Secret Music: April

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Again, some horrible clashes here. Also, if anyone knows of anything happening in the second half of the month, feel free to add to the comments.

Until Saturday 5 April, and Monday 2 – Sunday 8 June: Frontiers Festival, Birmingham | venues, prices, times vary

Birmingham Conservatoire’s annual contemporary music festival this year celebrates the music of Downtown New York. This was originally planned to coincide with the presence of Robert Ashley to receive an honorary doctorate, an event that will sadly not now take place. Ashley’s music is well represented, however, including the complete world premiere of String Quartet Describing the Motion of Real Bodies on 2 April. Other highlights (of many – see the full calendar) include Apartment House playing Songs for Drella (30 March); Pauline Oliveros in conversation (31 March) and a Deep Listening meditation (2 April); early Philip Glass (1 April); Carl Stone (2 April); as well as music by David Lang, Michael Gordon, William Basinski, Elliot Sharp …

Thursday 3 April: Silk Street Music Hall | Guildhall New Music Ensemble | 6:00pm | FREE

James Weeks conducts the Guildhall New Music Ensemble in a programme that includes premieres of works by Edmund Finnis and Thomas Fournil, and music by Aldo Clementi and Salvatore Sciarrino.

“The Guildhall New Music Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of music from the last 30 years, with each project curated by a different member of staff or by a guest curator. For the launch of the ensemble’s regular performance series at the School, Associate Head of Composition James Weeks has curated a programme of local and global compositional activity that will form the foundation of the ensemble’s future concerts.”

Thursday 3 April: Cafe OTO | Dumitrescu and Avram | 8pm | £8 adv/£10 on the door

Iancu Dumitrescu brings his Hyperion Ensemble, and his unorthodox performance practice, back to Cafe OTO for more spectral excursions and seat-of-the-pants musical phenomenology.

Thursday 3 April: Studio Theatre, Library of Birmingham | Automatic Writing | 7pm | £12(£8)

Fresh from giving the UK premiere of Robert Ashley’s masterful Automatic Writing at Cafe Oto, Object Collection (Kara Feely, Travis Just, Aaron Meicht, Daniel Nelson, Tim Parkinson, Fulya Peker) bring the work to Birmingham’s Frontiers Festival. Concert also includes New York Girls by Kara Feely and Travis Just.
Sunday 6 April: Charlie Wright’s International Bar & Jazz Lounge, 45 Pitfield St, London | John White Birthday Concert | 4pm | FREE but pre-booking essential
Performances by Gavin Bryars, Dr. Margaret Coldiron, Carole Finer, Julian Haxby, Chris Hobbs, John Lely, Kaffe Matthews, Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, Andrea Rocca, Hugh Shrapnel, Dave Smith, John Tilbury, John White; and by various ensembles, namely: Bad Dog, LelyWhite, Live Batts; and by the official orchestra of the Institute: The London Snorkelling Team.

There will be participatory performances of The Drinking and Hooting Machine and the Newspaper-reading Machine – a more detailed programme will be emailed before the event.

Thai food available from the kitchens. Tickets are free (a hat will be passed around) and open to all, but they are also limited; people must be on the guest-list to attend, and specify if bringing a guest. To get on the list write to: without delay.

Tuesday 8 April: St George’s RC Cathedral, Westminster Bridge Road | Ian Wilson’s Stations | 7:30pm | email to join guest list

Matthew Schellhorn performs Ian Wilson’s monumental solo piano masterpiece, Stations. Inspired by the Catholic devotion of the Stations of the Cross, Stations is a fourteen-movement work divided into four ‘Books’. Matthew Schellhorn has premiered the work in stages over two years, giving a performance of its final part at Wigmore Hall in 2008. His recording of the piece will be released on Diatribe Records this month, and this concert is the first in a tour that also takes in Glasgow (10 April), Dublin (13 April), Blackheath Halls (14 April), Edinburgh (15 April), Cambridge (16 May), Thorpe Bay (18 May), Wymondham Abbey (29 June) and Ripon (10 July).

Tuesday 8 April: City University, Performance Space | James Saunders portrait | 7pm | FREE, booking essential

Programme: Everybody doing what everybody else is doing; With paper; So many territories (first performance); Things whole and not whole; Everybody do this

Performed by Plus-Minus.

Friday 11 April: Schott Recital Room, 48 Great Marlborough St, W1f 7BB | 7pm | £10

Tim Parkinson plays premieres of new works by Laurence Crane, Matteo Fargion, Joseph Kudirka and himself, plus recent pieces by Jürg Frey and Chiyoko Szlavnics.

Saturday 26 April: Cello Factory, Cornwall Road, London SE1 | 7pm | £8

Swiss percussion trio DeciBells are joined by flautist Jenni Hogan in a programme of Lou Harrison, Scelsi, Pierre Favre, Benjamin Graves, Gwyn Pritchard and Siegfried Kutterer.

