This newsletter is a platform for MA and PhD students at the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), University of Huddersfield, to share information about their recent activities.
A number of CeReNeM alumni have received academic appointments internationally over the past year:
- Dominic Thibault (PhD 2014), Professeur Adjoint en Musiques Numériques [Assistant Professor of Digital Music], Université de Montréal, Canada
- Hakan Ulus (PhD 2020) Lecturer in analysis and aesthetics of contemporary music (postgraduate composition program), Gustav Mahler Privatuniversität für Musik in Klagenfurt, Austria
- Jung In Jung (PhD 2019), Postdoctoral Research Fellow for Interactive Engagement, Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME), joint project between Abertay University, University of Dundee, and St Andrews, UK
- Mira Benjamin (PhD 2019), Lecturer in Performance, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
- Pia Palme (PhD 2017), 2019-2021 Senior Artist and Head of Project for ‘On the Fragility of Sounds’, KUG Kunstuniversität Graz, Austria
- Seth Parker Woods (PhD 2016), Lecturer, Dartmouth College, USA (2017–19); Lecturer/Artist-in-Residence, University of Chicago (since 2019); Artist-in-Residence, Seattle Symphony Orchestra (2019–20)
- Timothy McCormack (MPhil 2011), Assistant Professor of Composition, Boston Conservatory at Berklee
PhD Scholarship Recipients
Congratulations to Arash Yazdani (Iran) who has been awarded the Jonathan Harvey Scholarship in Music Composition, for PhD studies beginning in September 2020. Arash studied previously at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Hochschule für Musik Basel, and Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, with degrees in piano, double bass, orchestral conducting and composition. Arash is Artistic Director of Sound Plasma, a festival for alternative intonation music in Berlin and Tallinn, and Artistic Director and conductor of Ensemble for New Music Tallinn. Arash follows previous Harvey Scholarship holders Hakan Ulus, Cassandra Miller, and Einar Torfi Einarsson.
In the earliest stages of lockdown James coordinated the online Huddersfield Hackspace weekly meetups to keep in touch, share work in progress and talk about interesting music and code. Most weeks those who attended took the opportunity to give feedback on each other’s work, but we also heard fantastic and engaging presentations that went into the nitty gritty detail of people’s projects. Francesco Cameli gave a great presentation about his new digital signal processing domain specific language Omni and we also heard from Mortimer Pavlitski on his Max for Live devices that he had been building as part of his academic work.
James made the first public release of ReaCoMa, a framework that brings the Fluid Corpus Manipulation (FluCoMa) tools to REAPER. This was accompanied by a set of tutorial videos. Alongside ReaCoMa, James published the first alpha version of finding things in stuff (FTIS), a Python framework for surveying, organising and digging through audio corpora. In the near future James is planning to release a new EP, “Reconstruction Error”. This EP contains 5 tracks that represent work done employing FTIS to navigate machine generated sound collections. A paper that describes some of the technical implementations found in this work will be presented as part of the CSMC/MuMe joint conference in October.
Andie Brown exhibited a sculptural sound installation, Partita II for Unattended Glass Harp, at Electric Spring Festival in February 2019 and in June of that year was one of six winners of the annual PRSF and New BBC Radiophonic Workshop Oram Awards. In late 2019, Andie’s work was featured in the British Music Collection for Sound and Music’s 50 Things Series. In February 2020, Andie gave a presentation of her work with glass and Max at the Creative Coding Lab Symposium at Electric Spring festival. In March 2020, Andie contributed a 40-minute work, Dr Mesmer’s Séance for the Cure of Hysteria, to AMPLIFY2020: Quarantine, an online festival curated in response to the ongoing pandemic by Jon Abbey (Erstwhile Records) and artists Vanessa Rossetto and Mathew Revert. In September 2020, Andie will have an audio visual work in a group show curated by artist Vicki Bennett, aka People Like Us, as part of her residency at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Centre in Buffalo, New York, hosted by radio station WFMU. Andie is currently artist in residence at Huddersfield’s ame space, with work from this to be exhibited in a solo show in November 2020.
