CeReNeM @ hcmf//

CeReNeM staff, students, and alumni are presented in several events at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

hcmf-2018-programme coverCeReNeM’s work in electronic music is featured particularly prominently, including three concerts celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Huddersfield Immersive Sound System (HISS) on Wednesday, 21 November. The three concerts, spread across two venues, present work composed for or premiered on the HISS over its history, including work by CeReNeM staff Monty Adkins, Alex Harker, Michael Clarke, Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, and Aaron Cassidy, post-docs Owen Green and Gerard Roma, and former students Susie Green and Elias Merino. Additionally, the 25.4-channel SPIRAL studio will be showcased in an installation event presented across the festival’s first weekend and across the hcmf// shorts concerts on Monday, 19 November. The installation includes multichannel and multimedia work by Monty Adkins, post-doc Kristina Wolfe, and current/former students Jorge Boehringer, Paulina Sundin, Sebastien Lavoie, and Sam Gillies.

The annual free shorts concerts will include performances by several CeReNeM postgraduate performers, including Kathryn Williams, DriftEnsemble (Colin Frank, Pablo Galaz Salamanca, Irine Røsnes, and Cristian Morales Ossio), and a performance of Samuel Beckett’s QUAD, led by Sophie Fetokaki.

Prof Philip Thomas performs senza misura by Christopher Fox, spread across five performances from 19–23 November, and also participates in the world premiere of hcmf// composer-in-residence Christian Marclay’s Investigations for 20 pianos, which also includes current/former postgrads Maria Donohue and Kate Ledger as performers. On 23 November the Ligeti Quartet presents post-doc Stef Conner’s Singing Strings.

Prof Pierre Alexandre Tremblay sees three works presented during the festival. In addition to the HISS@10 concert, his work will also be performed by Luxembourg’s United Instruments of Lucilin on 20 November and by Eva Zöllner with CeReNeM alumna Heather Roche on 19 November. Roche herself will also perform with Swedish ensemble Mimitabu, and will contribute to the festival’s roundtable discussion about the Keychange initiative. Other notable alumni performances include composer Scott McLaughlin, whose work will be premiered in Zubin Kanga’s Wikipiano concert on 17 November, Cassandra Miller, whose For Mira will be performed on 19 November, and Eleanor Cully, who has developed a new work for massed guitars, which will be premiered by local school children and community music groups on 20 November.

mv_2015-02-20-c-Astrid-Ackermann_Eötvös_Saunders-2_WEB-800x534Finally, we are delighted that the University of Huddersfield will award composer Rebecca Saunders an honorary doctorate on Wednesday, 14 November. Saunders’ work will then be featured in two performances at hcmf// by CeReNeM friends Musikfabrik, including the UK premiere of Yes, an 80-minute installation work presented in the opening concert of the festival on Friday, 16 November.

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CeReNeM Newsletter, July 2018

In the second term of the academic year, CeReNeM welcomed a number of international guests including Chaya Czernowin (Harvard University), Amnon Wolman (Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance), and Jamie Currie (University at Buffalo, SUNY) and hosted performances by Richard Haynes (Australia/Switzerland), Teodoro Anzellotti (Germany), Francesco Dillon (Italy), and Joshua Hyde (Australia/France) who presented concerts of student and staff compositions alongside pieces by Jonathan Harvey, Rebecca Saunders, Timothy McCormack, and more. Meanwhile, the Creative Coding Lab welcomed Prof Simon Emmerson (De Montfort University) for a presentation of his work for performers and electronics, as well as CCL Visiting Research Professor Prof Miller Puckette (University of California, San Diego) for his second visit, where he oversaw a workshop of student coding projects and presented his recent collaborative project for LEAP controllers with Dr Kerry Hagan (University of Limmerick), Who Was That Timbre I Saw You With?

Colin_Frank_Philip_Thomas_Electric_SpringThe annual Electric Spring festival in February featured performances from Freida Abtan (Canada), Brian Crabtree/Rodrigo Constanzo/Angela Guyton (USA/UK), Owen Green (UK), Philip Thomas (UK) and Colin Frank (Canada), a multimedia installation from Poulomi Desai, and the annual Creative Coding Lab Symposium, with presentations by Brian Crabtree (USA), John Bowers (University of Newcastle), Sebastian Lexer (University of Glasgow) and Rodrigo Constanzo (Royal Northern College of Music).

AMBIENTat40 LOGORunning parallel to Electric Spring, Prof Monty Adkins, Dr Simon Cummings, Dr Kristina Wolfe, and Prof Rupert Till organised the Ambient@40 conference. Taking Brian Eno’s Music For Airports as a jumping-off point, the two-day conference appraised the concept and aesthetics of ambient music in relation to the 40th anniversary of Eno’s milestone release. The conference featured 44 delegates, with 18 speakers from the USA, Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland and the UK. The conference closed with a concert of works from Robert Mackay, Simon Cummings, Rupert Till, Kristina Wolfe, Szafranski duo, and Tim Howle, presented as part of Electric Spring. The conference proceedings are scheduled for publication via Huddersfield University Press, while a book of theoretical papers on ambient music, edited by Prof Adkins and Dr Cummings, is also forthcoming, featuring interviews with ~20 ambient artists from around the globe and a major new piece of writing from conference keynote speaker Prof David Toop (University of the Arts London). 

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Huddersfield Contemporary Records released two new records in the first half of the year, both with a special focus on electronic music. HCR received some high praise as a label and for these two recent releases in a glowing review from 5:4:

Perhaps the most consistently and fearlessly challenging of UK new music labels is Huddersfield Contemporary Records. As such, they’re not exactly a label needing to up their game, but with their latest couple of albums they’ve done just that, releasing some of the most unforgettable stuff I’ve heard this year. (Simon Cummings, 5:4)

Phantom Images (HCR17) celebrates the intertwining of improvisation and electronics through new works by Chris Mercer, Katherine Young, Sam Pluta & Charmaine Lee, and Prof Aaron Cassidy in the first formal publication resulting from CeReNeM’s Speculations in Sound international research network, here focusing on exchanges and collaborations with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

Beyond Pythagoras (HCR18) is the result of a five-year collaborative project between composers Paulina Sundin and Prof Monty Adkins, exploring a new method for developing harmony in electroacoustic music inspired by the writings and techniques of William A. Sethares. This recording features Adkins and Sundin on live electronics along with two of Sweden’s greatest proponents of new music, percussionist Jonny Axelsson and the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet.

HCR will release its 19th album in November, in conjunction with hcmf//, a 2CD package that documents Bozzini+, a multi-year collaborative project resulting in new pieces by Dr Bryn Harrison, Dr Mary Bellamy, and Prof Monty Adkins written for Quatour Bozzini, Prof Philip Thomas, and Sarah-Jane Summers.

Staff Publications and Research Activity

LIM_Atlas of the Sky (2018), Jessica Aszodi & Speak Percussion, photo Bryony JacksonProf Liza Lim has had an extraordinary three months of activity, including the premieres of three new large-scale works: Atlas of the Sky (2018), a 75-minute stage work for soprano, three percussionists and ‘crowd’ of 20 community participants, was premiered by Jessica Aszodi and Speak Percussion in June at the Melbourne Recital Centre, with a second performance at the Darmstadt summer courses in July; the 40-minute ensemble work Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2017) was performed by Klangforum Wien at the Wittenertage für neue Kammermusik and repeated at the Konzerthaus in Vienna; and her 18-minute double bass solo Table of Knowledge (2017) was premiered at Acht Brücken, Cologne, by Florentin Ginot of Ensemble Musikfabrik. In addition, her opera Tree of Codes (2016) had the distinction of receiving a brand new and rather spectacular production at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. For a more complete report on each project with links to interviews, reviews, as well as many photos, please see Liza’s website

Marco Blaauw, trumpetProf Aaron Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries had a fourth outing by ELISION, this time at the Metropolis New Music Festival in Melbourne and integrating two new performers (Marco Blaauw, trumpet, and Kathryn Schulmeister, double bass). The Melbourne trip also included new studio recordings of the double bass and electric lap steel guitar solos from the wreck collection of pieces, creative development sessions with several ELISION players for a new work to be premiered in Taiwan in spring 2019, and some improv sets as part of the ensemble’s Brunswick Green concert series. Elsewhere, Joshua Hyde gave the premiere of the saxophone and live electronics solo from The wreck of former boundaries; Carlos Cordieiro gave the USA premiere of the wreck clarinet solo at the Florida Contemporary Music Festival in February, where Prof Cassidy was the featured composer, with a follow-up performance at the Longy School of Music (Boston) in May; and Daryl Buckley performed the wreck lap steel guitar solo at Redland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall, Queensland, in May. HCR’s 17th release, Phantom Images, including Prof Cassidy’s I, for example, … was released in April. The work had its world premiere at the Florida Contemporary Music Festival in February, with further performances at Spectrum in New York, the Electric Spring festival in Huddersfield, and at the Forum Wallis Ars Electronica in Leuk, Switzerland. Finally, Cassidy’s I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips (2006) continues to be performed widely, now with 33 performances by 11 different performers. The work was performed in Stuttgart and Esslingen by Frank Wörner in December and February, by Nina Dante in Santa Cruz, California, in March, and twice by Adam Zahller (113 Collective) in St Paul, Minnesota, in June.

