Tuesday 21 May 2019, 7.30pm
1- Jürg Frey ‘Paysage pour Gustave Roud’ (13 mins)
2- Alvin Lucier ‘Letters’ (9 mins)
3- Jürg Frey – ‘Three Piano Pieces’ – world premiere (15 mins)
4- Yudo Henriques – ‘5 Palindromes’ (11 mins)
5- Jürg Frey – ‘Fragile Balance’ (15 mins)
6- Joseph Kudirka – ‘Beauty and Industry’ (5 mins)
7- Jürg Frey – ‘Borderland Melodies’ – world premiere (15 mins)
The group, created by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze in 1995, has been captivating audiences with performances of avant-garde and experimental music all over the World, from Moscow to Vancouver and from Barcelona to Vilnius. Recent performances further afield include tours of Russia, Canada and a nine-concert series in Melbourne, Australia.
The ensemble has been a firm fixture on the British concert scene, with regular performances at Café Oto and a recent residency at the Wigmore Hall. Apartment House is the most frequently featured UK ensemble in the history of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and its 2011 concert of music by John Cage sold out the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. The ensemble has made a substantial number of live and studio recordings for BBC Radio 3 as well as live recordings for many European stations including Danish Radio DR, Swedish Radio 2, WDR Cologne, ORTF Austria, Radio France and Deutschlandfunk, Berlin.
Over the past 20 years or so it has championed music by emerging or undeservedly little-known composers and has commissioned over 100 new works. Highlights along the way include Jennifer Walshe’s radical ‘Barbie’ opera XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!!, with performances in six countries, and Saskia Moore’s Dead Symphony, a fusion of social documentary, art, biological science and music on near death experiences. Notable portrait events have featured composers Christian Wolff, Luc Ferrari, Alison Knowles, Christopher Fox, Vitalija Gloivackyte, Laurence Crane, Helmut Oehring, Claudia Molitor, David Behrman, Jobina Tinnemans and Richard Ayres.
Unusually for a new music ensemble, Apartment House is equally at home at classical music venues (Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre), crossover venues (Cafe Oto), art galleries (Serpentine Galleries, Turner Contemporary, Whitechapel Gallery) and international festivals (HCMF, MaerzMusik, Wien Modern, Ultima, Witten New Music Days), demonstrating its appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Over the years Apartment House has gradually increased its recording output, focusing on key releases by experimental composers such as George Maciunas and Laurence Crane, which received widespread acclaim (‘compellingly beautiful’ The Guardian). The group recently began a long term relationship with the UK label Another Timbre, releasing albums of music by Joseph Kudirka, James Saunders, Chiyoko Slavnics, Linda Catlin Smith and Martin Arnold.
Swiss born Jürg Frey’s music is characterised by a gentle but unorthodox harmonic beauty, and has been widely celebrated in recent years at numerous festivals and performances. His saxophone quartet ‘Mémoire, Horizon’ was composed for the Konus Quartet, and released on CD to great acclaim on the Musiques Suisses label. It was described by Brian Olewnick as “a wonderful, absorbing and thought-provoking work, possibly my favourite saxophone quartet ever….so, so great.”
Frey’s delicate piano music has also been highly praised. Reviewing ‘Circles and Landscapes’, Philip Thomas’s CD of his solo piano works, Michael Rosenstein wrote: “Thomas places each phrase and chord-set evenly across the duration of each piece and the music advances with an unwavering beauty bereft of any standard notion of melody or harmonic progression.”
And John Eyles commented: “Thomas delivers a flawless performance, leaving the listener to savour the spare beauty of the composition…Frey’s loving care and attention to detail shine through in his work. Simply exquisite.”