffiths, Oxford University Press, February 2010.


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jonathan cole


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jonathan cole

Seeking substance over style Over the last few years, composer Jonathan Cole has subjected his practice to intense scrutiny, re-emerging with new music of an unfamiliar and surprising nature. Tim Rutherford-Johnson discovers a new body of work that is both raw and purposeful.

A

s recently as 2005, Jonathan Cole was in a position any young composer would envy. His pieces were regularly performed by leading groups like the London Sinfonietta and Asko Ensemble, he had a major commission from George Benjamin and the London Symphony Orchestra (Penumbra, 2003) under his belt, and he had just taken up a teaching position at the Royal College of Music. His future as one of the leading lights of the British new musical establishment looked secure. But in truth, Cole was uneasy. He was finding composition an increasingly difficult task: Penumbra in particular had been very problematic. Despite heavy revision and a second performance under Oliver Knussen, things still weren’t


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right. Testament, for chamber orchestra, followed more successfully in 2005, but in 2006 Cole hit the brick wall that had been threatening for three years. He describes composing Scrawling out, an oboe quartet written that year for the Nash Ensemble, as ‘really tough’. It’s a particularly sparse piece, unusually so for a composer who until then had been notable for his fluency and instrumental colour. Talking about it today, Cole describes this bareness as ‘a sign ... that

jonathan cole

similarity, but this has yet to materialise. When new works did start to appear they took everyone by surprise. The beguiling textures and harmonic refinement of Cole’s earlier music had been replaced by squeaking balloons, crumpled plastic bags, a rough palette of instrumental noise and hardly anything recognisable as a pitch. burburbabbar za, written in 2009 for the London Contemporary Orchestra, for example, is a sort of wordless opera for three singers and five

‘I felt I should be trying to set up a more natural environment for the sounds to exist in, and try to get away from this idea of presentation’ that was all I could manage.’ Cole’s difficulty, he began to realise, was a sense that the presentational aspects of his music were beginning to override any actual expressive need. ‘I felt the music I was writing was an expression of something, of a source, whereas what I should be doing was writing a source that could express,’ he says now. ‘I felt I should be trying to set up a more natural environment for the sounds to exist in, and try to get away from this idea of presentation.’ The elements of his work that had served him so well until now – technique, craftmanship, polish – were suddenly all under scrutiny. He fell silent for two years. There were ideas for an orchestral piece structured using fractal-like principles of self-

instrumentalists, what the composer calls an ‘ecstatic chaos’ of shadowy, prelinguistic utterances. It sounds a world away from anything being written by his British contemporaries. Many of those were taken aback by what they heard. There are endless examples of composers tempering the avant-gardist instincts of their youth as they approach middle age and respectability, but very few who have taken the opposite course. To some listeners it no doubt seemed an inexplicable turn around for one whose career seemed to be falling so neatly into place. So what had he been doing for two years? Mostly listening; exploring. The work of Luigi Nono, especially the late Nono of the 1980s, became very important, but he also made a deliberate


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ash relics Scores reproduced courtesy of G.Ricordi & Co (London) Ltd

jonathan cole


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effort to familiarise himself with the recent work of continental composers who are less well-known in Great Britain: he talks enthusiastically now of figures like Jaap Blonk, Julio Estrada, Hans-Joachim Hespos, Josef Anton Reidl and, in particular, Pierluigi Billone. If Cole’s new works have an ancestry, part of it is clearly in Billone’s primordial avant-gardism, a music so stripped of acquired conventions and niceties that it sounds genuinely pre-historic (Cole’s recent taste for ancient Sumerian in his titles hints at similar associations). The new scores even share a handdrawn, rough and ready texture, as though written at speed, with the least

jonathan cole

interference of composerly taste or technique. Cole’s concerns about ‘presentation’ here take on a deeper aesthetic dimension. ‘I do feel that we are so self-obsessed now, and I think music has become increasingly focused on the individual. It’s time we move it back to something we respect, something we observe.’ As he was beginning to see things, ‘presentation’ was attached to intention: highly refined technique – indeed the idea of ‘refinement’ itself – defines a lingua franca of expressive triggers and responses between work and listener. This approach, which Cole had felt so strongly at work in


