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?
The 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).
Running 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).
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
Prof 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.
Prof 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.
Prof 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.
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.
Prof 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).
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.
Dr 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.
Earlier 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.