Meeting Stephen Upshaw

Stephen is a brilliant viola player and a fantastic new addition to our artistic board. Come and hear him play alongside Sarah Mason (percussion) and Claudia Maria Racovicean (piano) at The Forge, Camden on Monday November 21st at 8pm. The programme includes Morton Feldman’s ‘The Viola In My Life’ alongside new works for viola by Mark Simpson, Tigran Mansurian and Jack Sheen, and works for percussion by Anna Meredith and Mark Bowden. Find out more about Stephen in our quick question/ answer below, and visit his website for more…

riot_stephen

So far I have Rioted in the following ways …

Moving thousands of miles away from home to start a career in a place where I knew no one, I suppose?

Teenage tearaway, or nerdy note-learner?

Both note-learner and tearaway depending on the day and when the exams were. :)

Favourite musician?

Joseph Szigeti.

Favourite performance venue?

Two way tie between 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA USA and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

People have said this about me …

‘Supercharged viola players used to be an oxymoron but they aren’t now!’ – I’m very happy to hopefully debunk boring viola jokes!

Strictly or X Factor?

X Factor for sure! Having played on it once (shh), I suppose my allegiances would have to lie there?

Salad cream or mayonnaise?

As an American it took me quite some time to even figure out what salad cream is (I still don’t fully understand what it is, if anyone would like to help clarify …), so I will say mayonnaise!

The best 007 is …

Sean Connery of course.

I would most like to Riot about …

Brexit and how it was allowed to happen.

Many thanks Stephen. You may be interested to know that salad cream is a creamy, pale yellow condiment based on an emulsion of about 25–50% oil in water, emulsified by egg yolk and acidulated by spirit vinegar, and it is delicious in sandwiches or with chips.

The Viola in my Life

Date: Monday 21st November, 8.00pm
Venue: The Forge, Camden (NW1 7NL)

The Riot Ensemble connects people to great contemporary music with this performance entitled “The Viola in my Life.” The performance features Riot’s new Artistic Board Member Stephen Upshaw, who programmed this concert alongside fellow rioters Sarah Mason & Claudia Maria Racovicean.
The concert features Feldman’s classic The Viola in My Life, alongside the world premiere of new solo viola works by Mark Simpson, and small chamber music by Jack Sheen, Tigran Mansurian and others.  Here’s the full programme:

Mark Simpson: New Work for Solo Viola (World Premiere)

Morton Feldman: “The Viola in My Life 3” for viola and piano

Mark Bowden: “Hoist” for solo percussion

Jack Sheen: “Each One Cancels Out the Last” for viola, piano and tape (World Premiere)

Anna Meredith: “Flex” for solo percussion

Tigran Mansurian: “Duet” for viola and percussion (UK Premiere)

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A Clockwork Operetta

Date: Wednesday 1st July, 7.30pm
Venue: The Forge, Camden
The closing ‘summer party’ on the second season of the critically acclaimed Wednesdays at the Forge concert series.  The concert is built around Kevin Malone’s cabaret based around A Clockwork Orange, which sets the “songs” that Burgess included in his own script for the film (which Kubrick was eventually to reject in favour of his own).  The concert also includes music by Charles Dodge and George Crumb.

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The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Date: Friday 7th November; 7.30pm
Venue: The University of Chichester

The Riot Ensemble’s co-principal pianist Adam Swayne presents a unique performance Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated, one of the twentieth century’s most monumental works for solo piano.  Rzewski wrote the piece in 1975 for Adam’s teacher, Ursula Oppens. The 36 variations are based on a song that expressed solidarity with the Chilean resistance to General Pinochet and, in a wild and often bewildering mix of virtuosic piano techniques and motley musical styles, the composer also weaves in other anthems that represent a struggle for democracy. The concert will last just over an hour without an interval and will include a spoken introduction.

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The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Date: Tuesday 11th November; 7.30pm
Venue: The Forge Camden

The Riot Ensemble’s co-principal pianist Adam Swayne presents a unique performance Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated, one of the twentieth century’s most monumental works for solo piano.  Rzewski wrote the piece in 1975 for Adam’s teacher, Ursula Oppens. The 36 variations are based on a song that expressed solidarity with the Chilean resistance to General Pinochet and, in a wild and often bewildering mix of virtuosic piano techniques and motley musical styles, the composer also weaves in other anthems that represent a struggle for democracy. The concert will last just over an hour without an interval and will include a spoken introduction.

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Les Citations (in memory of Henri Dutilleux)

Near the one-year anniversary of his death, The Riot Ensemble brings  Henri Dutilleux’s Les Citations to the Divinity School Recital Hall at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Presented along Dutilleux’s masterwork are an array of newly-commissioned works by composers from across the globe for the same lineup of instruments (with an additional soprano in two of the works).

These new pieces will come from Jose Manuel Serrano (Argentina), Jenna Lyle (USA), Arne Gieshoff (UK), Chris Roe (UK) and Drew Schnurr (USA).  The concert will also feature Ken Hesketh’s transcription of Dutilleux’s piano piece Blackbird (1950) for Les Citations forces, Arlene Sierra’s Petite Grue, and a short piece for Doublebass and Soprano by The Riot Ensemble’s 2014 Composer in Residence Amy Beth Kirsten.

 

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The Flatulence of the Gods

The Riot Ensemble kicks off a new series of contemporary music at The Forge in Camden.  The first half of this concert, starting at 7.30pm on 5th February, features CHROMA – while the Riot Ensemble brings you a second half of extremely low notes from Scott Lygate, Amy Beth Kirsten, Martijn Padding, Chris Mayo and Aaron Holloway-Nahum.  All five pieces are World or UK premieres and the ensembles include 5 Bass Clarinets, 5 Bassoons, 4 Trombones and tenor.

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Les Citations (in memory of Henri Dutilleux)

Near the one-year anniversary of his death, The Riot Ensemble brings Henri Dutilleux’s Les Citations to The Forge, Camden. Presented along Dutilleux’s masterwork are an array of newly-commissioned works by composers from across the globe for the same lineup of instruments (with an additional soprano in two of the works).

These new pieces will come from Jose Manuel Serrano (Argentina), Jenna Lyle (USA), Arne Gieshoff (UK), Chris Roe (UK) and Drew Schnurr (USA).  The concert will also feature Ken Hesketh’s transcription of Dutilleux’s piano piece Blackbird (1950) for Les Citations forces, Arlene Sierra’s Petite Grue, and a short piece for Doublebass and Soprano by The Riot Ensemble’s 2014 Composer in Residence Amy Beth Kirsten.

 

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Our First Call for Scores!

We’re really pleased to announce that we’re running our first call for scores!

The call is in collaboration with the fantastic East Coast Contemporary Ensemble.  Two scores will be selected for performance at both The Forge (Camden, 16th July) and The Meetinghouse (Brighton, 17th July) as part of our Transatlantic Collaborations projects.

You can apply through the ECCE website.