The past six months have seen the culmination of Prof Robert Adlington‘s book project New Music Theatre in Europe: Transformations between 1955 and 1975. Twelve experts from around Europe have contributed substantial chapters on different aspects of this still under-researched topic, addressing new music theatre’s relation to dramatic theory, politics, audio-visual technology, venues and environments, the idea of the performer, and the challenges presented to music analysis. Contributing authors discuss canonical works by composers such as Berio, Birtwistle, Henze, Kagel, Ligeti, Nono and Zimmermann, but also expand the field to figures and artistic developments not regularly represented in existing music histories. The resulting volume, co-edited by Dörte Schmidt (Universität der Künste, Berlin), will be published by Routledge early in 2019.

the-routledge-research-companion-to-modernism-in-musicProf Adlington’s Music and Democracy project has also given rise to other new publications, including a substantial review-article on music and democratic communities for the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and a chapter evaluating modernism as ‘the people’s music’ for the forthcoming Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music. He is also coordinating a number of events that bring the project to new audiences. This year’s Darmstadt International Summer Course will include a one-day symposium co-produced by CeReNeM, ‘Finding Democracy in Music’, which involves Prof Liza Lim, two guest academics (Georgina Born (Oxford University) and Noriko Manabe (Princeton University), and three further leading new music practitioners (David Helbich, Barbara Lüneberg and Cathy Milliken), with the goal of assessing the relation of contemporary music-making to democratic principles. And in October, the TRANSIT New Music Festival in Leuven will include three events relating to the theme of democracy: two talks led by Prof Adlington assessing the relevance of democracy to composition and ensemble practice, and a new work by Dr Bryn Harrison, written collaboratively with the Belgian new music choir De 2de Adem, resulting from an initial workshop for this work in June, which involved the choir members in co-creating material for the piece alongside Prof Adlington and Dr Harrison. The workshop process sought to capture the singers’ personal preferences and explored ‘democratic’ themes such as the expression of difference, and the role of deliberation in shaping a collective project. 

The FluCoMa team have had a busy summer of activities, with Prof Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, Dr Owen Green, and Dr Gerard Roma presenting their ongoing research at the European Research Music Conference, the Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference, the 4th International Conference on Latent Variable Analysis and Signal Separation, and have had their work published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (twice: links here and here) and the proceedings of the 2018 NIME conference.

Dr Green performed his original composition Neither the Time nor the Energy (2018) for bowed cardboard box and electronics at the 2018 Electric Spring festival, and was joined later in the semester by John Bowers in the university’s SPIRAL studio to construct All the Noises (2018), an original multichannel composition/installation for multiple machine listeners. Dr Green’s performance with Raw Green Rust from this year’s Sonorities festival in Belfast was recently featured on BBC Radio3’s Hear & Now. Meanwhile, Prof Tremblay’s new work Un fil rouge (2018) received its world premiere by Luculin in May at the Philharmonie Luxembourg. Dr Roma premiered his new participatory music piece No merge conflicts (2018), for audience mobiles and autonomous agent, as part of a HISS concert in the European Research Music Conference, Barcelona. No merge conflicts explores audience participation in an algorithmic audiovisual ecology, whereby the audience is invited to interact with an artificial agent through a web-based synthesizer that runs on their phones. The agent has its own moody strategies for merging the audience sounds and responding to them. The consequences are unpredictable.

The IRiMaS team of Prof Michael Clarke, Dr Frédéric Dufeu and Dr Keitaro Takahashi presented their paper entitled ‘Music analysis as interactive aural play’ and demonstrated their software for interactive aural analysis at the European Research Music Conference in Barcelona in June, and at the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network conference in Florence that same month, Dr Dufeu presented a paper cowritten with Prof Clarke and Peter Manning entitled ‘Integrating creative, technical, historical and analytical aspects of electroacoustic music in research and pedagogy: a perspective from the TaCEM project’. Prof Clarke and Dr Dufeu will discuss applying interactive aural analysis to acoustic repertoire from the TaCEM and IRiMaS projects at the RMA conference in Bristol this September.

Dr Bryn Harrison has had a busy six months, with a number of performances and several new creative projects, as well as putting the final touches on the upcoming book Being Time: Case studies in musical temporality, co-authored with Jennie Gottschalk and Richard Glover, which will be published by Bloomsbury in late 2018. Bryn’s new 35-minute work To Shadow—for the rather unusual line-up of three cellos (Tre Voci), church organ (Kit Downes) and members of the Southbank Gamelan Players—was premiered in early February at Union Chapel, London. This was followed a week later by a repeat performance of Receiving the Approaching Memory by Aisha Orazbayeva and Mark Knoop during the Principal Sound festival at St John Smith’s Square, London. In April, Harrison’s piece Quietly Rising was performed as part of the Phonemes festival in Reyjavik, Iceland, accompanied by a guest lecture at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in association with the festival. Also in April, Six Symmetries was performed by the ensemble An Assembly at St John’s, Waterloo, London, and was subsequently broadcast on Radio 3’s Hear and Now programme in June. 

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Prof Monty Adkins has released a new 22-minute composition entitled Moeror on the Cronica label. Prof Adkins also recently completed a soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s Empire as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival; he is currently editing the 8-hour soundtrack down for a release later this year on the San Francisco-based LINE label. His ongoing work on the music of Roberto Gerhard continues as well, having just completed the digitisation of 20 additional tapes of Gerhard’s work for the Cambridge University Library. Music for IOU’s Rear View, co-composed with Susie Green, continues to tour and has now had 84 performances. Prof Adkins is on sabbatical leave from July to December 2018, with exciting new projects and residencies in Germany, New Zealand, and the USA.

Two2Prof Philip Thomas is featured on a new recording of John Cage’s Two2 for two pianos alongside Mark Knoop. Released on Another Timbre, the recording has received praise from critics Brian Olewnick (Just Outside), Ben Harper (Boring Like A Drill), Marc Medwin (Fanfare), Rob Haskins (The International Journal of Music and Music Performance), and Michael Rosenstein (Point of Departure). Prof Thomas also toured Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetry alongside Richard Craig, flute, and Damien Harron, percussion, at the University of Huddersfield, Birmingham Conservatoire, and the University of Sheffield. Meanwhile, work from Prof Thomas’s AHRC-funded project John Cage and the Concert for Piano and Orchestra was presented at the Music Encoding Conference (University of Maryland), the International Conducting Studies Conference (University of Oxford), Improvisation and Musical Composition: beyond the opposition between notation and action (IRCAM), and the Performance Studies Network (Norwegian Academy of Music).

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Since March, Dr Julio D’Escriván has been writing music for a contemporary dance show with MDV Danza, choregraphed by Mikel Del Valle called Agate Deuna. It deals with an exploration of feminine archetypes based on the life story of the Sicilian martyr Santa Agueda. First performance will be in September 2018, In Vitoria, Basque Country, Spain, in short form. Later, in February 2019, the full version of the show will be premiered at the main concert hall in Bilbao, Teatro Arriaga. Julio was signed as a composer for the film trailer music and bespoke film music and sound design publisher Sencit, based in Los Angeles, in late June. He has recently been writing a number of cues for their latest release, which goes to music supervisors and film trailer advertising companies in Hollywood from 6th August 2018. Additionally, the installation piece The Dreaming of Trees, a collaboration with voice artist and poet Deborah Middleton, will be available for visitors at the WILD WITHIN exhibition, curated by La Wayaka Current, at Sunbury House in London from 21st July to 8th August 2018. It will also be published by Leonora Press, London. 

