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I’m off to Graz, Austria, for 12 days to attend the Impuls Akademie. While there I’ll be having lessons with Pierluigi Billone, Rebecca Saunders and Beat Furrer. Pascal Dusapin, Brice Pauset and Georg Friedrich Haas are also on the staff. Klangforum Wien are in residence. As are ensemble interface and a whole bunch of starry names as instrumental teachers. Should be fun awesome.


Quatuor Danel (Guy Danel, Gilles Millet, Vlad Bogdanas, Marc Danel)

A Talk About Helmut Lachenmann’s Gran Torso

For those of you in Manchester, I am giving a talk with the wonderful Quatuor Danel this Thursday on Lachenmann’s first string quartet, Gran Torso. The talk runs from 14:30 to 16:00 at the University of Manchester (map), but is preceded at 13:10 by a free lunchtime concert featuring Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 18 No. 1, and the UK première of Pierre Bartholomée’s quartet Envol et Mort d’un Papillon. I will cover sound, structure and historical context as much as possible in the time available, as well as as briefly touching on the two later quartets, ‘Reigen seliger Geister’ and ‘Grido’.

The Danels are performing all three Lachenmann quartets in the coming months. Gran Torso is Friday night at 19:30 alongside Bartók 3 and Beethoven “Harp”. It is an incredible work, not to be missed.

Listings: Facebook / Venue

Musical squiggles and tumbling sounds

‘Before Christmas I got to hear my adoptive orchestra from King Edward Musical Society in full flow at their concert of Elgar and Duruflé, so it was with excitement that I prepared to kick off the New Year with my first workshop with the orchestra. The orchestra are busy preparing some tricky Bruckner and Strauss for their next concert at the start of March but we managed to find an hour in the schedule to workshop some of my initial ideas last Tuesday.’

Read more on adoptacomposer.org »

First Workshop with KEMS

Logos of organisations involved with Adopt a Composer: Sound and Music, PRS for Music Foundation, Making Music and King Edward Musical Society.

My first workshop with the orchestra of King Edward Musical Society is on Tuesday — 11.1.11! — and I’m looking forward to playing around with some semi-improvised experiments mixing traditional notation and graphical elements that will hopefully let us create some interesting coincidences and arrays of interacting lines. I will post something about how it goes over on the Adopt a Composer blog next week, but in the meantime why not read about the experiences so far of the other composers involved.

Happy New Year!

Here’s an anecdote to herald in 2011:

‘At one time Karlheinz [Stockhausen] and I would talk and exchange ideas. You know the story about the talk about singing? Well, he was writing a song for Cathy Berberian, who I later also wrote for, and he said, “if you were writing for a singer, would you write music, or would you write for the singer?” And I said, “I would write for the singer”, and he said, “well that’s the difference between us, because I would write music.” So then he wrote this song for Cathy, and he asked her to whistle. And she can’t whistle. So that’s the difference between us. Hmhmhmhm!’

— John Cage

FROM: Steve Sweeney Turner and John Cage, ‘John Cage’s Practical Utopias: John Cage in Conversation with Steve Sweeney Turner’, The Musical Times, cxxxi/1771 (September, 1990), p. 469.

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