‘avant garde’ and ‘Avant Garde’: A Practice-Led Investigation

I will be giving a talk at the University of Leeds in December. More information will be available here at some point. My talk is based on my PhD thesis, and is titled ‘”avant garde” and “Avant Garde”: A Practice-Led Investigation’. Below is an abstract for the talk:

‘avant garde’ and ‘Avant Garde’: one term denotes artistic progression, the other describes a fixed concept. Both fuel artistic practice. The terms are easily and often confused and this goes someway to blurring the boundaries between being progressive and adhering to a style. This talk examines and compares these two definitions by way of an introspective examination of the compositional process. Investigations involve a series of forced attempts at being avant garde (progressive); however, as will become clear throughout this talk, forced attempts at being progressive are destined to fail due to the inescapable phenomenon of Meno’s paradox that, instead, explains the existence of the Avant Garde as a fixed concept. Theoretical research suggests that this is symptomatic of the way current society is organised. This talk explores ways in which compositional practice can work with the societal status quo in order to be avant garde in the progressive sense.

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The above image comprises the cover of the 1983 edition of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle by J.R. Eyerman, superimposed onto a photo of Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square taken by Micha Theiner (edited by Michael D. Atkinson and Alannah Marie Halay).

Image credit: Kasimir Malevich, J.R. Eyerman, Micha Theiner, Michael D. Atkinson, Alannah Marie Halay

 

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(Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks

I have recently completed editing a multi-authored book based on the proceedings of the (Per)Forming Art Symposium which I founded in 2015. I am pleased to announce that the book will be available via the Cambridge Scholars Publishing website from the 1st October, 2016.

This publication is based on the proceedings of the first (Per)Forming Art event, which took place September, 2015. More information regarding this event can be found here.
Further information regarding this publication can be found on the (Per)Forming Art website.

Below is a book description, which is also available on the Cambridge Scholars Publishing website:

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                                         Front cover: Alannah Marie Halay (ed.), (Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks 

Book Description:

The acts of composing and performing are central processes to the formation of a musical work. Performance is a medium through which music is formed. It is a significant part of a work’s compositional process and, as such, forms a symbiotic relationship with the act of composing. An iterative cycle between performance and composition comes about when the composer performs their own work or composes through performance. Performance in this manner can be seen as a form of practice-based research that can guide the compositional process.

Primarily engaging with music of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, (Per)Forming Art: Performance as Research in Contemporary Artworks focuses on performance as a type of compositional technique and as a mode of practice-based research for the act of composing a work. It addresses how performance and composition are reciprocally entwined and what role this hermeneutic relationship plays in creative practice today. This publication is the work of multiple authors from academic institutions around the world; each approaches the topic “(Per)Forming Art” from their own perspective. As such, the contents of this book will appeal to a variety of academic interests pertaining to various “styles,” traditions and cultures, all of which are unified by the relationship between performance and composition.

I would like to thank the following researchers for contributing to this book: Michael D. Atkinson (Sheffield Hallam University); Gabriele Cavallo (Goldsmiths, University of London); Hans–Peter Gasselseder (University of Aalborg); Jacopo Gianninoto (Assumption University of Thailand); Maria Kallionpää (University of Oxford); Marina Liontou Mochament (Leiden University, Orpheus Institute); Adilia Yip (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp); Cornelia Zambila (Orpheus Institute Ghent)

What does it mean to ‘compose’?

Tomorrow I will present a paper at a postgraduate symposium in Leeds about composition and what it might entail. This talk also forms a small part of the argument in my PhD thesis. A the moment, it poses more questions than it answers. Below is an abstract for this talk:

What is really involved in the act of composing? Does it concern ‘material’ (whatever that is) or structure? Are composers genuinely ‘creating’ when they compose or are they merely rearranging what already exists into a coherent form? In order to explore this area, my investigation begins with the following question: what level of constituent ‘material’ is necessary for a piece to be recognised as the same piece or to be identified as a different piece? My practice-led investigation into this query concerns a series of compositions where each piece is a re-ordered version of the first composition in the series. This collection of pieces poses several research questions: first, can (or will) these pieces be perceived as separate compositions that share the same obvious ‘blocks’ of material (which is essentially what they are) or as essentially the same composition? Second, if perceived as separate, do the ‘movements’ in this collection sound like separate compositions by different composers or like separate compositions by the same composer? Third, if they sound like separate compositions by the same composer, then is it the micro-level which determines whether or not a piece sounds like it is written by a particular composer? Finally, what can this research say about the act of composing?

The guestLISZT @ The Library

petrichor (2015) for fixed-media electronics and Graphite Pendulum (2014) for solo clarinet in Band fixed-media electronics will be premièred by the Leeds University Union Music Society this Wednesday. This event will also feature work by Bizaar DJs Max Williams and Alex Busby. 

For more information about this event and how you can obtain tickets, click here.

L.I.M.E.: ‘Barricades and Partitions’

CROSSWOR[K] (2013)  for free instrumentation will be performed by Leeds Improvised Music and Experimentation organisation (L.I.M.E.) in their  upcoming concert Barricades and Partitions, 1st May, 2016 , Wharf Chambers, Leeds, England.

The event also features LUUMS New Music Ensemble and Prohibited Strangers. More information about the event can be found here.

More information about my composition CROSSWOR[K] (2013) can be found here.

 

*cellomondo* by cellist Katharina Gross

I have been selected by cellist Katharina Gross to be one of the composers to take part in her cellomondo project. This project aims to explore the music of composers from all over the world. More information about this project can be found here.

Other composers taking part in this project so far include Seung-Won Oh (Korea / The Netherlands/ USA), Amit Gur (Israel/ The Netherlands), Raphaël Languillat (France), Ryszard Lubieniecki (Poland), Johannes Kretz (Austria), Veronika Simor (Hungary / Austria), Dugal McKinnon (New Zealand), Jakhongir Shukur (Uzbekistan), Artyom Kim (Uzbekistan), Aurélio Edler-Copes (Brasil / France), Christopher Wood (USA), Jason Post (New Zealand). Further information about these composers can be found here.

Katharina Gross will perform my composition Parallax Error (2014) for any four-string bowed instrument at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht on 10th of September, 2016.

Upcoming Performance: *[Co]Valence II*

[Co]Valence II (2016) for  any number of flautists of any flute-type and optional fixed-media electronics will be premièred on thirteen flutes next Friday by the University of Leeds Flute Ensemble. Further information about this concert can be found here.

You can watch the concert here.

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photo: rehearsing [Co]Valence II in the Clothworker’s Centenary Concert Hall