Although Colin Frank has been primarily spending time searching for new recipes and filling in a tapestry during lockdown, he recently performed in the livestream concert Where’s the Flour? with his duo Brutalust (a collaboration with Maria Sappho) along with housemate Henry McPherson, and completed a video exploration of household crevices in the We Belong Here e-residency in collaboration with Sinead Kerr.
Prior to the pandemic, Colin performed with Brutalust at the Leeds Sounds Like THIS festival, and with the Noisebringers alongside guest artist Weston Olenki at Electric Spring. In December 2019, his collaboratively made violin trio Imitate Elegance Expertly was performed by CeReNeM PhD colleagues Linda Jankowska, Irine Røsnes, and Dejana Sekulic in Brussels at the Q02 art space and at the Antwerp Conservatory. The latter performance was part of the conference Collaborations Are More Refreshing Than New Socks, in which he was also a panellist. While in Belgium, he also presented at the conference Who is the ‘I’ that Performs? Enacting Musical Identities, hosted by the Orpheus Institute.
Earlier in the autumn, Colin travelled to Russia where he attended the IX International Young Composers Academy in Tchaikovsky-city. His composition Everything Vanishes Softly was performed in the Perm region by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble and subsequently at the Moscow Philharmonic Hall. Along with his contemporary music group, the Drift Ensemble, he performed new pieces by Jorge Boehringer, Eleanor Cully, Sam Gillies, and his own composition Concerto for Duck Call and Chamber Ensemble. This latter piece featured Colin as soloist using a tool typical for hunting purposes, and incorporated video for the first time into his live performance practice. He has also performed in various recording projects, including in the album Turmeric about immigrants and cooking by David Velez, and a 360-degree cinematic virtual reality video Sound World for Small Things by Sam Gillies. His audience interactive installation Fill Me was presented at Dai Hall in Huddersfield, with a subsequent publication about the project in The Mass.
Cristina Ghirardini, while spending her second year as a PhD student within the IRiMaS project directed by Prof. Michael Clarke, had the pleasure to see published the results of some previous research. The proceedings of the international conference Reflecting on Hornbostel-Sachs’s Versuch a century later, which she edited, were finally published five years after the conference at the Fondazione Levi in Venezia. Moreover, she edited (together with Ilario Meandri) the final publication of the project Sound Archives and Musical Instruments Collections. The project was directed by Prof. Meandri at the University of Torino, in collaboration with the Museo del paesaggio sonoro in Riva presso Chieri.
Sam completed his PhD viva voce in July 2020. His PhD, Composing with Frames and Spaces: Cinematic Virtual Reality as an Audiovisual Compositional Practice, explores the creative possibilities of CVR. Sections of the thesis were published in August in the book chapter “Screen Grammar for mobile frame media: the audiovisual language of Cinematic Virtual Reality, case studies and analysis,” in Sound and Image: Aesthetics and Practices, edited by Andrew Knight-Hill and published by Routledge.
In February 2020, Sam hosted and coordinated the Capitalist Realism: 10 Years On symposium. The symposium, a ten year on reflection on Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There Any Alternative (zer0 books) and funded by the Post-Graduate Researcher Environment Development Fund (PREDEF), featured a keynote from Matt Calquhoun (aka xenogothic) and welcomed a range of speakers including CeReNeM PhD colleagues Colin Frank, Maria Sappho, and Henry McPherson; CeReNeM graduates Dr Pedro Alvarez and Dr Jorge Boehringer; University of Huddersfield staff Prof. Nic Clear; as well as a range of other national and international academics, and a performance from Huddersfield improv ensemble Noizebringers.