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jonathan cole

Burburbabbar Za Scores reproduced courtesy of G.Ricordi & Co (London) Ltd

‘I think music has become increasingly focused on the individual. It’s time we move it back to something we respect, something we observe’ his own music, had begun to feel regressive, an extension of Romanticism by which individual artists fed predigested emotional responses to their audiences. It’s a sort of music that may be superficially highly engaging, even modernistic, without encouraging a more transformative experience in the listener. It ‘is’ rather than ‘does’. His compositional approach thus became one of removing as much of his technique as possible: he talks now of intruding ‘just enough’ on the sounds, and retreating as soon as possible. And although dice sometimes determine some decisions, like the lengths of sections, he isn’t concerned about

completely removing the composer’s presence, Cage-like, from the work (‘one is obviously involved. [But] there are more or less responsible ways to be involved’). His goal is to strip away as many of the acquired concerns for taste, ‘skill’ and so on that can depose expressive force as the prime criterion for evaluation. The aim is to communicate more directly and more meaningfully to an audience. Too much emphasis on the ‘presentational’ aspects of a piece of music deny the listener the opportunity of meaningfully exploring the work’s expressive possibilities. ‘It’s a cliché to say that we should be strengthening relationships between composers, performers and audiences,


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jonathan cole

but I do think that’s fundamental. But the way I’d been thinking about doing it for years was completely wrong. It was about trying to create something as “vivid” or “imaginative” or as “specific” as possible, whereas actually it’s about opening up listeners’ choices and their perceptions in a way that they are able to accept for themselves.’ In Cole’s hands, the results sound (and look, on the page) exhilaratingly raw, yet still possessed of an aura of purposeful creation. They may sound rough, but they’re never accidental.

Burburbabbar Za Scores reproduced courtesy of G.Ricordi & Co (London) Ltd


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jonathan cole

Listening Post burburbabbar za Listen

Ash Relics Listen

Jonathan Cole Listen


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chicago’s new jazz stars

Chicago’s ne

exploding star orchestra

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he city of Chicago has long been synonymous with the cutting edge of jazz. Daniel Spicer meets the new generation of musicians drawing from Chicago’s rich jazz heritage and the post-rock explosion of the 1990s to produce music of the future. Ever since the first jazz musicians found their way north from New Orleans to Chicago in the 1920s, the Windy City has been a focal point for the music. In particular, it’s been a stronghold of the avant-garde, from the early days of Sun Ra’s Arkestra in the 1950s, through the birth of the Art Ensemble of Chicago in the 1960s, right up to the emergence of saxophonist Ken Vandermark and the Chicago Underground Duo in the 1990s. Today, Chicago’s out-jazz scene is enjoying another fertile period, with a new generation of creative musicians


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chicago’s new jazz stars

ew jazz stars

digging back into the city’s history while simultaneously reaching forward for emergent forms. The most vibrant manifestation of this new energy is Exploding Star Orchestra – a Big Band of Arkestral proportions, currently running to fifteen members, led by Chicago Underground cornetist, Rob Mazurek. Since its 2007 debut CD, We Are All From Somewhere Else (Thrill Jockey), right up to 2010’s free-noisejazz epic, Stars Have Shapes, the Orchestra has pursued a cosmic trajectory, picking up large-scale avant-jazz roughly where Sun Ra left off and bringing it into the twenty-first century with manipulated samples and electronics. The group also serves as a who’s-who of young Chicago jazz musicians. “Exploding Star Orchestra is a very special group of individuals who have been working on the development of their own musical personalities for some


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chicago’s new jazz stars

jason Adaseiwicz’s Rolldown quintet

time now,” says Mazurek. “When we play together it is a kind of magic. I am truly blessed to have these excellent individuals project sound in such a manner. Nicole Mitchell’s other worldly flute glitter, [saxophonist] Matt Bauder’s thoughtful harmonics, [trombonist] Jeb Bishop’s gruff extrapolations, [guitarist] Jeff Parker’s mystery twang, [vibraphonist] Jason Adaseiwicz’s star clusters on speed, [bassist] Matthew Lux’s low earthquake melodic dizziness, [bassist] Josh Abrams’s sound catapult, [drummer] John Herndon’s four-wheel drive sonic hot rod, [drummer] Mike Reed’s steady blood

flow pulse throws, [vocalist] Damon Locke’s word vocalizing vortex shifts, plus new members like [bass clarinetist] Jason Stein’s hidden lowend power wood, Jeff Kowalkowski’s piano romp and modern classical stomp, Carrie Biolo’s gongs in flight and [saxophonist] Greg Ward’s quick note shuffle…” As well as the obvious echoes of Sun Ra, this extended family finds another important antecedent from Chicago’s musical history in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the mutually supportive network of musicians founded in 1965 which


