sound recital re-launches Clashnettie Arts Centre

The Studio at Clashnettie Arts Centre (Strathdon) relaunches tomorrow as part of the festival! Peter Welch and artist Helen Denerley who run the centre share their excitement:

Clashnettie Arts Centre

Clashnettie Arts Centre

“We are delighted to be participating in sound for the very first time with a lunchtime concert by flautist Richard Craig on Sunday 14 November 12 noon (yes, tomorrow!). Richard’s concert of baroque and contemporary programme will offer an insight into the fascinating range of sounds that can be achieved on the modern instrument. He has had an extremely busy schedule this year and we are fortunate that he has agreed to perform for us!

Just to give you a bit more details about the venue itself (and whet your appetite of course), the studio was once an old farmhouse and is a wonderfully intimate space with open fires at each end. AND it offers a spectacular view on both Morven and the Cairngorms.

This concert marks what we hope will be a successful venture into a series of intimate musical events, as we have programmed mainly visual arts events in the centre so far. We’d like to encourage artists of all persuasions to come and use our venue and are looking  forward to welcoming composers as well as performers in the coming years. As a matter of fact, next April will see Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis performing as The Cast here.

Enough said … Come and join us tomorrow to share a nice pot of soup, bread and some great music by CPE Bach, Andre Jolivet, Rudolph Escher and Pascal Dusapin alongside 2 UK premieres by Istvan Matuz and Philippe Hersant. [Details here]”

Peter Welch and Helen Denerley

Ps: Access to Clashnettie Arts Centre is down an unmettled track. Beware!

Blog    Wed 12:24    13 KB
Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Electroacoustic Fair? Smashin’…

To round off this year’s festival, Pete Stollery curates his first Electroacoustic Fair on Saturday 13 November. For the one day only, The MacRobert Building at the University of Aberdeen will be turned into a theme park of sound with performances, workshops, demos and “sonic rides”. Pete … tell us more!

Pete Stollery

Pete Stollery

“Well, I’m getting rather apprehensive about this weekend. It’s not that we’re not ready for it – we’ve been planning this for almost a year now. Aled – that hero of a Music Technician at the University – and I have been scouring the four corners of Scotland to bring loudspeakers to Aberdeen this weekend. I think everyone must be doing acoustic sets on Saturday as we’ve got all the kit here! Add to that the fact that we’ve got BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) bringing a van up, and we’ve got around 100 loudspeakers in action in various parts of the MacRobert Building. Awesome…But it’s not all about volume – it’s about spatialisation; projecting the sounds around the space.

No, the reason I’m apprehensive is that I had a look at the list of people who are going to be in the MacRobert Building next Saturday and it reads like a Who’s Who in European Electroacoustic Music…not only are all the loudspeakers here but all the key players in electroacoustic music are as well!

I first had the idea for this weekend about 10 years ago when a few of us were trying to set up some kind of a national centre for electroacoustic music. It never materialised but one of the things we explored was what a typical Saturday in the centre might actually look like. We came up with this idea of a kind of “theme park” where people could come off the street and “play” with various bits of technology to create interesting sounds; you could also go to performances of the best electroacoustic music and hang around with some of the composers in the café. That’s pretty much what will be happening on Saturday with composers, performers and researchers from Manchester, Birmingham and De Montfort (Leicester) Universities bringing their best work up to Aberdeen to join with what we are doing here.

So what are the highlights – well all of it really…but it’s great to have a musical instrument amongst all the technology, although it is a fairly obscure one! Richard Craig will perform a new Creative Scotland commission from Diana Salazar on the contrabass flute. It’s a stunning instrument and I’m really pleased to be writing a piece for Richard on this instrument myself to be premiered next year. There’s James Dashow from Italy, Simons Emmerson and Atkinson from Leicester, Jonty Harrison (the guy who got me into all of this in the first place), invisiblEARts, Adrian Moore, David Berezan….OK – they’re all wonderful people and I’m chuffed that they’ve all agreed to come up.

With concerts at 12 noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm and loads of things to “play” with in between, this promises to be an incredible event… and a nice way to celebrate my 50th birthday from earlier this year.

See you there…”

Pete Stollery

More details about the whole weekend here!

