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.


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.


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