Our summer newsletter begins with the sad news that former CeReNeM Director Prof Liza Lim is leaving her post at the university at the end of July to focus more fully on her work at Sydney Conservatorium, University of Sydney. Liza has made an immense contribution to Huddersfield and to CeReNeM since her arrival in 2008. It would be nearly impossible to overstate the impact of her work over those 11 years, guiding CeReNeM into one of the leading international centres for new music, with a thriving CD label, two journals, massive growth in our postgraduate community, and a vibrant network of industry and academic partners. Liza led the process of building an infrastructure that has continued to propel the centre to new heights, providing new professional connections and opportunities, new publication platforms, and new funding streams to help enable ever-more-ambitious artistic projects. There are countless pieces, performances, and publications from across the CeReNeM staff that simply wouldn’t have existed without her leadership. As a staff, we are deeply grateful for her contributions and her leadership, and we wish her the very best in her future ventures.
Over the past few months, CeReNeM has welcomed guests including composers Evan Johnson (USA) and Richard Barrett (UK/NLD/SRB), as well as ELISION Ensemble (AUS) who premiered Barrett’s entoptic for percussion and electronics at their concert at St Paul’s Hall in April. The Creative Coding Lab welcomed Benjamin Hackbarth (UK) in March to speak at its colloquium, where he discussed his concatenative synthesis system AudioGuide. These presentations and performances are all available via the CeReNeM YouTube channel. CeReNeM has also hosted a number of visiting artists who have undertaken short residencies in the SPIRAL studio over the past six months, including Michel Tétreault (CAN), Steven Naylor (CAN), Hans Tutschku (USA), Matt Brennan (UK), and Rob Mackay (UK).
The Fluid Corpus Manipulation (FluCoMa) project has made great advances in the development of its first toolbox, with betas of extensions for Max, SuperCollider, PureData and command-line almost ready to go public for MacOS, Windows and Linux. The knowledge exchange website and the public discussion platform are also well underway. The FluCoMa team presented at NIME and ICMC this summer, and hosted their second plenary in May, which brought creative consultants Hans Tutschku (Harvard University), Lauren Sarah Hayes (University of Arizona), John Burton (aka Leafcutter John, independent artist), Olivier Pasquet (independent artist) and Rodrigo Constanzo (RNCM) together to the University of Huddersfield for three days of development and experimentation with the FluCoMa objects ahead of a concert of premieres composed with the toolset in November 2019 at hcmf//. Presentations from the first FluCoMa plenary in September 2018 are now available online.
Similarly, initial work from the Interactive Research in Music as Sound (IRiMaS) project have been presented at several national and international conferences this year. Prof Robert Adlington with Dr Keitaro Takahashi presented the paper Metaphors for changing sound in spectral music: the potential of the IRiMaS project at the Spectralisms 2019 conference, Paris, Ircam in June, and Dr Frédéric Dufeu presented the paper authored with Dr Keitaro Takahashi, Dr Axel Roebel, and Prof Michael Clarke titled The IRiMaS Software: Integrating interactive listening and play into musicological research at the International Computer Music Conference/New York City Electroacoustic Music Conference, NYU, in June. Prof Michael Clarke, Prof Jonathan Stock, Cristina Ghirardini, and Laurens Van Der Wee will present their paper IRiMaS: An interactive aural approach to analysing world music at the Analytical Approaches to World Music conference at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in July, whilst Prof Michael Clarke, Dr Keitaro Takahashi and Dr Frédéric Dufeu will present both a workshop and a talk at the Society for Music Analysis conference in Southampton at the end of July. Further IRiMaS papers have been accepted for presentations at the Tracking the Creative Process in Music conference in Lisbon and the Society for Music Theory conference in Columbus, Ohio, later this year.
On 20 and 21 June, the Music and Democracy: Beyond Metaphors and Idealisation Study Days were held at the University of Huddersfield, organised by British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Igor Contreras Zubillaga and Prof Robert Adlington. These two days brought together eleven researchers from the United States, France, Austria and the UK with the aim of promoting reflection upon the use and boundaries of the idea of ‘metaphors for democracy’, as well as thinking beyond them. Esteban Buch (EHESS, Paris) showed in his keynote lecture the variegated uses of the notion of democracy in many musical genres and situations, and its instability.
In March, Huddersfield Contemporary Records released its 20th recording in an ever growing catalogue, Speak, Be Silent. The record showcases premiere recordings of works from Chaya Czernowin, Anna Thorvaldstóttir, Mirela Ivicevic, Liza Lim, and Rebecca Saunders, performed by Riot Ensemble. The record has already received overwhelmingly positive reviews on allmusic, I Care If You Listen, sequenza21, and in Limelight Magazine.
