Tuesday 3 November 2015, 8pm
Plus-Minus Ensemble, formed in 2003 by Joanna Bailie and Matthew Shlomowitz, is distinguished by its interest in avant-garde, conceptual, and experimental open instrumentation pieces such as Stockhausen‘s 1963 classic, from which the group takes its name. This 40-minute “lecture piece” includes musical demonstrations that draw on scholarship from a range of fields to explore how we make judgements about music and whether a piece of music can be inherently bad, or whether such judgements are simply subjective.
Matthew Shlomowitz (b. 1975) is a composer of concert music and performance pieces. Raised in Adelaide, Australia, he now lives in London. He is Associate Professor in Composition at University of Southampton, and co-directs the new music ensemble Plus Minus with Joanna Bailie.
He has composed works for groups such asasamisimasa, bESIdES, Calefax, Ensemble Offspring, EXAUDI, Ives Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Quatuor Diotima, Ricciotti Ensemble, Speak Percussion, Wespoke New Music Company and soloists Claire Edwardes, Juliet Fraser, Mark Knoop and Håkon Stene and Stephane Ginsburgh.
He has three ongoing projects: Popular Contexts, a series combining recordings of recognisable real world sound with instrumental music; Letter Pieces, which combine physical actions, music and text; and Public Lectures about Music, a series of lecture-pieces addressing ideas such as aesthetic judgement and emotional responses to music.
“Virtuosic and adventurous” – The New York Times
Using foot-controlled fluorescent tubes, hacked strobe lights and custom-made LED discs, Speak Percussion will rupture the line between sight and sound in their multidisciplinary performance project, “Fluorophone”. Speak Percussion is Australia’s most innovative percussive arts organisation. Ranging from solo concerts to massed sound events, Speak Percussion’s “breathtakingly impressive” (The West Australian) work is presented throughout the world in concert halls, bars, galleries and site-specific locations. Speak Percussion regularly collaborates with a diverse range of artists, exploring the intersection between percussion and architecture, gastronomy, installation, instrument building, astronomy and dance.
Simon Løffler lives in Copenhagen and studies in Copenhagen, Berlin, Aarhus and Brussels. He has worked with groups across the globe, such as Curious Chamber Players, Ensemble Adapter and Soundinitiative. He has been awarded the Stipendium prize at Darmstadt and is a co-founder of the composers’ collective Dygong, whose main objective is to treat the span of a whole concert as a single composition.
Eugene Ughetti is a Melbourne-based percussionist, composer and conductor, and a founding member and artist director of Speak Percussion. He has studied with significant artists from most continents and completed an Honors degree in Classical Percussion at the Victorian College of the Arts. He has been a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra, Sydney Symphonia, Geminiani Orchestra, UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra and is a casual percussionist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has worked under conductors Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Stephan Asbury, Sergei Gergiev, Neemi Jarvi, Franck Ollu, Markus Stenz, Denis Cohen and Yuri Temirkanov. Eugene has toured throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He has appeared as a soloist with both the Melbourne Symphony and Victorian College of the Arts Orchestras. In 1998 he was an ABC Young Composer and ABC Young Artist. He has undertaken professional collaborations with choreographers, animators, dancers, installation artists, actors and artistic directors, and has commissioned many new solo and ensemble works.
Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as displaying “a reputation for intelligent and inventive music-making”, Damien Ricketson’s music is characterised by exotic sound-worlds and novel forms. He studied with the renowned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and attained a doctorate from the Sydney Conservatorium, where he currently lectures in composition and contemporary music. He is the co-artistic director of Ensemble Offspring, a unique company dedicated to innovative new music, and through whom much of his music has been performed. Recent projects include “Fractured Again”, a multimedia production featuring musical instruments made of glass
“Vessel” by Gail Priest is piece for live performance using no pre-recorded material. Quiet feedback is generated by placing a microphone in a number of glass vessels. Vocal improvisations augment the irregularly looped tones, the piece growing from sparse and ethereal to dense and aggressive. It is an attempt to “play” the emptiness, drawing sounds from the air and sculpting them into something solid. Priest is a Sydney-based artist with a multifaceted practice in which sound is the key material of communication and investigation. Her work comprises solo electro-acoustic performance and recordings, sound installations for gallery contexts, sound design for performance and video, and curation, critique and advocacy. Her compositions exist in a liminal zone between song and soundscape. Her main source material is the voice, sometimes multiply manipulated and unrecognisable, other times in the forefront, borrowing from ethereal pop-folk traditions.
Priest’s travel has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body and by the NSW Government through Arts NSW. Thanks also to Speak Percussion.