When Bob Gilmore died at the start of this year, the world of new music lost a major figure, a crucial supporter, enabler and friend to many within the scenes in Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. For myself, I admired him especially for his writing, a model of clarity, lucidity and acuity that we would all do well to emulate. But such was Bob’s polymathery that everyone could find something different to admire, whether it was as a teacher, a musicologist, a performer, an editor or just an infectious enthusiast with an endlessly searching pair of ears.
To celebrate Bob’s life, his partner, the violist Elisabeth Smalt, has put together a two day festival of Bob-related concerts and talks to take place in London on 1st and 2nd of March next year. There will be talks around Bob’s work and legacy, as well as some of the musical topics that particularly interested him; and a series of concerts of music by composers he particularly championed (and in many cases did much to establish in the repertory), including Partch, Denyer, Radulescu and a whole generation of Irish composers. It is an absolutely crammed programme – nine concerts and 15 papers! – an extraordinary testament to the size of Bob’s impact.
To make this happen, however, donations are needed. Elisabeth Smalt and the composer Patrick Ozzard-Low have set up a Kickstarter page, where you can make donations and buy tickets for the event. I strongly recommend attending at least something if at all possible. The programme looks exciting throughout; it will all be played brilliantly, and the atmosphere I am sure will be like nothing else, such was the esteem in which Bob was held. March 1 and 2, City University London, and Cafe Oto: Put it in your diaries now.
Update: The campaign is over, and has reached its target! Great news.