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chicago’s new jazz stars

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‘At some point you have to transcend the idea of the heritage, the past, and find something that is completely you’ – Rob Mazurek

has included luminaries such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie and Anthony Braxton and now includes some, like Jeff Parker and Nicole Mitchell, currently playing with Exploding Star Orchestra. More than anything, it’s the DIY spirit of this self-sustaining artists’ group that inspires Chicago’s current crop. “People like that are the reason this scene exists,” claims vibraphonist Jason Adaseiwicz. “And Ken Vandermark. He created a scene at [famed Chicago venue] The Empty Bottle that became successful in the ‘90s – just because he didn’t have a place to play. He said ‘If no one else can do it, I’ll do it, and I’m going to do it now.’ That’s a big inspiration.” Cornetist Josh Berman is another musician making it happen in Chicago. For the last ten years, he and drummer Mike Reed have run a Sunday night jam session at hipster hangout, The Hungry Brain. “People from New York are always amazed at the vibe in the room, the number of people that come out and what it feels like. I think that’s a very Chicago thing, that we’ve created our own thing.” Undoubtedly, there is a special energy at work in Chicago right now. Organisations such as artist-led concert promoters, Umbrella Music, and the Chicago Cultural Centre have, according to Mazurek, “made it quite


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chicago’s new jazz stars

‘It used to feel like we were in the shadow of New York. Now, it feels like it’s solidly its own thing, and people are taking notice of that’ – Josh Berman

possible to play on a semi-steady basis for some creative musicians. This was always here in Chicago but now it seems more organized.” In this atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Chicago’s legendary Delmark Records (the first label to record members of AACM) is experiencing a spurt of renewed activity, releasing its first new vinyl in 20 years in 2009 with Berman’s debut as a leader, Old Idea. But why now? In some ways, it’s possible to see the current boom as a ripple effect from energies released in the 1990s. We’ve already noted how these musicians are operating in a space opened up by powerhouse

saxophonist Ken Vandermark’s bullish efforts to get his music heard after relocating to Chicago in 1989. But there was also a huge boost from beyond the jazz community, with the rich cross-fertilization that took place between jazz artists and post-rock groups such as Tortoise. Drummer John Herndon and guitarist Jeff Parker, both now playing with Exploding Star Orchestra, are members of Tortoise, and Mazurek has been a frequent collaborator. “There was this weird time in the late-’90s when every rock musician wanted to be a freejazz musician,” says Berman. Many current players, like Adaseiwicz, have


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chicago’s new jazz stars

josh berman

come of age in this post-Tortoise milieu. “At that time, in the ‘90s, I was in college,” he says, “so those were my heroes and people that I was just starting to become exposed to. Chicago exploded in the ‘90s and Tortoise was definitely one of the huge successes of that. Younger people were turning their head towards Chicago.” “The scene has changed so much since ’95,” agrees Berman. “It used to feel a lot more like we were in the shadow of New York. Now, it really feels like it’s solidly its own thing and people are taking notice of that.” Chicago’s vibe is certainly different to New York’s. That’s partly due to

geographical factors, such as the mid-West’s open spaces compared to New York’s cramped intensity. It is, says Mazurek, “a city you can breathe a little easier in.” But, aesthetically, too, there are big differences between the Chicago sound and the twitchy metrical experimentations of New York’s downtown scene. “For the most part,” says Berman, “stuff coming out of Chicago doesn’t have all that hyper-complicated shit, that’s not the general aesthetic here.” If Chicago jazz has a more direct approach, it’s partly because, as members of this post-Tortoise generation begin to release their


