Bristol New Music – the UK’s international contemporary music biennial
Fri 20 – Sun 22 April 2018

Please note: the event previously scheduled to take place at St George’s Bristol. Evan Parker – Trance Map (Friday 20 April), Sarah Angliss – Family Event (Saturday 21 April) and Sarah Angliss – Aether Music and Oramics (Saturday 21 April) have now been moved to Arnofini – presented by St George’s in partnership with Arnofini.

Bristol draws the world’s most progressive, inspirational and challenging sonic talents to a three day festival of inventive performance across ten unusual and prestigious venues as the Bristol New Music contemporary music biennial returns to the city between Fri 20 – Sun 22 April 2018. Having established itself with appearances from world-renowned talents, including Max Richter and Kronos Quartet, the newly announced 2018 programme includes the opportunity to walk into a live orchestra as they perform, encounter the seldom-told histories of sonic warfare and hear the sounds of a synthesiser that was almost never built.

Led by acclaimed British conductor Charles Hazlewood, The Army of Generals and members of the British Paraorchestra offer a rare, live performance of The Four Sections by Steve Reich, but eschew the traditional elevation of a stage in favour of performing on different levels of the openly accessible Colston Hall Foyer. By dissecting the orchestra and inviting the audience to walk between each section, The Anatomy of the Orchestra (Sat 21 April) offers a seldom heard or seen insight into the finely poised workings of an orchestra, allowing listeners to effectively live mix their own sound experience by adjusting their proximity to each group of musicians.

Threading a line between technologically-led electronica and the natural world, American composer and producer, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (Sun 22 April) visits Bristol in a performance that’s literally and figuratively wide-screen, flooding the city’s former IMAX Cinema with tracks from her acclaimed 2017 album, The Kid, while enveloped in specially produced visuals by American artist and animator, Sean Hellfritsch. The biennial beat is truly felt in all corners of the city as working men’s club, Sportsmans, welcomes the travelling folk duo, A Hawk and a Hacksaw (Sun 22 April), featuring former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer, Jeremy Barnes and The Cube cinema space hosts two of electronic music’s leading thinkers, Moritz Von Oswald and Rashad Becker (Sat 21 April).

Bringing the unrealised ambitions of BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder, Daphne Oram to life in glorious, plugged-in form, is Tom Richards, a musician and researcher who followed Oram’s original notes to realise her vision for a long-abandoned graphic synthesiser. The blueprints for the never-realised Oramics machine, which uses graphics printed or drawn on film as the input for synthesised sound, have become the fully-functioning Mini-Oramics machine, which Richards will play alongside Theremin specialist, Sarah Angliss in their performance here at Arnolfini St George’s Bristol (Sat 21 April). The really curious can also discover more through a Mini-Oramics ‘show and tell’ session and have a rare chance to play the Theremin.

The militarisation of sound is due for a dramatic, poignant and occasionally unsettling representation at Bristol’s Spike Island gallery as artists, research unit and performers, AUDINT present a new installation of work. The group, which includes dance industry talisman, Steve Goodman (aka musician DJ and founder of Hyperdub records Kode9), initiates international exhibitions and interventions based on barely-believable, yet factual research alongside the fictitious characterisation of sonic warfare research units. A sound system that plays audio at ultrasonic and subsonic frequencies and documentation of real and imagined attempts to wage war with noise form a multi-media installation within which performances, readings and lectures will take place.

Fuelled by musical curiosity and ambition to remain at the forefront of developments in modern sound, Bristol New Music brings five of the city’s leading cultural organisations together – Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol, Arnolfini, Spike Island and the University of Bristol – to present the third in the biennial series and continue a five-year partnership.

Todd Wills, Artistic Director for Colston Hall and Bristol New Music, said: “Whether in the studio or the rehearsal room, progressive musicians open up new worlds through their innate ingenuity and restlessness to expand our experiences in sound. Bristol New Music, in its third and perhaps most ambitious instalment, is aiming to match their ambition by providing new and unusual spaces in which to perform. Whether a journey into folk storytelling in a traditional working men’s club or the audio-visual experiences made possible in Bristol’s cinema spaces, the partnership’s vision for a contemporary music festival that is distinct to a forward-thinking music city like ours, not only through a sense of performance, but an incomparable sense of place too, is being realised.”

Ben Spencer, Head of Programme for St George’s Bristol, said: “Bristol New Music revels in the sonic hinterlands, the uncharted territories of sound beyond the horizon of the familiar – and it spotlights the deeply creative artists exploring these lands. This year’s programme is bristling with performers and composers of this ilk, and is a rich testament to the audacious experimental spirit that underpins originality. St George’s Bristol is proud to be a part of such an exhilarating musical offering.” 

For more information and to buy tickets for all events happening beyond St George’s Bristol, please visit https://bristolnewmusic.org

Programme

Ulrich Mertin: University of Bristol Auditorium, Victoria Rooms – Fri 20 April 2018, 1.15pm. FREE
In a new Bristol New Music commission, German composer and musician, Ulrich Mertin, ‘the Jimi Hendrix of the viola’, brings a FREE afternoon performance of work written for the instrument, alongside Brett Dean, Genoel von Lilienstern, Georges Aperghis, Kenji Bunch and Ali Ekber Çicek. Now based in Istanbul and actively exploring the possibilities in combining influences from the east and west, Mertin’s virtuoso viola showcases the contemporary possibilities of the instrument, from the theatrical sensitivities of Aperghis and the grooves of Kenji Bunch to the seminal Haydar Haydar, the signature piece of Alevi Turkish bağlama master Ali Ekber Çiçek.

Evan Parker, Trance Map +: Arnolfini – Fri 20 April, 10pm
Soprano saxophonist Evan Parker, digital musician, Matt Wright and guest cellist Hannah Marshall perform for Bristol New Music in the latest iteration of the Trance Map + project. Trance Map is the name Parker and Wright gave to their 2011 studio album, made distinct by the interaction between the saxophone, laptop sounds and turntable generated music, further augmented by live sampling to create long loops of gradually changing patterns. The recording dynamic revealed itself as an effective approach to live performance, tested to positive effect in a series of concerts with a changing list of collaborators.

Sarah Angliss, FAMILY EVENT: Arnolfini– Sat 21 April, 5pm
An accompanying event to Sarah Angliss’ Aether Music and Oramics performance, the artist hosts a special family Show-and-Tell event (£2.50, Free to concert ticket holders), suitable for all ages. In a rare opportunity to get up close to Tom Richard’s Mini Oramics machine, curious participants can try their hand at making sounds with Theremin, with Angliss on hand to talk about its extraordinary history and demonstrate how some of the music machines she’s designed and built actually work.

Bristol University Loudspeaker Orchestra (BULO): University of Bristol Auditorium, Victoria Rooms – Sat 21 April, 12pm – FREE
Bristol University Loudspeaker Orchestra (BULO) is a unique platform of multiple loudspeakers, configured in a space-specific array and controlled from a specially designed console. BULO creates spatially immersive, complex and mobile sound environments to create distinctly communal experiences for concert audiences. It performs fixed media acousmatic music – “cinema for the ears” – and mixed works involving video or live performers. The performance practice of sound diffusion opens out and interprets the music for the live event. For Bristol New Music, BULO presents the winning works in its international composition competition, presented in glorious hyper-surround sound.

The Anatomy of The Orchestra: Colston Hall Foyer – Sat 21 April, 2.30pm & 5pm, FREE
Renowned conductor, Charles Hazlewood, leads The Army of Generals with members of the British Paraorchestra, in a live sound installation that exposes the workings of a live ensemble. The Anatomy of the Orchestra will spread fifty-one musicians across the four levels of the Colston Hall foyer as they perform The Four Sections by influential American composer, Steve Reich. Completely deconstructing the expected classical performance format of a stage and seated audience, the listener will be free  to walk amongst the orchestra as it plays, taking different positions to affect a distinctly personal sonic mix from each section. Movement is keenly encouraged by Hazlewood, between floors, from brass to wind to percussion and find the perfect position to allow the combination of sounds to flow.

Christie Finn: Venue TBC – Sat 21 April, 5pm
Virtuoso soprano Christie Finn performs Aperghis’ seminal vocal work 14 Récitations (1978).  The piece presents a virtuosic blend of sounds, coloratura melismas and noise, all uncannily emanating from one vocal sound source. 14 Récitations pushes the boundaries of the voice to its limits, even while depicting the sometimes racing, sometimes obsessive thoughts of everyday humans.

Keith Tippett & Matthew Bourne, Keith Tippett Octet: Colston Hall – Sat 21 April, 6.30pm
An evening to celebrate a seminal and inspirational figure in the evolution of UK jazz since the 1960s, Keith Tippett. The Bristol-born pianist and composer unveils a brand new duo with fellow pianist Matthew Bourne, himself one of the most provocatively talented artists of a current generation of progressive, contemporary musicians. The pair performs alongside the Keith Tippett Octet, the collective that appears on his most recent, acclaimed recording: ‘The Nine Dreams of Patrick Gonogon’. An opportunity to encounter a truly influential figure in the world of jazz, the Bristol New Music performance promises echoes of Irish folk themes, Ellington and Mingus, but which is entirely of Tippett’s own making, enabled by a band of precociously talented players.

Sarah Angliss: Aether Music and Oramics, Arnolfini – Sat 21 April, 7.30pm
Using Theremin, robotic carillon and other instruments, Sarah Angliss performs highlights from Ealing Feeder, her steely and unsettled love letter to the city which explores London folklore past and present. Alongside her, Tom Richards demonstrates his Mini Oramics machine, a synthesiser using graphic, drawn inputs, designed, but never fully realised, by electronic pioneer and BBC Radiophonic workshop co-founder Daphne Oram. Through his research into Oram and her machines, Richards has built this unique and previously unfinished synthesiser from Oram’s original notes and diagrams. Tom and Sarah will both perform their own graphic scores composed for this device.

Moritz Von Oswald & Rashad Becker, + Eric Chenaux: The Cube – Sat 21 April, 8:00pm
Rashad Becker and Moritz von Oswald are names essential not only to the history of electronic music in Berlin, but the European experimental scene over the last twenty years. Their partnership brings an alternative life to the piano, warping the instrument through multiple electronic paths. Eric Chenaux was a fixture of DIY and experimental music in Toronto throughout the 1990s and 2000s, progressing from local postpunk legends Phleg Camp and Lifelikeweeds towards a highly distinctive technical and gestural mastery of amplified acoustic guitar. His voice expresses words of love, while his guitar gently bends, frazzles, chortles, diverges and decomposes, creating rich depth within the experimental juxtaposition.

Bristol Ensemble: University of Bristol Auditorium, Victoria Rooms – Sun 22 April, 1pm
The Bristol Ensemble performs evocative new works by young Bristol University graduates Carmen Ho, with the premiere of a new, untitled 2017 piece and 2016’s Dukkha, and Matthew Olyver, plus a searing setting by John Pickard of words by Gavin d’Costa, along with Howard Skempton’s Chamber Concerto. The Bristol Ensemble is the city’s only professional orchestra, and as such holds a pivotal position in South West music, presenting a varied programme of concerts and events in the region’s major venues. This seasoned outfit frequently collaborates with internationally renowned artists, and has recorded award-winning music for TV and film, including the BAFTA-winning score for Any Human Heart.

Ensemble Variances: University of Bristol Auditorium – Sun 22 April, 5pm
Ensemble Variances’ Thierry Pécou’s Outre-Mémoire, promises an experience for all senses in commemoration of the slave trade. The piece comes as much from allusions to Afro-Cuban as from the distanced narration of the composer. Pécou invents his own rite, as powerful by its organic violence as by the melodic bitterness which infuses his work. In Diapason, a seminal 2004 work often compared to the Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Pécou again delivers an overwhelming musical experience that invokes a state of meditative contemplation. A pause for

Using Theremin, robotic carillon and other instruments, Sarah Angliss performs highlights from Ealing Feeder, her steely and unsettled love letter to the city which explores London folklore past and present. Alongside her, Tom Richards demonstrates his Mini Oramics machine, a synthesiser using graphic, drawn inputs, designed, but never fully realised, by electronic pioneer and BBC Radiophonic workshop co-founder Daphne Oram. Through his research into Oram and her machines, Richards has built this unique and previously unfinished synthesiser from Oram’s original notes and diagrams. Tom and Sarah will both perform their own graphic scores composed for this device.

Moritz Von Oswald & Rashad Becker, + Eric Chenaux: The Cube – Sat 21 April, 8:00pm
Rashad Becker and Moritz von Oswald are names essential not only to the history of electronic music in Berlin, but the European experimental scene over the last twenty years. Their partnership brings an alternative life to the piano, warping the instrument through multiple electronic paths. Eric Chenaux was a fixture of DIY and experimental music in Toronto throughout the 1990s and 2000s, progressing from local postpunk legends Phleg Camp and Lifelikeweeds towards a highly distinctive technical and gestural mastery of amplified acoustic guitar. His voice expresses words of love, while his guitar gently bends, frazzles, chortles, diverges and decomposes, creating rich depth within the experimental juxtaposition.

Bristol Ensemble: University of Bristol Auditorium, Victoria Rooms – Sun 22 April, 1pm
The Bristol Ensemble performs evocative new works by young Bristol University graduates Carmen Ho, with the premiere of a new, untitled 2017 piece and 2016’s Dukkha, and Matthew Olyver, plus a searing setting by John Pickard of words by Gavin d’Costa, along with Howard Skempton’s Chamber Concerto. The Bristol Ensemble is the city’s only professional orchestra, and as such holds a pivotal position in South West music, presenting a varied programme of concerts and events in the region’s major venues. This seasoned outfit frequently collaborates with internationally renowned artists, and has recorded award-winning music for TV and film, including the BAFTA-winning score for Any Human Heart.

Ensemble Variances: University of Bristol Auditorium – Sun 22 April, 5pm
Ensemble Variances’ Thierry Pécou’s Outre-Mémoire, promises an experience for all senses in commemoration of the slave trade. The piece comes as much from allusions to Afro-Cuban as from the distanced narration of the composer. Pécou invents his own rite, as powerful by its organic violence as by the melodic bitterness which infuses his work. In Diapason, a seminal 2004 work often compared to the Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Pécou again delivers an overwhelming musical experience that invokes a state of meditative contemplation. A pause for memory, a ceremony of a quiet contemplation, a suspension of the mind which lends itself to feeling and reflection, such would be the meaning of this piece where the piano part is conceived as a centre of gravity surrounded by satellites, the flute, the clarinet and the cello.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Bristol IMAX – Sun 22 April 2018, 6.30pm & 9pm
Performing in the oversized cinema environment of Bristol’s IMAX, synthesist and composer, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith performs the multi-dimensional music from her acclaimed 2017 album, The Kid, amidst specially curated visuals. Evocative of the album’s existence as a sonic representation of four distinct stages of the human lifespan, from birth to self-awareness to the forging of one’s individual identity to old age and death, the animations are set to envelop Smith as she performs her textured work with a wide array of synthesizers. In sharp contrast to the notion of electronic music as mechanised and removed from emotion and biology, Smith’s blooming discography, encompassing her 2016 breakthrough, EARS, proves the opposite and that the rich worlds of synthesised sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Sportsmans, Colston Street – Sun 22 April, 8pm
Taking Bristol New Music deep into the city, A Hawk and A Hacksaw perform at The Sportsman’s public house. Based on the idea of collecting music and inspiration through travel, A Hawk and A Hacksaw began in 2000 in the small town of Saumur, France as a vehicle for Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes. The main impetus of the project was to focus on the grey areas in borders of music and geography, with violinist Heather Trost joining in 2004 to form a duo. Evoking the journey, rather than the destination, distinctly rural songs speak of the woods and roads where there are no sidewalks or street lamps to light the way. This special Bristol New Music performance draws deeply from their recent album, Forest Bathing.

AUDINT, Audiovisual Exhibition & Performance: Spike Island – Fri 20 – Sun 22 April, 11am – 5pm, with Preview Event on Fri 20 April, 6pm – 8pm, FREE
A weekend of installations, talks, workshops and performances led by AUDINT, the European artist collective concerned with the history of sonic weaponry, consisting of artists musicians and writers, Eleni Ikoniadou, Patrick Defasten, Toby Heys, Steve Goodman/kode9 and Souzanna Zamfe. A series of performances, talks and readings are programmed to ‘activate’ the installation.

AUDINT Installation: Spike Island, Sat 21 – Sun 22 April, 11am – 5pm, with Preview Event on Fri 20 April, 6pm – 8pm, FREE
The wide-ranging, multi-media installation incorporates a specially-designed sound system to impart infrasonic and ultrasonic experience on the listener, while films, animations and archival materials relay real and fictional histories of sound.

Elysia Crampton, Coby Sey, Laurie & Olly and AUDINT: Spike Island – Fri 20 April, 8pm-12am
Multi-disciplinary Aymaran artist and electronic musician Elysia Crampton presents the UK premiere of her new solo show, Red Clouds, plus a live set from elusive London bass music protagonist Coby Sey and a sonically unruly new collaboration between UK composer/Slip label co-founder Laurie Tompkins and celebrated cellist/producer Oliver Coates.

AUDINT Readings, Lectures and Live Works: Spike Island – Sat 21 April, 2pm-5pm, FREE
A programme of readings, lectures and live works from the AUDINT members and special guests including electronic musician Lee Gamble and artist and theorist Ayesha Hameed.


Bristol New Music
is a consortium of five key organisations in Bristol, led by Colston Hall, including Arnolfini, Spike Island, St George’s Bristol and the University of Bristol, dedicated to bringing the very best international new music to the United Kingdom, while working to create opportunities for emerging regional artists.