A few moments with Yukiko Watanabe

Yukiko Watanabe is one of two winners of our 2016 Call for Scores competition. She studied with Beat Furrer in Austria and now lives in Berlin. Her music is truly adventurous, embracing the dramatic and the bizarre alongside truly heartfelt sensitivity. We are excited to perform her new work In My Room at our Brighton concert at 5pm on October 29th. Yukiko has kindly given us a window into her life, ideas and compositional methods – read the interview below!
Don’t miss Yukiko’s piece on the 29th! The venue is a short walk from Brighton station, and the concert starts at 5pm, allowing plenty of time for dinner, drinks and travel after it finishes. So why not plan a bracing autumnal day at the seaside with a terrific concert to boot? There’s even an extra hour to pack with enjoyment before the clocks go back that evening.
yukiko
What’s happening in your life, and in your music?
Life is full of unexpected things. There are many happy accidents that give me a chance to know and change myself. Likewise in my music I expect that something new will happen to me.

Do you feel like you have a ‘personal style’ in your composing?  Could you describe your own style to us?

It’s a very interesting question. Though it may seem paradoxical, but to think about my own style equates to the assumption that I don’t have any original style. Our music exists in different contexts and background of cultural history, so my music also can’t consist only of itself, but it is created always with some contexts. So it seems to me that to know the context rather than thinking about my own style is important. But perhaps we believe too much our own history and context without questioning. Composition is nothing more than the accumulation of the question for oneself; not to accept everything as common sense, but to try to think through everything again personally.

Your piece is called In My Room. So, what is actually in your room?
Currently, my small room is occupied by a lot of instruments and also small toys for my daughter.
When I started to compose, my daughter came to me with her toys and showed me new techniques for making music. So she provided inspiration and even guidance for the beginning of the piece!
I imagine the piece is like a kindergarten, there should be some serious fun with these toys. The piece should be played like inquisitive child!
Do you conceive of your pieces with drama in mind?  

Drama in my music is actually not easy to define. Because it is not always same, and mostly it depends on the idea of the piece. Each idea has an appropriate duration, and I just follow what the ideas or musical material wants to do. One more thing I can say about the shape is that compositional blank space is very important. For the imagination of the listener, they will always need blank space to fantasize.

How does the piece end?
Music always tells me the end of the piece.

Could you tell us a bit about other projects you have going on in 2016/2017?

I have two big projects in 2016/2017 other than the piece for Riot Ensemble. Firstly, I will compose a new piece for AsianArt Ensemble in Berlin. The ensemble is very unique, it’s mixed instrumentation with European and Asian instruments. I will take particular note of the difference between the physicality of both of them and I’m sure it will be a challenging piece for me, because it is related to my own origin deeply.

And the second one is also a very challenging project. In the project, I deal with the possibility of using sign language in contemporary music. For this project, I’m studying the language and I’m already totally fascinated with it. Learning a new language is not only fun but it will also be a first step to understanding an unknown world!

2015-08-10_02-59-50_20269347098_o

Breathe AHR: Charcoal

Date: Wednesday 9th November 1pm
Venue: Guys Hospital – Atrium 1
A ‘Remembrance’ themed concert, with live artist Marcus Stefanelli.  Music by John Garner, A world premiere of Giovanni Cacioppo’s The Immigrant Suite, a selection of Bartok’s 44 Duos For Two Violins and Kate Williams Suite for Two Violins.

Continue reading

Six Autumn Concerts 2015

Have a look at our six concerts taking place this Autumn, including the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival, opening night of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, ongoing work with BreatheAHR, a return to Brighton with NMB and more!

HCMF: Szmytka, Fernando & Hyla

Date: Friday 20th November
Venue: Blending Shed at Bates Mill, Huddersfield

We are absolutely thrilled to make our HCMF debut with the wild and bizarre worlds of Jagoda Szmytka, Samantha Fernando & Lee Hyla.  The concert includes UK premieres of Szmytka’s Game Boy and Empty Music, along with Hyla’s 30-minute retrospective My Life on the Plains. Samantha has created a new version of her piece Positive/Negative Space especially for this concert.  All of the music is deeply personal & characterful, and the concert will be ‘guided’ by an audio tour created by Szmytka especially for the night.

Continue reading

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).  

Continue reading

Breathe AHR: Remembrance Day

Date: Wednesday 11th November, 1pm
Venue: Guy’s Chapel, Guy’s Hospital, London Bridge
In our 9th concert with Breathe AHR – a charity dedicated to improving health and outcomes for patients, staff and communities – three Riot musicians perform a concert of music reflecting on war & peace.

Continue reading

New Music from New Voices

Date: Tuesday 17th November, 7.30pm
Venue: Brixton East 1871

A concert jam-packed with new music from new composers. More than 150 composers from 14 countries applied to the Riot Ensemble’s 2015 Call for Scores.  Three composers  Thanasis Deligiannis, Jessica Rudman & Patricia Alessandrini were chosen by Riot’s musicians to write new works for this concert. We also perform a brand-new work by Jose Manuel Serrano (our 2015 composer-in-residence), give the UK premiere of Amy Beth  Kirsten’s beguiling L’ange Pâle and premiere a virtuosic harpsichord solo from Drew Schnurr.

Continue reading