Secret Music: March

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Better late than never, and with apologies to performers whose concerts this month I’ve already missed. A couple of horrible clashes in this month’s line-up :-(

Saturday 15 March: Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s | Music in the Space Time Continuum II | 6.30pm | £12, students £5

Salzburg’s Ensemble OENM play the following programme:

Josquin (trans R. D. Rusconi): Le miroir de musique (An educational outreach performance)
Haas: Tria ex uno
R. D. Rusconi: Anankè
Grisey: Vortex temporum

Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 March: Britannia House, London E1 | LCMF presents The Music of Bernard Parmegiani | times/prices vary

Four events: a screening of short films and documentaries around Parmegiani’s work (Thursday); performances of two of his greatest works, Violostries (1964) and La Création du monde (1984) (Friday); works from the early 1970s (Saturday); and Dedans dehors (1977) and Espèces d’éspace (2002) (Sunday). There are other live sets and screenings woven in there too. Full details here.

Saturday 22 March – Saturday 5 April, and Monday 2 – Sunday 8 June: Frontiers Festival, Birmingham | venues, prices, times vary

Birmingham Conservatoire’s annual contemporary music festival this year celebrates the music of Downtown New York. This was originally planned to coincide with the presence of Robert Ashley to receive an honorary doctorate, an event that will sadly not now take place. Ashley’s music is well represented, however, including the complete world premiere of String Quartet Describing the Motion of Real Bodies on 2 April. Other highlights (of many – see the full calendar) include Apartment House playing Songs for Drella (30 March); Pauline Oliveros in conversation (31 March) and a Deep Listening meditation (2 April); early Philip Glass (1 April); Carl Stone (2 April); as well as music by David Lang, Michael Gordon, William Basinski, Elliot Sharp …

Thursday 27 – Sunday 30 March: The Warehouse, Waterloo, London | 2nd London Ear Festival of Contemporary Music | times/prices vary

More details on this to follow in a separate post, but in essence: nine concerts over four days, plus masterclasses, pre-concert talks and other fun. Composers featured include Rebecca Saunders, Helmuth Oehring, Simon Steen-Andersen and Georg Katzer. Performers include London Sinfonietta, We Spoke, Uroboros and Eva Zöllner. Full programme (pdf) here.

Friday 28 March: Schott Recital Room, 48 Great Marlborough St, W1f 7BB | 7pm | £10

Tim Parkinson plays premieres of new works by Laurence Crane, Matteo Fargion, Joseph Kudirka and himself, plus recent pieces by Jürg Frey and Chiyoko Szlavnics. Now taking place on 11 April

Saturday 29 March: St Giles’ Cripplegate, London | 7.30pm | £15, £7 (students), £1 (under 16)

EXAUDI  performs works by Chase, Cardew, Cage, Feldman, Skempton, Fox, and joins forces with Finchley Choral Society as the soloists in A. Scarlatti’s Dixit Dominus.

Sunday 30 March: Cafe OTO | 8pm | £8 adv. £10 on the door

In what will now presumably be something of a tribute concert, Object Collection (Kara Feely, Travis Just, Aaron Meicht, Daniel Nelson, Tim Parkinson, Fulya Peker) play Robert Ashley’s masterful Automatic Writing, plus New York Girls by Kara Feely and Travis Just.

Secret Music: February

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Saturday 1 February: Cafe OTO, Lauren Redhead, Gail Brande, ORE, 8pm | £8 adv, £10 door

Cumbria-based new music and sound art festival Full of Noises presents two nights of performances by artists from their 2013 programme. Day 2 sees performances from composer Lauren Redhead, who will be presenting a version of her piece Entoptic Landscapes, composed for FON alongside other short pieces; a solo trombone set from Gail Brand, who has been described as “the most exciting trombone player for years” by The Wire; and amplified tuba duo ORE, making music informed (but not limited) by their enthusiasm for drones, doom metal, improvisation and minimalism.

Sunday 2 February: Kings Place, Wespoke, 4pm | £9.50 online/£12.50 on the door

This concert brings together Laurent Estoppey (saxophone), Kerry Yong (keyboards), Serge Vuille (percussion) and Juliet Fraser (soprano) in an exploration of the cultural heritage of song.

The programme features premieres of Antoine Joly’s loving and critical medley, History of Swiss Song, and the fifth volume of Matthew Shlomowitz’s Popular Contexts, as well as Bernhard Lang’s DW16, Songbook, a work that explores difference and repetition in the form of five songs with lyrics by artists such as Bob Dylan and prog-rocker Peter Hammill.

Sunday 2 February: Islington Mill, Manchester, Psappha, 9pm | £8 (student £5)

Performance of Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titaniccombining live music, live drawing, photography and 3D film.

Wednesday 5 February: The Forge, Chroma + Riot Ensemble, The Flatulence of the Gods“, 7.30pm | £12 (£10 conc)

Kicking off a new series of contemporary music at the Forge (a regular venue in last year’s Secret Music listings), Chroma and the Riot Ensemble present works by Scott Lygate, Amy Beth Kirsten, Chris Mayo, Martijn Padding and Riot Ensemble’s director Aaron Holloway-Nahum.

