Friday 18 January 2019, 7.30pm
Apartment House celebrate the composer Michael Parsons' 80th birthday with music spanning his career, as well as a series of birthday pieces composed especially for the occasion by his friends, Christian Wolff, Howard Skempton, Makiko Nishikaze, Tim Parkinson, John Lely, Markus Trunk and Laurence Crane.
Apartment House have a deep and long-standing engagement with Parsons’ music, having worked together for over 20 years. They’ve also recently recorded a double-CD of his pieces—Patterns of Connection—released on the HCR record label.
Michael Parsons is an important figure in the history of experimental music, both in terms of his own diverse output as well as his co-founding of the hugely influential Scratch Orchestra with Cornelius Cardew and Howard Skempton in 1969.
At times precisely notated, at others embracing indeterminacy, Parsons’ music avoids any easy categorisation yet always displays a great sensitivity for line and texture. His pieces move from an early interest in precise pitch relationships to an involvement (following the Scratch Orchestra) with spontaneity, performer-engagement and post-Cagean indeterminacy. Later pieces also draw on his long-standing relationship with the work of painters such as David Saunders and Jeffrey Steele, taking a highly systematic approach to the organisation of musical materials. Nevertheless, an engagement with both the precise organisation of pitch and rhythm and aspects of indeterminacy exists in much of his music throughout his career. In his own words:
"Recent compositions aim to find ways of arranging and distributing pitch material in which both systems and indeterminacy play a role in avoiding stereotyped patterns and contributing to the discovery of new expressive resources"
It is this kind of openness to experimentation—of embracing aspects of composition that seem superficially opposed—combined with an ear for clarity, as well as a sense of earnest dedication to finding new approaches to making music that have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to a whole generation of musicians.
The group, created by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze has been captivating audiences for nearly 30 years, with performances of avant-garde and experimental music from all over the World.
The ensemble has been a firm fixture on the British concert scene, with regular performances at Café Oto and as an associate ensemble of the Wigmore Hall.
Apartment House has released over 40 albums, many on the UK label Another Timbre. Current releases include Pauline Oliveros - Sound Pieces, Magnus Granberg - Evening Star, Vesper Bell and Morton Feldman’s epic and mesmerising Violin and String Quartet.