Sam’s audiovisual work Three Perspectives of a Field in Huddersfield (2019) was premiered at NoizeMaschin!! #106 in April 2020. The performance version of his 360˚ work a sound world for small things (2019) was premiered in its solo version by Colin Frank at Trotsky’s Pink Bowls on August 17, 2019 and in its trio version by Drift Ensemble at St Paul’s Hall on September 21, 2019. In November 2020 he will join Prof Monty Adkins’ AHRC-funded Gerhard Revealed project as Audio Technician and Research Assistant.
Jacob has presented work at several international conferences this year. In October, he presented at the Tracking the Creative Process in Music Conference in Lisbon, in May he presented at the Music and Moving Image Conference in New York, and in September he presented at the RMA Conference at Goldsmiths. He will also present and publish an article with the French conference Journées d’Informatique Musicale in Strasbourg this October. Jacob presented some initial findings from his research at the FluCoMa plenary at Huddersfield in November 2019.
Stephen has been working on various projects with CeReNeM alumna Ryoko Akama as part of the art curatorial project ame (pronounced amay), which include a concert series, UNspellable, and various artist residencies and art installations and exhibitions at the newly established Dai Hall, in Huddersfield. Stephen was involved in the design, and took most of the photographs, in the ame archive book, discrete intervention. The book is a compendium of photographs of artists and performers who have been involved with ame from 2016–19. A multi-speaker extravaganza project curated by Stephen and the ame team utilising the amazing HISS system with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay has had to be postponed due to Covid-19. We had lined up a number of guest performers who are keen to realise this residency sometime in 2021. Stephen and Ryoko currently have an exhibition of photographs and kinetic sculptures placed in the window of Dai Hall and are currently producing three publications for mumei publishing which will be available in August 2020.
In December 2019 Stephen performed as redvirginsoil as support to Toshimaru Nakamura, Sam Andreae, David Birchill and Otto Willberg at Small Seeds in Huddersfield. Stephen and CeReNeM alumnus Dominic Thibault have also been making new music and playing live in difficult times. A new album of previously unheard material has been released by the Montréal label Mikroclimat. The Tout Croche Tapes is a selection of tracks that retain much of the original improvised qualities, raw and largely untouched. Stephen and Dominic also made history with their Transatlantic Loop concert for the Festival #UdeMUSIQUES, being the very first streamed live concert for UdeM! Stephen and Dominic have new music ready for release in the autumn on their label The Silent Howl. Noise Mother is an album of new more traditional songs—Tout Croche style—and we also have slated a new album of work from CeReNeM PhD candidate Andrew Hooker, coming soon.
Steven and CeReNeM alumna Cassandra Miller have been working with Juliet Fraser on a video installation which was unfortunately shut down because of Covid-19. We are hoping this will see the light of day sometime next year. Work with Cassandra, Juliet, and the Quatuor Bozzini have rendered two new stand-alone videos, edited by Stephen, available from the TIME : SPANS festival website.
Andrew Leslie Hooker
In September 2019, Andrew Leslie Hooker, together with musicians Toshimaru Nakamura and Emmanuel Fleitz and choreographer/dancers Melissa Pasut and Sayoko Onishi, rehearsed and performed a long-planned project entitled From The Dust Of This Wretched Earth for butoh dancers, no-input mixing boards (nimb) and double bass. As well as various other venues around the UK, this piece was staged at Huddersfield’s own Phipps Hall and was recorded and filmed (by renowned filmmaker Michael English) for future CD/DVD release.
Since then, Andrew has spent most of the last year conceiving a repertoire of pieces for solo no-input mixing board including John Cage’s Fontana Mix, Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise, a specially commissioned piece from Richard Barrett and the composer’s own WeAreLegion. As well as this, he has written no-input compositions for violinist Sarah Saviet from The Riot Ensemble and contrabassist Aleksander Gabrys from Ensemble Phoenix. He has also written work for PhD colleagues Irine Røsnes (violin) and Colin Frank (percussion) utilising a structural approach towards writing for traditional, acoustic instruments with the no-input mixing board termed ‘found complexity’, which he is developing at CeReNeM under the supervision of Prof. Monty Adkins.
In May 2020, Andrew, together with Nick Janczak, released a long-form, electroacoustic piece for nimb and trumpet entitled Black Earth/Red Earth for India’s only avant garde music label Subcontinental Records as well as pieces for vocal quartet and bowed cymbal on his own bandcamp page. Slated for 2020 release is an album of new work for The Silent Howl (curated by PhD candidate Stephen Harvey and CeReNeM alumnus Dominic Thibault), a live at NAWR (curated by Rhodri Davies) solo nimb recording for Recordiau Prin, and the Ambient @40 composition Nõ Music for Abandoned Airports for Listen to the Voice of Fire. Andrew has been invited in the coming month to participate in composer Simon Grab’s podcast Feedback in Music, consisting of talks and interviews with artists working with feedback, self-oscillation and no-input mixing published on the independent arts platform norient.
Since migrating from Glasgow (via Newcastle) to Huddersfield in 2019, Henry has formed the Bodies of Meaning research group, drawing together improvising performers in experimental and transdisciplinary sound and movement from across the UK and beyond. With CeReNeM colleagues Maria Sappho and Brice Catherin, he founded the magical-absurdist-improv-theatre trio Noisebringers, which pre- and “post”-lockdown has been running monthly live and digital sharings of transmedia and collaborative performance work, with artists such as Käthi Moser (CH), Laurent Estoppey (FR), Rodolfe and Latifa le Foristier (FR), Tim Tsang (USA) and various individuals from ReCePP and CeReNeM.
Recent sharings of his work include: Parchments (2020) at the Bauhaus Dessau (DE, 2020), Ecosystem I (2019) at the Zuiderstrandtheater in Den Haag (NL), The Abusers of Power United Will Never Be Defeated (2020) with Weston Olencki at Electric Spring 2020, hourlong recording projects featured in the podcast A Matter of Sound (2020), exhibitions with POST ([Online), 2020), The Gathering Zine (Design Museum, London, 2020), NY20+ Gallery (China, 2020), residency with Ngallery (GR, with Noisebringers, 2020), commission at the Glasgow Experimental Music Series (2019), and the sharing of a short video-installation Ear-Eye (2019) as a compliment to Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit during hcmf// 2019.
In January 2020 he co-founded the MASS Collection, a new online publication of discursive art and articles addressing global issues. Now in its seventh volume, the MASS has published work from across all continents except Antarctica, and the editors welcome submissions in all media through a rolling open call.
In 2020 Henry was a panellist at the METRIC Improvisation conference in Tallinn, presented at Capitalist Realism: 10 Years On symposium in Huddersfield, and shouted poetry in Dewsbury Marketplace in David Velez’ project Poetry Shouting in the Market (Kirklees Council). He has contributed to the ongoing What IIIF Improvisation Conference based in Berlin, and is part of a new initiative to develop a pan-European online Inter- and Trans-disciplinary Improvisation Resource Platform. Across the summer, he is preparing video-essay work for the CeReNeM Journal, producing an online transmedia album, and learning to weave carpets on his newly acquired rigid heddle loom.
Mortimer Pavlitski has been creating a suite of ambisonic spatialisation tools for use in the SPIRAL studio and with Headphones as part of his MA study. The suite of Max for Live devices, named MTools for Live (MT4L), enables the encoding and processing of 5th order ambisonic signals in Ableton Live. The research focuses on enabling rapid interaction with spatialisation and an emphasis on creativity, not utility. MT4L can be downloaded here.
Last September, violinist Irine Røsnes and composer Kaja Bjørntvedt received a prestigious commission grant from Norwegian Art Council for the development of a new piece for violin and electronics, which will be premiered in the fall of 2021. Since October last year, Irine was appointed as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton where she now teaches modules in Research and Performance. After presenting Pablo Galaz’ Grire for violin and electronics at the Music after 1900 conference at the University of Huddersfield – where she also discussed the piece in a public presentation – the piece was performed at Conservatoire of Antwerp and Q-O2 performance space in Brussels. In November, Irine took the position of one of co-directors of Yorkshire Sound Women Network. In April 2020, together with the pianist Jonny Best, Irine co-organised the conference The Improviser’s Experience: Knowledge, Methodology, Communication, funded by University of Huddersfield and Royal Musical Association (the event was postponed to April 2021 due to the pandemic). In August 2020, Irine received a grant from the British Federation of Women Graduates – this support will allow her to complete her PhD at CeReNeM.
Pablo Galaz Salamanca
In November 2019, Pablo’s piece Grire, for violin and live electronics, was performed by Irine Røsnes at Phipps Hall (University of Huddersfield). This was the first of three concerts organised in the framework of the collaborative project Mixed Currents. The other two performances took place in December at DeSingel, Antwerp and Q2, Brussels. Last year, Pablo was selected for the call Adoptions 2019/2020 by Ensemble Adapter. In December, he visited the ensemble in Berlin for a workshop and the recording of material for a new piece. The final concert took place in February at ExRotaprint (Berlin), where Ahtāu, for ensemble and electronics, was premiered. During the 2019-20 academic year, Pablo participated in an Erasmus+ exchange programme at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG), where he continued his research under the supervision of Deniz Peters, Beat Furrer and Gerhard Eckel. This exchange was possible thanks to the ongoing bilateral Erasmus agreement between the University of Huddersfield and the KUG. Pablo is currently working on a new piece for the Ensemble Resilience that will be premiered in Amsterdam in March 2021.
Dejana has been focusing on performing works related to her research Temporality of the Impossible, through concept performances as ‘multi-voiced poetics‘, ‘Time Traveling Stargazer‘, ‘Front. In. Behind. Here. Now.‘ In August/September 2019, in a new collaboration with artist Jasmina Cibic, she performed and created parts of the music and sound in the video work The Gift: Act I, and later for a performance piece within Cibic’s solo exhibition The Pleasure of Expense. She also took part as a stage designer, and ‘surprise coda performer’, in Johannes Kreidler’s new music theatre essay Selbstauslöser that premiered in Volksbühne Berlin on 28 September.
Together with her fellow researchers, she has been active in developing and performing within several projects: OHHe Supercluster (with Irine Røsnes), Mixed Currents (with Linda Jankowska, Irine Røsnes, Colin Frank, and Pablo Galaz Salamanca), and joining Noisbringers (Brice Catherin, Maria Donohue, and Henry McPherson) on several occasions, most recently with a work memories of things that will never happen for their first intermedia album will you marry us? She was involved with two sound installations – being [all my heart(s)] and Tape Piece II: Room Piece, interpretations of pieces from Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit – as part of edges ensemble’s performance at hcmf// 2019. In February 2020, Dejana premiered two works inspired by and written for her research: Dario Buccino‘s Finalmente il tempo è intero n° 16 and Miika Hyytiäinen‘s Impossibilities of the 25022020.
As a side project, Dejana has been developing Sheet Music: the Performance, a work with loop animations and kinetic sculptures that give motion to otherwise static graphics of Johannes Kreidler’s notation based pieces Sheet Music. She continues to develop various sound works and music pieces in duo with Gilles Doneux for violin+electronics+sensors under umbrella performance what hides in grains of sound, as well as performing with their LAPS Ensemble.
