Nordic Music Days: Floral Night Episode

Date: Saturday 30th September, 6.00pm & 9.00pm
Venue: St. Pauls’ Roof Pavilion, Level 6, Blue side, Royal Festival Hall (SE1 8XX)

We’re excited to be returning to the Southbank Centre as one of the resident ensembles at Nordic Music Days 2017.  This concert includes music from across the Nordic Countries, with Djuro Zivkovic’s Grawemeyer-winning On the Guarding of the HeartOle Lützow-Holm’s Floral Night Episode, Kaija Saariaho’s Terrestre, Bára Gísladóttir’s Suzuki Baleno and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen’s Collideorscape.  

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Traced Upon Cinders

Date: Friday 29th April, 7.30pm
Venue: St. Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch (E1 6JN)

An ecclectic evening of music in the resonant and beautiful St. Leonard’s Church. We give the UK premieres of Evan Johnson’s experimental and virtuosic L’art de toucher le clavecin 3, our 2016 composer-in-residence Nina C. Young’s Traced Upon Cinders (for electric guitar and ensemble), and Djuro Zivkovic’s Grawemeyer Winning On the Guarding of the Heart (commissioned & premiered by Klangforum Wien).
The concert will also include a short trio of piano pieces in memory of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Steven Stucky and Pierre Boulez.
 
The concert will last approximately one hour with no interval.

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Spitalfields: I Shall Contemplate

As part of the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015
Date: Monday 7th December, 7.00pm
Venue: St. Leonard’s Shoreditch

We’re so excited to be making our London festival debut with Spitalfields Music.  In this evening concert we intersperse solo movements of Bach among music by Djuro Zivkovic (2014 Grawemeyer Winner), Spanish composer Helga Arias Parra (a fourth composer chosen from our 2015 Call for Scores) and ten-year-old Marie-Louise Ptohos (our foreSOUND Young Composer of the Year).  

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I Shall Contemplate… by Djuro Zivkovic

Live recording from The Platnauer Concert Series at Brasenose College, Oxford of the UK premiere of Djuro Zivkovic’s I Shall Contemplate...  

The Riot Ensemble

Kate Walter, Flute; Celeste Cronje, Soprao
Claudia Maria Racovicean, PIano
Theo Kung, Violin; Reinoud Ford, Cello
with Artistic Director Aaron Holloway-Nahum conducting.

A few moments with Djuro Zivkovic

This Saturday we make our Oxford Debut, with a programme stretching from J.S. Bach’s Second Cello Suite, through to the UK premiere of Djuro Zivkovic’s I Shall Contemplate….  (The programme also includes the magical Vox Balaenae and two preludes of Claude Debussy).

We were incredibly lucky to have Djuro with us for rehearsals of I Shall Contemplate… this week, and it was my pleasure to sit down with him and ask some questions about this piece and his other work.

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Djuro Zivkovic works with The Riot Ensemble on ‘I Shall Contemplate…’

AHN: Djuro, In your introductory note to I Shall Contemplate…, you talk about ‘composing this piece through improvisation’, could you tell us more about how you work when you’re writing?

Djuro Zivkovic: Each piece has its own working path, but there is a routine in my working environment that I feel very comfortable.

I think of two approaches in composing: analytic and synthetic.  In my improvisational composing, I confront the synthetic aspects of composing against the analytic ones.  When working analytically, I’m determining processes/techniques.  It’s all about a knowledge of HOW to compose. On the contrary, the synthetic approach is focused on an understanding of the wholeness and the question of WHAT you compose. I’m normally more focused on “What” I compose, because the knowing of “What” is the very thing that ultimately determines how I write it.

For me, the improvisation is a way of getting to know WHAT to compose.  I spend a long time – many hours – improvising, and eventually the final idea crystallises in my mind. The improvisation gives me total and unlimited freedom in expression. Then, later in the process, I use the more analytical techniques to help me shape the score in the desired way.

AHN: There’s a vocal part in I Shall Contemplate…, how does it relate to the instrumental ones?

DZ: I have attempted to create a vocal part that is as simple as possible. It is not an opera, but a very solitary voice that descends deep in its heart. It is like being naked and alone in a desert asking God for forgiveness and help. It’s drama comes from how simple it is.

AHN: Where does the text of I Shall Contemplate… come from?

DZ: The texts are partly from the Divine Liturgy and also from Dionysius the Areopagite – a very mystical figure of the early church. I am always looking for unusual texts, because they inspire me and make me want to compose music for them.

These texts are very, very far away of daily worries and activities in our lives, that’s why I love them. Although they’re Christian texts, in these sentences there is no name of the God, and so they can serve as a cantata for any human believer, or at least musically – for anyone.

AHN: It’s lovely how you refer to it as a ‘cantata for anyone’.  You do mention Bach in your note about the piece (and, in fact) we’ve programming your piece alongside movements from Bach’s Second Cello Suite).  Could you tell us a bit about how Bach’s music relates to I Shall Contemplate…?

DZ: Bach played a huge roll in my youth. When I was little I decided to be a baroque violinist and composer after listening to Bach’s organ prelude E-flat major!

In the German cultural centre Göte-Institut in Belgrade I had chance to borrow famous Archive editions of recordings of Bach’s cantatas, with small scores that follow along the LPs. It was a great experience in my childhood, and I always wished I could compose cantatas. This piece is far away from that period, but I hope still very close in the spirit of Bach’s works.

AHN: There are a number of beautiful extended techniques in your piece.  Microtonality, multiphonics, and singing by the flute and piano player.  Composers today are surrounded – both in everyday life and more and more in the repertoire – by extra-musical sounds.  Do these sounds influence you or play any role in your work as a composer?

DZ: They do play role, but I always try to filter these sounds. Some sounds can be dangerous for my composing and some are fruitful.

AHN: Thanks so much for being with us Djuro.  We’re really looking forward to giving the UK premiere of I Shall Contemplate… this Sunday!

DZ: Thanks for having me, and good luck! 

 

 

 

I Shall Contemplate

We’re extremely excited to present the UK premiere of Djuro Zivkovic’s I Shall Contemplate for soprano, flute, piano, violin and cello.  This evening concert at Brasenose College, Oxford, will also feature works by J.S. Bach, Vox Balaenae by George Crumb, and Claude Debussy’s piano prelude Brouillards.

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