News: Portfolio with Ludi Quartet composers announced!

Ludi Quartet Kernow
Ludi Quartet Kernow
Produced by: 
Sound and Music in partnership with Ludi Quartet Kernow, Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA), Falmouth University and Truro Festival

Alex Mackay, Dom Bouffard and Mark Rossi have been selected to work on Portfolio with Adrian Lee and the Ludi Quartet Kernow!

After an almost 2 month selection-period, we are delighted to announced that we have picked three wonderful composers to work on Portfolio with the Ludi Quartet Kernow, headed by renowned musician and guitarist Adrian Lee. Alex Mackay, Dom Bouffard and Mark Rossi will have the opportunity to develop new short-piece works that explore the 'expressive' qualities of the electric guitar

The electric guitar has an incredible range of scope, from the virtuosity and exuberance of soloist expression to  percussive, experimental and textural variety produced by the use of extended techniques, customised pedals and other forms of player-operated sonic manipulation and merits the serious attention of non-player composers. 

Image of guitar

Meet the Composers...

Alex Mackay

Alex Mackay 

Alex Mackay is a composer and performer based in Glasgow, making work across media including sound/music, image and performance for a wide range of contexts, including recorded media, installation, live performance as well as collaborative work in the fields of visual art, dance and film. Alex has recently worked with artists companies such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Red Note, Creative Carbon Scotland, Mogwai and Touch. Alex graduated from the composition department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2016, and is currently working on a number of commissions for premiere in 2017, including this year’s RCS Craig Armstrong Prize commission.

Twitter link@AlexDMackay

Instagram link@alex___mackay 

Soundcloud linkalexdmackay

Alex says: "I’m really looking forward to working with Sound and Music and Ludi Quartet Kernow on this project as it provides me with a particularly unique opportunity to develop my compositional practice and explore it in specific relation to my own work as an electric guitarist; a quartet of electric guitars is something I believe has a lot of exciting potential to be explored from the perspective of a composer and I’m really happy to have to chance to begin to build the repertoire with the quartet over the coming months."

What attracted you to apply to this Portfolio project?

As a composer who also performs as an electric guitarist, the opportunity that this Portfolio project offered to work in the capacity of a composer with four other electric guitarists was very attractive to me indeed. It feels like this opportunity has come at a particularly important time for both elements of my practice; after a substantial period of time of focussing solely on my work as a composer, I have recently become more active as a guitarist again, and I think this project gives me a very interesting chance to examine these two elements of my practice in relation to one another.

Have you written for the electric guitar before?

As a guitarist, I have created a lot of music for the instrument; however this has always been either in the context of devising as part of a band, or in an improvisatory setting. Until now, I’ve never composed for other electric guitarists in the way I have been composing for other instrumentalists as a professional composer; there are perhaps many reasons for this, but one particular one that comes to mind is that I’ve found it hard to reconcile my approach to the electric guitar as a performer (which rarely involves reading or writing traditional notation) with my approach to writing as a composer (which heavily relies on traditional notation). I am really looking forward to taking the chance this project offers to confront this challenge and hopefully learn more about the instrument and my own practice from the new perspectives this will open up.

What are you most excited by in this project?

 As well as the challenges that I will be exploring in relation to my own personal practice, I’m really excited about getting to work with guitarists who will come from different backgrounds and have approaches to the instrument that will likely differ from my own in some way. My way of thinking around the electric guitar is very much based around how I play it, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what these different approaches can offer to my own music, and the ways this will impact on my writing, and perhaps even my own playing in the future.

Dom Bouffard

Dom Bouffard

Dom Bouffard is a musician, composer and singer-songwriter with alt country duo Emperors of Rome. From 1996 - 2006 he played with alternative rock bands Sona Fariq and Queen Adreena and collaborated on numerous remixes for artists including Massive Attack and Kasabian with Jagz Kooner (Primal Scream). Moving to Berlin in 2008, he worked with director Robert Wilson on collaborations with Lou Reed and Rufus Wainwright at the Berliner Ensemble and began to work increasingly as a composer, including experimental radio plays for ARD and the BBC. Recent highlights include nominations for the Karl Szucka and Kriegsblinden prizes for his hörspiel ‘WW1’ and a Wilson video portrait of Lady Gaga exhibited at the Musée du Louvre. His work, which spans rock’n’roll, theatre, contemporary dance, film, performance and sound art, is a volatile mix of techniques and influences, ranging from Dada to Drone, focusing on extended playing techniques - particularly of guitar.

