CeReNeM newsletter Nov-Dec 2013

It has been another incredibly busy and vibrant period for CeReNeM. Staff and students, notably Dr Philip Thomas and the edges ensemble, presented work at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in November and we also hosted a dialogue between the festival’s Composer-in-Residence, Hector Parra and current PhD students Beavan Flanagan, Pia Palme and David Pocknee. A round-up of the festival’s highlights can be found here.

We toasted Dr Bryn Harrison on his exciting win of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award and launched Bryn’s and Richard Glover’s new publication ‘Overcoming form’ (University of Huddersfield Press) with a reception and concert. The news items below detail recent book, journal, software and CD publications from CeReNeM members as well as excellent reviews for this work. More information about staff research projects can be found on our website.

PhD student, Seth Woods at McGill University’s CIRMMT
PhD student, Seth Woods at McGill University’s CIRMMT

Current PhD students have also had many successes: Seth Woods is a visiting researcher in Montreal at McGill University’s CIRMMT/IDMIL Institutes working on the first phase of motion capture for his work on physical processes and digital prosthetic musical instruments. Rodrigo Constanzo has put out a new album in collaboration with flautist Richard Craig. Chikako Morishita has been commissioned by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra to write a work for 2 flutes and orchestra for 2014. Pedro Alvarez was selected as ‘Artist in Residence’ (Vienna, 2014) and Pia Palme has just been awarded an ‘Austrian federal scholarship for composition 2014’ in order to pursue her opera project ‘Membrane domain’. please see postgraduate news for more information as well as the news below.

Enquiries: Prof. Liza Lim, l.lim@hud.ac.uk


Dr Bryn Harrison wins Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award

Dr Bryn Harrison is one of the winners of the highly prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists, 2013. Awards for Artists were announced at a ceremony on 14 November at the Foundation’s headquarters in London. Five visual artists and three composers won the £50,000 prize, which they will each receive over a period of three years. more info

Recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists 2013, From left: Torsten Lauschmann, Chris Watson, Cally Spooner, Margaret Harrison, Emily Hall, Stewart Home, Bryn Harrison.
Recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists 2013, From left: Torsten Lauschmann, Chris Watson, Cally Spooner, Margaret Harrison, Emily Hall, Stewart Home, Bryn Harrison.



Prof. Monty Adkins & Prof. Michael Russ, Ashgate book

The Roberto Gerhard CompanionProf. Monty Adkins and Prof. Michael Russ have published an edited book The Roberto Gerhard Companion on Ashgate. Information about the larger project can be found here.

More than forty years after the composer’s death, the music of Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970) continues to be recorded and performed and to attract international scholarly interest. The Roberto Gerhard Companion is the first full length scholarly work on this composer noted for his sharp intellect and original, exploring mind.

This book builds on the outcomes of two recent international conferences and includes contributions by scholars from Spain, the USA and UK. The essays collected here explore themes and trends within Gerhard’s work, using individual or groups of works as case studies. Among the themes presented are the way Gerhard’s work was shaped by his Catalan heritage, his education under Pedrell and Schoenberg, and his very individual reaction to the latter’s teaching and methods, notably Gerhard’s very distinctive approach to serialism. A particular focus in this book is Gerhard’s electronic music. He was a pioneer in this genre and the book will contain the first rigorous studies of this music as well as the first accurate catalogue of this electronic output.

Prof. Emeritus Richard Steinitz research news

Prof. Emeritus Richard Steinitz
Prof. Emeritus Richard Steinitz

Prof. Emeritus Richard Steinitz’s György Ligeti: Music of the Imagination, published in 2003 by Faber & Faber in London and Northwestern University Press in the USA (where it won an award for ‘excellence’ from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2004), has just been reissued by Faber & Faber in paperback. Meanwhile, there is a plan to commission a Hungarian translation to be published by the former state publisher Editio Musica Budapest. If this goes ahead, the text will be extended to cover Ligeti’s final years and all the data section brought up to date.

As the sketches of Ligeti’s mature compositions became available just as Richard was finishing his original text, he has since made more detailed studies, notably of the Horn Trio and Piano Concerto, for which he has identified more than fifty of Ligeti’s abandoned attempts to compose its first page. This has resulted in an extended analytical chapter, ‘A qui un homage?  Genesis of the Piano Concerto and the Horn Trio’, in a new Ligeti anthology, György Ligeti: of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds, edited by Louise Duchesneau and Wolfgang Marx (Boydell Press 2011).

