Meeting Sarah Saviet

America-born, Germany-based violinist Sarah Saviet is a new member of our artistic board. Hear her live performances of Liza Lim’s solo violin piece Philtre and Jack Sheen’s work for solo violin and ensemble Television continuity poses on Radio 3’s Hear and Now (recording available until October 28th). Sarah has a pretty intense schedule of travel and concerts, so we’re really grateful to her for taking the time to answer a few questions …

riot_sarah2

In which ways have you Rioted so far?

We had a blast last week playing on BBC3’s Hear and Now. Also, I really enjoyed our concert last April with works by Evan Johnson, Nina Young, and Djuro Zivkovic

Teenage tearaway, or nerdy note-learner?

I guess I was pretty nerdy, although not in the ‘note-learning’ sense. I didn’t practise a lot, but read books all the time.

Favourite musician?

Here are several in no particular order: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Arthur Grumiaux, Björk, Nina Simone, Iván Fischer, Olly Knussen.

Favourite performance venue?

A friend’s loft in Berlin, where I like to give house concerts. The last time I played there it got a bit noisy – in addition to my friends, there were two babies and a massive dog in attendance.

People have said this about me …

Sarah has way too many stuffed hedgehogs.

Salad cream or mayonnaise?

I really dislike mayonnaise.

I would most like to Riot about …

If we’re talking about Rioting with the Ensemble, I’m very much looking forward to playing Liza Lim’s Speak, be Silent with the ensemble as well as bringing David Bird’s new violin + electronics piece to London in February.

Rioting in general … well, let’s see what happens with the US election in November. I just sent in my absentee ballot.

Many thanks Sarah! We’ll order some salad cream in for your next visit!

A few moments with Jack Sheen

Composer and conductor Jack Sheen has been co-commissioned by Riot Ensemble and BBC Radio 3 to compose a new work Television continuity poses for performance this Saturday (01/10/16) at the Southbank Centre with simultaneous live broadcast. He kindly took a few moments out of quite an intense schedule to answer our questions.

photo by Anton Lukoszevieze

photo by Anton Lukoszevieze

What’s happening in your life?
I have just moved flat and am listening to the new Young Thug mixtape a lot.
What’s happening in your music?
I’m starting to make long duration performance installations, some by myself, and some in collaboration with the artist Rowland Hill. The first one with Rowland is called I have never been anywhere so long and is being premiered in Manchester at Emergency Festival. It’s based on hand gestures used by women in Lancashire cotton mills and is about real and imagined repetition, corporeal memory, discipline, and fatigue. It’s actually going to be the same day as this Radio 3 broadcast, so quite a busy day.
Your piece is scored for solo violin (Sarah Saviet), viola, alto flute, bass clarinet, and toy piano. Have you been inspired by the great canon of works for this combination?
Not really, no.
So what’s the first note?
G sharp.
And what’s the last note?
F quarter-sharp.
What happens in between?
The piece is for solo violin and ensemble and there are three movements. In the first movement the violin plays a line and the rest of the ensemble play a chord. In the second and third movements the ensemble is split into a bunch of individuals and/or duos which act independently of the others. Generally, material is cycled around and variated in some childishly simple way.
Whilst I was writing the piece I was watching a lot of Merce Cunningham dances. I really, really love how Cunningham treats large groups of dancers, how he breaks up that group into smaller groups, how those groups change and interact.
I mostly wrote this piece during that huge heatwave in London in late August/early September, so a lot of this piece was sketched and composed wearing swimming shorts.
Many thanks, Jack!