AVBODY-programme 2Dr Ben Spatz is in the process of wrapping up his AHRC Leadership project Judaica: An Embodied Laboratory for Songwork (2016-2018). Most recently he held a concluding event for the project AVBODY: Symposium on the Audiovisual Body (9–12 June 2018) bringing together practitioner-researchers working with digital media, dance tech, screendance, screen studies, experimental performance, performer training, visual anthropology, and other fields to examine relations between audiovisuality and embodiment across a range of workshops and presentations. The conference hosted 32 delegates and featured 20 presentations, four keynotes, and three performances, with presenters hailing from ten countries, including the USA, Germany, Spain, Norway, and Singapore. More recently, Dr Spatz’s Journal of Embodied Research has released its first three peer-reviewed video articles, featuring contributions from staff at Lasalle College of the Arts (Singapore), the University of Melbourne, the New University of Lisbon, and University of Geneva. Originating from a diverse array of disciplines, these videos take a very different approaches to the video form and the audiovisual body. A fourth video is in press, created by a site-specific durational practitioner and pioneer of artistic research in Finland. 

303_CoverEarlier this year Dr Hyunkook Lee released a 3D Blu-Ray album for the Siglo de Oro choir entitled Hieronymus Praetorius: Missa Tulerunt Dominum Meum. This 3D recording contains a remarkable representation of the renowned acoustics of Merton College Chapel, released for the Auro 3D 9.0 and Dolby Atmos formats as well as the conventional 5ch and 2ch. Hyunkook also presented four international talks and a number of papers and tutorials relating to the psychoacoustics of 3D sound recording at Mikroforum (Germany), MARL (New York University), the 144th AES convention (Milan), and Sounds in Space (University of Derby, UK). His paper ‘The Frequency and Loudspeaker-Azimuth Dependencies of Vertical Interchannel Decorrelation on the Vertical Spread of an Auditory Image’ has been accepted for publication by the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. More recently, a new collaborative project has been started with New York University focusing on building an extensive library of urban soundscapes around the world using 3D mics and cameras in various acoustic environments. Additionally, Hyunkook’s new VST plugin VHAP (Virtual Hemispherical Amplitude Panning) is set to be released soon. The plugin utilises an efficient 3D panning method exploiting the phantom image elevation effect, and has been discussed in Hyunkook’s publication here.

CeReNeM Newsletter, December 2017

It has been a busy start to the 2017–18 academic year for the Centre for Research in New Music, with extensive activity from both staff and students. In the first term we’ve welcomed several international guests including Clara Iannotta, the artistic director of Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik (Austria), Prof Lyn Goeringer from Michigan State University, composer Christopher Trapani as part of hcmf//, and the New York ensemble loadbang, who presented a concert of original student compositions alongside pieces by Martin Iddon, Evan Johnson, Paula Matthusen, and Taylor Brook. Meanwhile, the Creative Coding Lab welcomed Prof Hans Tutschku from Harvard University to its seminar series, where he presented a lecture entitled ‘Technology: The expressive extension of my artistic sensibility’. CeReNeM also helped organise and host an hcmf// Composition Masterclass for emerging, female-identifying composers with Hilda Paredes as part of CeReNeM’s larger commitment towards addressing issues of gender, inclusivity, and equity of opportunity in new music.

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Huddersfield Contemporary Records (HCR) has released three albums since June. Former CeReNeM Professor Peter Ablinger‘s Verkündigung was released in September, followed by two double-CD releases in November by Apartment House: Patterns of Connection, the first major survey of the music of British experimental composer Michael Parsons, and CC, a product of Apartment House’s long and rich engagement with the music of John Cage and Christian Wolff. Patterns of Connection and CC have received several positive reviews in outlets including The Guardian and The Wire. And 2018 is shaping up to be another exciting schedule of releases for the label, with upcoming recordings featuring performances by Sam Pluta (University of Chicago), Chris Mercer (Northwestern University), Katherine Young, the Bozzini Quartet, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, and more!

Staff Publications and other Research Activity

In September, Bryn Harrison, Mary Bellamy and Philip Thomas completed a successful tour of Canada with the Bozzini Quartet as part of CeReNeM’s Bozzini+ project. Bryn Harrison’s Piano Quintet received its first performance in Montreal, Quebec, on 18th September 2017, and has been subsequently performed in Toronto (19.09.17) and at hcmf// (21.11.17). Mary Bellamy’s quintet Beneath an ocean of air was premiered in Montreal (25.09.17), with a follow-up performance at hcmf// (21.11.17). Both pieces are scheduled for release on HCR in 2018, along with a new work by Prof Monty Adkins pairing the Bozzini Quartet with Scottish fiddler Sarah-Jane Summers.

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In June the Cage Concert for Piano and Orchestra project (AHRC 2015–18), led by Prof Philip Thomas, hosted the Performing Indeterminacy conference. The conference saw 87 attendees, drawn from across the UK and (in no particular order) Ireland, USA, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Canada, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, and Germany. Keynote presentations were delivered by Catherine Laws (University of York), Benjamin Piekut (Cornell University) and Christian Wolff (Dartmouth College), as well as a presentation from Laura Kuhn from the John Cage Trust. The conference included an evening concert, with Apartment House performing Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra and the world premiere of Christian Wolff’s Resistance, a new work specifically commissioned for this programme.

In addition, Philip performed with the Bozzini Quartet, Edges Ensemble, and Ensemble Grizzana at hcmf// in November, and with Apartment House at the London Contemporary Music Festival in December, performing works across those events by Robert Ashley, Jürg Frey, Magnus Granberg, Galina Ustvolskaya, Michael Parsons, and Chris Newman, amongst others.

Dr Bryn Harrison was an artist in residence at Sound Scotland, Aberdeen, as British mentor for the Composer’s Kitchen with the Bozzini String Quartet from 23–27 October. This project was undertaken in collaboration with Sound and Music and Sound Scotland. Bryn is currently completing work on a multi-authored book, together with Jennie Gottschalk and CeReNeM alumnus Richard Glover, for Bloomsbury on musical temporality, set to be published in 2018.

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The fourth edition of TCPM (Tracking the Creative Process in Music) was held in Huddersfield in September, coordinated by Prof Michael Clarke and Dr Frédéric Dufeu. This relatively new conference focuses on an area of growing importance in music research, the study not just of completed works but also of the creative processes by which they are generated. Keynote lectures were given by Laudan Nooshin from City University, London and Gianmario Borio from the University of Pavia, Italy. Evening workshops highlighted the range of music research at Huddersfield, including one by Prof John Bryan and the Rose Consort of Viols, and another by Huddersfield performance and composition PhD students Linda Jankowska and Pablo Vergara. The conference was attended by approximately 100 delegates from 20 countries.

Version 2Prof Aaron Cassidy’s piece The wreck of former boundaries, which received its UK premiere by the ELISION ensemble at hcmf// in 2016, was a finalist for the 2017 British Composer Awards in the Chamber Ensemble category. Meanwhile, Cassidy’s The Pleats of Matter, for electric guitar and electronics, was given its Chilean premiere at the XXVII Festival de Música Contemporánea, Instituto de Música, Santiago, in late November by CeReNeM alumnus Diego Castro, with a follow-up performance at the Relincha Festival in Valdivia. In October, he was in Austin, Texas, for a weeklong residency with the Line Upon Line percussion trio working towards a new work to be premiered in 2019, and a guest lecture at Southwestern University. The Austin visit coincided with concerts by ELISION in their Texas debut, in which Ben Marks performed Aaron’s two trombone solos, Because they mark the zone where the force is in the process of striking and songs only as sad as their listener, and Richard Haynes performed Prof Liza Lim’s Sonorous Body for solo clarinet. Aaron joined the ensemble on electronics in a performance of Codex IV by Richard Barrett. In February, Cassidy will be one of the featured composers (along with CeReNeM friend Robert Normandeau) at the Florida Contemporary Music Festival in Gainesville, giving several lectures and masterclasses, and culminating with a portrait concert of six works for clarinet (Carlos Cordeiro), trombone (Weston Olencki), and electronics.

Prof Robert Adlington hosted the two-day Finding Democracy in Music symposiumin September19 speakers representing eight different countries delivered papers addressing a wide array of musical practices, including keynote papers from Prof Georgina Born (University of Oxford) and Prof Tina Ramnarine (Royal Holloway, University of London) and contributions from fellow CeReNeM researchers Prof Philip Thomas and Dr Ben Spatz. Work is now underway on an edited volume arising from the conference, to be co-edited with Prof Esteban Buch (EHESS, Paris). Robert is also writing a new monograph, provisionally entitled Musical Models of Democracy, work from which has been presented at the Performing Indeterminacy conference at University of Leeds (30.06–02.07.17), the Music Since 1900 Conference at University of Surrey (12–15.09.17) and the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society in Rochester, New York (9–12.11.17). In September 2018, Robert will deliver a keynote paper on this topic at the annual conference of the Royal Musical Association Conference, University of Bristol.

