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