Embedded Autumn 2012
A group of Embedded Artists are selected every year by Sound and Music to participate in residencies at major creative organizations across the UK. As an Embedded Artist, participants work closely with their organizations’ staff, performers and audiences to create and deliver a new work. The scheme is designed to provide space and support for artists to develop their creative practice and portfolio as well as gaining vital practical knowledge of the infrastructure of the UK’s creative economy. The partner organizations are selected for their desire to develop meaningful collaborations with composers and artists and use the residences to develop their own working practices. It is hoped that the many relationships forged during the residency will be sustained throughout the participating artists’ careers. This season we are delighted to continue our partnerships with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and No.w.here as well as establishing new relationships with the London Music Hackspace. This season’s cohort are a truly inspiring bunch, working across a range of media and addressing strong conceptual as well as aesthetic issues.
Tom Coult, Aaron Holloway-Nahum and Benjamin Oliver with the BBC Symphony Orchestra
Tom Coult, 23, is a London-born composer currently studying for a Composition PhD at King’s College London with George Benjamin. His work has earned performances by ensembles including the Manchester Camerata, Third Angle Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, Trio Magritte, Gemini, Evropska Quartet, Trio Atem, Raise Your Voice Collective and the University of Manchester Chamber Orchestra. He currently is a Sound and Music Embedded composer with BBC Symphony Orchestra, is writing an ensemble piece for the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall, and is an Associate Member of LSO Soundhub. Tom has won the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize 2012, Third Angle Ensemble’s ‘New Ideas in Music’ Competition 2012, the Christopher Brooks Memorial Prize 2011, the Philip Bates Prize 2011 at Birmingham Conservatoire, and was a finalist in the Niccolo Castiglioni Prize in Milan, having been the youngest of 17 international candidates. He held the post of Young Composer-in-Residence with Lancashire Sinfonietta for their 2011/12 season.
Tom studied to Masters level at the University of Manchester with Camden Reeves and Philip Grange, where he was awarded numerous University awards, including Hargreaves Fund prizes for Aesthetics and Analysis, the Proctor-Gregg Prize for Composition, the Keith Elcombe award for Best Overall Performance in Music, the Humanities Faculty Award for Distinguished Achievement and the University of Manchester Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.
Tom is a co-founder and music director of the amateur opera company Opera Viscera, and oversaw the composition of their 2011 production of 'Narcissus & Echo', composing two scenes and conducting performances at the Secret Garden Party festival, Second Movement’s ‘Scratch for Opera’ showcase and the Grimeborn Opera Festival at London's Arcola Theatre. He has also had pieces workshopped by Quatuor Danel, The Cardinall's Musick, Alison Wells, Juice, Andrew Wilson-Dickson, and by singers for The Opera Group.
I started wanting to write music for concert hall (rather than the blues music I was largely making before) in 2009 while at Manchester University, and I still think of every piece very much as an experiment. I am very attracted to the idea of music as play – an abstract but intoxicating dance of ideas, sounds and textures. Perhaps one day I'll want to make some kind of profound utterance through my music but that day hasn't come yet… It's so exciting to write a piece for an orchestra that has such capacity for all of the things I value most in music – colour, energy, character, wit, clarity, invention and beauty. I suspect the main challenge will be to stay disciplined and not try to cram every wonderful orchestral colour into one piece like a child in an aural sweet shop.
Works by Aaron Holloway-Nahum (b. 1983) have been performed across the UK, Europe and United States by ensembles and musicians including the Philharmonia Orchestra (‘Music of Today’ series), Ensemble Amorpha, the Royal Academy Soloists, Irvine Ariditti, Paul Silverthorne, Lorenzo Iosco and Peter Gregson. Aaron’s work has featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Hear and Now’ programme and a full-length commercial recording of Aaron’s music was made at Abbey Road Studios in 2008.
Through Aaron’s Embedded residency with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sound and Music, his new orchestral work The Deeper Breath to Follow will receive workshops in February and March (2013). This work will be premiered and recorded in November 2013. Other upcoming performances include a new Piano Quartet, The Geometry of Clouds, My Silence and These Voices on an LSO Discovery Concert with the Navarra Qurartet in March 2013, The Faultlines of Prayer with The Riot Ensemble in May 2013, and a new work for Adam Swayne and Claudia Racovicean.