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chicago’s new jazz stars

own statements as leaders, many Reed has taken the fascination with are dipping into the city’s rich jazz heritage even further with his project heritage. Berman’s Old Idea presents People, Places and Things, which acoustic jazz with a sardonic, urban, investigates the often-overlooked middistinctly mid-20th century strut. ‘50s to mid-‘60s period of Chicago Adaseiwicz’s 2010 Delmark release jazz when driving hard-bop flirted with Sun Rooms features a sprightly but the avant-garde. His deeply swinging respectful reading of Sun Ra’s classic 2010 album Stories and Negotiations ‘Overtones of China’, from his 1950s even featured contributions from Chicago period. Chicago legends and former Arkestra Sun Ra remains an important members, trumpeter Art Hoyle and touchstone for the modern Chicago trombonist Julian Priester. sound. “In some ways,” says Yet, despite all this historical Berman, “he really is the beginning homage, some eyes are firmly fixed of that aesthetic because he was a on new horizons. “At some point it straight-ahead jazz guy and he had seems to me you have to transcend a bunch of guys that could really the idea of the heritage, the past and play changes really well, but there find something that is completely was always this other thing. It’s very you,” says Mazurek. “We have difficult sometimes for very talented such an incredibly short life-span musicians to play simpler. I think he on this planet, my purpose for even really broke that.” Drummer Mike attempting to project a sound is to

MIKE REED and people, Places and things


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figure out what the hell is going on out here in my town, in my state, in my country, in my world, in other worlds. Who is to say what is going on anyway? Nobody knows...but I do know that I want to spend this life searching for a way to crack the code, through constant examination and re-examination of the idea of sound, vision, taste, feeling. I want to listen to sound that modulates the spirit, regardless if it’s a Sun Ra composition or a sound from an undiscovered planetary system.”

chicago’s new jazz stars

Listening Post

Exploding Star Orchestra

Josh Berman

Mike Reed, People Places & Things

Delmark Records


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challenges and opportunities

New challeng opportunities Composers in the UK are finding new ways to get their music out to audiences, setting up their own ensembles, collectives and production companies. Shoël Stadlen looks at how DIY approaches work in practice and, with sales of new music from publishers in decline, asks if this is the future for composers. At SAM, composers often ask us for advice on how to get their music performed and how to promote themselves, which often boil down to the same thing. The questions are usually asked by composers coming from the classical tradition, who rely on others not just to programme their work but also to realise it. Sometimes the question comes from composers who have had their pieces performed and want to gain further, higher-profile performances, but often it comes from composers who have written a piece for which they are struggling to find a first performance. There are different answers. Sometimes we’re able to suggest particular performers or groups who might be interested in the work. Sometimes it’s more useful to find out from the composer what performers and groups they have access to locally or through their personal connections. Sometimes – a beginner composer with a two-hour opera, for example – we have to alert them to the extreme difficulty of getting the work performed at all, recommending instead that they look at writing pieces for specific performers and performances, even if this means writing smaller-scale works than they’d ideally like. And sometimes we find that composers who are asking how to ‘promote themselves’ are already doing what we’d advise, making use of performer contacts, writing pieces for them, developing ongoing collaborations that outlive single performances, making further contacts through those performers, establishing their performers as their advocates and in many cases helping the performers develop distinctive programmes through the collaborations. People often discuss promotion in terms of industry networking, internet sales and social media, and of course these things can make a big difference, but for composers reliant on working with


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challenges and opportunities

ges, new

cat•er•waul

Photography: Malcolm Johnson

Kürbis Ensemble

Chris Jinks www.vitalsignproductions.com

ensemble amorpha


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challenges and opportunities

camberwell composers collective

One DIY method is simply to take the matter of performances in house, forming an ensemble that performs your work yourself

garrett sholdice and benedict Schlepperconnolly of ergodos

Photography: Neil Sholdice

House of bedlam

The questions I’ve mentioned are indicative of composers at different stages, but they have in common a sense of not quite knowing what to do to ‘make it’ as a composer. At the beginner end of the spectrum there are many who consider themselves composers, but who have had little contact with performers. This is an incongruity explained partly by the increasing inward-facing tendencies of composition in the twentieth century, partly by the increasing numbers of people writing music and partly by an education


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system that at a formal, structural level, from GCSE to university degree, treats performance as incidental to the process of critical evaluation. Meanwhile at a more advanced stage are those who are getting performances of their work at a small-scale, grass-roots level, but who feel they have no idea how they are going to achieve larger-scale success and ‘make it’ as a composer in the longer term. For both groups, the collapse of the music publishing business model for composers is perhaps one of the main reasons for this sense of disorientation. Composers without performer contacts have probably never been signed by publishers, but until the 1980s there was a sense that a composer might be signed fairly early in his or her career and once signed, performances might be sought by entrepreneurial publishers. Over the last 30 years, while licensing of music for media such as films, computer games and advertising has taken off, publishing concert music by living composers has become financially increasingly unviable: there are a very few composers the sales of whose works make the publisher a profit, and increasingly publishers have been forced to cut this non-profit-making activity. It is not impossible to get a publishing contract today, nor is it yet a pre-requisite already to have been commissioned by major opera houses. Signings by major publishing houses in the last few years have included Rebecca Saunders (Peters Edition), Tansy Davies (Faber), Ryan Wigglesworth (Schott) and Helen Grime (Chester Novello). But numbers of new signings are certainly much

