Embedded Spring 2013

For this season's Embedded we are really pleased to be continuing our partnerships with BCMG and Manchester Camerata, as well as working for the first time with Scottish ensemble, Red Note. As ever, we had a phenomenal response to applications, and the panels faced some hard decisions.

We are pleased to announce the following residencies for spring 2013:

Shiori Usui with BCMG

Laura Bowler with Manchester Camerata

Thomas Butler with Red Note Ensemble

Embedded is a Sound and Music artist development programme. Funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Embedded places a selection of artists from a range of disciplines into real-world artistic contexts with leading national creative organisations. Aimed at talented artists at an early stage in their career, Embedded is a bespoke programme, providing practical hands-on experience and significant creative opportunities.

Shiori Usui with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

Originally from Japan, Shiori moved to UK at the age of seventeen. Described as a composer with “individual ears” (The Times), her works have been performed in Japan, Europe and USA by diverse range of soloists, ensembles and orchestras, including the performances by Rolf Hind and the Duke Quartet at the Wigmore Hall, London, by A Far Cry at Jordan Hall, Boston, USA and by Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Naoto Totsuka at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in Japan.

In May 2012, her orchestra piece Warai was awarded the 3rd prize at Toru Takemitsu Composition Award (judge: Toshio Hosokawa) in Tokyo, Japan with highest acclaims.

Shiori is also a recipient of the prestigious Civitella Ranieri Music Fellowship in conjunction with UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists Programme, and has worked as a composer in residence for BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Cove Park from October 2010 until February 2011.

Shiori has produced works in both radical instrumental music and motion capturing sensors, and many of her compositions are inspired by the theme ‘using the body as a musical instrument’. She enjoys playing in the improvisation groups in Edinburgh, UK and Lisbon, Portugal as a “noise” vocalist and pianist.


"I am looking forward very much to Shiori Usui’s year with BCMG as our next Apprentice Composer-in-Residence. Her music has an energy, originality and freshness that delighted the selection panel, and we look forward to supporting and benefiting from her continuing development, across all areas of our work, over the coming year." - Stephen Newbould BCMG Artistic Director



The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group Based at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham, BCMG is established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles, and tours in the UK and abroad.  The core of BCMG's work is the performance of new music, and the Group has premiered over 140 new works by leading UK and overseas composers. Most have been commissioned with the help of a large number of individuals through BCMG’s ground-breaking Sound Investment scheme. BCMG has won many awards for its work in attracting new audiences for contemporary music, and has an extensive learning programme, engaging a wide range of people with the composition and performance of new music.  


Laura Bowler with Manchester Camerata

Laura Bowler is a young composer and mezzo-soprano living and working in London. Her work is influenced by many composers and artists ranging from Stephen Sondheim to Harrison Birtwistle, the paintings of Kandinsky to the theatre of Antonin Artaud. Her passion for working in the theatre is apparent in her compositional output with numerous theatre pieces alongside many concert works with a theatrical influence or performance quality. 

Having previously been selected for a residency at the BBC Symphony Orchestra and as part of the Portfolio scheme, her residency at Manchester Camerata signifies her progression as an adept and talented young composer.

Laura writes about her Embeddded opportunity with the BBC Symphony Orchestra: "I benefited hugely from this project, learning extensively about writing for and working with the orchestra, and understanding the difference between an orchestral rehearsal context and the environment of chamber music rehearsals. It enabled me to explore my ideas of music theatre for symphony orchestra, which I would not otherwise have been able to develop."


Founded in 1971, Manchester Camerata is one of the UK's leading chamber orchestras. It takes its name from the 16th century group Florentine Camerata, who met to share ideas and discuss the arts, and that inquisitive spirit and creativity inspires their approach to performing music. They bring chamber works to new audiences, performing all across the North West as well as their Manchester home at The Bridgewater Hall, and look for fresh ways to present them. They believe that live music can be a transformative experience. Learning and participation are also core parts of Manchester Camerata's work, with each season's music being used as a starting point for all sorts of education projects, making them another ideal partner for SaM to launch an Embedded Residency.



Thomas Butler with Red Note Ensemble

Thomas Butler is a composer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He was born in England in 1983. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh he continued his studies of composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he is currently a PhD candidate. His work encompasses music for concert and installation. He is particularly interested in mixed media and the blending of live and pre-recorded sound. More information can be found at www.thomas-butler.co.uk 

John Harris, Red Note Ensemble Chief Executive said: "Tom is a great example of what a composer needs to be in today's climate; someone full of great, striking ideas, with a distinctive voice to put them across. We're looking forward very much to working with him to realise his plans for the music he wants to write."

Susanna Eastburn, Sound and Music Chief Executive said: “We are really pleased to be working with Red Note to provide this opportunity. I have long admired their approach to presenting new music and it is fantastic for Thomas to be able to work so closely with them – we really look forward to hearing about his work as it develops.”

Thomas begins his 18 month residency in April. He plans to use composition, performance and field recording techniques to explore the psychogeography of Glasgow. The final distributed multimedia work will engage with the urban landscape of Glasgow and its affect on the people of Glasgow and will be performed in and around Glasgow in summer 2014. 

My work for Red Note Ensemble, currently untitled, is about the city of Glasgow, the city in which I live. More specifically, it concerns the psychogeographic nature of the city, the way the built environment affects us emotionally.

The work views the city as palimpsest, the overwriting of what was there before without fully erasing what was there before. I hope to link a musical palimpsest with “ghost” architecture (urban elements which are left-over from another time) in order to consider how the constant overwriting through new building within a city can make profound changes to those living within it.

Also, the use of fabricated recordings of fictitious spaces and reverberations will question our relationship with the built environment. This playing-with and -against sonic reality will inform the musical material of the piece whilst also mismatching the visual (photographic) with the sonic: one representing the current use of a space and the other representing an imaged or former use of the same space.


Red Note Ensemble are Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, dedicated to developing and performing contemporary music to the highest standards, and taking the music out to audiences around and beyond Scotland. 

Founded in 2008 by Scottish cellist Robert Irvine, Red Note are directed by John Harris (Chief Executive and Artistic Co-Director) and Robert Irvine (Artistic Co-Director). They perform the established classics of contemporary music; they commission new music; they develop the work of new and emerging composers from around the world; and they find new spaces and new ways of performing contemporary music to attract new audiences. 

Their performing ensemble is drawn from the deep talent pool of Scottish new music expertise, and they count amongst their players some of the very finest performers working in the UK today. They undertake a spring and autumn season each year in Scotland comprising tours, site-specific work and collaborations with other companies, and run a regular new music series showcasing the work of new composers (Noisy Nights and Noisy Words) in partnership with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.


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