hcmf//’s International Showcase 2016 takes place on Friday 25 & Saturday 26 November. A diverse programme of work from a mix of 7 composers, artists, soloists and ensembles will span a broad spectrum of practices, embracing free improvisation, noise and sound art, alongside notated composition.
Celebrating British contemporary, new and experimental work, the Showcase is a new hcmf// initiative supported by Arts Council England and British Council, enabling the Festival, the participants, our audience and visitors from around the world to explore innovative artistic territories and possibilities.
Gareth Davis plays clarinet(s), the result of a somewhat impulsive purchase whilst window shopping in Covent Garden, London, around ten years before the turn of the century. The serendipitous location of a rather wonderful (and equally important, rather cheap) second hand record shop less than 10m from the bus stop required for seven years of schooling, combined with delivering newspapers on a daily basis, lead to a somewhat eclectic, dusty and generally unclassified taste in music.
Since his Wigmore Hall debut at the age of 18, Gareth has gone on to play throughout Europe, North America and Asia, with performances and recordings from classical concerti to newly written works by composers such as Bernhard Lang, Peter Ablinger, Toshio Hosokawa, Jonathan Harvey and Salvatore Sciarrino. His recent projects include collaborations ranging from vocal group Neue Vocalsolisten and the JACK string quartet to improvising musicians Frances-Marie Uitti and Elliott Sharp, as well as bands such as Oiseaux-Tempête and Nadja and electronic artists Scanner and Merzbow.
Led by composers Sam Eastmond and Nikki Franklin and boasting some of the most imaginative and outrageous players from the UK contemporary music scene, The Spike Orchestra draws on a wide range of influences, melding jazz, cartoon and the avant-garde into a compelling cohesive vision. At hcmf// 2016, The Spike Orchestra will present their collaboration with iconic New York composer John Zorn; Cerberus: The Book of Angels Volume 26, from Zorn’s Masada Book Two project.
Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Richard is noted for the integrity and breadth of his musicianship as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. He has been recognised for his ‘musical intelligence and pristine facility’ (International Record Review), ‘amazing decisiveness’, and ‘tumultuous performance’ (Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph). Richard has released three solo discs to critical acclaim, including Ghosts & Mirrors (ARC, 2014), for which he spent a Winter Residency at The Banff Centre (Canada) preparing the programme and launched the disc with live visuals in collaboration with artist Nat Urazmetova. His playing is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and recent recitals include Auditorium du Louvre, Bridgewater Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and Wigmore Hall.
Richard is on the teaching staff at Guildhall School and City University, and is a trustee of New Dots, a charity supporting emerging composers and performers.
Birmingham-based trumpeter and composer Percy Pursglove is a remarkable instrumentalist, and without a doubt one of the most important musicians of his generation to have arrived on the national scene in the past 10 years. After graduating from the Birmingham Conservatoire’s BMus(Hons) Jazz course, he received a scholarship to study on the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the New School University in New York City, performing during his time there with ensembles including The Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland, The Coltrane ensemble and the Rene Marie Big Band at Town Hall, and with Matt Brewer and Tommy Crane at The Knitting Factory.
Percy’s recent projects include a new work written for octet and eight-voice choir – Far Reaching Dreams of Mortal Souls – premiered in October 2016 by an ensemble featuring Julian Arguelles, Paul Clarvis, Hans Koller, Michael Janisch, James Allsop and Jim Rattigan, and written as part of his Jazzlines / Jerwood Foundation fellowship.
Percy holds honorary membership (Hons BC) to the Birmingham Conservatoire in recognition of services to music.
Sam Hayden is a composer of contemporary and live electronic music, and also works as an academic. His music has won several prestigious prizes, including the Christoph Delz Foundation Competition for Composers in 2003, and has been performed widely at international music festivals including hcmf//, Aldeburgh, the BBC Proms, ISCM World Music Days, Gaudeamus Music Week, Ultima, MaerzMusik and Warsaw Autumn.
Sam began composing at the age of 19, describing it as ‘the perfect synthesis of the musical, the creative and the intellectual’. He went on to study with Martin Butler, Michael Finnissy and Jonathan Harvey at the University of Sussex, Joseph Dubiel and David Rakowski at Columbia University, and Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague.
He has variously identified his music as relating to the traditions of post-minimalism, spectralism and new-complexity, although he is also wary of such categorisations. His works have been performed by ensembles including the Asko Ensemble, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Cikada, ELISION, London Sinfonietta, Quatuor Diotima and Steamboat Switzerland. A portrait CD, presence/absence, was released in 2012 as part of the NMC Debut Discs series.
Sam was appointed Reader in Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in October 2013.
Kelly Jayne Jones and Pascal Nichols are part wild horses mane on both sides, a consistently idiosyncratic and adventurous free music group. Hailing from the north of England via France they have the ability to induce hermetic sonic states through a process of ritualistic improvisation. Employing flute, percussion and electronics alongside a vast cache of sonic artifacts that they have collected over the years (field recordings, found objects, old media), they conjure up a bold and and evocative ancient / modern sound spectrum. Their compositions / performances traverse epic contours, veering from moments of spare, poetic beauty to unhinged rural psychedelia, unified by an acute awareness of time, space and silence.