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Now for a guide to human anatomy in music & dance

2010 sees sound once again come together with DanceLive, Aberdeen’s annual celebration of contemporary dance. Final event on Saturday 6 November, the celebrated Hebrides Ensemble joins forces with percussionist Colin Currie and dancer/choreographer Michael Popper at Woodend Barn for an evening that includes Sir Peter Maxwell DaviesVesalii Icones – a part ballet, part performance art piece, for solo dancer, solo cello and instrumental ensemble. This is a unique opportunity to hear one of Maxwell Davies’ finest works!

Vesalii Icones Preview Podcast by Hebrides Ensemble

The ensemble will also perform works from some of the most renowned British composers of today. Opening with Maxwell Davies’ wonderfully colourful transcriptions of well-known Scottish Renaissance Dances, they then welcome Scottish percussionist star Colin Currie for  a dazzling virtuosic performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Axe Manual. Thomas Adès’s Court Studies From The Tempest compliments the evening’s Renaissance theme.

More details about the event here

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where am I headed?

Tomorrow evening, Saturday 30 October, choreographer Ian Spink and sound artist Bill Thompson collaborate on a new piece entitled The ANa Project which explores the very seperate journeys of two Australians through sound, movement and visual elements. Bill gives us some insight on the piece and how it all came together…

Bill Thompson

“The project started for me with a phone call from Ian Spink whom I had worked with in the 2009 Fast and Dirty workshop that he facilitates each year.

He had an idea about creating an open piece that loosely revolved around the true story of a traveller struggling with schizophrenia who wanders towards the far North of Queensland in a state of confusion as a ‘different person’.

Contrasting this is another story about a different traveller, one who had ‘rediscovered’ himself as an artist late in life and who was travelling in an opposite direction, both geographically and metaphorically, in that instead of loosing his identity, he had in essence, found it as an artist.

Both of these individuals dealt with themes of identity, myth building, and self-creation-essentially, what we confront daily as we navigate our way through the world and the myriad relationships that we find ourselves in.

Using these two characters and their journeys as a starting point, our project, ANa, has developed organically over the better part of a year’s meetings, rehearsals, workshops, and residencies, into a quilt of interrelated sections in which music, theatre, and dance co-exist within the same space, each independently exploring these underlying ideas in their own manner.

Not meant to be experienced as a linear narrative so much as a series of juxtapositioned fragments that sometimes support each other, and at other times contrast, or are simply indifferent, the work taken as a whole opens up various perspectives to be explored by each individual as they engage with the work.

Rather than attempting to provide a definitive answer to ‘What is identity and place’, ANa remains open and ambiguous, perhaps posing more questions than it answers, and actively solicits the personal engagement of performer and audience member alike, as each attempts to find meaning in the work and the questions of identity, place, and what it means to lose or find one’s ‘self’ in any given context.”

Bill Thompson

Full details for the performance are available here. This event is part of DanceLive and a Citymoves commission, with support from the Workroom, Creative Scotland and PRS for Music Foundation.

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound A New Song

On Sunday 31 October, the John Armitage Memorial Trust (JAM) travels up North to Aberdeen for the first time to showcase music by James MacMillan, Gabriel Jackson, Tarik O’Reagan and Aberdeen-based composer Paul Mealor, performed by choirs from Edinburgh, St Andrews and Aberdeen. Edward Armitage, JAM Chairman, tells us a bit more about the mission of the trust itself…

Edward Armitage

Ed Armitage Chairman of JAM

“One of the great things about commissioning music is hearing them for the first time! JAM has been doing it for ten years, and the thrill has not dimmed one jot.

On Saturday I heard for the first time the combined voices of the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, the Edinburgh University Chamber Choir and the University of St Andrews Chapel Choir sing Paul Mealor’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.

JAM commissioned the piece as part of its tenth birthday celebrations and especially for this Scottish tour, which reaches Aberdeen and the sound festival on Sunday. The work sets four poems, all referring to roses. It is wonderful! It shows off the large choir beautifully; its dynamic range is enormous – from the quietest whisper to a full-throttle roar – and from the lowest register to the highest possible. And of course, being a work by Mealor, it is melodic, approachable and quite beautiful. It is obvious that the massed voices enjoy singing the work. This is essential at a first performance when trying to convince an audience that they like hearing it too!

