Embedded Summer 2012
A group of Embedded Artists are selected every year by Sound and Music to participate in residencies at major creative organizations across the UK. Embedded Artists work closely with the staff, performers and audiences of the organization to deliver a new work. Designed to provide space and support for artists to develop their creative practice and portfolio, the scheme also gives insight into practical workings of the infrastructure of the UK’s creative economy. Partner organizations are selected for their desire to develop meaningful collaborations with composers and artists and use the residences often inspire developments in their own working practices. It is hoped that the many relationships artists forge during the residency will be sustained throughout their careers. This year we are delighted to continue our partnerships with Manchester Camerata, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, as well as establishing new relationships with Forestry Commission England, and Pitt Rivers Museum in collaboration with Oxford Contemporary Music.
During last year’s residencies, which are coming to a close, a fantastic range of artists produced an incredibly diverse range of thought-provoking and beautiful work.
After an extremely competitive call process the latest Embedded Artists have been selected and are working with a fantastically diverse selection of organizations: Dawn Scarfe and Antoine Bertin are resident at the Forestry Commission, England; Nathaniel Robin Mann is at the Pitt Rivers Museum, in partnership with Oxford Contemporary Music and Christopher Mayo is working with Manchester Camerata.
Dawn Scarfe and Antoine Bertin with Forestry Commission England
Dawn Scarfe uses site-specific installation, performance and field recording to ask us to re-think our impressions of our surroundings, and she often makes use of delicate materials, particularly resonating glass sculptures. Some examples of her previous work include Tree Music, which used small speakers hung from branches to play a soundtrack 'in tune' with its environment and shifting with the sway caused by the wind. Pigeon Song, meanwhile, saw a number of Belgian racing pigeons fitted with Indonesian pigeon flutes, which were carefully selected to emulate human vocal sounds when played together as they flew through the sky. Do You Hear What I Hear? used field recordings of Listening Glasses which had been placed by the side of the road, playing them back in the TONSPUR passageway to create a mysterious, shifting soundscape as people walked through. Her work has been exhibited Tate Britain, Cafe Oto, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, AV Festival, and many others.
Antoine Bertin is interested in the idea of distance and how it can be explored and generated through sound and listening. His work navigates between documentary and fiction, the living and the artificial, the poetic and the political to create sound-based narratives in the form of broadcasts, installations, publications, and performances. Previous works include Invisible Soundscapes, in which portable radios were attached to five helium balloons, each one receiving a different FM signal, creating a constantly changing sound installation. Amazing Grass used servo motors attached to plants and, controlled by a computer program, created a 'biomechanical composition' from the sound of the leaves rustling together. Listening Thread encouraged participants to engage with their environment through sound alone, as they were given blindfolds and a set of recommendations for listening to the minutiae of their surroundings, before being invited to follow a thread which they walked along. Antoine's work has been exhibited at the IMT Gallery, Camberwell Art Festival, and Nuit Blanche Paris, among others.
Dawn and Antoine's different approaches to engaging us with our environment through sound made them ideal candidates for Embedded residencies with Forestry Commission England - the government department responsible for protecting and expanding forests and woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment. Alongside their vital work in protecting and improving England's forests and woodland, they are committed to engaging people with these areas, for leisure, recreation and learning, believing they improve our quality of life in many ways.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for the Forestry Commission to work with two very exciting emerging artists to explore the place for sound to enhance people's experience and understanding of forest environments" -- Paddy Harrop, Forestry Commission England
Nathaniel Robin Mann with Pitt Rivers and Oxford Contemporary Music
Nathaniel Robin Mann is an artist, performer, composer and sound designer. He performs solo as Animateddog, drawing strongly on folk idioms whilst utilising a diverse assortment of instruments to provide accomopaniment and percussion, including 2x4, ukulele, guitar, phonofiddle and meat cleaver! He also forms 1/3 of Avant-Folk group Dead Rat Orchestra, through which he has collaborated with Baby Dee, Marc Almond & Eric Chenuax. Nathaniel has produced audio works for Factum Arte (Madrid), where he coordinated projects for a cross section of the world's contemporary artists, including: Adam Lowe, Anish Kapoor, Dionisio Gonzalez, and Marc Quinn. In 2008, he won the Grand Prix of the 11th Cairo Arts Biennial with Lara Baladi for The Donkey Symphony, examining the melodic shifts found naturally within donkeys’ braying to create a sinfonietta in 3 movements.