Prof Liza Lim has given a number of high-profile keynotes this academic year including at the Women in the Creative Arts Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra and a talk for the Best Practice in Artistic Research event at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She was invited to ‘Sound & Story’ at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, where she presented on the subject of ‘time, possession and ventriloquism’ in her operas. She was a featured composer at the Shanghai New Music Week in September, with concerts and lectures focused on her music. Other performances of note include How Forests Think at New York’s Lincoln Center by the International Contemporary Ensemble with Wu Wei, conducted by Baldur Brönnimann; performances by Ensemble Musikfabrik of solo works at the Berlinerfestspiele and of the large song cycle Tongue of the Invisible at the Philharmonie Essen; a reprise of a very early string quartet Hell (1992) by the Arditti String Quartet at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; and cellist Séverine Ballon playing An ocean beyond earth at the Venice Biennale, in San Francisco and in Bludenz. She is currently working on a large-scale work for Klangforum Wien, which will be premiered at the Wittenertage für neue Kammermusik and Vienna Konzerthaus (Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus), and a work commissioned by Speak Percussion supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria (Atlas of the Sky) that will premiere next June in Melbourne.

Prof Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Dr Alex Harker were also in Shanghai this autumn as part of the 2017 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), where Prof Tremblay’s Bucolic & Broken was performed as part of the conferences concert series, and where Dr Harker presented a paper on his current software development project, entitled ‘FrameLib: Audio DSP using Frame of Arbitrary Length and Timing’.

Prof Tremblay has completed a one-hour commission for Czech Radio entitled Attempts at Stillness, which was written in PA’s studio between April and November 2017 and features the voices of Pavel Klusak, Édouard Levasseur, and Maxime Levasseur. Attempts at Stillness can be heard here.

In addition, a number of funded PhD studentships have been announced for Prof Tremblay’s €2m Fluid Corpus Manipulation project (FluCoMa), Prof Michael Clarke’s €2.5m Interactive Research in Music as Sound project (IRiMaS), and an open call in New Music Studies with Prof Robert Adlington. These calls will see five new PhD candidates join the music department’s team of postgraduate researchers from 2018-2022.

01-usherhillProf Monty Adkins has released two full-length LPs in the past few months: A Year At Usher’s Hill was released on Eilean Records (France), and Shadows and Reflections was released on Cronica (Portugal). Both have been broadcast widely across Europe and beyond, receiving positive reviews and mentions in UK publications 5:4 (5against4) and The Wire, and in European publications such as Rockerilla, BlowUp, Ambient Blog, and The Domain of the Gods. A Year At Usher’s Hill was also featured in its entirety by Bérangère Maximin on the Territories of Sound radio program. 

Several of Monty’s compositions have been performed internationally over the second half of this year. Glass Feathers for taragato and electronics was premiered by Nicole Canham at the Anzac Memorial Centre in Canberra on 26th October. Winter Tendrils for cello and electronics was performed by CeReNeM alumnus Seth Parker Woods in Chicago on the 23rd June, in Washington on 22nd of October and Seattle on 9th December as part of the Non-Sequitur Series. Rear View, co-composed with CeReNeM MA composer Susie Green for the experimental theatre company IOU, received over 80 performances over the summer at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Festival of Thrift (Redcar), Out There Festival (Norfolk), Batley Festival (West Yorkshire), Festival of Transport (Blackpool), and the Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Shadow World | Freud’s House, an installation produced in collaboration with Brass Art, was exhibited at the Museum Nacional de Arte Contemporanea, Porto from 5th–7th July. 

The 2nd edition of the Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music went to print in December. Edited by CeReNeM’s Dr Julio d’Escrivan and Dr Nick Collins (University of Durham), the latest edition features a new chapter by Prof Monty Adkins, entitled ‘Extending the instrumental sound world using electronics’, alongside contributions from Natasha Barrett, Karlheinz Essl, Ge Wang, and artist statements by Laurie Spiegel, Pauline Oliveros, George Lewis, and John Oswald, amongst others.

Screen (13)Dr Hyunkook Lee‘s Applied Psychoacoustics Lab (APL) released an app at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York in October. The app, called MARRS (Microphone Array Recording and Reproduction Simulator), is an interactive and intelligent tool for sound source localisation prediction in recording. It can interactively visualise the predicted perceived position of each sound object for any microphone array configuration, and can also recommend the correct microphone array configuration for a desired stereo width in recording. Useful for recording engineers and students, the app can be downloaded freely from iOS and Android app stores. APL also released an open-access library of microphone array impulse responses (IRs), called MAIR (Microphone Array Impulse Responses), including over 2000 IRs captured in Huddersfield’s St. Paul’s Hall for 13 loudspeaker positions with 39 different microphone configurations from 2-channel stereo to 9-channel 3D audio. The library comes with a convenient Max-based convolution renderer so the user can easily compare and mix different microphone techniques and create virtual ensemble recordings in 3D.

Siglo de Oro recordingIn addition to these major software releases, Hyunkook has published three journal papers (in Applied Sciences, and the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society) and three conference papers since July. In September he recorded the London-based choir Siglo de Oro in 3D at Merton College Chapel, in collaboration with Delphian Records. The album will be released in Pure-Audio Blu-ray formats that will include 9.1 Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D versions of the recording, as well as 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo. The recording was made using his own 3D microphone technique called PCMA-3D.

In September and October, Dr Ben Spatz and the research team of the project Judaica: Embodied Laboratory in Songwork (AHRC 2016-2018) shared their work at more than twenty venues across three countries. Ben kicked off the series of presentations by analyzing power dynamics in collaborative embodied research at Prof Adlington’s Finding Democracy in Music conference. Along with Nazlıhan Eda Erçin and Agnieszka Mendel, they then traveled to Poland and the USA, where they presented at major universities, performing arts venues, and Jewish cultural centres. A complete calendar of these events can be found here. Further events for the development and presentation of this work will follow in venues across the UK and Europe over the course of 2018. 

Further enquiries: Sam Gillies, CeReNeM Manager, cerenem@hud.ac.uk

CeReNeM Newsletter, June 2017

We have many wonderful achievements to celebrate at CeReNeM as we come to the end of this academic year, including major research grant success, publications, premieres, conferences and a programme of exceptional visiting artists and researchers. The end of the 2016-17 academic year also marks the end of my time as Director of CeReNeM. These past 9 years have been a time of remarkable transformation and internationalisation for the Centre at Huddersfield and I’ve been privileged to work with so many inspiring and visionary colleagues and students. I’m pleased to announce that Prof. Aaron Cassidy takes over as Director of CeReNeM as of the end of August 2017. I will continue at Huddersfield in a part-time visiting role. (Liza Lim)

Prof. Michael Clarke, Major ERC Grant Success

Our warmest congratulations go to Prof. Michael Clarke who has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for c.€2 million to lead a five year project entitled “Interactive Research in Music as Sound (IRiMaS): Transforming Digital Musicology”. The project is based at Huddersfield and begins in January 2018. Prof Robert Adlington will be one of the lead experts also involved in the project. More information here.

Announcing CeReNeM Scholarships for 2017-18

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We are excited to announce the recipients of our 2017 PhD Scholarship call. The Jonathan Harvey Scholarship in Composition will be held by Hakan Ulus, a German-Turkish composer who comes to us following studies at the Mozarteum University Salzburg, the HMT Leipzig, and the HfMDK Frankfurt. Hakan’s work has been performed by many of the leading international ensembles for contemporary music, including ensemble recherche, Ensemble SurPlus, Ensemble Aventure, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the Talea Ensemble. 

James Simmons Portrait and Wedding PhotographyThe Denis Smalley Scholarship in Electronic Music will be held by James Bradbury, who has recently completed Master of Music studies at the University of Western Australia in Perth. James has previously been awarded the Callaway Medal and the Edith Cowan Prize, and was the 2016 Schenberg Fellow. In addition to his affiliation with CeReNeM, James’s research will also be supported by the activities of the Creative Coding Lab (CCL).

Sophie FetokakiThe Duncan Druce Scholarship in Performance will be held by Sophie Fetokaki, an interdisciplinary performer whose work incorporates singing, acting, dance, literature, composition, and the music of oral traditions. Sophie comes to Huddersfield following studies at the Conservatoire of Amsterdam, City University London, University of Amsterdam, City Literary Institute, and Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and her PhD research will be supported by affiliations with both CeReNeM and the Huddersfield Centre for Performance Research (HuCPeR).