Twitter link@dombouffard

SoundCloud linkdom-bouffard

Vimeo linkdombouffard

Dom says: "This is a great opportunity to take my next step as a composer: creating concert music for the electric guitar, with a pioneering ensemble who are inspiring new audiences and future artists and an organisation who encourage and support adventurous new music."

What attracted you to apply to this Portfolio project?

I’d been thinking for a while about how I wanted to write concert music with electric guitar at its core - something you could maybe call ‘art music’ but with a rock’n’roll heart. This jumped out as an amazing opportunity to explore and develop ideas with a forward-thinking ensemble, culminating in a premiere of the work next spring.

Have you written for the electric guitar before?

Yeah, I’ve been a rock’n’roll guitarist my whole life, starting in a thrash metal band when I was 14. I use it in most of my projects in some way, often focusing on more experimental approaches, but normally it’s just one element among a few, so this will be different and quite a challenge as the format is four guitars only. I like restrictions though. They make you dig deep.

What are you most excited by in this project?

To take the leap from composing for dance, theatre, film or whatever to writing concert music. This will give me a chance to try and manifest all these abstract ideas I have, to experiment and explore new territory with the quartet, getting mentoring and support and hopefully ending up with work which is challenging, beautiful and modern. 

Mark Rossi

Mark Rossi

Mark Rossi is a composer/performer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Originally trained as an artist, Mark produces works from a variety of sound media including laptop improvisation, acousmatic composition and audio/visual performance. A graduate of the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, in 2014 Mark was awarded a Ph.D. in Music and has performed in conference and at venues in Europe and the U.K. His aim is to find new modes of listening and creating work through strategies for music composition and performance.

SoundCloud linkgraveharmonics

Mark says: "I’m very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Sound and Music and the Ludi Quartet Kernow. I’m also looking forward to meeting fellow guitarists and learning something new about exploring the sonic possibilities of an instrument I love playing."

What attracted you to apply to this Portfolio project?

As I normally use technology to perform my improvisational and acousmatic works, I was initially attracted with the possibilities of instrumental composition in an ensemble format, using extended techniques and various other strategies. A computer can do amazing things musically, but there is nothing quite like the directness and emotion you can communicate with a conventional instrument in collaboration with experienced musicianship.

Have you written for the electric guitar before?

I have written genre specific music for the guitar before, many years ago, but this will be the first time I’ll be composing a contemporary ensemble work.

What are you most excited by in this project?

There are so many things, mostly I’m looking forward to the process of creating the work. I’m very interested to see how the work will evolve through the workshop sessions to the final performance and how much I can learn from the other participants in the project.

About Adrian Lee and Ludi Quartet Kernow

Picture of Adrian Lee

Composer, guitarist and music director Adrian Lee has worked extensively with the UK’s principal theatres and terrestrial broadcasters,  including the Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic theatre, BBC, ITV and Channel 4. His output comprises over 60 scores for theatre, TV, radio, film, dance and music theatre productions. His work helped to pioneer the integration of world music in mainstream media composition.  In 2013 he embarked on a new project to curate and perform new, contemporary repertoire for electric guitar and in 2014, launched his electric guitar ensemble, the Ludi Quartet.  In a development of his work with leading professional guitarists from the south-west region he is forming a new quartet, the Ludi Quartet Kernow, and a brand new electric guitar orchestra comprising some of the finest young electric guitarists from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Find out more on Facebook and Twitter 

Adrian Lee, founder of Ludi Quartet, said

"We're really inspired by our new partnership with Sound and Music and very much looking forward to the prospect of working closely with 3 composers to develop exciting new works with the newly-formed Ludi Quartet Kernow."

About Portfolio

Portfolio is a Sound and Music artist development programme. Aimed at talented composers at an early stage in their career, Sound and Music’s Portfolio scheme provides a key development opportunity for composers to create new work with and for some of the UK’s leading ensembles and presenters of new music. Portfolio enables them to develop their portfolio of work and gain vital artistic and practical insight and experience in working with professional ensembles and presenting organisations, and delivering new work to public audiences. 

Find out more about our Portfolio programme 

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