challenges and opportunities

lower than in the past and interest from publishers tends to come once a composer has demonstrated an ability to gain commissions and build momentum on their own, rather than a publisher kick-starting this. Meanwhile, publishing is of course not the only traditional option in terms of representation: for many composers the key benefit of a publisher is the network and contacts of the promotion department and for many this function is now fulfilled by agents, many of whom are ex-publishers. It has always been extremely difficult to make a living from composing alone and traditionally most composers have had many strings to their bow – for example, conducting, playing, teaching and writing in popular genres. The range of options has been expanded, while the traditional options remain, but this is not the place to discuss the means of making a living at length. With the end goal of commercial publishing contracts removed for most, the emphasis has shifted back to composers managing themselves. For some of the UK’s more established but unpublished (or rather self-published) composers, this has meant little other than the ensembles with whom they work deal with them directly rather than through an intermediary. Meanwhile others, out of necessity or artistic inclination, have taken a more DIY approach. One DIY method is simply to take the matter of performances in house, forming an ensemble that performs your work yourself. Of course, this is nothing


FEB/MARCH 2011

challenges and opportunities

Photography: Nik Morris

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squib box at Handel house

Trio Atem

composers have long formed contemporary music ensembles at conservatoires and universities, and Maxwell Davies and Birtwistle showed it was possible to make this kind of group work in the professional world in the 1950s, both making their names through performances from The Fires of London, which they founded. In the 1980s and ‘90s, the Composers’ Ensemble helped launch the careers of many emerging composers, while recent examples include the New Music Players, a group of Cambridge graduates brought together by composer Ed Hughes, and, amongst many founded over the last couple of years, Ensemble Amorpha, formed by Luke Styles, cat•er•waul, led by Edd Caine, and Trio Atem, led by Nina Whiteman, The House of Bedlam, led by composer Larry Goves. Meanwhile Kürbis ensemble, formed by Claudia Molitor and James Weeks, takes intellectual radicalism as its starting point, with their own works programmed alongside those of Cage, Christian Wolff and Christopher Fox as well as improvised work. In the cases of Molitor and Weeks, Kürbis provides a useful outlet for their work, allowing them to focus their other main roles – as director of Soundwaves Festival and Exaudi Vocal Ensemble respectively – away from their own music. One of the most successful of the recent post-college initiatives has been the Camberwell Composers Collective (C3), set up in 2003 by Royal College of Music composition graduates Anna Meredith, Mark Bowden, Emily Hall, Chris Mayo


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challenges and opportunities

SQUIB BOX LAUNCH

The Camberwell Composers Collective helped establish an anti-traditionalist brand for its members and an excitement for their work and Charlie Piper. With leanings towards a multi-disciplinary artist collective, the composers have not only had their own works performed but have also acted as curators, programmers and collaborators with practitioners from other art-forms. For several of the composers, the collective helped establish an anti-traditionalist brand and an excitement for their work, which has undoubtedly contributed to major commissions through which large institutions such as the Southbank Centre (Anna Meredith’s orchestral collaboration with beatboxer Shlomo) and Aldeburgh Opera (Emily Hall’s Rwandan-set opera) have sought to breathe new life into their commissioning of contemporary classical music. It’s also enabled the Collective to be featured and programmed in a number of configurations – whether as composers or curators and whether as individuals or a group. Importantly, they have developed close relationships with leading performers such as Zoë Martlew, Oli Coates, Loré Lixenberg and Mira Calix and this has enabled promoters to get top-quality performances by inviting the collective to programme an event. The collective has given its members room to explore multiple creative roles and Anna Meredith, who with her residency with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra appeared most likely to achieve success through a traditional classical route, is now splitting her work and time between acoustic composition and electronica. We are now seeing similar collectives to C3 popping up around the country and