Monday 10 February: Cafe OTO, 8pm | £5 adv, £6 door

Screening of Viola Rusche and Hauke Harder’s documentary on Alvin Lucier, No Ideas But In Things.

Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 February: The Vaults, Leake St, London SE1 8SW, WOLF PACK at Vault Festival, 9pm | £10, or £16 for two nights

Two separate shows, TEXT (11 and 14 Feb) and BODY (12, 13 and 15).

TEXT will include The Waves, a rarely performed Frederic Rzewski piece alongside new works by composers Jess Harvey and Tom Green, and new interpretations of songs by Kate Bush and Goldfrapp. The concert will also present works by John White, Malcolm Atkins, Karlheinz Stockhausen and two pieces based on the work of John Cage, one of which is a brand new work devised by the ensemble.

BODY will feature a dance collaboration in the premier of Did You See Me Dance? by Dave Collins and Sam Goodway alongside music by Toru Takemitsu, Edmund Joliffe, Steve Reich and Manuela Kerer, and interpretations of songs by Frank Zappa and Stevie Wonder.

Programmed as part of the Vault Festival.

Thursday 13 February: Club inégales, 108 Gower Street, London, doors 7pm, music 8pm | £10 (£6 conc)

Peter Wiegold’s Club inégales begins its spring season with a concert of music by Howard Skempton.

Tuesday 18 February: City University, London, Richard Craig and Loré Lixenberg, 7pm | Free, but adv booking required

Flautist Richard Craig presents three premieres: two new solo works from his collaborations with Richard Barrett and Kristian Ireland and duo work (with with Loré Lixenberg) by John Croft for voice and bass flute.

Full programme:

Richard Barrett – Vale (world premiere)
John Croft – Deux Meditations d’une Furie (world premiere)
Brian Ferneyhough – Mnemosyne
Loré Lixenberg – Work tba
Kristian Ireland – Luminous (world premiere)

Friday 21 to Sunday 23 February: Bristol New Music, various venues, times, etc.

First event of a new consortium devoted to bringing the best new music to Bristol. The weekend-long festival combines modern classical, jazz and visual arts. Rambler-oriented highlights include Quatuor Bozzini on SaturdayEllen Fullman, also on Saturday (seriously, if you’re anywhere close, don’t miss this); Bristol Ensemble on Sunday; and musikFabrik, also on Sunday.

Friday 28 February: International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, Psappha, 6pm | £10 (student £8)

A new multimedia production of Anthony Burgess’s musical setting of The Waste Land, performed by Psappha and incorporating rarely seen treasures from the Burgess Estate. Narrated by Jonathan Best, with soprano Rebecca Lea, directed by Elaine Tyler-Hall.

Friday 28 February: Cafe OTO, Apartment House, Jérôme Noetinger, 8pm | £7 adv, £8 door

Swiss composer and sound artist Antoine Chessex returns to Cafe OTO with a new composition for Apartment House, augmented by French electroacoustic musician Jérôme Noetinger. The concert begins with a performance from the duo of Steve Noble (percussion) and Yoni Silver (bass clarinet).

Secret Music: November

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Please note, by the way, that for the purposes of ‘secret music’, I’m not including HCMF, which takes place this month, or the Southbank’s The Rest is Noise festival, which is now definitively in my hitting zone of the 1970s and 80s. Both of these events are well publicised as it is and I doubt anyone reading this is unaware that they’re on. It’s less well-known events like those below that I’m keen to support here.

The big event this month in London has to be Nonclassical’s Pioneers of Percussion festival, taking place between 6 and 22 November. As well as live music there will be talks, film screenings and workshops. Details of each event follow; there look to be some seriously good events here:

Wednesday 6: The Macbeth: New York / London: What’s Happening Now, 8pm |£5

We open the festival with a night tracing the creative ties between these two great cities. With music by David Lang, Steve Martland, Judd Greenstein and others, and the premieres of our competition winners.

Saturday 9: Oval Space: Percussion and Orchestra, 7pm | £8/£10

Bartók’s masterpiece Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta broke new ground in the 1930s, placing the percussionist at the centre of the classical orchestra. Here it is heard in the contemporary surroundings of East London’s Oval Space, alongside Gabriel Prokofiev’s recent Concerto for Bass Drum, Kate Whitley’s Split for clarinet, percussion and strings, and a pivotal solo work by Iannis Xenakis, Psappha. Multi-Story Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Stark, featuring soloists Rozenn Le Trionnaire and Jude Carlton.

Sunday 10: St Margarets House: Reich in Ghana Drumming Workshop, 1pm | £5/£8

Found sound expert Saul Eisenberg and percussionist Serge Vuille lead a workshop in which participants will create their own unique ‘junk’ instruments to form an ensemble like no other. All participants are then invited to perform at the Festival’s big night at Scala.