Mealor and JAM first ran into each other in 2002, when Paul submitted a work to the Trust during its first Call for Music. It was immediately obvious that here was someone with something to say, and with a very special voice. It is therefore a great thing to be commissioning Paul now, and bringing it to his adopted home – Aberdeen – along with other new pieces to Scottish audiences.

On the afternoon of 31st October, St Machar’s Cathedral will ring to music by Mealor, James MacMillan, Gabriel Jackson and Tarik O’Regan, performed by the above choirs, Thistle Brass, Tom Wilkinson (organ), conducted by Michael Bawtree. To be performed at the concert, The Spacious Firmament, by Jackson, won the choral category of the British Composer Awards last year, and last week it was announced that O’Regan’s The Night’s Untruth has been short-listed for the 2010 award.”

Ed Armitage

More information about the concert here or visit for details about JAM.

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Classic Minimalism by Steve Reich

The National Youth Orchestra Scotland’s contemporary chamber ensemble NYOS Futures are making their way up North this weekend to perform Steve Reich‘s masterpiece Eight Lines on Sunday 24 October.

It has been said of American composer Steve Reich who pioneered the style of minimalist music that he is one of “a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history”. And NYOS Futures are setting out on the difficult task of examining this claim through an event that is a part-performance, part-analysis of his Eight Lines written in 1979.

Under the direction of well-known conductor and cellist, William Conway, Futures dissects Reich’s soundscape to give you a glimpse into the composer’s techniques. This is a strong piece which reflects Reich’s interest at the time in Biblical chanting and whets the appetite for works such as his later, Grammy Award-winning and evocative Different Trains which is being performed tonight (!) Friday 22 October, by the Smith Quartet.

This video was recorded in Glasgow’s City Halls back in October 2009, the ensemble was conducted by Tecwyn Evans and performed Peter Maxwell DaviesDie Assumptione Beata Maria Virgin.

More information here.

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

100% Fitkin

Graham Fitkin and his Ensemble spent three whole days last week locked up in Dartington College (Devon) to rehearse for their first ever Scottish dates. They are playing in Edinburgh tomorrow evening and heading north to sound this Thursday (yes, only a couple of days left to buy tickets folk!).

Although the Ensemble is barely a year old, this has been on Graham’s mind for YEARS now and aren’t we glad he’s picked sound to showcase his work. The music, as Graham describes it, is quite complex and not strictly classical as it shines with hints of gipsy and folk.  They are all new arrangements and a pile of world premières…

An umissable line up of plucked, blowing and percussive for all Fitkin aficionados!

More information here.

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A day with Sally Beamish

All string players are invited to join composer Sally Beamish and conductor Garry Walker on Sunday 31 October for a FREE day long workshop rehearsing Sally’s Rhapsody on Themes from Hafez.  Below, Sally gives us some insight on the piece but for more, Johnston Hall is where you want to be on 31 October…

Sally Beamish

Sally Beamish (c) Ashley Coombes

“The Rhapsody came directly from vocal settings I had made of the 14th century Persian mystic poet Hafez. There are musical references to birds and animals, including a deer, a horse and a nightingale and I particularly liked the idea of a non-professional body of strings, with a fresh, natural sound.

The voices of viola and harp are the main protagonists. The string quartet is used not so much as a unit, but to add colour and provide extra solo voices, and the string orchestra provides a ‘chorus’, commenting on and echoing the thematic ideas.

The workshop day will be a chance to discuss the themes behind the piece, while working on reflecting the strong imagery of Hafez: horses’ hooves, the buzzing of flies, the call of a nightingale… we will be recreating all of these using varied string techniques and atmospheric sounds. There are also influences from traditional Iranian music, which will lead to a more unusual approach to string playing, while the harp mimics the sound of the Persian setar.

This piece is like a set of songs, but without voice. I am looking forward to building it together, concentrating on colour, sound and atmosphere.”

Sally Beamish

Details and application form are available here. Please note we have pushed back submission deadline by a few days.