These three were selected from a record-setting applicant pool. Across all music disciplines, we received 85 applications for MA and PhD places, the vast majority of which were from overseas applicants. CeReNeM’s incoming postgraduate class for autumn 2017 represents an exceptionally diverse collection of talented composers, performers, programmers, improvisers, and interdisciplinary artists, extending the tradition of CeReNeM’s vibrant postgraduate research culture.

Publications and other Research Activity

Huddersfield Contemporary Records (HCR) has put out its 13th release with The wreck of former boundaries. Officially released on May 19, the CD is distributed by NMC Recordings.  This album presents two major new works by Liza LHCR13CD Cover 4000 RGBim and Aaron Cassidy, commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ELISION Ensemble. The works foreground the virtuosic, innovative talents of the musicians of ELISION, integrating the ensemble’s expertise in improvisation alongside novel instrumental techniques developed in collaboration with these performers.

Regular CeReNeM collaborator, Angela Guyton has made a wonderfully dynamic video about Prof. Aaron Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries. Cassidy describes the work as ‘a double trumpet concerto conceived for the unique talents of Tristram Williams and Peter Evans. Its wild, visceral virtuosity liquidates geometric, architectural, and latticed structures in favour of sinuous, sculptural, and shape-shifting instability.’

 

In the meantime HCR are preparing two new CDs which will be released in Autumn 2017 featuring the work of Peter Ablinger (Verkündigung, “Annunciation”, HCR14CD) and the music of Michael Parsons performed by Apartment House and Philip Thomas (HCR15CD).

In December 2015, a musical moment was captured when touring artists Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Raymond MacDonald (saxophones) were joined by Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (bass guitar, laptop) in St. Paul’s PATconcert hall. A real treat for improvised music aficionados, the gig’s magic was captured in high fidelity, mixed by Tremblay, and was released in December last year on the esteemed British improvisation label Bruce’s Fingers.

Prof. Tremblay was also the guest composer at BEAST FEaST 2017, having been commissioned to write a new work for the prestigious Birmingham-based loudspeaker orchestra. Tremblay is no stranger to large multichannel speaker configurations, and this project allowed him to explore first-hand his proposed solutions to the aesthetic, pragmatic and technical issues that present in such multichannel setups. Since then, Tremblay is back in the studio to mix a duet opus with Tom Challenger slated to be released at Frome Festival in July, as well as recording Light.box’s second album for release in Autumn.

Dr Bryn Harrison was the British mentor for the 2017 edition of the Composer’s Kitchen. Between April 18-25 Bryn worked with composers Lawrence Dunn, Sarah Lianne Lewis, Rebecca Bruton and Jason Doell and members of the Bozzini Quartet at Concordia University in Montreal, participating in workshops, discussions and rehearsals culminating in a public performance on April 25.

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Prof. Monty Adkins’ new commission for the Bozzini Quartet – Water’s Edge (2017) – was premiered in Montreal, Canada in April. An evening length work, comprising nine movements, Water’s Edge was designed as a concert piece for Sarah Jane Summers and the Bozzini Quartet, with Monty Adkins performing electronics. Adkins’ work is the first of three new pieces by CeReNeM staff to be performed by the quartet as part of the Bozzini+ Project, with works by Dr Bryn Harrison and Dr Mary Bellamy due to follow in September.

Visiting Research Prof. Miller Puckette made his first visit to the University of Huddersfield as part of his association with CeReNeM’s Creative Coding Lab (CCL), coordinated by Dr Alex Harker. As part of his visit Miller presented two talks discussing the possibilities of electronic music instrument design and the role of scores in electronic music. Miller’s visit follows on from CCL’s other Visiting Research Professor Sam Pluta (University of Chicago) late last year.

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Philip Thomas and Mark Knoop performing John Cage’s Two2 at the Tate Britain

Prof. Philip Thomas and Mark Knoop performed John Cage’s late work for two pianos, Two2 at the Universities of Durham and Huddersfield back in March, and more recently at Tate Britain, launching the exhibition of Cerith Wyn Evans’ ‘Forms in Space’. These performances of Cage’s work provide a strong upbeat to the Performing Indeterminacy conference (June 30 until July 2) where Thomas and Apartment House will also be premiering a major new work by Christian Wolff, ‘Resistance’ for piano and ensemble. Forming a part of Thomas’s AHRC-funded project, ‘John Cage and the Concert for Piano and Orchestra, the conference addresses the performance of indeterminate and experimental musics as its central theme, and is intended as a forum for the exchange of perspectives from musicologists, performers, composers, and a wider audience.

Prof. Robert Adlington will be presenting new work at the Performing Indeterminacy Conference with a paper entitled ‘How democratic is indeterminate music?’ Prof. Adlington convenes a two-day symposium (4-5 Sept) at Huddersfield entitled ‘Finding Democracy in Music’. This will bring together researchers from eight countries to explore different ways in which musical practice may be related to democratic values and processes. Further details on the programme and registration process may be found here: https://democracyinmusic.org/.

Prof. Liza Lim’s composition Ronda – The Spinning World (2016) was premiered by Ensemble Modern at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper and at the Berlinerfestspielhaus earlier this year. Commissioned by Ensemble Modern and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin, and supported by numerous German and Brazilian partners, this was part of ‘Re-Inventing Smetak’, the first project of scale related to the composer, instrument builder, and philosopher Walter Smetak with a rich programme of concerts, conference and exhibition events. The product of a residency in Salvador da Bahia in July 2016, Ronda – The Spinning World explores a Brazilian epistemology of sound and a poetics of listening expressed in its spatial ensemble dynamics.

A further three performances will take place in July as part of Ensemble Modern‘s tour of Brazil. Other international concerts include a programme of works performed by the Cikada Ensemble at National Sawdust, New York, and the US premiere of How Forests Think at the Lincoln Centre’s Mostly Mozart Festival performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble with Wu Wei.

Further enquiries: Sam Gillies, CeReNeM Manager, cerenem@hud.ac.uk

CeReNeM Newsletter, December 2016

This December witnesses the end of another extremely busy period at the Centre for Research in New Music, with extensive activity from both staff and students. Such activity has not gone unnoticed, with Tim Rutherford-Johnson declaring in a recent article in his much-read new music blog, The Rambler, that Huddersfield ‘is surely now the powerhouse for new music in UK academe’.

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Such a declaration is particularly well-timed, given that this is CeReNeM’s 10th anniversary year. CeReNeM was founded in 2006 at a launch event at HCMF, so it was fitting that the anniversary was formally marked with a mirror event at this year’s festival. To mark the occasion, Dr Matthew Sergeant curated an exhibition of CeReNeM’s archive, which was displayed in the Creative Arts Building atrium throughout the HCMF period. The exhibition featured examples from our extensive collection of staff and student scores, photos, video materials and artefacts (including the promotional bookmark distributed to all attendees of the original launch event in 2006!) and attracted a lot of public attention throughout its installation.

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CeReNeM 10th Anniversary Exhibit at //HCMF2016

Staff research activity has been typically productive this term.

Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay has celebrated major grant success this term, receiving approximately €2million of funding from the European Research Council to activate his FluCoMa (Fluid Corpus Manipulation) project. This is a huge achievement for Prof. Tremblay and we offer him our largest possible congratulations as the project goes forward into actualisation. You can read a more substantial blog post about his project online here.

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CeReNeM director, Prof. Liza Lim, has had a particularly busy season, as a host of internationally acclaimed orchestras and ensembles collectively mark an important birthday year. The September to December period has been occupied with over forty performances of her work, occurring in more than ten different countries spread over five continents (a complete list is available here). A comprehensive cross section of her music has been presented, many examples of which were composed during her time as Professor of Composition here at Huddersfield University. Invisibility (2009, for solo cello with two bows) alone has received five performances this season, and the representation of her work expands all the way up (in both time of creation and scale) to her latest opera Tree of Codes (2013-15, produced by MusikFabrik and Oper Köln), performed in Dresden in October, and a broadcast of her 2008 opera The Navigator on Australian radio.]

Both Prof. Liza Lim and Prof. Aaron Cassidy have received major premieres this season with the ELISION Ensemble. Lim’s How Forests Think and Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries are substantial 35 minutes works and were first presented at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music (BIFEM) in Australia before touring to the Tage für neue Musik Zürich and HCMF2016. Both works are due to be released on HCR (Huddersfield Contemporary Records, CeReNeM’s CD label) in the new year.