Wednesday 13: Hackney Picturehouse: The Evolution of the Drum Kit, 7.30pm | £7

The award-winning Beware of Mr Baker (2012)  tells the story of how Ginger Baker became a pioneer of modern drumming, through his foundations in jazz and rock to his discovery of Afrobeat and African percussion. The screening is followed by a sequence of short performances and talks from London’s most adventurous kit players, full line-up to be announced soon.

Saturday 16: Scala: Pioneers of Percussion, 8pm–3am | £6/£10/£12

At the centre of the festival, Nonclassical takes over legendary club venue Scala to present iconic repertoire including: Edgard Varese’s Ionisation, (the earliest large-scale percussion ensemble work) and John Cage’s Constructions, virtuoso musicians Joji Hirota, Shahbaz Hussain and Abass Dodoo, and a complete performance of Steve Reich’s seminal Drumming. With three rooms of live music and DJs surveying a whole spectrum of percussion-led music throughout the night, this is the unmissable centrepiece of the series.

Sunday 17: Hackney Picturehouse: Filmphonics, 7pm | £7

A film evening inspired by the theme of percussion. African Drum, Beyond the Beat (2012) looks at the various social functions of the drum in West African society, and is followed by a live discussion with director Tariq Richards. Meanwhile Ballet Mécanique (1923) is a rarely-screened Dadaist masterpiece, famous for its extraordinary percussive score by Georges Antheil.

Friday 22: Limewharf: The Theatre of Percussion, 6pm | £5

The closing night of the festival puts the spotlight on music in which performance art and extended technique stretches the boundaries of what percussion can be. With pieces by Kagel, Rzewski, Globokar and others, and performers including Serge Vuille and George Barton.

Other below-the-radar highlights (sorry, all London this month) include:

Tuesday 5: City University: CD launch – History of Photography in Sound, 6.15pm | free, but reserve in advance

The launch of Ian Pace’s landmark recording of Michael Finnissy’s The History of Photography in Sound. Pace will be giving a short introductory lecture on the work at 6.15, with a recital of selected chapters from 7.15.

Wednesday 6: Wigmore Hall, 7.30pm | £30/£25/£20/£15

EXAUDI take to the stage again at the Wigmore Hall, as part of its Contemporary Music Series, this time performing Renaissance madrigals by Carlo Gesualdo alongside works by Finnissy, Schöllhorn, Fox and Gervasoni.

Tuesday 12: City University: Lauren Sarah Hayes and Pamela Z, 7pm | free, but reserve in advance

Works for voice and electronics featuring a performance by Pamela Z, one of the pioneers of live looping techniques.

Tuesday 12: St David’s Room, Kings College, 6.30pm | free, I believe

Launch party for new CD of James Erber’s flute music. Matteo Cesari will play a short recital of works by Erber, Ferneyhough and Pintscher.

Thursday 14: Maida Vale Studios: BBC Symphony Orchestra, new music by British composers, 7pm | free, but reserve in advance

BBC SO studio concert of new work by young British composers, including Tom Coult, Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Benajmin Oliver and Emily Howard, plus UK premiere of Robin Holloway’s In China.

Thursday 14: The Forge, Camden: Octandre Ensemble, 7pm | £7/£9 in advance, £8/£10 on the door

Six newly commissioned works by Maxim Boon, William Cheshire, Patrick John Jones, Sam Messer, Nick Morrish Rarity and Kristoffer To.

In exchange for a ticket, promoters New Dots are looking for three audience members to write 400-word reviews of the concert that can be posted on their blog. If you’re interested see the New Dots website for more details.

Tuesday 19: City University: Madeleine Mitchell and Ian Pace, 7pm | free, but reserve in advance

Violin and piano recital, including music by Berio and Marco Stroppa.

Tuesday 26: Cafe OTO: Kammer Klang, 8pm | £7

The final Kammer Klang night of 2013 sees Plus-Minus appearing alongside Leafcutter John in a set that includes music by Bernhard Lang, Newton Armstrong and Johannes Kreidler.

Secret Music: July

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

I’ll be honest, I’m not on top of the listings this month; if you have anything coming up in July that you’d like me to consider including please give me a shout.

Already updated with a few additional events.

Tuesday 2 July: The Forge, Camden: Mercury Quartet, 7.30pm | £9/7 online, £10/8 on the door

Music of Romanian origin or association:

Niculescu - Echos II (UK premiere)
Diana Rotaru – new commission
Oliver Weeks – new commission
Julian Anderson - Bearded Lady
Dan Dediu - Concert Gotic (UK premiere)

Wednesday 3 July: Nonclassical: Ligeti Quartet and Rarescale, 8pm | £5 in advance

Double header Nonclassical event at The Macbeth, featuring the Ligeti Quartet, and Carla Rees (flute) and Michael Oliva (electronics). Programme:

Christian Mason – Sai Ma
John Adams – Fellow Traveller
Anna Meredith – Songs for the M8
Arvo Pärt – Fratres
Béla Bartók – Quartet No. 4 (finale)

Lorenz Dangel – Soundtracking
Michael Oliva – Apparition and Release
Elizabeth Brown – Antarctica
Dan Di Maggio – Same Old Monsters (world premiere)
Michael Oliva – Bereft Adrift
Bret Battey – Paternoster’s Tricyclic Companion
Scott Miller – Anterior/Interior
Michael Oliva – A Memory of Spring

Friday 5 July: St Mary at Hill: Music We’d Like To Hear I, 7.30 | £9/£6 concs

Markus Trunk curates. Music by Craig Shepard, Eva-Maria Houben, Kunsu Shim, John White, Mieko Shiomi and Daniel James Wolf. Played by the MWLTH ensemble. See also previous posting.