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banner a roster of three very different performing groups: clarinettist Jonathan Sage, the Baroque/contemporary violin and double bass duo of Maya Homburger and Barry Guy, and the amplified allfemale vocal ensemble Ergodos Voices. Meanwhile in London, in the week I am writing this, composers Adam de la Cour, Neil Luck and Federico Reuben are launching squib box, an ‘artist-led organisation and net label’ with a slightly darker, if still worthily expressed, edge. The founders aim to promote three types of ‘uncompromising avant-garde music’: ‘squib-cake (experimental, but more pop-orientated music), squib-mongrel (uncategorisable, inbetween genres or practices) and squib-toxic (more unorthodox or ‘out-there’ projects)’. With its performance art angle and apparent intention to shock, it will be interesting to see where squib box takes its artists. A possible downside to these earlycareer initiatives is that they tend not to last, or to go through troughs of inactivity while members are working on other parts of their careers, and they may inevitably have a shelf life after which their members need to move on to other things. But the point is that all these composers are working with performers and other composers to create performance contexts for their own work and others’. Of course, it’s not necessary to set up your own group to do this: if you’re looking to forge links with performers, in some cases it may make more sense to join performers where they already are, rather than set up a new project.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

As to the question of whether any of this can lead to longer-term public and critical acclaim, financial sustainability and new career models, it’s too early to say. There are other fundamental challenges for composition, which need to be addressed by both artists and organisations like SAM, such as how to elevate the best composers from being perceived as jobbing professionals appreciated by a niche industry audience to major cultural figures broadly perceived as having important artistic vision. With that in mind, this article is not a ‘how to’, but simply a description of what people are doing in what feels like a transitional period in composition. Composers are both working to stay afloat in turbulent times and beginning to explore the freedom from well-trodden career paths, looking for alternative paths and finding new and often interesting creative directions along the way.


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CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Photography: Matt Grum

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ergodos voices

Listening Post

Trio Atem

Claudia Molitor

Ergogos’s first release, Dubh

Ensemble

Music by Emily Hall

squib box sound

Music by James Weeks performed by

Camberwell Composers Collective – pieces by Anna

Kürbis Ensemble

Meredith, Emily Hall and Chris Mayo

Anna Meredith Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra and electronic work Lemontits


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BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH

Systems of

For Ferneyhough expression is about transcendence

For Ferneyhough expression is about transcendence


t

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BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH

illumination The work of Brian Ferneyhough is soon to be explored at the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day of talks and concerts in February. Ivan Hewett provides a brief introduction to Ferneyhough’s rigorous yet transcendental musical language, and celebrates its unique conflicts and concerns. ‘Creating a sense of the marvellous’ is how Brian Ferneyhough has described his creative endeavours. Marvel is a word that’s lost its force in recent times. When you overhear someone saying, ‘Darling it was absolutely marvellous’, it’s a fair bet they’re not referring to what Ferneyhough has in mind, which is something akin to a revelation, or a miracle. There’s something a little marvellous about Ferneyhough himself, who seems to lack a biography that would ‘explain’ him. He was born and raised in Coventry, surely the last place to foster a wild, untrammelled imagination such as his. Then came a brief interlude when Ferneyhough followed a conventional path by becoming a music student, firstly at the Birmingham School of Music (now the Birmingham Conservatoire), and shortly afterwards at the Royal Academy of Music, which he left in 1967. Then the miracle happens. With the Sonatas for String Quartet he seems to become, overnight, the fearsome, technically assured composer of impossibly complex music we know today. There are no tyro works, nothing that the biographer could point to and say, ‘ah-ha, that’s what he had to outgrow’. Since then it’s been an unceasing round of commissions, lecturing and teaching. Ferneyhough’s work-list is not large, but this could hardly be otherwise, given the self-doubt and wrong turnings and endless refining necessitated by his modernist aesthetic. Then there’s the sheer labour of calculating the layers of irrational rhythms that swarm through his music, and committing them to paper (though these days Ferneyhough calls on computer programmes to help with this). Composing has to give way for much of the year to teaching, the other great passion of Ferneyhough’s life. He throws himself into this with the same reckless intensity that he gives to his creative work, and has said that when he’s teaching he has no energy left to compose. In the 1970s and 1980s he taught at Freiburg and other European institutions, and in the 1990s and 2000s he was based in the US, notably at the University of San Diego. Another mysterious aspect of Ferneyhough is his extra-territoriality. There’s nothing to mark him out as an Englishman, apart from his affection for complicated Tudor polyphony. In fact he lost no time in shaking the dust of the UK off his shoes. He left for the Netherlands on a Mendelssohn scholarship in 1968, and has lived almost