Speak, Be Silent is one of 2019’s best recordings and certainly one of its most culturally relevant ones as well. (Christian Carey, sequenza21)
Staff Publications and Research Activity
Prof Aaron Cassidy has had several recent international performances with ELISION Ensemble. In April he toured with the group to the Center for 21st Century Music, University at Buffalo, New York, which featured the premiere of his work Self-Portrait, Three Times, Standing (15.3.1991–20.3.1991), along with a further performance of The wreck of former boundaries (solo clarinet). Aaron also conducted the ensemble in the world premiere of Liam Flenady’s Anchor in the Road, as well as conducting in the ensemble’s concert of student works the following day. In May he joined the group in two concerts in Taiwan. At Forum Music Taipei, three works from The wreck of former boundaries were presented (for contrabass, clarinet, and electric lap steel guitar & electronics), and Aaron joined the ensemble as an improvisor. His Self-Portrait, Three Times, Standing (15.3.1991–20.3.1991) received its second performance in a concert at the National Concert Hall, Taipei, alongside a performance of Prof Liza Lim’s How Forests Think, with sheng master Wu Wei. He is currently at work on a companion work, Self-Portrait 1996, for Ensemble Musikfabrik, part of a collection of works on the self-portraits of Gerhard Richter titled A way of making ghosts.
Prof Robert Adlington continues to develop his project on music and democracy, with recent talks at Utrecht University and the Guildhall School of Music. In June, together with Dr Igor Contreras, he co-organised two study days on music and democracy at the University of Huddersfield, which attracted speakers from across Europe and the United States. With Prof Esteban Buch (EHESS, Paris) he is editing a volume of essays arising from the Finding Democracy in Music conference held at Huddersfield in September 2017; this will be published by Routledge in 2020. Progress also continues on his monograph Musical Models of Democracy, which will address varied manifestations of the preoccupation with democracy in music of the last 60 years. As senior researcher on the Huddersfield ERC-funded project Interactive Research in Music as Sound (IriMaS), Robert is working with members of the research team to develop new software designed to engage with the way in which listeners attribute physical metaphors to heard sound; in June he delivered a paper on this work at the ‘Spectralisms 2019’ conference at IRCAM. He has also continued his work on Dutch music of the 1960s, giving a keynote presentation at the symposium Reconstructie/Deconstructie: Kenschetsen van het Nederlandse muziekleven in de periode 1965-1980, held at the Nederlands Muziek Instituut in March. In May, Robert’s new edited volume New Music Theatre in Europe: Transformations Between 1955-1975 was published by Routledge. It contains 13 chapters by scholars from across Europe addressing different themes within experimental music theatre of the ‘long 1960s’.
Prof Monty Adkins was composer-in-residence at Dartmouth College 13–20 February 2019 where he worked on a new piece for cello and electronics for Seth Parker Woods, which will be premiered at Octave9 in Seattle in February 2020. He also gave five individual masterclasses to Masters students and a guest lecture about his work and its relationship to painting and image. Monty has been awarded an £8k British Academy Conference Grant to host a conference in 2020 on Roberto Gerhard to mark the 50th anniversary of Gerhard’s death. The conference will include guest speakers from the Australian National University, Oberlin College, University of Montreal, Birbeck College London, as well as scholars from Spain and Germany. Music Beyond Airports, co-edited by Simon Cummings, launched towards the end of July. The book is a product of the Ambient@40 conference held in February 2018, the presentations from which are now available online via the CeReNeM Youtube channel. Several of Monty’s collaborative works have also received repeated exhibitions: Rondures, written with Paulina Sundin for the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, was selected by the European Contemporary Composers Orchestra for performance in Stockholm in October, while the 360˚ video version of Rear View, Monty’s collaborative work with Susie Green and IOU Theatre, was exhibited at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival on the 29th June after its earlier premiere at Square Chapel Arts centre earlier in the year.
Prof Philip Thomas has had several high profile performances, performing work by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jürg Frey, Linda C Smith, Olivier Messiaen, Joseph Kudirka, and Michael Parsons at Cafe Oto, Kings Place, and Southbank Centre. In the coming months he will perform work by Michael Finnissy, Georgia Denham, Nomi Epstein, Tim Parkinson, Marc Sabat, Thomas Stiegler and Christian Marclay at City University London, St Mary at Hill, and MACBA, Barcelona. Philip’s 2CD collection of work by Christian Wolff entitled Preludes, Variations, Studies and Incidental Music was launched by the SubRosa label. Philip contributed a chapter to a new book on the work of Michael Finnissy published by Routledge in July, and will present a paper with Emily Payne entitled Suggestions for action: Notation and movement in recent music by Christian Wolff at the RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group at Kings College London.
Dr Bryn Harrison has been mentoring as part of the London Symphony Orchestra Sound Hub scheme, which culminates in a concert at LSO St Luke’s London on the 20th July. He joined Dr Michelle Phillips at the Again & Again conference on memory and repetition in late Feldman at City University in April, and gave a presentation on memory in music at the Chew the Fat event in Leeds in May. Bryn will give a paper at the IMS Intercongressional Symposium in Lucerne in July before presenting at Liza Lim’s Music & Ecological Time Symposium in Sydney. From 29 August–15 September he will teach on the 9th International Composer’s Academy in Russia. Later that month he will fly to Geneva for the premier of his new piece for Ensemble Contrechamps, before recording recording the piece in Saragossa, Spain, for release on the Neu record label.