Nathaniel's idiosyncratic approach is one of the reasons he is a perfect fit for an Embedded Residency with Pitt Rivers Museum. Founed in 1884 by General Augustus Pitt Rivers, the museum displays the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford. It houses around 500,000 items which are densely displayed and, unusually, are arranged thematically according to how the objects were used rather than their age or origin, making it a fascinating and wonderful space to explore. Pitt Rivers museum also has a large collection of sound recordings, many of which they are in the process of cataloguing, making it a particularly exciting time for Nathaniel to start his residency.
Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM) will also be providing their expertise towards the project. Presenting over 30 concerts a year in a variety of venues around Oxfordshire, OCM aim to present events that are innovative, interesting, surprising and inspiring. They work closely with artists to commission and produce new work, and encourage experimentation and exploring new ways of working.
Nathan has been blogging about his experiences at the Pitt Rivers Museum, follow his progress here
"Nathan’s work to date and the ideas he has for the residency are intriguing, playful and very unusual... We think he’ll fit in very well at the museum and I’m genuinely excited about working with him to help realise his projects." -- Jo Ross, Artistic Director, Oxford Contemporary Music
"Nathan is a wonderfully creative artist whose endless curiosity will perfectly complement the wide variety of collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum." -- Noel Lobley, Ethnomusicologist and Researcher at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
Christopher Mayo with Manchester Camerata
Christopher Mayo is a Canadian composer living in London, and a member of the Camberwell Composers' Collective alongside Mark Bowden, Emily Hall, Anna Meredith and Charlie Piper. He holds a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Julian Anderson and a PhD from the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Philip CashianNotable projects of Chris' have included projects have included commissions from Carnegie Hall, the MATA Festival, Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal and Rambert Dance Company and performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the London Sinfonietta. He received the ECM+ Génération 2010 Audience Prize, the RPS Composition prize and a SOCAN Award for Young Composers. As a member of the Camberwell Composers’ Collective, Christopher was New Music Associate at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge for 2008-2010.
Founded in 1971, Manchester Camerata is one of the UK's leading chamber orchestras. It takes its name from the 16th century group Florentine Camerata, who met to share ideas and discuss the arts, and that inquisitive spirit and creativity inspires their approach to performing music. They bring chamber works to new audiences, performing all across the North West as well as their Manchester home at The Bridgewater Hall, and look for fresh ways to present them. They believe that live music can be a transformative experience. Learning and participation are also core parts of Manchester Camerata's work, with each season's music being used as a starting point for all sorts of education projects, making them another ideal partner for SaM to launch an Embedded Residency.
"We're very excited to have appointed Christopher Mayo as our 'Embedded' composer in residence for the 2012-13 season. Not only will this be a great opportunity for him to work very closely with our orchestral players, the wider organisation, and audiences throughout the year, but it will also be an enriching experience for our players to be closely involved in the development process of the new compositions he will write". -- Manus Carey, Manchester Camerata
Joanna Lee with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)
Described by The Guardian as "a considerable talent", Joanna Lee's compositions have been shortlisted for a British Composer Award and Arts Foundation Opera Composition Award, featured in both Premieres of the Year and Premiere of the Fortnight in Classical Music magazine, and her first chamber opera received the Stephen Oliver Award. She is the 2013 recipient of the John Collard Clementi Fellowship. Her work has been described variously as "sharply witty"(Daily Telegraph) and "assured and confident" (Birmingham Post).