Saturday 6 July: LSO St Luke’s: LSO Soundhub Showcase, 7.30pm | £7/£5 concs

Composer and jazz pianist Raymond Yiu curates a showcase of works by Soundhub members and associates, as well as a set of variations on Yiu’s own Podskok, including variations written by Patrick Brennan, Martin Butler, Richard Causton, William Cheshire, Jonathan Dove, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Morgan Hayes, Matthew Kaner, Fung Lam, Colin Matthews, Edward Nesbit, Anjula Semmens and Toby Young. Other pieces on the programme include:

Darren Bloom – Rundown (2008)
Christian Mason Trio – In Space Enlaced (2008/2012) (UK premiere of present version)
Oliver Christophe Leith – Shima (2013) (World premiere)
Edward Nesbit – A Pretence of Wit (2010)

Tuesday 9 July: Sarah Loveys, Samuel Wilson, Julia Samojło: Shades of Britain, 7:00pm | Free

As part of their Transatlantic Affair concert series, the Guildhall School of Music presents a concert of music for soprano, percussion and piano, including pieces by Thomas Adès, Julian Anderson, Oliver Knussen, Raymond Yiu, Julian Philips and Harrison Birtwistle.

PLEASE NOTE: This concert is no longer taking place as scheduled.

Friday 12 July: St Mary at Hill: Music We’d Like To Hear II, 7.30 | £9/£6 concs

John Lely curates. Music by Cassandra Miller, Jürg Frey, Paul Newland, Richard Glover and Tim Parkinson. Performed by Mira Benjamin. See also previous posting.

Friday 19 July: St Mary at Hill: Music We’d Like To Hear III, 7.30 | £9/£6 concs

Tim Parkinson curates. Music by Jürg Frey, Christian Wolff, Jonathan Marmor, Matteo Fargion and Luiz Henrique Yudo. Anton Lukoszevieze and Tim Parkinson perform. See also previous posting.

25–28 July: London Contemporary Music Festival, times vary | Free, but pre-booking needed

Concerts each day: 25th, To a new definition of opera; 26th, Lachenmann/Morricone; 27th Glenn Branca Ensemble; 28th Drone Day.

All concerts take place at Bold Tendencies at Peckham Car Park. See previous post for more details.

26–28 July: Full of Noises festival, Barrow-in-Furness, times vary | £15 festival pass, £12 day pass

Three-day weekend of new music, sound art, talks and gubbins. Featuring: SoundFjord, the Bohman Brothers, Ryoko Akama, Felix Kubin, Dirty Electronics, Lauren Redhead,  Jon Hering and loads more. This kind of stuff doesn’t often happen in West Cumbria, so get out there if you can. There’s a full programme here; prices are ridiculous.

Secret Music: June

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Busy one this month as the summer festival season swings into action. Sorry it’s all a bit London-centric.

Saturday 1 June: Schott, 48 Great Marlborough Street, London: Jonathan Powell, 7pm | Price unknown, but usually just a few quid

Solo piano recital, including Aperghis – A tombeau ouvert, Radulescu – 2nd Sonata, Barrett – Lost and Sorabji – Le Jardin parfume.

Saturday 8 June: Bishopsgate Institute, Scanner: The Haxan Cloak, 8pm | £16

Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Bobby Krlic aka The Haxan Cloak and the Computer Junk Orchestra reimagine John Dowland’s renaissance piece Lachrimae alongside new music and visuals. Part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival.

Monday 10 June: Hoxton Hall: Rarescale, 8.30pm | £15

Carla Rees leads a digital acoustic ensemble combining flute with live electronics and guitar.  Includes the world premiere of Nicola LeFanu’s A Phoenix for Carla composed in response to Carla’s experience in the London riots. Part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival.

Tuesday 11 June: Rich Mix: REPLICA, 7pm & 8.30pm | £15

Edward Jessen’s visually sumptuous experimental music-theatre work for recorder quintet Consortium5 and vocalists John Potter and Peyee Chen. REPLICA unfurls theatrically-rich layers of cinematic successes in a stunning aural and visual realisation. Part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival.