In the last several months, Hakan’s music has been performed in Berlin, Dresden, Hanover, Graz and Tolstefanz by Klangforum Wien, AuditivVokal Dresden, Nicholas Isherwood, Ángel Soria Diaz and NEO-Quartet. He was commissioned through the international impuls composition competition to write a piece for large ensemble, titled Tā Hā, which was premiered by Klangforum Wien at the impuls Festival Graz. In August 2019, he was Artist-in-Residence in the Thomas Bernhard House in Ottnang, Austria. As a prize winner of the international composition competition of AuditivVokal Dresden, he was commissioned to write a new piece for ten singers (Auslöschung II referring to Thomas Bernhard’s novel), which premiered on November 9 in Kulturpalast Dresden as part of the 20th anniversary of German reunification. Since January 2020, he is a Lecturer in Analysis and Aesthetics of New Music at the Gustav Mahler Privatuniversität Klagenfurt in Austria. In July 2020, he was chosen as a stipendiary of the Artist in Residence program at Künstlerhaus Wiepersdorf in Germany. Recent projects include the premiere and recording of his Alaq-Cycle for piano by mise-en pianist Yumi Suehiro in New York.
Barbora Vacková is a 1st year PhD candidate and recipient of the Scholarship in Contemporary Music Studies at the University of Huddersfield. Supervised by Prof. Robert Adlington, her PhD project focuses on Czechoslovak women composers during the communist era (1948-1989). She seeks to discover whether the new political arrangement with its official agenda of gender equality provided women with equal opportunities to pursue a musical career, and how it impacted their social status and lived experience in the male-dominated world of composition. During the academic year 2019-2020, Vacková presented her research on Scottish-Czech composer Geraldine Mucha (1917-2012) at The Second International Conference of Women in Music at Bangor University and at RMA Research Students’ Conference at Open University. Recently, her papers have been selected for the ‘Women Are not Born to Compose’: Female Musical Works from 1750 to 1950 international conference by Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini (November 2020) and 3rd World Congress of Scottish literatures at Charles University in Prague (June 2021). Preparations are under way for the publication of Vacková’s two studies in a Czech-written collective monograph on music and gender edited by Tereza Havelková and Vít Zdrálek.
Manuel Contreras Vázquez
On September 12, Manuel Contreras Vázquez was invited as a guest lecturer at the IX edition of Mixtur Festival in Barcelona, Spain. With the title “Toward an embodied musical experience” the presentation showed some relevant aspects of Contreras’ recent works included in his Doctoral Portfolio. Special attention was given to Lidio, a piece for two guitars commissioned by the Festival and premiered at the Fabra I coats by Estelle Lallement and Filipe Marques. Furthermore, Contreras’s Voice Theatre Aswalaq, Zoos Humanos, commissioned by the Chilean Government and written during his first year at Huddersfield, was awarded the Pulsar Prize, the most important prize for the Chilean classical and concert music. The award is conferred by the Society of Authors and Music Editors of that country. The European premiere of the work is scheduled to take place in Milan, Italy in March 2021. Additionally, Manuel has been received a composition commission thanks to the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation for undertaking his second chamber opera La Furia del Ermitaño (the Hermit’s fury). The work is Manuel’s final composition of his PhD Portfolio and was commissioned by the Taller de Música Contemporánea of the Catholic University of Santiago. The new opera will be premiered during 2021 at the Contemporary Arts Centre of Cerrillos in Chile.
Kathryn’s debut solo album, Coming Up for Air, was released in November 2019 by Huddersfield Contemporary Records in association with NMC. The disc has been called ‘strangely fascinating’ (BBC Music Magazine), ‘extraordinary’ (Daffodil Perspective), and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, PBS Melbourne, and RNCM Radio. Releases on Another Timbre include Dial 45-21-95 (music by Ryoko Akama) with Apartment House and Breaths (music by Federico Pozzer). Recent solo performances include BIFEM (Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music), Deep Minimalism 2.0 at the Southbank Centre, and Constellation (Chicago). Publications include the article ‘PIXERCISE: Piccolo performance practice, exercise and female body image’, published in Tempo, and a global literature review on COVID-19 and Music Performance for the Incorporated Society of Musicians. During lockdown, Kathryn and her duo partner Andy Ingamells have created a new audio visual work, Private Hire, in which they use their cars to make music.