In March 2012 Richard gave the keynote paper at a Ligeti Conference held at Senate House, London University, an expanded version of which, ‘The Study of Composers’ Sketches, and an Overview of those by Ligeti’ has been published in Contemporary Music Review, Volume 31 Parts 2–3, 2012.

Ligeti horn trio sketch

In July 2013, he gave the keynote paper at a Ligeti Symposium in Szombathely, Hungary, as part of the annual Bartók Festival. Entitled  ’Scepticism and Curiosity: the Aesthetics of Enchantment’, it is due to be published along with other papers (probably by Ashgate) in 2014. In September he introduced Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre in Oslo, invited by Norwegian State Opera on the occasion of its first Norwegian staging. In October he contributed to a 3-day Ligeti Festival and Symposium at Florida State University, USA, and delivered another paper on the Horn Trio prior to its performance in one of five Ligeti concerts, presented to an impressively high standard entirely by professors and advanced students.

As many will know, Richard’s Explosions in November: the first 33 years of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, on which he had been working for eight years, was finally published by Huddersfield University Press in 2011, as a handsomely designed large format volume containing numerous photographs.  As an adjunct, he is now completing the transcription and editing of interviews and conversations with some of the world’s leading composers recorded at the festival between 1989 and the present.  This is also planned for publication by the University Press in 2014.

Martin Scheuregger, Composer-in-Residence with the British Music Collection

We are pleased to welcome Martin Scheuregger appointed Composer-in-Residence with the British Music Collection based at the University of Huddersfield as part of Sound and Music’s ‘Embedded’ scheme


Martin says:  ‘The project will involve my direct work with the BMC, a collection of over 30,000 scores and recordings from the 1960s to the present day. By studying and engaging with the wealth of material in the collection, I intend to identify common threads that run through it and to compose new works in response to this. A key part of the project is also to find ways of fostering greater interest in and understanding of music in the Collection.

My intention is to keep a strong, current web presence to engage an audience in the development of the project, and give some insight into the creative working process and how composers work. I will be keeping a record of what I’m doing online through blogs via Sound and Music and a series of podcasts on SoundCloud. Short pieces and sketches will be performed and recorded along the way, and I will be drawing on the expertise and facilities at the University’s Department of Music to help with this. As the project progresses, I will be working towards a larger scale performance and will start dialogues with professional ensemble from the UK and abroad in order to facilitate this and future presentations of mine and the Collection’s music.’

An interview about Sound and Music’s recent release of works (including music by Mary Bellamy and Bryn Harrison) from the British Music Collection can be seen on the Sound and Music site. Also see news item below.

Prof. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Dr Alex Harker publish HISSTools research (and an Opus Prize nomination for P.A.)

Professor Pierre Alexandre Tremblay recently presented the findings of the HISSTool teams at IRCAM as part of the Forum event (Paris, 20-22 Nov. 2013). In a paper co-written with Dr Alex Harker entitled Rethinking the Box: Approaches to the Reality of Electronic Music Performance, the potential creative use of impulse response, facilitated by the HIRT is assessed under musical terms.

The HISSTools Impulse Response Toolkit, a set of Max objects to capture and manipulate impulse responses, is now available in version 1.1 at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/14897/
All the source code is now available now at: https://github.com/HISSTools/HISSTools_Impulse_Response_Toolbox

A new video tutorial is available, this time on electronic acoustic room correction.

13123_IMEDProf. Tremblay’s work Mono No Aware has been nominated for the ‘premiere of the year’ at the Opus Prize. The work is published on the CD La marée, PA’s fourth album on Empreintes DIGITALes, a double CD of chamber mixed music for soloist and electronics, featuring Peyee Chen, Jean-François Laporte, Sarah Nicolls and Heather Roche.

‘Overcoming form’ book out on University of Huddersfield Press

Overcoming formDr Richard Glover and Dr Bryn Harrison have published their book Overcoming Form: Reflections on Immersive Listening with the University of Huddersfield Press. The book of essays  investigates four areas of immersive sound environments: repetition, sustained tones, performed installations and approaches to extended forms, focusing in particular on the music of Morton Feldman, Eliane Radigue, James Tenney and Phill Niblock. Through in depth exploration of the experiential nature of these subjects, the authors offer reflections upon the materials used for these environments, how they are organized, and the consequences of this on how we listen.