Wednesday 12 June: The Forge: Mivos Quartet, 7.30pm | £11/£9 online, £12/£10 on the door

Britten’s 100th birthday marked by a performance of his Third Quartet, alongside contemporary works by

Felipe Lara,

Mario Diaz de Leon and Philip Glass

Saturday 15 June: Bishopsgate Institute: Powerplant, 8pm | £16

Joby Burgess presents Powerplant, a partnership with sound designer Matthew Fairclough and filmmaker Kathy Hinde, culminating in a collaboration with Gabriel Prokofiev. Part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival.

Wednesday 19 June: Village Underground: At The World’s Edge, 6.30pm & 8.30pm | £15

Combining puppetry, electronic soundscapes and live music, At The World’s Edge recasts the Greek myth of Persephone’s descent into the underworld. I saw an early incarnation of this as a London Sinfonietta Blue Touch Paper project, and it was shaping up well. Part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival.

Monday 24 June: Performance Space, City University: Mark Knoop and Séverine Ballon, 7pm | Free, but prebooking necessary.

The twice excellent Mark Knoop and Séverine Ballon play Feldman’s Patterns in a Chromatic Field for piano and cello, alongside a new work by Georgia Rodgers for cello and electronics.

Late addition: Wednesday 26 June: Royal Northern College of Music, Carole Nash Hall: ACM Ensemble, 8.30pm | £5 on the door

The Manchester-based ACM Ensemble brings a focus on Swiss new music to this concert, which includes works by Holliger, Furrer, Michael Cutting, Tom Rose and a UK premiere from Oscar Bianchi.

Beat Furrer - Presto
Heinz Holliger - Studie über Mehrklänge
Michael Cutting - Artificial White (ACM Commission)
Tom Rose - Schadenfreude (ACM Commission)
Beat Furrer - Lotofagas I (UK Premiere)
Oscar Bianchi - Crepuscolo (UK Premiere)

Friday 28 June: St Giles Cripplegate, Richard Uttley, 1.05pm | Free

Ending the month with another solo piano recital, this time by Richard Uttley, who will play works by Lindberg, Adès and Berio, alongside the UK premiere of Marvin Wolfthal’s 2008 Lulu Fantasy, a paraphrase on Berg’s opera. Part of the City of London Festival.

Secret Music: May

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Friday 3 May: Roca London Gallery: Distractfold Ensemble, 7.15 | Free

In the Zaha Hadid-designed Roca Gallery in, London Manchester’s Distractfold Ensemble, with guest harpist Martino Panizza, present an exciting new programme:

Iannis Xenakis – Mikka S

John Croft – mit schwarzem Glanz

Martin Iddon – Danaë

Charles-Antoine Fréchette – Toposition(s)#2

Concert starts at 7.15, but I’m told there is a pre-concert talk featuring Allard van Hoorn, Mauricio Pauly and others.

Saturday 4 May: Only Connect Theatre: EXAUDI, 7pm | £12/£10

See previous postings. More details here.

Friday 10 May: St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden: Herakles!, 7:30pm | £10

A new piece of surreal and absurdist music-theatre, written and directed by Neil Luck, Herakles! mixes contemporary classical music with concrete poetry, slapstick comedy, free improvisation, Kabuki theatre and Broadway showstoppers. All filtered through the highly idiosyncratic and avant-garde texts of Richard Foreman.

Performed by ARCO (Neil Luck, Adam de la Cour, Chihiro Ono, Benedict Taylor, Sam Rice and others).

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May: Tectonics Festival, Glasgow, times and prices vary

First incarnation of this two-day festival of experimental music, curated by Ilan Volkov. The mouth-watering line-up of composers includes Chiyoko Szlavnics, Frank Denyer, Alvin Lucier and Iancu Dumitrescu. Performers include Anton Lukoszevieze, Ilan Volkov, the BBC Scottish SO and Oren Ambarchi.

What with this and their Rzewski/Barry/Feldman/White Prom in August, the BBCSSO under Volkov are in danger of becoming the UK’s leading new music orchestra.

Tuesday 21 May: The Forge, Camden: Sound of the New, 7.30pm | £9/7 online, £10/8 on the door

Second New Dots concert showcasing emerging composers and musicians – five premieres by Michael Cutting, Aaron Holloway-Nahum, Yuko Ohara, Emma-Ruth Richards and Piers Tattersall, played by the Atea Wind Quintet and Richard Uttley (piano).

Tuesday 21 May: Performance Space, City University, London: Plus-Minus, 6pm | Free, but booking necessary

Music for piano, voice, percussion and electronics by Peter Ablinger, Stefan Prins, Simon Steen-Andersen and Georgia Rodgers. Come on, you know want to hear that!

Tuesday 21 May: Café Oto: Kämmer Klang, 8.30pm | £6 on the door

Kämmer Klang marks its 3nd night in the 4th series with a programme of new music composed and performed by Jennifer Walshe (All the Peoples) and Sebastien Roux (Sol le Witt transcriptions) and a selection from John Cage’s 44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776 performed by Lucy Railton and Leo Chadburn.

[a late addition]: Sunday 26 May: Schott, 48 Great Marlborough Street, London, 6.30pm | Price unknown, but usually a few quid

Florian Steininger plays piano works by Ives, Radulescu, Rihm, Hauer, Clarke and Sorabji.