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The story behind a new piece by Gabriel Jackson

On Wednesday 20 October, Red Note Ensemble will launch sound with a new piece of music by Gabriel Jackson. John Harris, chief executive and artistic co-director of the ensemble shares with us the thrill of first setting eyes on a new score…

John Harris

“Gabriel Jackson’s new piece for us arrived in the post very recently, all beautifully printed and bound and looking and feeling very nice indeed. I have to say, the joy of new scores is not just about the music that can be produced from the ink on their paper; they’re as much of a tactile and visual experience for me when they first turn up as a musical one. You don’t yet know, without reading them through thoroughly, the details they contain – the music that will appear from these pages exists some distance away, in a future place and time.

Right now, on this first looking, the paper is slightly rough to the touch, not yet smoothed by constant turning, returning, checking and referencing; the ink has a faint whiff of having been just placed there, almost as though it hasn’t really settled yet and may decide to flit away before anyone looks at it too closely. As I leaf through these new pages the glue-and-fabric binding creaks and snaps slightly, and tiny snatches of the music to come flicker past my ears.

I’m not a person who generally mourns the onset of the digital revolution – a man who prefers CDs to downloads, because CDs are Objects and downloads are not. But I will miss the New-Score Experience, when all sheet music is delivered electronically and all we do is print it out onto office-block A4. I will miss the slight crankiness of the size of each page; the fact that it’s much easier to read a B4 part, but far less convenient to make one – because B4 paper and the printers that can handle it will soon be as rare as stove-black. I will miss the fact that those who supply the sheet music, because of the digital barrier, will no longer be able to match the infinite tactile care in its production that the musicians will take over its performance.

Gabriel’s piece is about several things. One of these is that Doonies Hill is the site of a WWII radar station. On a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum in London I was very deeply struck by the bombers and fighter planes they have on display. They’re tin cans, they’re lashed together with string. Far, far less substantial than any domestic car that one would drive to the supermarket for the weekly shop, let alone something one might be prepared to pilot on life-and-death missions over aggressive foreign lands. To get inside one of these planes, and to take off, would require more bravery than I feel I could possibly ever muster. I suppose that utter desperation and a belief in the necessity of what one was being asked to do would give one the necessary mental armour to make these, once everyday, heroisms possible – but they are simply beyond my imaginings.

I am deeply grateful that I don’t have to live in times like the ones those pilots experienced, and also that I don’t have to because they did. I’m lucky to be able to enjoy unrepeatable, simple, rare pleasures  – like the arrival of a new score in the post, or the first hearing of some new music. The Infinite Replication Machine, through its promise of Instant Everything, can take away as much as it delivers. Sometimes it’s worth reflecting on these things, and how they came to be about.”

John Harris

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Are you dancing?

This is the second year sound as worked closely with DanceLive to programme events that include elements of new music and contemporary dance. Jenny Phillips, festival producer gives us a taster!

Jenny Phillips

Jenny Phillips DanceLive Producer

“Aberdeen’s dance festival kicks off tonight with Scottish Ballet and we are now all geared up for a packed six-week programme of some the best of contemporary dance with no less than 35+ events across the city and shire.

Highlights for this year include the world première of a new piece by international choreographer Ian Spink in association with sound artist Bill Thompson on Saturday 30 October as well as the rarely performed Vesalii Icones by Peter Maxwell Davies in a new version choreographed and performed by Michael Popper and the Hebrides Ensemble on Saturday 6 November.

We are also delighted to showcase local talent in East Coast Moves, a programme of four short new works by young female choreographers and dancers, and featuring live music on Thursday 28 October. There’s also lots of ways to join in the fun yourselves, from bringing the little ones along to boogie to We Dance wee groove, or joining in our global world record breaking to create the biggest ever simultaneous dance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” routine!

DanceLive 2010

DanceLive Festival 28.10.10 to 13.11.10

I’ve highlighted a couple of events but remember there is lots more happening. We’ve set out to showcase contemporary dance and to prove that dance is exciting, accessible and alive, and this year’s programme certainly does that. Check our website out for more details

Come dance with us!”

Jenny Phillips

DanceLive 2010

DanceLive 2010

Posted in festival 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment