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Thursday 24 May 2018, 7.30pm

The Hermes Experiment

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The Hermes Experiment presents a new project in collaboration with composers Mira Calix and Alex Mills. The composers' two new works written for the ensemble will respond to the improvisatory and unusually notated music of John Cage, and his student Christian Wolff. Following a collaborative process between the ensemble and the composers, the commissions will focus on maximising the potential of the group's unique sound world through innovative notation.

Oliver Pashley / clarinet
Marianne Schofield / double bass
Anne Denholm / harp
Héloïse Werner / soprano

This concert is generously supported by the RVW Trust and PRS for Music Foundation.


- New commissions by Alex Mills and Mira Calix
- Graphic score by Eloise Gynn
- Christian Wolff, Six Nocturnes
- John Cage, In a Landscape
- John Cage, Composition for 3 Voices
- John Cage, Four6

The Hermes Experiment

Winners of the Royal Overseas League Mixed Ensemble Competition 2019, Tunnell Trust Awards 2017, Park Lane Group Young Artists 2015/16 and winners of Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands 2014, The Hermes Experiment is a contemporary quartet made up of harp, clarinet, voice and double bass. Capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments, the ensemble regularly commissions new works, as well as creating their own innovative arrangements and venturing into live free improvisation. The ensemble has commissioned over 50 composers at various stages of their careers. Recent highlights include performances at Wigmore Hall, BBC Radio 3 Open Ear at LSO St Luke’s, Tallinn Music Week, St Petersburg’s Sound Ways Festival, Southbank Centre, Kings Place and Spitalfields Festival.

The Hermes Experiment are one of this year’s showcase artists the Classical Next Conference 2019. In January 2019, they celebrated their fifth birthday with a concert supported by Arts Council England and RVW Trust, and recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The ensemble also strives to create a platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration. In June 2015, they created a ‘musical exhibition’ with photographer Thurstan Redding, and in September 2016 during an Aldeburgh Music Residency, they developed a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

The ensemble is also dedicated to the value of contemporary music in education and community contexts. In 2014-15, they took part in Wigmore Hall Learning’s schemes, and they are ensemble in residence for the Young Music Makers of Dyfed 2018-19. In 2017-18, they worked with composition students from both The Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Laban. They are running similar projects in 2018-19 at both institutions.

The quartet has received funding from Arts Council England, Aldeburgh Music, the RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation, Future of Russia Foundation, Oleg Prokofiev Trust, Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust, PRS for Music Foundation and Help Musicians UK.

Mira Calix

Mira Calix is an award winning artist, composer and performer based in the United Kingdom. Music and sound have always been at the centre of her practice, which she continues to integrate with visual media and technological innovation to create multidisciplinary installations and performance works. Mira has been commissioned by many leading international cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Performa, Institute of Contemporary Art, Garage MCA, National Portrait Gallery, the Manchester International Festival and The Mayor Of London among others.

Alex Mills

Alex Mills studied music at the University of Cambridge and is now based in London and continues to study composition with Raymond Yiu. His piece Suspensions & Solutions for Viola da Gamba and electronics, was premiered by Liam Byrne at The Barbican in April 2017. Alex’s music has also been performed at a variety of venues and festivals, including Sónar Barcelona, Mona Bismarck American Center Paris and The Kilkenny Music Festival. As well as his own projects, he is also assisting composer Nico Muhly on his new opera, Marnie, for the ENO and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. 

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