A Chest of Toys: Real World Sessions

Dates: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th February
Venue: Real World Studios

Back in 2014, on Radio 4, comedian Mark Steel quoted an anonymous description of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival: ‘Much of it sounds like a chest of children’s toys coming down the stairs.’

We think this is accidentally a wonderful description of the joyful, cacophonous and unpredictable musics that make up contemporary new music today, and we’re thrilled to be working with Coviello Music Productions to make our second CD recording – A Chest of Toys – for release on Coviello Contemporary in late 2017.

We’ll be recording Michael Cryne’s Celia’s Toyshop, and our 2016 Call for Scores commissions: In My Room (Yukiko Watanabe) and Florescence (Lee Westwood) alongside an array of other chamber music including Thomas Kotcheff’s death, hocket and roll for two toy pianos, Monica Pearce’s Kandinsky for soprano and toy piano, Television Continuity Poses by Jack Sheen, and Hayirli Olsun for Trombone, Harpischord, Percussion and Piano by Utku Asuroglu.

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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!

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Micrographia

Date: Saturday 29th October, 5.00pm
Venue: St. Nicholas Church, Brighton (BN1 3LJ)

The World Premiere of Laurence Osborn’s Micrographia – a song cycle for two sopranos and chamber ensemble setting seven new poems (written specifically for this piece) by poet Joseph Minden.  World Premieres from our 2016 Call for Scores winners Yukiko Watanabe and Lee Westwood, and an array of new miniatures from composers from the New Music Brighton Composers’ Collective.

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Call for Scores 2016

Our 2016 Call for Scores received 218 applications from composers all over the world.  It was an incredible and humbling experience to come into contact with so much great new music, being made by such an inspiring and eclectic array of composers.  We are extremely proud to announce the composers we’ll be collaborating with for our 29th October concert, this year.

2016Composers

Yukiko Watanabe is a Japanese composer living in Cologne.  She will write us a new piece for flute, piano, toy piano, hand-held percussion, guitar, viola and harp.

Lee Westwood is a British composer and guitarist, part of the New Music Brighton collective, who lives and works in England.  Lee will also will write us a new piece for flute, piano, toy piano, hand-held percussion, guitar, viola and harp.

In addition to these pieces, we’ve asked a couple of composers who applied to work with us on various miniatures for an upcoming recording project we are doing in September, and we have set aside a large number of great new pieces we found through this call, which we sincerely hope to perform in the coming years.

We’ll be back with interviews with Yukiko and Lee, and updates of other new music throughout the year.  Our sincere gratitude to all who applied, and made this call for scores what it was.