Bryn Harrison, Philip Thomas CD on Another Timbre

VesselsBryn Harrison’s epic 76 minute solo piano work ‘Vessels’ written for and performed by Philip Thomas has been released on the Another Timbre label. In an interview about the work, Bryn says:

I’m going to quote Philip here, and I hope he won’t mind. I remember him saying to me in an email exchange from a couple of years ago that, for him, open-ness in art meant being open to exploration and investigation, to unrepeatability and to surprise.  I don’t work directly with indeterminate or improvisational elements at all but there is already an inbuilt ambiguity and unpredictability I feel in the very fabric of the music. I’m trying to capture some of that unrepeatability and surprise and, paradoxically, this seems to come from fixing things precisely in the score. What I hope to provide for the player is a precise situation that they can respond to intuitively in the moment. For instance, the score is relatively complex involving some intricate rhythmic articulations and would be almost impossible to learn from memory. It requires the performer to see each moment as a new encounter with something already familiar.

Peter Ablinger ‘Voices and Piano’ on Sub Rosa CD

Sub Rosa CDPianist Mark Knoop, one of CeReNeM’s visiting artists, has released a CD on Sub Rosa including part of Peter Ablinger’s cycle Voices and Piano and Matthew Shlomowitz’s Popular Contexts. Adam Harper, music critic for ‘The Wire’ writes:

Popular Contexts and Voices and Piano both confront us with just how particular the act of listening really is, of how many relationships and pieces of information there are both inside and outside of music and sound.

Richard Glover ‘Logical Harmonies’ CD

Logical harmoniesRichard Glover’s portrait Cd ‘Logical Harmonies’ has been released on the Another Timbre label and an interview with Richard can be found on their website. Brian Olewnick reviewing the disc on his Just Outside blog says:

In the interview on the Another Timbre site, references are made, with regard to Glover’s music, to that of Tom Johnson, James Tenney and Alvin Lucier. These seem quite reasonable though, at least on the basis of this recording, my first experience with Glover (unless I’m forgetting something, always a strong possibility), his work stands apart in very beautiful ways. While process oriented, the pieces here are entirely acoustic which might tend to align him more with Johnson but there’s also a clear concern with sonic beauty, in an almost classical sense, that’s at odds with Johnson’s list-making that adopts a more remote stance. I also detect subtle allusions to classic forms, again just a step or two to the side of the almost clinical presentation that can occur (not without its own attractions, certainly) in a piece by Johnson or Lucier.
That said, these are seven extraordinarily wonderful compositions.

Richard’s work Progress will be performed by the Set Ensemble at the Meantime Gallery in Cheltenham on Sunday 15 December. His book chapter ‘Minimalism, technology and electronic music’ appears in the recently published Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music.

Liza Lim recent CDs

Angels CD coverLiza Lim’s Wild Winged-One for solo trumpet has been published on a new CD from WERGO featuring Marco Blaauw and musicians of Ensemble musikFabrik.

This follows the release of her work Tongue of the Invisible by musikFabrik on the same label which has received a number of excellent reviews. Paul Driver in his review describes the work as ‘remarkable’ and selected it for The Sunday Times ‘100 Records of the Year’. Simon Cummings in his blog 5:4 says: ‘Tongue of the Invisible is a searching, searing work, never for a moment relinquishing its grip on the intense subject matter at its core.’ It also appears in Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise listing and was one the case studies in his keynote lecture at the closing weekend of the Rest is Noise Festival at London Southbank Centre. Ross said:

One crucial aspect of Lim’s work is her way of negotiating between a broad spectrum of folk and classical traditions and the languages of Western modernism. She is hardly the first to undertake such a project, but she has done it with unusual finesse. A case in point, and surely one of the strongest compositions to appear in the last couple of years, is Tongue of the Invisible, a vocal cycle on texts of the great fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez, written for the twentieth anniversary of the virtuoso Köln-based Ensemble musikFabrik… This is a cosmopolitan music of maximum sensitivity and cultural awareness: in its restless, hyper-alert mediation among multiple voices, it is as much evidence of a great listener as of a major composer. (lecture transcript, Ricordi London, used with permission)

Mary Bellamy and Bryn Harrison on Digital Discoveries

Digital DiscoveriesThere are more recordings of CeReNeM staff work, this time via NMC in their Digital Discoveries collection, a new initiative that makes some of the audio holdings of the British Music Collection (housed at the University of Huddersfield) available to a wider audience. CeReNeM staff are represented in volumes 3 (Bryn Harrison), 5 and 8 (Mary Bellamy). And plenty of CeReNeM friends are scattered across all eight volumes!