Prof Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Dr Alexander Harker were invited participants at the University of Chicago’s CHIME Festival in May, with PA presenting a talk entitled Fluid Corpus Manipulation: blurring taxonomies through creative convergences of practices and Alex presenting his talk entitled FrameLib – Music and DSP in Slices of Time. Katie Schoepflin Jimoh performed works by both composers, La rupture ineluctable by PA and Fluence by Alex. The visit was part of CeReNeM’s ‘Speculations in Sound‘ research network, which has enabled numerous staff exchanges between Huddersfield and the University of Chicago since 2015.
Prof Tremblay is also currently undertaking several creative projects, including a new work for Wet Ink Ensemble to be premiered at hcmf// in November, the development of a new laptop instrument, as well as contributing to Moss Freed’s large ensemble project Union Division. Several improv albums are due to be completed and released in the coming months, as well as the start of a new duet with Kasper Toepliz. PA also travelled to Basel Horeschule to deliver a series of masterclasses, and brought a class of college composition students from Montreal to Huddersfield to develop new works in the music departments studios.
Dr Hyunkook Lee is an academic partner with the Volumetric Audio Synthesis for Augmented Reality (VASAR) project, a new 18-month project that will assist with creating immersive musical experiences for augmented reality and mixed reality environments. The project receives a total of £326,299 from Innovate UK, which is part of the new official body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). VASAR’s goals are to improve immersive experiences for music fans when they listen via special augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets or multichannel loudspeaker systems. By making improvements in technology, it is hoped to shorten production times and lower the cost of producing audio material for AR and MR. Congratulations also to Hyunkook’s Applied Psychoacoustic Lab, which has recently been elevated to a ‘research centre’ in the university’s nomenclature for research bodies.
Dr Mary Bellamy‘s work unfurling for lupophone and piano was premiered by Christopher Redgate and Philip Thomas in March in St Paul’s Hall as part of the lunchtime concert series. unfurling has since been recorded for release next year, alongside Mary’s solo oboe piece dispersion for the Howarth-Redgate oboe. Mary travelled to Cologne to work with Ensemble Musikfabrik and the Harry Partch instruments in March for a new work scheduled to be premiered in March 2020, and she is also at work on a trio for ELISION for percussion, harp and contrabass, to be performed at the ISCM World Music Days in April 2020.
Dr Geoffrey Cox gave a public talk and screened some archive films at the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, with Dr Fiona Jardine of Glasgow School of Art on 24th April 2019 called The Colour of Scotland. It relates to the chapter he wrote about filmmaker Eddie McConnell and composer Frank Spedding for the Soundings collection he edited with Professor John Corner. He also gave a talk and had his film Mill Study shown at a special screening session at Mapping Spaces, Sounding Places: Geographies of Sound in Audiovisual Media conference on 20th March, Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage, University of Pavia, Cremona, Italy. His article ‘Shape, Form, Colour’ … and Music: Abstraction, Meaning, and Nostalgia in 1960s Scottish Industrial Documentary was published in Music & Letters, August 2018.
Dr Julio d’Escriván premiered music as part of a new contemporary dance piece for MDV Danza, ‘Agate Deuna‘ at the Arriaga Theatre in Bilbao, Spain, in February. In June he travelled to Los Angeles for an orchestral recording session at East West Studios in Hollywood of six new film trailer cues for Sencit Music for the ‘Imagination’ project. In September Julio will present on his recent work for moving image at the Music and Sound Design for the Screen conference at Maynooth University, Ireland.
Post-doctoral Research Fellow Dr Kristina Wolfe attended the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) in December, presenting a paper entitled Composing with Place: A Retextured and Sonified 3D model of the Sculptor’s Cave, NE Scotland co-authored by Prof Ian Armit (University of Leicester) and Dr Lindsey Büster (University of Edinburgh). She also participated in the Ensemble Evolution residency at the Banff Centre, and was selected as composer in residence for the Missouri International Composers Festival, where she will write a new work for Alarm Will Sound.
Stewart Worthy‘s Mirror Screen installation was premiered at Electric Spring in February, whilst Tungsten Ghost was exhibited at the Curve Theater in June as a part of the Interfaces Sound Art Festival, Leicester, UK. Tungsten Ghost is an installation designed specifically for Curve that focusses on one of the standard theatre spotlights that can be seen rigged from the mezzanine, projecting down onto the ground floor. These types of theatre lights are gradually being replaced as the quality and affordability of LED equivalents improve. The installation uses acoustic and electrical sound from the light itself as well as images that relate to the lamp inside the light, which contains a tungsten filament.