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Liza Lim’s How Forests Think in rehearsal (Sept 2016)

Prof. Philip Thomas’s ongoing research project Cage and the Concert for Piano and Orchestra (in partnership with the University of Leeds) has continued to make substantial progress this term. The research team have spent time at key archives this year, including the John Cage Collection (Northwestern University), the John Cage manuscripts collection at the New York Public Library, and the John Cage Trust. They have presented on their work at the Fourth Biennial Performance Studies Network conference and at Northwestern University. Next year the team hosts an international conference ‘Performing Indeterminacy’, which includes Thomas playing with Apartment House in John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra and the world premiere of a new work for piano and ensemble by Christian Wolff.

Bozzini+, CeReNeM’s ongoing research project with the internationally acclaimed Bozzini Quartet has entered its final stages this term. In early November, Prof. Monty Adkins major new work Water’s Edge was premiered by the Bozzinis with folk-violinist Sarah-Jane Summers at the Sound Festival (Aberdeen). Dr Bryn Harrison and Dr Mary Bellamy are finalising their scores written for the quartet and CeReNeM’s own Philip Thomas ready for a set of performances in the UK and Canada next year, as well as recordings to be released on our record label, HCR.

CeReNeM’s newly-launched Creative Coding Lab (CCL) began its first year of operation this term under the direction of Dr Alex Harker. The lab welcomed its PhD scholar Oliver Larkin into its programme of research, alongside the first visit of Dr Sam Pluta (University of Chicago) as its new visiting research fellow.

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Dr Sam Pluta, CCL Visiting Research Fellow

CeReNeM is delighted to have been accepted as the host institution of the 2017 edition of the prestigious ‘Tracking the Creative Process in Music’ (TCPM) conference. Previous editions of the conference were hosted by IRCAM in Paris and Université de Montréal, and  planning for our own edition is now well underway, led by Prof. Michael Clarke and Dr Frédéric Dufeu. The new conference website, which includes details of the conference as they are announced, is available here.

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Our record label, HCR, has continued to grow and develop during this autumn/winter period. Our latest release, Caerulean, from world-renowned clarinettist and CeReNeM PhD student Carl Rosman, was released at a launch event in HCMF2016. Ten years in the making, the disk documents work written for and in collaboration with Rosman, including world premiere recordings from composers Rebecca Saunders and Richard Barrett alongside work by CeReNeM Professor of Composition Aaron Cassidy and PhD student Chikako Morishita.

Prof. Philip Thomas’s June release on HCR – Beat Generation Ballads – has also attracted a large amount of critical attention, being awarded a 4-star review in the Guardian and being included in The Wire magazines ‘top ten contemporary classical releases of 2016.’

As is evident, there is much to report from CeReNeM this term. We pass on our thanks and congratulations to all of our staff and wish everybody a happy holiday period and a refreshed and rejuvenated new year.

Enquiries: Dr Matthew Sergeant [m.sergeant@hud.ac.uk]

FluCoMa: Major Grant Success, December 2016

CeReNeM is delighted to offer huge congratulations to Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay (Studio Director and CeReNeM Professor of Improvisation) on a successful grant from the European Research Council (ERC) worth approximately €2million.

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Prof. Tremblay’s project, FluCoMaFluid Corpus Manipulation: Creative Research in Musical Mining of Large Sound/Gesture Datasets through Foundational Access to the Latest Advances of Signal Decomposition – instigates new musical ways of exploiting ever-growing banks of sound and gestures within the digital composition process. The project will bring breakthroughs in signal decomposition DSP to the toolset of techno-fluent computer composers for the first time.

To expand further, Prof. Tremblay explains

“Cutting-edge musical composition has always been dependent on, critical and subversive of the latest advances of technology. Unfortunately, there is a contemporary challenge inherent to aesthetic research in computer composition: an ever-expanding gap between DSP advances and their availability to musical investigators.

One such advance is signal decomposition: a sound can now be separated into its transient, pitched, and residual constituents. These potent algorithms are partially available in closed software, or in laboratories, but not at a suitable level of modularity within the coding environments used by the creative researchers (Max and SuperCollider) to allow groundbreaking sonic research into a rich unexploited area: the manipulation of large sound corpora. Indeed, with access to, genesis of, and storage of large sound banks now commonplace, novel ways of abstracting and manipulating them are needed to mine their inherent potential.

FluCoMa proposes to tackle this issue by bridging this gap, empowering techno-fluent aesthetic researchers with a toolset for signal decomposition within their mastered software environments, in order to experiment with new sound and gesture design untapped in large corpora. The three degrees of manipulations to be explored are (1) expressive browsing and descriptor-based taxonomy, (2) remixing, component replacement, and hybridisation by concatenation, and (3) pattern recognition at component level, with interpolating and variation making potential. These novel manipulations will yield new sounds, new musical ideas, and new approaches to large corpora. At present, no library exists allowing such cutting-edge research on creative fluid corpus manipulations to be done.”

CeReNeM is extremely proud of Prof. Tremblay’s significant achievement and looks forward to co-hosting his project alongside the university’s HISS (Huddersfield Immersive Sound System) and CLL (Creative Coding Lab) ventures.

Read the official ERC press release here.

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Summer Updates, July 2016

The early summer has been an extremely productive time at the Centre for Research in New Music, with exciting news emanating from both our staff and students.

In late June, Prof. Philip Thomas released a new recording of piano music by composer Michael Finnissy. The disc, entitled Beat Generation Ballads and published on CeReNeM’s record label HCR (distributed by NMC Recordings), has already attracted impressive critical acclaim. Writing in The Guardian, Andrew Clements described the disc as “thoughtful and superbly played – ★★★★”, whereas Philip Clarke described Thomas’s performance in Gramophone as “kept on the tightest structural leash.”

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More recently still, the Another Timbre label has released a new portrait disc of Dr Bryn Harrison’s work. The disc takes its title from Harrison’s forty-minute composition Receiving the Approaching Memory for violin and piano (which occupies the disc’s entire duration), performed by Aisha Orazbayeva (violin) and Mark Knoop (piano). The release has already been highly praised in the national press, described by Kate Molleson in the Guardian as “economical and fantastical […] fine-grained, shimmering material – ★★★★.”

Prof. Pierre-Alexandre Tremblay has begun development of his new audio-visual performance project, codenamed BlackBox. Collaborating with artists, Rodrigo Constanzo, Sylvain Pohu and Patrick Saint-Denis, the project recently entered its first creative development phase via a residency involving all participants, beautifully documented in this short trailer by filmmaker Angela Guyton.

Our students have been equally busy.

PhD student Lawrence Dunn has been taking part in a Sound and Music (SAM) embedded scheme, working with Sounding Motion (specifically members Stephen Upshaw and Imogen Bland) to produce music for movement and viola. Lawrence undertook a substantial interview with SAM for their Sampler magazine, which is available to read here.

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Violinist and improvisor Mira Benjaminwho is approaching her final year of PhD studies within the centre, has been awarded the prestigious Virginia Parker Prize by the Canadian Arts Council. The prize is awarded annually to a young Canadian classical musician who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence, and who makes a valuable contribution to the artistic life in Canada and internationally. The official announcement is available on the Canadian Arts Council homepage, here. Our wholehearted congratulations to Mira on this fantastic achievement.

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Congratulations and huge thanks to all CeReNeM members to all their hard work over this summer period so far. More news coming soon!

Dr Bryn Harrison in Focus, June 2016

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Bryn Harrison has recently returned from a short residency in New York following the successful premiere of a new work, a form in search of itself, scored for soprano voice, five instrumentalists, and live electronics. The piece was commissioned especially for the core players of Wet Ink ensemble, a highly regarded New York-based new music ensemble now in their 17th concert season. The piece is one of an on-going series that outlines similar approaches to form; that of moving gradually from fleeting, ephemeral moments that seem to constantly elude the listener, to a point of immersion, through which events become subjected to greater and greater degrees of repetition. Unusually for Harrison, the score is presented in mobile form through which the players choose their own circuitous routes through the lines of music provided. The result is a dense, contrapuntal texture in which time seems at once both in motion and yet strangely arrested. Harrison has spoken of this process as being both playful and invigorating, noting that it has led to musical results that always contain an element of surprise.

Another new work, Things have never been as much like they are now ever before will be premiered at this year’s summer course at Darmstadt in August. The piece was commissioned by the Norwegian ensemble Asamisimasa – with whom the composer has built up a close working relationship over the last few years – and works on a similar premise, through which material cycles on continually shorter loops. The materials, however, are quite different here; swells of chords from the five-piece ensemble (including wah-wah guitar, electric bass and organ) are juxtaposed and overlaid like plates of glass. The harmonies are continually revisited but in different guises, providing both points of orientation and disorientation for the listener. The composer presents material that at first seems out of reach, but it gradually comes into focus as the piece unfolds over its 35 minute duration.

