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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
[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.
[More audio excerpts are available on soundcloud. Try nureinwortgenügtnicht extracts 2 and 3]
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, 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.
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
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.
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.
CeReNeM began the academic year by welcoming a cohort of 23 new postgraduates (19 PhD, 4 MARes) bringing our student research community to 51, which includes representation from 18 countries. Many arrived on the preceding weekend for a lively 4-day symposium organised by PhD student Braxton Sherouse with special guest Prof. Clarence Barlow from the University of California Santa Barbara.
A number of past and current CeReNeM students: Dr Ian Harrison, Kate Ledger, Rodrigo Constanzo, Linda Jankowska as well as Visiting Research Fellow, Richard Craig, are members of Manchester-based Distractfold Ensemble who are making waves internationally. The group was awarded the highly coveted Kranichsteiner Music Prize at this year’s 47th Darmstadt International Summer School. See Chris Fox’s Sound & Music blogpost on the significance of this prestigious win.
New PhD student Sebastien Lavoie has just been awarded one of the top prizes in the CEC Jeu de Temps Competition in Canada. PhD student Lee Chie Tsang received an honourable mention at the 2014 MEETINGS Composition Competition in Denmark. Recent graduate appointments include Dr Jamie Fawcus (PhD 2014) to a Senior Lecturer position at the School of Informatics, University of Skovde, Sweden, and Dr Tamara Friebel (PhD 2013) as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria where she is working on a 3-year project looking at links between music, mathematics and architecture.
CeReNeM URF grant
CeReNeM has been awarded 3-year funding of £280,000 from the University of Huddersfield’s Research Fund. The grant enables us to move to institute status, appoint a Centre Manager, a Research Fellow and undertake a range of activities focussed on international academic exchange, and industry collaborations in areas of 3D spatialisation, acoustics and audio technology. The centre as new institute will officially begin in January 2015 with Huddersfield hosting an international lecture series ‘Sources of Creativity’ involving staff exchanges with the University of Montreal, University of Harvard and the National University of Singapore amongst others, together with collaborative projects with a number of research institutes and studios from around the world.
CeReNeM Press Highlights
A feature article in the August edition of The Wire Magazine discusses the work of CeReNeM composers and performers highlighting publications on our HCR CD label and with Huddersfield University Press.
See: CeReNeM The Wire, Issue 057 Aug 2014
A follow-up article, Synaesthesia: CeReNeM’s Future Sounds by Abi Bliss also covers the work of staff and students. Do take a look at the article to see the diversity and currency of work being undertaken within the CeReNeM community.
Our CD Exposure (EXAUDI, HCRCD07) has recently had extensive airplay on radio shows in France and Belgium.
hcmf// 21-30 November, 2014
The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is fast approaching once again and this year’s programme contains a very wide representation of the work of staff and postgraduate students. The festival opens with a tribute concert to Huddersfield Honorary Doctor, the composer Christian Wolff with the Czech Ostravska Banda led by Petr Kotik. The celebrations of Wolff’s 80th birthday continue with a concert on 22 Nov. by Philip Thomas presenting premieres of piano solos written for him by Wolff, Howard Skempton and Michael Finnissy, and in the concert entitled Feldman’s Pianos (25 Nov). Philip also directs the Edges Ensemble in a programme of English Experimental music at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery (23 Nov).
The 20th Anniversary of Electric Spring (the festival of electroacoustic music initiated by Michael Clarke, Paul Archbold, Chris Fox and Barrie Webb and now directed by Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Monty Adkins) is celebrated in a concert on 26 Nov. with mixed media works by Alex Harker, Michael Clarke, Monty Adkins + Jason Payne and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay performed by soprano Peyee Chen and PhD ‘cellist Seth Woods.
Phil Minton and PhD bassist/improviser Simon Fell present a concert in Bates Mill on 27 Nov; their CD ‘The Knowledge of its Own Making’ to be released on HCR will be launched at this concert.
The Norwegian Cikada Ensemble present a concert including 3 works by Liza Lim on 21 Nov. The Arditti String Quartet also perform Lim’s The Weaver’s Knot (2014) in their 40th Anniversary concert (29 Nov). The University of Huddersfield conferred an honorary doctorate on the leader of the quartet, Irvine Arditti, at the July graduation ceremonies.
The work of current students is featured on Monday 24 November in the highly sought-after slots of the hcmf//shorts: Eleanor Cully’s Private Sculpture Series (all day); Chikako Morishita’s work premiered by Two New Duo (11.40am); Diego Castro Magaš with a programme of virtuosic guitar music (12.30pm) and Ryoko Akama presents Eliane Radigue’s music on EMS synthesiser (8pm). Pia Palme and Ryoko Akama join other musicians for Carlos Casas’ Avalanche III. On 22 Nov. Barcelona ensemble Crossing Lines plays a work commissioned from alumnus Pedro Alvarez with Pedro joining the group on electric guitar.
An evening focussed on drone music on Friday 28 November has Apartment House (with Philip Thomas) presenting the music of Brian Eno followed by a concert with Monty Adkins’ 40-minute composition Spiral Path made in collaboration with Britt Pernille Frøholm (hardanger fiddle) and Jason Payne (video).
Research Exchange and recruitment trip, Singapore & Malaysia, September 2014
Prof. Liza Lim, Prof. Aaron Cassidy and PhD student Seth Woods undertook an 8-day programme of lectures, masterclasses, concerts and recruitment meetings in early September visiting 10 secondary and tertiary institutions in Singapore and Malaysia. Highlights include public lectures by Lim and Cassidy presented at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory-National University of Singapore and lectures and a masterclass hosted by the Malaysian Society of Contemporary Composers in Kuala Lumpur. We were very grateful for the assistance provided by our new PhD composition student Chong Kee Yong in organising the Malaysian events. Seth Woods presented his research into ‘The Spine’ & wearable technologies in music performance at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore and SEGi College Subang Jaya also collaborating with improvisers for a concert at La Salle College in Singapore. He then went on to give three concerts in Malaysia.
Results of these visits include the establishment of a research partnership between CeReNeM, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and the Interactive Design and Media Institute of the National University of Singapore; the recruitment of postgraduate students in composition and a new programme for study-abroad students at Huddersfield. As part of ongoing exchange, we will welcome a group of 10 student composers and performers and 3 staff visiting from the Singaporean secondary school, Raffles Institution, led by composer Hoh Chung Shih during the first weekend of hcmf//.
Also see photos of the Malaysian leg of the trip on SMCC’s flickr (photos by Chow Jun Yi).
Please see below for news items about recent publications, performances and other activity by Monty Adkins, Rose Dodd, Philip Thomas, Michael Clarke, Frédéric Dufeu, Mark and Julie Bokowiec and Liza Lim.