In 2012 Aaron was nominated for a Paul Hamlyn Award, was selected as a pilot participant on the London Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Soundhub’ scheme, attended both the Etchings (Auvillar, France) and highSCORE (Pavia,Italy) festivals, was selected for the London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper Collaborator’s Day, and was supported by the Leverhulme Trust in studies in contemporary sound recording at the Dartington International Summer School with Moritz Bergfeld. The Faultlines of Prayer was selected for the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble’s Goethe-Institut and performed in Boston in September 2012. Other recent commissions include Plainer Sailing for the Riot Ensemble (LSO Discovery Concert 17 June 2012), Le campane che Svaniscono (Rita Mascagna, highSCORE Festival), and The Faultlines of Prayer for Ensemble Konvergence (Vienna & Prauge; Nov. 2011)
When I'm composing, I start by writing music for the musicians who have dedicated their lives to perfecting their art, and always want my pieces to be both challenging and rewarding for those who play them. The musicians are not 'mechanical reproductive elements' or obstacles to be overcome while realising my music, but are a fundamental part of the creative process. I write my scores out by hand to remind myself of the physical nature of playing music, and to connect with every note the players will have to work to create. When this process works well the music has a vibrancy, integrity, and relevance. I'm completely convinced that the music of our time is relevant and necessary to the listeners and cultures of our time; and so it is important to me that my music is both complex and abstract enough to reflect the many competing voices and paths open to those living today, while remaining concrete and accessible enough to be meaningful for those who play and hear it.
Benjamin Oliver has had more than forty works performed both internationally and in the UK by soloists, choirs and ensembles including: London Sinfonietta (Sounds New Festival 2012); Fabian Mueller (Aldeburgh Festival 2012); Aarhus Sinfonietta (Sounds New Festival 2011); ICP Ensemble (ICP Competition 2010, 2011 and 2012); Orkest de Ereprijs (International Young Composers Meeting 2010, The Netherlands); Ostrava Banda (Ostrava Days Festival 2009, Czech Republic); Leeds University Union Symphony Orchestra; Hertfordshire Youth Choir; Black Dyke Brass Band; Dan Stern’s Woodwork (London Jazz Festival 2008); The Mobius Ensemble with Hackney CYM Children’s Choir (Spitalfields Festival 2010); Kosmos; Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir and Rothwell Temperance Brass Band (spnm and Making Music commission); Retorica Duo (Odessa Festival 2008, Ukraine); Ben Oliver Quartet (Soundwaves Festival 2007); Musarc (London Festival of Architecture 2010); and Leeds Sinfonia.
Ben was born in 1981 and grew up in Chatham, Kent. He originally left home for Yorkshire to study at the University of Leeds, and in 2010 completed his DPhil in Composition at the University of Sussex under the supervision of Sam Hayden. He received financial support from the AHRC and a 2006 PRS Foundation Scholarship for his doctoral work.
Ben took up a position as Lecturer in Composition at the University of Southampton in September 2012, having worked at the University since 2010 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Composition for Cochlear Implant Users. Ben also conducts the new music group the Workers Union Ensemble, and was recently selected as a LSO Soundhub Associate Composer.
For a number of years I played keys in a band called Blueswerver. One of the lyrics written by the singer in the band, Adam Green, was ‘Difficult puzzles make you mad, but simple things don’t occupy for your mind for long’. This is how I often feel about composing in that I am constantly looking for the solution to a hard and complicated musical puzzle; a puzzle that I design for myself by creating interconnected networks or labyrinths to explore. Although this can be maddening at times, avoiding simple solutions to musical problems hopefully helps me create something new, something that is my own.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since it was founded in 1930, and is passionately committed to performing 20th-century and contemporary music. It is tremendously exciting opportunity for us to be working with this orchestra which has such a strong tradition, yet is so open to new ideas and possibilities.
Fari Bradley and Stephen Cornford with no.w.here
An Iranian musician & sound artist in London, Fari Bradley performs Indian classical and improv sound. She also DJs little known fringe genres and creates electronic circuits and installations for art exhibitions, films and live solo and group performances e.g. at Institute of Contemporary Arts, Barbican and Glastonbury. She was the commissioned artist at the V&A Museum and twice at London Mela. Fari also produces and presents Six Pillars to Persia, a programme about Iranian arts and culture, and Free Lab Radio, a sonics and dance music show on arts-radio station Resonance 104.4FM. Fari's sound sculptures and installations are rooted in an interest in electronics, the environment, musicality and history. She has exhibited at The Prince's Galleries, Raven Row and The Studio, Harley Street. Her short films have been screened at Frieze Art Fair, Screen on the Green, the Oxo Tower and so on.