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Bryn Harrison – Piano Quintet (2016, in progress)

Currently, Harrison is working on an ambitious hour-long piano quintet for pianist Philip Thomas and the Bozzini Quartet, part of CeReNeM’s successful URF research bid.  The piece will receive its premiere early next year, and will subsequently be recorded for release on the HCR label next year. In the meantime, June has seen the release of two works on CD: Five Miniatures in Three Parts, performed by Ensemble Offspring and receiving the approaching memory, Harrison’s second portrait disc on the another timbre label.

 

Speculations 2, May 2016

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Speculations 2, the second edition of Speculations in Sound (a weekend discussion event gathering members from CeReNeM’s Speculations in Sound International Research Network) took place at Queen’s University Belfast on May 7 and 8, 2016. Jointly organised by Michael Clarke (CeReNeM, Huddersfield) and Michael Alcorn (Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), QUB) with the support of Matthew Sergeant and Frédéric Dufeu from CeReNeM and Matilde Meireles, Craig Jackson, David Bird, Hannah Casey, and Pearl Young from SARC,these two days of intensive discussions on the three-dimensional spatialisation of sound were associated to the Sonorities festival, including a series of 3D audio concerts in the Sonic Lab at SARC.

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The event was a significant gathering of leading international figures in sound spatialisation, representing many of the major institutions working in this field. These included Natasha Barrett (University of Oslo), Ludger Brümmer (ZKM, Karlsruhe), Bill Brunson (KMH, Stockholm), Gary Kendall (formerly at QUB), Fernando Lopez-Lezcano (Stanford University), Eric Lyon (Virginia Tech), Markus Noisternig (Ircam, Paris), Robert Normandeau (Université de Montréal), David Pirrò (IEM, Graz), Jøran Rudi and Notto Thelle (NoTAM, Oslo), Barry Truax (Simon Fraser University), and Hans Tutschku (Harvard University) in addition to those working in this field at SARC (Trevor Agus, Michael Alcorn and Pedro Rebelo) and at CeReNeM (Michael Clarke, Frédéric Dufeu, Alex Harker and Hyunkook Lee).

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Prior to the event, participants were asked to provide two ‘challenges’ to be printed on postcards – problems or issues they would like to see resolved and requiring different fields of expertise from their own. On the basis of these individual challenges, the participants could exchange, react, and speculate on varied topics such as the compositional practice involving 3D sound, the aesthetic and technical perspectives and limitations of currently developed systems, parameters, abstractions and representations for sound in space, system portability, psychoacoustic studies, and the impact of 3D composition to the audience.

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The distinctive format of the event, with participants sharing questions, problems and aspirations, rather than bringing completed research outcomes, was very positively received by those attending and further follow up meetings in some of the other international centres represented are planned. Speculations 2 was videoed and it is intended that these be transcribed and re-worked with additional material for a publication. The Speculations in Sound website will also be extended as a repository for research materials in this increasingly important area of music technology, and funding for continuing research in this field is to be sought.

[Report by Michael Clarke and Frédéric Defeu. With thanks to Fernando Lopez-Lecano for the use of his photographs.]

Liza Lim – “Tree of Codes” in Focus, April 2016

Tree of Codes, a major new opera by Prof. Liza Lim (Professor of Composition and Director of CeReNeM) has just completed a highly successful premiere season of five performances in Cologne, Germany.

Commissioned in a partnership between Oper Köln, Europäisches Zentrum der Künste (Dresden), and internationally renowned contemporary music ensemble MusikFabrik, Tree of Codes is based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book of the same name, where a new story is forged by removing – or more precisely physically cutting out – words from Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles (of which Lim was already a fan prior to Safran Foer’s repurposing).

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Lim describes the opera as ‘tak[ing] place during an extra day grafted on to the continuity of life. Within this margin of secret time, a ‘backstage’ area, the boundaries between the natural world, animals, birds, humans and machines are dissolving. Dead matter is combined with the living and becomes animated. It learns to dream, to speak, to sing…’

‘Cut-outs in time’ also serves the composer as the work’s subtitle – and the phrase certainly introduces the experience of the live work. The idea of a ‘cut out’ is transposed into several multidimensional spaces, manifesting as recurrent senses of voids and farther-reaching glimpses. All the performers – including MusikFabrik’s players – occupy the stage for the majority of the time, framed by and melding with a wireframe set. Characters transpose across bodies through masks. Instrumentalists become singers (MusikFabrik’s Carl Rosman plays both the clarinet and sings the role of the Mutant Bird) and then perform as a cappella choirs. Mute actors entwine with the major singing roles taken by soprano Emily Hindrichs and baritone Christian Miedl. The production was directed by the Swiss director Massimo Furlan with sets, costumes, lighting and video realised with his team from the theatre company Numero23.Prod.

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Tree of Codes, Cologne Opera, photo by Paul Leclaire

There have been strong reactions to the new work in international press. Ulrike Gonforf, writing for DeutschlandRadioKultur, described the work as “an exciting discovery for music theatre, cleverly designed and eminently sensual in sound,” whereas Markus Schwering for Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger stated that “this is an opera which is for, not against the human voice”. UK writer Tim Rutherford-Johnson writing for Limelight Magazine says, “Claims are often made for a new kind of opera, but in Tree of Codes they seemed entirely justified by the true fluidity between music and spectacle, sound and drama”. With additional press attention from Theater PurDie Bühne, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, WDR, NRWJazzVan Magazine and the New York Times, the impact of this first production is already being felt across the world.

CeReNeM offers its warmest congratulations to Prof. Lim for this incredible achievement and looks forward to the resurgence of this production in Dresden later this year.

Report by Matthew Sergeant
[who attended the 3rd performance of the opera in Cologne on 14 April 2016]

Prof. Peter Ablinger in Focus, March 2016

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The first five months of 2016 sees Prof. Peter Ablinger’s music featured in eight countries by some of the world’s leading performers, as well as presentations at international conferences, and a new single-artist CD. With some twenty-five major performances scheduled to May alone, drawing up even a shortlist of highlights from Prof. Ablinger’s activity is difficult. So far this year, he been the subject of an Icelandic portrait concert of five specially selected works and delivered guest lectures at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague and the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik (IEM), Graz, as well as receiving other performances in a diverse array of artistic centres ranging from Helsinki to Hồ Chí Minh City.

Upcoming events of note:

Reykjavik Tectonics Festival (April 14-15) will present Ablinger’s chamber works alongside a performance of his recent Quartz for high orchestra (2015) by the Iceland Symphony under the baton of Ilan Volkov, who conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of the work in Glasgow last year. At the end of the month, Ablinger’s second festival feature takes place at Festival Mixtur in Barcelona (April 21 – May 1) where he will lead a composition workshop. The festival programme includes his acclaimed Voices and Piano (begun 1998 and ongoing) performed by Lluisa Espigolé, who will also premiere Ablinger’s new solo piano work Antoni Tapies (2016).

Ablinger was able to share the technology and concepts explored in Voices and Piano earlier this year in Huddersfield, bringing RHEA, the computer-controlled piano he designed in collaboration with Prof. Winfried Ritsch (Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik, Graz) for a week-long workshop with students. The project is documented by filmmaker Angela Guyton in the video below.

Ablinger’s third festival feature takes place at the end of May (20-22) at the Tage Neue Musik Graz, in Austria. The programme includes his Second String Quartet (2009/13) with video installation, and surround presentations of three pieces for computer-controlled piano, Quadraturen IIIf (2006), Quadraturen IIIg (2006), and Quadraturen IIIh (2009).

The violinist and member of the influential Wandelweiser Collective, Johnny Chang, also recently released Ablinger’s disc-length work, AUGMENTED STUDY for 16 violins on the Sacred Realism label (SR006). Click here for purchase info.

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Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay wins 2016 Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, February 2016

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The University of Huddersfield’s Professor of Composition and Improvisation and director of our electroacoustic music studios, Pierre Alexandre Tremblay has been awarded the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Continue reading “Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay wins 2016 Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, February 2016”

CeReNeM Newsletter, Autumn 2015

We have had a busy and stimulating semester at the Centre for Research in New Music with highlights including a wonderful ‘robotic piano’ project with postgraduates led by Prof. Peter Ablinger; the first of our international network events ‘Speculations in Sound’, and the launch of a new partnership between our HCR label and NMC Recordings. The transnational identity of the centre continues to develop with fourteen international guests visiting Huddersfield for talks, symposia and studio work, whilst our own staff have matched this research exchange with guest lectures and research residencies in Oslo, Barcelona, Berlin, Mexico and the USA. In September we welcomed 12 new PhD and Masters students, bringing our postgraduate community to 50 members from seventeen countries.

