Each of these residencies has a slightly different focus. ICE has always been a model for how we think about our organisation at The Riot Ensemble. I’m particularly excited to work with their artistic team, and in particular their Executive Director Claire Chase, observing meetings and rehearsals, pitching in at concerts, and even being involved in evaluating and strategising the evolution of some of their projects, such as DigitICE, their online Digital Media Library.
The ICE Ensemble
In October, I’ll be staying with musicians from Hand Werk and MusikFabrik, another two ensembles who are total inspirations to the work we do at The Riot Ensemble. I’ll have the chance to observe rehearsals (including a week of MusikFabrik’s insanely awesome Pitch-43 programme), chat to their artistic teams, and gain an international perspective on what’s going on at the cutting-edge of new music.
Helen Bledsoe with Klaus Lang
I’ll be back here throughout these projects to document the questions and ideas they throw up for me, alongside (I hope!) a bunch of interviews, pictures and little audio snippets from some of the most exciting new music practitioners of our time.
Judith Serota ran the Spitalfields festival for nearly 20 years. When she left, a group of composers were asked to write her a set of variations on her favourite Bach Aria (Bist du bei mir). These were eventually premiered and recorded by pianist Melvyn Tan.
Judith and Melvyn have continued and extended the project in a variety of fun and exciting ways – one of which is now to ask new, often emerging, composers to write new variations that are more challenging for Melvyn. (The original set were intended to be learned by Judith herself – and she has!)
Yesterday, Melvyn gave the third performance of my variation up at The Stables, in Milton Keynes, which I wrote while in residence at Copland House. It was a really beautiful – and incredibly demanding – program, including Bach, Liszt & Chopin alongside a selection of variations old and new. Thanks to all who were involved!
I have been awarded an “Associate of the Royal Academy of Music” by RAM’s Governing Board of Directors. The Academy bestows this award on former students who have made a “significant contribution to the music profession”. Below is the full list of appointed associates in 2015. It’s great to see how many of these appointments have gone to composers, and it’s an honour to appear alongside friends and close colleagues Darren Bloom, Elspeth Brooke and Luke Styles.
I’m really honoured to have recently received a fellowship for the 2015 Composition Programme at the Tanglewood Music Center. The Geometry of Cloudswill receive a performance at Tanglewood, as will two new works that I will write while in residence there.