Joanna is currently working on a new commission for English National Opera. She was BCMG/SAM Apprentice Composer-in-Residence for 2012/13, for which she wrote a new work for baritone Leigh Melrose and BCMG, conducted by Oliver Knussen. During the year-long residency, Joanna was mentored by Oliver Knussen and shadowed David Sawer as he undertook a new commission for BCMG. Joanna began her residency with a piece for Loré Lixenberg and four percussionists for BCMG's family concert series in January 2012.
Other recent projects include a commission for EXAUDI, a Jerwood Opera Fellowship and a residency at Aldeburgh composing a choral piece for Aldeburgh Music Club to celebrate 60 years since their founding by Benjamin Britten, including a performance during the Britten Centenary Weekend 2013.
Performances of Joanna's work include London Symphony Orchestra, BCMG, Psappha, CHROMA, Orchestra of the Swan, Britten-Pears Orchestra, Elysian Quartet, De Ereprijs, Fidelio Trio, Leigh Melrose, Jane Manning, Sarah Leonard, Loré Lixenberg, Omar Ebrahim, Joby Burgess, Alison Wells, Robin Michael and Sonya Knussen in the Aldeburgh Festival, Tête á Tête Opera Festival, Park Lane Group Young Artists Series, BMIC Cutting Edge Series and Ultraschall Festival in Berlin.
Joanna has participated in the LSO Panufnik Scheme, Jerwood Opera Writing Foundation Course and the Britten-Pears Contemporary Composition Course; these programmes have involved tuition from Oliver Knussen, Magnus Lindberg, Colin Matthews, Harrison Birtwistle and David Sawer.
Joanna is completing a PhD in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, supervised by Richard Causton and Edwin Roxburgh, which has also included tuition from Sarah Leonard, Roger Marsh, Howard Skempton, Errollyn Wallen, Judith Weir and John Woolrich. She specialises in contemporary vocal music, music theatre and opera, and her vocal compositions have received recommendations in The Singer and Singing - The Association of Teachers of Singing magazines and featured in a Pierrot Lunaire symposium led by Jane Manning and Mary King at the Southbank Centre.
Joanna works as music assistant to Paul Englishby, which has included the music for the Oscar-nominated film An Education, and projects for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Ballet, Ronnie Scott's and the BBC.
She is an experienced music educator, teaching composition at Cambridge's prestigious The Perse School and at additional A level schools. She also has a thriving private practice and is engaged as a Composer-in-Education, for example through BCMG's education programme, specifically 'Resolution', which brought together emerging composers and young professional biomedical scientists to work with secondary school students to create new music inspired by science.
Joanna Lee’s website is at www.joannalee.co.uk.
BCMG was formed in 1987 by players from the CBSO and Simon Rattle, the Group’s Founding Patron. Based at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham, BCMG is established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles, and tours in the UK and abroad. The core of BCMG's work is the performance of new music, and the Group has premiered over 140 new works by leading UK and overseas composers. Most have been commissioned with the help of a large number of individuals through BCMG’s ground-breaking Sound Investment scheme. BCMG has won many awards for its work in attracting new audiences for contemporary music, and has an extensive learning programme, engaging a wide range of people with the composition and performance of new music. BCMG has strong relationships with its Artists-in-Association Oliver Knussen and John Woolrich; and also with Thomas Adès who conducted the Group during 2007-08 in Birmingham, and at Carnegie Hall, New York in March 2008.
"Working with Joanna over the past few months has been a joy. She has seized every opportunity to come to Birmingham to see BCMG in rehearsal, to meet the players, conductors and solo artists. She ‘hit the ground running’ by responding with flare to her first BCMG commission – a short, exuberant piece for percussion and voice (Lore Lixenberg) for our Family Concerts in January 2012 very shortly after her appointment. She very quickly became part of the BCMG family and we look forward to her every visit and to working with her as she writes her ensemble piece for BCMG to be premiered in March 2013 conducted by Oliver Knussen, who is mentoring her through her BCMG year." -- Stephen Newbould. Artistic Director BCMG