Continue reading “CeReNeM Newsletter, Autumn 2015”

CeReNeM Newsletter, Summer 2015

Another exceptionally busy term and academic year draws to a close here at the Centre for Research in New Music. Thanks to a generous investment from the University of Huddersfield Research Fund (URF), CeReNeM launched itself as a research institute back in January, instigating and cementing new collaborative relationships with major international partners within the sector. As a result, an array of projects are now well underway, spanning the next three years.

Continue reading “CeReNeM Newsletter, Summer 2015”

Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay wins Prix Opus «Disque de l’année»

We congratulate Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay whose recent CD release, La Marée, was awarded the prestigious Prix Opus ‘Disc of the Year’ (Disque de l’année) by the Conseil Québécois de la Musique (CQM) in an awards ceremony on February 1st.

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[Photo courtesy of empreintes DIGITALes]

Released on the empreintes DIGITALes label, this double-CD of mixed music incorporates performances by renowned musicians Peyee Chen (sop.), Jean-François Laporte, Sarah Nicolls (pno) and Heather Roche (cl.).

Of the album itself, PA says:

All the pieces on this album are mixed-music where the soloist has a complex dynamic with its antagonist, the loudspeaker: a dialogue all made of power games. This uneven relationship is reminiscent of the fragility of sandcastles and other human constructions with their daily facing of the patience of the elements. Are these ephemeral joys many revenges over the ineluctable? [La Marée, liner notes]

The compositions were realised in Huddersfield University’s own electronic music studios during June and July 2013 and mastered by Dominique Bassal in Montréal (Québec, Canada) during August 2013.


Meanwhile, PA informs us that his sabbatical year in Berlin continues apace. Last week, his music featured at Berlin’s CTM Festival, the conclusion of his stay as Edgar-Varère-Gastprofessor of Electronic Music Composition at the studios of the Technische Universität Berlin.

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[Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, laptop and electric bass]

PA’s own feedback from the event has been extremely positive. He particularly praised the wide-ranging artistic programming of the festival made it the ideal opportunity to showcase the breadth of his music. Drawing a large audience of curious and open-minded listeners, the venue was also praised. HAU2 is a live-sounding black-box, allowing the seating informally arranged and yet to cut the space with minimal, attention-focusing lighting.

chen[Collaborators Heather Roche, left, and Peyee Chen, stage]

In the event, PA was joined by collaborators (and long-time friends of CeReNeM) Heather Roche (bass clarinet) and Peyee Chen (soprano) and together they presented a set of three pieces, with bass and laptop improvisations from PA himself serving as ‘gelling material’ (to use the the composer’s own terms) between the more composed components.

[nureinwortgenügtnicht – movement I, extract]

La rupture inéluctable (‘The inevitable rupture’) opened the set, fantastically performed by Roche. PA told us that starting a set in an electronic music festival with an acoustic bass clarinet was ‘risky,’ but allowed a strong stage presence to form before being followed by the premiere of nureinwortgenügtnicht (‘onlyonewordisnotenough’), PA’s new electronic work, with the composer himself at the mixing desk. Chen joined the stage during the slow departing gestures of the electronics, performing Tremlay’s short chamber opera for soprano and electronics.

group[More audio excerpts are available on soundcloud. Try nureinwortgenügtnicht extracts 2 and 3]


Links to reviews:

Elecrocd [publisher] compilation of reviews [French/English]

Kindamusik review [Dutch]

M’/ Magazyn review [Polish]

CeReNeM Newsletter, December 2014

A busy first semester comes to a close and there is much to celebrate: the University of Huddersfield’s music department had 85% of its research rated as internationally excellent (41% 3*) and world-leading (44% 4*)  in the recent Research Excellence Framework exercise with its ‘real world’ impact awarded 90% 4* and research environment given 80% 4*. Amongst music departments submitted, Huddersfield was rated 8th nationally by ‘research power’.

These figures of course do not tell the full story – the dedicated passion for their art and expertise of staff and students is reflected in many, more unmeasurable places.

Notwithstanding that, work from CeReNeM has been celebrated with a sheaf of reviews in the national and international press: Dr Philip Thomas’ Feldman CD, recorded with John Tilbury and Huddersfield University-based musicians, Seth Woods, Mira Benjamin, Linda Jankowska, Rodrigo Constanzo, Barrie Webb and Taneli Clarke, received a 5-star review in The Guardian from Andrew Clements who described the recording as transcendentally beautiful.

Philip’s work was multiply showcased during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, with a solo concert, in chamber music and as director of the Edges Ensemble.

Edges perform Tim Parkinson opera ‘Time with People’, hcmf//2014

Edges, comprising many CeReNeM postgraduate composers and performers, premiered Tim Parkinson’s opera Time with People in the Bates Mill Photography studio at hcmf// and a fascinating discussion of this as well as their performances and installations at the Hepworth gallery appears in a blog from Lawrence Dunn.

Peyee Chen performs Pierre Alexandre Tremblay's chamber opera 'Still, Again', photo: hcmf//2014
Peyee Chen performs Pierre Alexandre Tremblay’s chamber opera ‘Still, Again’, photo: hcmf//2014

Simon Cummings, writing in 5:4, described Prof. Monty Adkin’s new 40-minute work Spiral Paths for hardanger fiddle written for Britt Pernille Frøholm as some of the most ecstatic music I’ve ever heard, and easily among Adkins’ finest work. Also commenting on the 20th Anniversary concert of Electric Spring which featured work by Alex Harker, Michael Clarke, Monty Adkins, Pierre Alexandre Tremblay with performances by Seth Woods and Peyee Chen, Cummings writes, Michael Clarke‘s Enmeshed 3, with Seth Woods on cello, was a breathtakingly effective example of the now very hackneyed ‘call-and-modified-response’ use of live electronics…it’s worth highlighting the material played by the cello, highly eloquent stuff, which Woods delivered with real emotive force. Rift Patterns, by Monty Adkins, was presented in its video trilogy version… I was struck again by Adkins’ superb sense of timing, particularly the slight harmonic kink partway through central movement ‘Ecstatic Drift’. Bringing the concert to an end was Still, Again by Pierre Alexandre Tremblay…Chen’s performance was amusing and affecting, a perfect foil to Tremblay’s rather gloriously mischievous music.

Other reviews of events on 5:4 include the day of concerts in hcmf//shorts and Liza Lim’s work performed by the Norwegian Cikada Ensemble. Paul Driver in The Sunday Times reviewed Edges’ Hepworth gallery performance and of Lim’s music says, ‘The Norwegian Cikada ensemble…displayed contemporary music in what seemed to me to be its most hopeful aspect: two superbly imagined works by the British-based Australian Liza Lim (1966), in which old usages of tonality and a wealth of new approaches are fused without self-conscious intent into a captivatingly ‘followable’ discourse, almost tactile in its aural satisfaction.’ Sunday Times Review, 30 November 2014

A selection of hcmf// concerts has been broadcast on BBC3 including performances by Philip Thomas and music by Liza Lim and Pedro Alvarez.

Lim’s work has been highlighted in The New Yorker, listed in Alex Ross’ Notable Recordings and Performances in 2014 and both her HatArt Cd of orchestral works and Philip Thomas’ Christian Wolff collected piano music on Sub Rosa are mentioned in his ‘Rest is Noise’ CD picks. In the end of year edition of The Wire, Andy Hamilton’s top 10 of modern composition releases for the year has Dr Bryn Harrison’s Vessels (performed by Philip Thomas) as no.4 and Apartment House’s Laurence Crane CDs of chamber works makes it to 35 in the year’s top 50 releases.

Staff movements

We are delighted to announce that Dr Matthew Sergeant (PhD 2013, Huddersfield) has been appointed as the new CeReNeM Centre Manager. He will begin in the post in early January 2015.

Dr Richard Glover (PhD, 2010 and former research fellow and lecturer in composition at Huddersfield) has been appointed Reader in Composition at the University of Wolverhampton and will begin there in February 2015.

Prof. Liza Lim moves to a part-time position in 2015 and will be dividing her time between Melbourne, Australia and Huddersfield. She will continue leading CeReNeM within a directorate structure comprising Prof. Monty Adkins, Prof. Aaron Cassidy and Dr Philip Thomas.

More news to come in the new year…

Merry Christmas and all best wishes for a creative 2015 from CeReNeM.

Philip Thomas, hcmf//2014, photo by Andrew Staveley

Enquiries, l.lim@hud.ac.uk