We are delighted to announce the artists chosen to participate in hcmf// shorts 2019.
Selected from our open call for artists and ensembles, these artists will benefit from our dedicated professional mentoring programme. They will also join the festival programme on Monday 18 November 2019, hcmf//’s full day of free events.
A composer and electronic musician based in London, Silvia Rosani writes music and designs systems that can be used outside of the academic musical bubble. Interested in challenging ‘social inequality’ in composition, her recent work has involved installation-based presentations of music that can involve audience members, making ensemble members of them.
Working with cellist Esther Sasladin and visual Inês Rebelo, Rosani’s newest work is ‘experimental’, but in a way more present and active than that word usually conveys. Rather than present a finished new thought designed in the composer vacuum, White Masks works things out in the moment, with its audience. Through it, Rosani considers a host of interrelated social boundaries: those set up between audience and performer, and also those inherent to ‘the production and consumption of contemporary music’. In White Masks, Rosani invites audience members to play ‘hybrid’ instruments she has designed, for use by either professional musicians or interested, unskilled listeners.
In handing over improvisation duties to her listeners, Rosani encourages unlikely interactions and a shuttering of artistic borders. In applying her musical interests – she has studied both sound analysis and synthesis – White Masks is a work that crosses the thresholds.
Craig Scott is an experimental composer, improvising guitarist and tape musician from Leatherhead. He is interested in the disquieting tensions that exist between ‘human’ and ‘machine’ creation, and the way our errors get passed, like DNA, into technology – marking and blemishing nearly every piece of music recorded.
Scott’s musical set-up is a junkyard of glitched and manipulated instruments, including tape machines, delay machines, old CD players and broken audio devices. He seeks to present these disregarded, malfunctioning devices as music, ‘exploiting the inherent instability of old playback technologies with the precision and control that digital automation affords’. By making music out of scrap-heaped technology, Scott is delivering a low-key allegory about our world of never-ending technological progress, our obsession with getting as close to full automation as we can – and the mindless disposal of old hardware that does that little bit less.
For Scott, performance is inseparable from the music made: he presents his old, degraded audio equipment to the audience so that they can experience them fully, ‘without abstraction from their source, witnessing the mechanical workings of the equipment’. The result of his approach – of digitally straightening out sketchy hardware – is a striking, serving as a historical re-enactment of our recent industrial past, informed by our always upgrading present.
Piano-percussion duo George Barton and Siwan Rhys attempt to bridge our many musical disconnects, performing anywhere from ‘classical festivals to club nights’. Emerging with a repertoire that has included Stockhausen and the long-form music of Morton Feldman, GBSR Duo have since developed working relationships with current composers Rolf Hind and Eric Wubbels.
Barton and Rhys are interested in the ways music can multiply, taking on the form of an installation, or being oriented towards dance performance. They have worked with the London Contemporary Dance School and worked within operas; their current work involves collaborating with electro-acoustic musician Nicholos Moroz on his new work Latent Machines, realised as both a music score and an interactive exhibition. Utilising electronics and the unexpected contingencies of audience participation, the piece takes GBSR Duo beyond their obligations as pianist and percussionist.
GBSR Duo are becoming a premier group for performing this kind of music: favouring chance and possibility, they performed as part of the ‘John Cage 100’ birthday celebrations and at Rolf Hind’s radical ‘Occupy the Pianos’ festival. With a release of their performance of Stockhausen’s KONTAKTE on the horizon, they continue to cast a broad net into experimental music.
Lisa Robertson is a Scottish composerand violinist interested in creating music for environments, linking smaller-scale worlds to broader political statements. An emerging writer, she has received performances from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and has taken influence from workshops with Brian Ferneyhough, Sir Harrison Birtwhistle and the Bozzini Quartet.
Robertson’s newest composition, Can we not hear the birds that sing?, was conceived at a nature reserve near Motherwell, and is inspired by the choruses of bird song she heard there. In keeping with her environmental concerns, Robertson created the piece in close collaboration with her geographical site, juxtaposing the localised sounds of the nature reserve with the urban surroundings it finds itself enclosed in – the M74 Motorway proved to be a key influence over the piece, decorating the bird sounds with the destructive human relationships that mark-up nature.
While primarily a violinist, Robertson’s compositional practice is imaginative and outward-reaching, making use of ambient sound and object-based instrumentation – suggesting music that exists in closer contact to nature. In Can we not hear the birds that sing?, she makes use of sandpaper, ‘attached to the violinist’s foot’, to suggest the nature reserve’s soundscape, as well as gloves, worn to make ‘the sound of flapping birds’ wings’.