Secret Music: April

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Thursday 11 April: Cafe OTO: Synthesized Voices of the Revolutionary Utopia, 8pm | £4

Not a concert as such. Instead, an illustrated talk by Andrey Smirnov, Director of the Theremin Centre at the Moscow State Conservatory, on early Soviet experiments with audio synthesis and graphical sound. Presented as part of The Wire‘s Salon series of events. Looks fascinating.

Monday 15 April: St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield: Carl Rosman, 7.30pm | £7.50/£5/free for students

Solo recital from the clarinet monster that is Carl Rosman. Programme includes pieces by Aperghis, Barrett, Cassidy, Grisey, Evan Johnson and Rebecca Saunders, plus new works by Huddersfield postgrads. Ridiculous.

Saturday 20 April: The Great Hall, University of Leeds: Standing Waves: Performing the Music of Alvin Lucier, 12–6pm | Free

Mixed installation/concert event of works by Alvin Lucier. The focus is on pieces involving resonance, and the works lined up so far make for an awesome programme: Music on a Long Thin Wire, I am sitting a room, Chambers, Music for Cello With One or More Amplified Vases, Charles Curtis, Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drums and Acoustic Pendulums, and Bird and Person Dyning.

Part of University of Leeds’ Contemporary Music Weekend. As is …

Saturday 20 April: Clothworkers Centenary Hall, University of Leeds: Ensemble Brumaires (Ian Pace, Mark Knoop and guests), 7.30pm | £10/£5 students

Music for piano(s) and/or percussion by James Dillon, Matthew Shlomowitz, Alistair Zaldua, Brian Ferneyhough and Béla Bartók.

Monday 22 April: Cafe OTO: Kammer Klang, 8pm | £6

Swiss/Brit ensemble We Spoke play percussion works by Steve Reich (including Drumming) and Fritz Hauser. Plus a set from Martin Creed’s band.

Tuesday 23 – Thursday 25 April: BFI: Streetwise Opera, 6.15pm/8.15pm | £22.50/£15

Streetwise Opera bring their ninth major production, The Answer to Everything, to the BFI. The film mixes performances from homeless and ex-homeless performers with a handful of professionals; the soundtrack features new commissions by Emily Hall, Orlando Gough and Gavin Bryars, as well as music by Britten, Handel and Vivaldi. Will tour as both a film and live production later in the year.

Thursday 25 April: Austrian Cultural Forum: Ensemble Amorpha, Global Austria, 3, 7.00pm | Free

Ensemble Amorpha return to the ACF London to present Global Austria III, a concert of works by composers whose creative lives have been shaped by the musical energies of Austria. It features solo and duo works by Julia Purgia, Johannes Maria Staud, Olga Neuwirth and Schoenberg.

Thursday 25 April: The Forge, Camden: Juliet Fraser and Mark Knoop, Songs about words, 8.00pm | £11/£9 online, £12/£10 on the door

A programme of experimental song including works by Mauricio Kagel, Charles Ives and Laurence Crane, and a newly-commissioned cycle by Matthew Shlomowitz.

Saturday 27 April: Great Hall, Goldsmiths College: Ian Pace, Mark Knoop and guests, 7.30pm

London date for the Saturday 20th programme.

First London Ear Festival of Contemporary Music


Update: I will be hosting a one-hour show with Gwyn Pritchard and Andrea Cavallari this Wednesday, 13 March, on Resonance FM. We’re going to be talking about some of the music and themes of the London Ear Festival, and playing some great pieces as well. Show starts at 8pm, and you can catch it on 104.4FM if you’re in London, or listen online via the Resonance website if you’re not.

This is really a bit of a late entry to March’s Secret Music listings, but I figured it deserves a post of its own.

The London Ear Festival of Contemporary Music is a new international music festival for London, directed by the composers Gwyn Pritchard and Andrea Cavallari. It is devoted exclusively to new music (particularly music since 1980), and aims to combine high quality music and performance with an informal and welcoming atmosphere.

For its first edition, the festival is highlighting music from six European countries: Austria, Britain, Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland, and features music by Fausto Romitelli, Bernhard Lang, Beat Furrer, Cecilie Ore, Hanspeter Kyburz … See for yourself: there are 11 fabulous looking concerts in all.

As well as these, the festival also features informal pre-concert talks and interviews, masterclasses from leading new music performers, educational projects and an international composers’ competition for works for ensemble and for solo piano. Two young performers, Stephen Upshaw (viola) and Tom Bayman (cello) are the festival’s Featured Young Performers, and will be playing a recital on the evening of Thursday 21st that includes Liza Lim’s Invisibility and Berio’s Sequenza VI. I’m giving the pre-concert talk on the Sunday evening, probably on the subject of recent Swiss music; do come along.

Most of the concerts and events are taking place at the Warehouse, Waterloo, and in the Cello Factory art gallery next door. A few fringe events will be at the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Italian Cultural Institute, and St John’s College, Cambridge.

