World leading solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, poet Alice Oswald and a solar-powered symphony are among an international line up of acts and events in the 2010 Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival. The festival, now in its sixth year, is hosted by the University of Plymouth – a world leader in computer music research. This year Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival has combined with the Plymouth Polish Festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of Chopin. Under the umbrella title of Continuum, the two festivals acknowledge how music of the western classical tradition continues to play its part within contemporary music practise and research.
The programme will also feature a global conference of composers and researchers working in cutting edge computer-aided composition, and the debut performance in the UK of an orchestra comprising newly designed instruments in the shape of sculptures.
Festival highlights include:
SUNLIGHT SYMPHONY: SUNRISE: The festival opens with the Sunlight Symphony: Sunrise, an innovative performance, created by Alexis Kirke and technologist Tim Hodgson, in which the rising sun over Plymouth will ‘play’ the University of Plymouth’s iconic Roland Levinsky Building via light sensors in the windows. These are connected to a multi-layered computer music instrument that plays in surround-sound through speakers in the building. When the sun hits the first window sensor, the concert will begin with a single note, and then new sounds, melodies and harmonies will layer over the top as the light gets brighter and strikes more of the sensors.
DAME EVELYN GLENNIE AND JAMES BARRETT: Performing at the Plymouth Guildhall on Saturday 27 February alongside the Ten Tors Orchestra conducted by Simon Ible, Dame Evelyn Glennie will premiere Devon-based composer James Barrett’s new concerto for percussion and strings, Toilers of the Elements. Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history to create and successfully sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She has commissioned 160 new works for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers.
ALICE OSWALD: On 1 March, Attention Seekers - Alice Oswald, Peter Oswald and Martin Holland - join poetry, drama and music in a unique performance, followed by a Q&A. As Attention Seekers, they aim to liberate poetry from the page and surprise audiences in to listening to the speech of music and the music of speech.
PRISMA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: The festival will also host the PRISMA (Pedagogia e Ricerca Internazionale sui Sistemi Musicali Assistiti) Conference. The prominent delegates and computer music composers from across the world, including Hans Tutschku, winner of many international composition competitions, and professor and director of the electroacoustic studios at Harvard University, USA, and Johannes Kretz, performer, broadcaster and Head of ZiMT (centre for innovative music technology), Vienna.
ELECTROSHOP – ELECTROACOUSTIC QUARTET: An Italian electroacoustic quartet introduces the UK premiere of Electroshop, which had its world debut at the Nuova Consonanza Festival 2009 in Rome. The line-up of Anna Troisi (sounding pieces/electronics), Antonino Chiaramonte (live electronics), Giorgio Distante (trumpet/electronics) and Roberto Paci Dalò (bass clarinet/electronics) will play the sculpture-shaped instruments, by moving their hands over sensors which send signals to synthesisers that produce the music. The audience will then be invited to bid for the sculptures as the concert culminates in an auction.
FILM: The relationship between music and the moving image is also explored with two events. …as scored by featuring a selection of short films with music by Antonino Chiaramonte; and Films, Songs and Improvisations in which Hugh Nankivell and company improvise scores to another series of short films.
PLYMOUTH POLISH FESTIVAL: Following on from the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival is the Plymouth Polish Festival. It will feature From Britain to Poland, a musical journey through 20th and 21st Century British and Polish composers. Trinity College of Music accompanist Emma Abbate and the Royal Academy of Music’s Julian Perkins, both pianists, are joined by Polish-born cellist Evva Mizerska. Emma and Evva have worked together since 2003, touring extensively and have recently released their debut CD with Toccata Classics – the complete works for cello and piano by contemporary Polish composer Krzystztof Meyer.
The music events are interspersed with a lecture series charting important milestones in Chopin’s life. These are brought to the audience by Alicja Knast, curator of Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw, which has partnered Peninsula Arts in the organisation of the festival in association with Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Warsaw as part of POLSKA! YEAR.
There will also be performances from acclaimed concert pianist Benjamin Frith and Ten Tors Orchestra and Polish duo, ElettroVoce as well as an exhibition of Polish Chopin Posters from 1955-2006.
Simon Ible commented: “At the root of all we promote there is an understanding and acknowledgement of just how important the history development and the classical tradition supports all that is new. I also want to express outwardly just how important a contribution Plymouth and the University makes to an international music audience."