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at times appear thoroughly Germanic in his intellectual make-up. He often quotes that gloomy critic of mass culture, Theodor Adorno, though he’s even more likely to quote Walter Benjamin, Adorno’s older comrade-in-arms; in fact he’s even written an opera about him entitled Shadowtime. But in many ways Ferneyhough has enjoyed the move to America, partly because he can look on bizarre aspects of American culture with detached amusement (one that he likes to mention is encountering in the middle of the desert a restaurant in the shape of a Stetson). So on one level, the life seems orderly and serene. But scratch the surface, and one become aware of a constant battle being fought on two fronts. The easier battle is the one against a frequently hostile world. In the early days especially, Ferneyhough had to face recalcitrant performers, infuriated by the near-impossible difficulty of his scores. Many critics, particularly in this country, declared that the complexity arose from a ‘mania for calligraphy’ and was ridiculous on two counts: performers couldn’t achieve anything like an accurate rendition of the rhythms, and even if they could, listeners couldn’t hear anything beyond a ‘white noise’ of near-chaotic sound. Audiences on the whole agreed. That battle has to some extent eased. Ferneyhough’s music has won the allegiance of a number of fine performers and groups, notably the Arditti Quartet. The music, always

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH

The battle that never ceases is the struggle to fight off habitual modes of expression

la terre est un homme (1976-79)


e

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better received in Europe, has started to make some headway here, as people have discerned the poetry and magic underneath or alongside the complication. Awards have come Ferneyhough’s way, such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1995 and the Siemens prize in 2006. But the battle that never ceases and may actually get worse is the struggle to fight off habitual modes of expression (including his own). Habit and formulae are the marks of mass culture, and Ferneyhough absolutely refuses to follow the fashionable imperative to take an interest in it. For him expression is about transcendence. Few composers prove so well the truth of the assertion that modernism is ‘late, late romanticism’. Ferneyhough wants to ‘kiss the joy as it flies’, by elaborating a musical language that never congeals into a thing which could be possessed, but instead is in a constant state of becoming. That desire to avoid the sticky embrace of consumer culture leads some composers towards chance procedures, or improvisation. Ferneyhough goes to the opposite extreme. He cleaves to an old-fashioned belief that only the creations of a knowing subject, struggling to reconcile intuition with rational system, can lead to real artistic value. He creates elaborate systems of interlocking rhythmic cycles – thus the weird polyrhythms that make his scores appear black with notes – but he doesn’t simply transcribe these

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH

on to the page. He subjects them to distorting or filtering procedures, trying every which way to engender an unexpected meeting of order and disorder, intuition and system. One couldn’t imagine a more taxing and risky way of proceeding. But if things go well, then some way down the line the reward will come, in the shape of that ‘marvel’, that moment of illumination, which Ferneyhough is always in search of. The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day devoted to the music of Brian Ferneyhough takes place on 26 February at The Barbican, London www.barbican.org.uk

Listening Post String Quartet No 2 Extract from Shadowtime Brian Ferneyhough at Peters Edition

Edition Peters No.7225 © 1989 by Hinrichsen Edition, Peters Edition Ltd London.


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OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunitie British Council – Bursaries to Composers

Presteigne Festival – competition for composers 2011

Deadline: 21/02/11

Deadline: 28/02/11

Sound and Music are pleased to support and provide grant administration for the British Council’s Bursaries to Composers Scheme. This bursary is available to British composers, resident in the UK, who want to travel overseas to attend significant presentations of their work in major public venues and festivals. Applications can be considered a maximum of nine months before the performance, and will be reviewed at a meeting of the Bursaries to Composers panel approximately two weeks after each closing date. Bursaries awarded will range from £100 to £1000. Applicants can request a grant to cover all travel expenses associated with the performance but the bursary will not cover subsistence or any other costs. Take a look at the full set of guidelines for further information on the scheme and how to apply, including application form at: http://soundandmusic.org/artistarea/opportunities/2011/british-councilbursaries-composers Applications should be sent to: mark.willetts@soundandmusic.org