Lots more details at the festival’s website. There is also a YouTube channel of related videos.

Secret Music: March

(Click for the background to the Secret Music listings.)

Friday 1 March and Saturday 2 March: various venues, Oxford: Audiograft Festival, times and prices vary

Last couple of days of Oxford Brookes’ Audiograft festival of contemporary music and sound art. Lots of events at the university and around Oxford, including soundwalks, exhibitions, and music by Ray Lee, Daniel Teruggi and Susanna Borsch (Friday), and Lee, Thomas Anksermit, Ornis, Valerio Tricoli and Phill Niblock (Saturday). Visit the site for venues, times and booking.

Tuesday 5 March, St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield: R. Andrew Lee, Minimalism in Twelve Parts, VI, 7:30pm

R. Andrew Lee’s 12-part recital series of classic and contemporary minimalism arrives in the UK for four concerts. The first features Richard Glover’s Logical Harmonies (1), along with music by Tom Johnson and Jürg Frey.

Wednesday 6 March: University of Wolverhampton: R. Andrew Lee, Minimalism in Twelve Parts, VII, 1.00pm | £5

Minimalism in Twelve Parts moves on to Wolverhampton, for an afternoon concert of Michael Jon Fink, William Susman and Scott Unrein.

Friday 8 March: LSO St Luke’s: Navarra Quartet, The Shapes of a Square, 7.30pm | £10/£5 students online or from the Barbican Box Office (020 7638 8891)

Music for string quartet by Henri Dutilleux, Christopher Theofanidis, Giovanni Albini, Gustavo Penha and Aaron Holloway-Nahum. Concert presented by the Riot Ensemble.

Friday 8 and Saturday 9 March: Cafe Oto: R. Andrew Lee, Minimalism in Twelve Parts, VIII and IX, 8 pm (Fri) 6 pm (Sat) | both nights £10 in adv/£12 on the door/£18 two day pass

Lee’s Minimalism series comes to London with two concerts at Cafe Oto to celebrate the release of his recording of Dennis Johnson’s 5-hour minimalist epic, November.

Friday’s concert will include four pieces by Paul A. Epstein, the quasi-improvisatory Inner Cities 2 and Inner Cities 8 by Alvin Curran, and the beautiful simplicity of Jürg Frey’s Klavierstück 2. Saturday’s concert will be November in all its glorious length (note the early start time). Lee’s commercial recording of the piece (a joint production between Irritable Hedgehog and Penultimate Press), will be available at a discount price.

Saturday 9 March: Hayward Gallery: Harmonic Series, 7.00pm | £11

Busy night this – there’s also a great looking show at the Hayward Gallery as part of the Light Show exhibition now on. Pieces performed among the artworks include Alvin Lucier’s Wave Songs, Morton Feldman’s Voices and Cello, and two pieces by Andrew Hamilton.

Sunday 10 March: The Forge, Camden: Charles Blandy and Rodney Lister, 7.00pm | £11/£9 online, £12/£10 on the door

20th and 21st century American songs for tenor and piano by Virgil Thomson, Arthur Berger, Charles Blandy, Randall Woolf, Jefferson Friedman, Nico Muhly, David Little and Stephen Fiegenbaum.

Monday 11 March: St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield: Ryan Muncy, saxophone, 7.30pm | £7.50/£5

Pieces by Aaron Cassidy, Chaya Czernowin, Aaron Einbond, Ray Evanoff, Andy Isaac, Sam Park and a new piece for baritone sax by Evan Johnson, Largo calligrafico / “patientiam”.

Tuesday 12 March: St John’s, Smith Square, Stephen Montague Birthday Celebrations, 1.05 pm | £5 and 7.30 pm | £14/£10

70th birthday celebrations for the composer and animateur, Stephen Montague. Includes one of my favourite Montague pieces At the White Edge of Phrygia.

Lunchtime concert features the following Montague pieces: A Dinner Party for John CageAutumn Leaves collection, Five Easy PiecesTsunamiSnowscape, Organ Stop (wp)

Evening concert features Intrada 1631, Snowscape, Behold a Pale HorseNight Tracks (wp), At the White Edge of PhrygiaDark Sun – August, 1945

Monday 18 March: Kings Place: Plus-Minus, 8.00 pm | £12.50/£9.50 online

Plus Minus presents a concert of works tracing the ensemble’s unique range of interests — from alternative notions of music theatre through to the micro-investigation of sound and high-concept approaches to contemporary music making. Two UK premieres by Jennifer Walshe and Joanna Bailie will join new pieces especially written for the group by Newton Armstrong and James Weeks.

Sunday 24 March: Sonic Fusion, Salford: Distractfold, 1pm | Free, but pre-booking recommended

Concert takes place at the Peel Hall, University of Salford. Programme looks great: includes works by Clara Iannotta, Ben Isaacs, Martin Iddon, Steve Davismoon, Daan Janssens and Ray Evanoff.