Oi Kuu: Southampton

Date: Mon 21st Oct, 2019
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Turner Sims, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ
Find out more here

Revolving around the Bass Clarinet and its massive expressive and dynamic range, this chamber concert features four members of Riot Ensemble’s Artistic Board in music that is every bit as wild as it is intimate. 

The bombastic duo’s for Bass Clarinet and Saxophone from American composers Lee Hyla and Marc Mellits are paired with European musing Oi Kuu (for a moon) from Kaija Saariaho and Thierry Pécou’s amorphous Manoa. 

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Oi Kuu: Manchester

Date: Thur 24th Oct, 2019
Time: 1.10pm
Venue: Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester, M13 9PL
Cost: Free | Find out more here

Revolving around the Bass Clarinet and its massive expressive and dynamic range, this chamber concert features four members of Riot Ensemble’s Artistic Board in music that is every bit as wild as it is intimate. 

The bombastic duo’s for Bass Clarinet and Saxophone from American composers Lee Hyla and Marc Mellits are paired with European musing Oi Kuu (for a moon) from Kaija Saariaho and Thierry Pécou’s amorphous Manoa. 

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HCMF: Evan Johnson

Date: Sat 16th November, 2019
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: St Paul’s Hall, University of Huddersfield, HD1 3DH
Cost: Tickets £15 – £18 available online

Evan Johnson‘s Linke Hand eines Apostels (Left hand of an apostle) is a reflection on a sketch by Albrecht Dürer, a drawing which attends feverishly to details of vein, bone, skin, draped folds of cloth, and an almost painful-looking torsion of joints and knuckles–details largely lost in the oil painting that resulted.

This is paired with a composition by Swedish composer, Lisa Streich whose piece ZUCKER (SHOCKER) for motorised ensemble and Israeli-Swiss composer Omri Abram‘s search for an equilibrium in his wind quintet, Zohar (Iridescence).

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HCMF: Ann Cleare Portrait

Date: Fri 15th November, 2019
Time: 9.30pm
Venue: Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation St, Huddersfield, HD1 2TA
Cost: Tickets £15 – £18 available online

In the first of two concerts at hcmf// 2019, The Riot Ensemble paints a portrait of Ann Cleare, one of Ireland’s leading modern composers. The first Irish composer to win the Ernst von Siemens award, Cleare’s work is a dialogue: her music talks to its environment, as well as its listener, constantly being shaped by the course of nature itself. For this concert, the malleable setting of Huddersfield Town Hall will transform into an open-plan forum; audience members will be immersed in the space, discovering how it carries Cleare’s music. Consummate shape-shifters, The Riot Ensemble are the perfect group to play – and place – Ann Cleare’s music.

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Speak, Be Silent: A Testament to Riot Ensemble’s Vision and Artistry

Jarret Goodchild reviewed our latest album Speak, Be Silent for the new music blog I Care If You Listen, declaring it “a testament to Riot Ensemble’s vision and artistry.” Read the review below or check out it out here.

Since 2012, the London-based Riot Ensemble has given over 200 world and UK premieres and has become a spearhead at the forefront of new music. Forward thinking and creative, their Artistic Board members are also some of the top musicians and soloists in Europe. They are in constant motion, acting as curators, composers, performers, and commissioners for Riot Ensemble. The group’s latest album, Speak, Be Silent (HCR), is a collection of pieces that shows off the outstanding capabilities of the ensemble as well as the powerful voices of the composers they help to promote.

The album borrows its name from Liza Lim’s Speak, Be Silent. The piece features violinist Sarah Saviet, one of Riot Ensemble’s principal artists and Artistic Directors. Throughout the work, there are multiple moments where the instruments of the ensemble cascade over each other like waves. The effect is like the aural version of colored lights gradually changing hues, while at other times, it is like fireworks outshining each other. Frenetic bursts give way to feelings of melancholy, and eventually, Lim takes the listener to a new, more sparse sonic landscape. During these exposed moments, the solo violin is predominantly featured with long swaths of color, emerging intermittently from the rest of the ensemble. Saviet’s performance is fantastic–Lim’s writing demands extreme agility and precision, and Saviet delivers.

Liza Lim--Photo by Jim Rolon
Liza Lim–Photo by Jim Rolon

Chaya Czernowin’s Ayre: Towed through plumes, thicket, asphalt, sawdust and hazardous air I shall not forget the sound of opens the album. The poetic title is an excellent reflection of the music. The sounds Czernowin creates seem familiar and foreign at the same time. The repeated musical material seems to be dragged through the different hazards of the title. All movement is slow and compressed down to a miniscule range for much of the piece, with tones climbing over each other like rungs on a ladder.

In contrast, Baby Magnify/Lilith’s New Toy is fun, playful, and often erratic. Mirela Ivičevićachieves this feeling with percussive notes and sliding gestures across the ensemble. As this piece progresses, the tension mounts with an explosive texture. The sounds Ivičević is able to pull out of the ensemble are marvelous!

 by Anna Thorvaldsdóttir takes the listener in the opposite direction with long, dark, undulating tones that support eerie motives. The music is slow, methodical, and phrased in one long, gentle arc. Everything feels very carefully placed and deliberately moves through its paces. The interwoven rhythmic intricacy in Baby Magnify/Lilith’s New Toy coupled with the care to tone, nuance, and balance in  exemplifies the caliber of the performers and displays what makes Riot Ensemble so special.

Riot Ensemble
Riot Ensemble

The last track on the album is not an exclamation point, but rather more like a question mark. Rebecca Saunders’ Stirrings Still II slinks along in a similar way to , but is more sparse and extremely intimate. The dialogues Saunders has created sound either like whispers or guttural growls. The string effects give this sonic construction a silvery exterior, and the mood is a reflective one. Saunders does an amazing job of pulling the listener in and suspending all sense of time.

You can order the album here

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic: Close Up Concert

Date: Mon 25th Nov, 2019
Time: 8pm
Venue: Music Room, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (L1 9BP)

Riot Ensemble feature in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Close Up Concerts series, giving you the chance to experience works by Rebecca Saunders, Lee Hyla, Bernhard Gander, Marc Mellits, and Isabel Mundry in an intimate and relaxed setting in the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room.

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November Music: Saunders & Osborn

Date: Sun 3rd Nov, 2019
Venue: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

From their new album Speak, Be Silent, Riot Ensemble perform Rebecca Saunders’ Stirrings Still III which continues her longstanding fascination with the writings of Samuel Beckett, sharing its title with Beckett’s final work of prose. Through its fragile and haunting soundworld, the piece’s brittle textures and distant keening explore minute musical activities on the edge of extinction.

Alongside this Laurence Osborn’s Ctrl which was premiered by Riot Ensemble at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2017. Ctrl is a three movement song-cycle about masculinity written from the fragmented perspective of a male character and sung by a female singer.  

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