Sorting the Nation – video of performance at ArtsFest 2011

Here is a video of my most recent piece which was performed twice at ArtsFest in Birmingham September 2011 by Futuresonic. This performance is in Gallery 20 at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery which was a really cool venue to play in, although a little echoey, so there were some issues of balance. It was a shame their previous exhibition had finished because it would have tied in nicely with the concept of the piece.

Apologies for the Shelly ‘Shaky Hands’ Knotts filiming technique… :p Haha! To be fair it was very difficult holding the flip video recorder above audience head hight for over ten minutes! I’m hoping to get an audio recording which will be better quality, so I’ll sync it with the video when that happens… Anyway…

This is a piece written about the recent riots in Birmingham and the inadequate response of our politicians to address underlying social injustices and inequalities which were the root cause of the unrest.

Performers are Matt Stone – Baritone; Sam Hawksley – Clarinet; Ed Carpenter – Trumpet; Bryn Bowen – Percussion; Jo Walters – Violin

Many thanks to these guys! They did an excellent job with limited rehearsal time. And a particular well done to Matt Stone who interpreted my score amazingly well!

Also many thanks to ArtsFest for letting us play!

ArtsFest 2011 in Birmingham

Just a quick post about ArtsFest. I do think ArtsFest is an amazing event to have in our city. To have two days of FREE arts events encompassing all sorts of different genres is a fantastic idea and it is no wonder that the atmosphere in the centre of Birmingham over the ArtsFest weekend was absolutely electric! What a privilege to live in a city which puts on an event like that!

Over the next couple of days I will be posting the video of Futuresonic performing my piece at ArtsFest in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, so look out for that!

Sorting The Nation – Futuresonic Performance at ArtsFest Birmingham

This weekend is Birmingham’s ArtsFest, a mega two-day arts festival in the centre of Birmingham which is completely free! Obviously a brilliant idea. I love that you can go into town and check out loads of different performances of various genres. An excellent idea! This year I’m having a piece played by Futuresonic musicians which is a really fun piece as you can see:

On Saturday 10th September at 2pm we’re performing in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Gallery 20 – Sorting the Nation by me, and into the darkness he spoke… by Joanna Karselis and a piece by Shelly Knotts. This programme will be repeated at 4pm on Sunday 11th September in Room 3 of the Council House (not, as it says on the original ArtsFest programme, in the HMS Daring Room because that room is 4m x 5m and we have 7 performers including a drum kit and I requested we have room for an audience!) We are also playing Shelly’s piece outside on Cherry Street at 12.30pm on Sunday.

We have some ace musicians playing for Futuresonic this time:

Baritone – Matt Stone; Flute – Ruth Harrison; Clarinet – Sam Hawksley; Trumpet – Ed Carpenter; Percussion – Bryn Bowen; Violin – Jo Walters and on Sunday we have Beth Clay joining us to sing Soprano in my piece.

This our rehearsal last weekend in Oasis Church‘s new community space (yes, a rehearsal space we can use for free!) at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

Summer School, Summer Cold, Summer Riots…

Sitting here coughing and sneezing over my computer… ridiculous summer cold, no idea where that came from, but it’s very annoying!

A couple of weeks ago I went as a ‘runner’ to the Sound and Music Summer School which was brilliant. I spent the week shadowing the excellent David Horne as he taught composition to 16 14-18 year olds. It was pretty awesome – some of the young people were amazingly talented and it was brilliant to be helping further their ideas. Some of these guys will go on to do great stuff! The summer school is a great opportunity to explore composing, and the young people were so so dedicated to the task, with many of them skipping their free time to continue composing! I had to force some of them to take tea-breaks…

In other, more sobering news, riots this past week have affected so many of us in this country, whether directly or indirectly. It saddens me  to hear the politicians harp on about tougher policing but not seeming to address the root causes of these problems – social injustice, poverty, hopelessness… Being tough on crime is not a long term solution and it would be nice to hear some politicians stand up and say as much!

Anyway, back to music… a few things to be working on at the moment – I’m writing an aria for Music Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera and BCMG‘s Make an Aria project. Also writing some music to be performed with futuresonic at Birmingham’s Artsfest on 10th and 11th September. And trying to finish off my piece for children’s theatre and dance with Springs Dance Company premiering at Epsom Playhouse on 17th September. So busy busy busy!!!

My premiere tonight by Thumb Contemporary Music Ensemble

It’s been a while since I posted anything, mainly because I have been busy composing my latest piece for Thumb Contemporary Music Ensemble – being performed tonight – 7.30pm – 23rd May at the Recital Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire in an hour-long concert entitled MERGE. Should be fun!

Aside from that, I’ve been filling my time with fun stuff like BCMG’s Nostalgie cabaret and the Music Maze workshop we did alongside that. Also went down to London for my first creative meeting with Springs Dance Company for my new collaborative commission The Selfish Giant, based on Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name.

Also way back on 29th April (yes, royal wedding day!) futuresonic hosted their second event at We Are Birmingham which was an interactive laptop performance from BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble) which was intriguing!!!

Oo and I have another new nephew who is called Jonas! Winner!

futuresonic at We Are Birmingham

So on Friday evening my friend Shelly and I put on a new music night at We Are Birmingham which was cool. We were a bit rushed for time in preparation for it but the musicians pulled it all off after an intensive day of rehearsals! The idea was to play music by emerging composers – people who have not made it into the ‘big-time’ quite yet – people like myself! It’s really hard to get performance opportunities for instrumental composers so it was good to give it a go.

It was also nice to meet Kurly Mcgeachie – a performance poet from Birmingham. I liked his stuff – a real positive vibe to it!

Quite a diverse audience attended – not just your usual contemporary music lovers. There were certainly some interesting characters there…

But it seemed to go down well and was pretty well attended! Long may it continue. I’ll post some audio/video up here when I get some.

Nice one.

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