The Presteigne Festival has for many years held an international reputation for performance and promotion of contemporary music. It is also well-known for its support of young composers and artists at the start of their careers. It seemed a natural progression for the Presteigne Festival to organise an annual competition for student and post-graduate composers. The competition is open to any Britishborn composer whose date of birth falls between 1 January 1976 and 1 January 1991. The winning composition will be awarded the Second Alan Horne Prize for Composition (£1,000) and will be premiered by Alissa Firsova as part of the 2011 Presteigne Festival. A group of shortlisted compositions will be performed and recorded at a special workshop taking place in Birmingham in spring 2011, led by Alissa Firsova and George Vass (conductor and artistic director of the Presteigne Festival). The composition should be an original, unperformed and unpublished piece scored for solo unprepared piano with a duration of between 5 and 7 minutes. Download the details here bit.ly/dEqK3i www.presteignefestival.com


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Reveille Trumpet Collective – composition prize 2011 Deadline: 01/03/11 The Reveille Trumpet Collective, a new group devoted to innovative presentation of contemporary music, announces a 2011 Composition Prize. All composers born 1976 or later are invited to submit unpublished, unpremiered works for trumpet and piano of at least 5 minutes’ duration. The winner will receive: $1000 (CAD); at least two performances by members of Reveille during the 2011-12 concert season; a short video presentation promoting the winning piece; a publishing contract with qPress.ca. For more information, visit reveilletrumpet. org or contact the contest coordinator: aaron.hodgson@gmail.com

London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra – call for student composers Deadline: 16/04/11 We are inviting student composers to submit pieces for chamber orchestra for the fourth of our Piece of the Year Competitions. The competition is open to all students except previous winners of the competition. The LCCO is a good amateur

OPPORTUNITIES

orchestra, of single wind and brass, strings, percussion, and piano. Entries will be played in a workshop on 25 June 2011. You will receive feedback from the orchestra on your piece, and from the conductor on questions of notation and score and part presentation. The orchestra members will vote to select the finalists. The finalists will have their pieces performed at a concert in the autumn of 2011, where the audience will vote to select the winner. Full details can be obtained from the conductor, Alan Taylor alan.taylor@ dpmail.co.uk. Please check these details before submitting a piece. www.lcco.org.uk

University of Aberdeen Music Prize Deadline: 27/05/11 The University of Aberdeen, in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, is pleased to announce the fourth biennial University of Aberdeen Music Prize call for scores. Composers from around the world are invited to submit new works for any combination of trumpet and string quartet of between 5 and 10 minutes duration. Five works will be selected from the initial call and performed by members of the BBC Scottish


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OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunitie Symphony Orchestra in a workshop session led by Julian Anderson, during the weekend of 4 –6 November 2011. After the workshop session one composer will be offered the University of Aberdeen Music Prize – a £5,000 commission for a new work for orchestra to be performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2012 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The Prize is open to composers of any nationality with no age limit or restrictions. For further information and application details please see www. abdn.ac.uk/aberdeenmusicprize , email: musicprize@abdn.ac.uk, call +44 (0)1224 273874 or contact :Aberdeen Music PrizeOffice of External Affairs, University OfficeKing’s College, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, AB24 3FX www.abdn.ac.uk/aberdeenmusicprize

Queen’s University Belfast – call for string quartet Deadline: 14/02/11 Queen’s University Belfast has established an exciting new residency for an international professional string quartet. The residency will be based at the School of Music and Sonic Arts, which includes the renowned Sonic Arts

Research Centre (SARC). The residency represents an opportunity for outstanding musicians to develop their repertoire and performance practice alongside composers, musicologists and performers. The University hopes to attract an ensemble with an established international profile, with a broad repertoire and willing to contribute to the development of new work for the quartet medium.  The quartet selected will be encouraged to continue its concert and recording schedule in the UK/Ireland and abroad, while maintaining a presence in the University. The residency will involve: a minimum of 16 public events per year in Belfast/NI, including concerts, open rehearsals, masterclasses and composition workshops; participation in research projects; some teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level; some outreach activities, such as community-based performance, school visits etc. The quartet appointment is at senior lecturer level, with individual salaries of £46,51058,917 per annum pro rata (equal to £23,255 - £29,459), including contribution points.  The appointment is for one year, renewable for up to a maximum of 3 years.  Applications should be made online. Full details, application instructions and the application form are available from:  www. tinyurl.com/qubquartet.  Informal enquiries can be made to the Head of School, Professor Michael Alcorn, at somasa@qub.ac.uk


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