Listening for me is not only about silence and patience, it's also about picking up something from the din. That's years of loving the capital for you! In India we studied the physical effects on people made by the classical arts, and since then it's been a method for tuning oneself in. After years of travelling and living abroad I've finally settled on a philosophy of sharing, (in discussion or dancing for example), spontaneous thinking and openness rather than a rigid ideas and pretensions.
Stephen Cornford's artistic practice stems from an abiding fascination with consumer electronics: how these devices that we are sold to consume music and imagery increasingly frame our engagement with the world at large. Reconfiguring these media from the inside, re-imagining their functionality, defying their obsolescence and searching for their intrinsic poetry become strategies with which to challenge normative use, social conformity and the myth of technological progress.
His recent installation Binatone Galaxy amassed a constellation of tape recorders, each fitted with a customised cassette which amplified its own internal mechanics. Stephen also works as an improvising musician and has performed at Cafe Oto and Arnolfini among other venues. His work has been included in a survey exhibition of international sound art at the ZKM Centre for Art & Media, the Mediations Biennale and recordings of his work have been released by Senufo Editions and Another Timbre.
During his residency at no.w.here Stephen will be extend his investigation in the poetic potential of mechanical media to include film projectors, seeking ways in whihc they can produce rather than simply reproduce film.
no.w.here is an artist-run organisation based in Bethnal Green dedicated to moving image work in contemporary art. They curate screenings, performances and exhibitions, and actively encourage critical debate around the work they present. They are also a fantastic resource for artists, regularly running workshops in both the practicalities of film-making and the philosophical ideas around working in the medium, while their film equipment is not available anywhere else in the UK outside of commercial labs.
Sound and Music teamed up with no.w.here to develop an Embedded residency where sound could be explored in this context of moving image work.
Tim Murray-Browne with Music Hackspace
Tim Murray-Browne is a sound artist and creative coder based in London. He works primarily with installation and performance pieces that investigate themes of discovery, self-expression and how they relate through action, movement and sound. Drawing on technology, dance and the psychology of human-computer interaction, he seeks to create interactive works that rely on minimal instruction, highlighting how physical and social interactions inform our understanding of who we are, our place within the environment and our relationships with each other.
Murray-Browne began composing music with computers at the age of eight using the traumatically unreliable Yamaha CX5M music computer. He graduated in 2008 with a degree in Maths and Computer Science from Magdalen College, Oxford and earlier this year completed his PhD on interactive music systems at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London. His thesis investigated the roles of exploration, discovery and individual freedom in creating immersive and captivating interactive sound installations. Recently, he has been working with the arts and technology collective Seeper on a number of installations and interactive performance systems.
His work includes IMPOSSIBLE ALONE, an immersive soundscape that may be discovered only through the synchronised movement of two individuals, created with the dancer Tiff Chan, and the Serendiptichord, a wearable musical instrument for dancers created with the artist Di Mainstone. It has been shown around the world at venues including the Barbican, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Kinetica Art Fair, the Swedish National Touring Theatre, the Secret Garden Party, Shunt and INSPACE, Edinburgh.
I think we are still scratching the surface of what is possible with interactive sound art. Creating interactive sound works provides the opportunity to work with not just sound, but the physical actions through which we create sound. For an audience, music becomes an active experience. We discover how our actions affect what we hear and how we might influence the musical outcome. In this way, I find my work influenced by different spaces — the sense of place, atmosphere and possibility that different locations can evoke.
Music Hackspace is a place for artists, innovators, entrepreneurs and hobbyists passionate about music and technology. Their aim is to foster innovation by gathering skilled professionals and facilitating exchanges between disciplines, from software development to music installations and production. The space is run by a set of core members and provides facilities for artists, geeks and professionals to develop projects, collaborate and network.
Sound and Music teamed up with Music Hackspace to provide opportunities for those interested in exploring the spaces opened up by new technologies in music making such as sonic hardware hacking, designing new musical interfaces and composing instruments.