Friday 18 February 2022, 8pm
Max Syedtollan Four Assignments
Joanna Bailie He just missed the train
Anthony Braxton Ghost Trance Music
Plus-Minus Ensemble is a London based ensemble committed to commissioning new work and placing it alongside recent and landmark modern repertoire. Formed in 2003 by Joanna Bailie and Matthew Shlomowitz, +– is distinguished by its interest in performative, electroacoustic and conceptual pieces, and experimental open works such as Stockhausen’s 1963 classic, from which the group takes its name. Since 2019, +– is directed by Matthew Shlomowitz, Vicky Wright and Mark Knoop.
+– has performed in London at Kammer Klang, Cafe Oto, BBC Radio 3 Open Ear, Cut and Splice, City University Concerts, and at Borealis (Bergen), Sampler Sèries (Barcelona), Fundación BBVA Bilbao, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, MaerzMusik (Berlin), Spor Festival (Aarhus), Transit Festival (Leuven), Ultima Festival (Oslo) and Warsaw Autumn.
+– has an ongoing relationship with Bath Spa University and the Guildhall School of Music and in September 2019 started a three-year role as Ensemble in Residence at the Reid School of Music (University of Edinburgh). The group has also given workshops and concerts at Stanford University, Durham University, Huddersfield University, University of Southampton and City, University of London.
Guitarist Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, born in Antwerp, Belgium, is a committed performer of the music of today. In addition to a master degree in guitar performance at the conservatory of Ghent, where he studied with Tom Pauwels, he received a 2nd master degree in Contemporary Performance Practice from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he studied with David Starobin and Mark Stewart. To help him realize this program he received a fellowship from the Belgian American Education Foundation.
Kobe is currently a member of the electric guitar-quartet Zwerm, which he co-founded in 2007, and the Nadar Ensemble. As a freelance guitarist he performed with several groups and ensembles such as the Ictus ensemble in Brussels, ensembles 2E2M and Multilatérale in Paris, and in New York with the Wet Ink Ensemble, Talea and in a tour celebrating Helmut Lachenmann’s 75th birthday with Signal Ensemble a.o.
As a soloist he released his first solo-album “Give my Regards to 116th Street” on the New York label Carrier Records in february 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Wire Magazine (issue 374, april 2015) a.o. In 2017 he created the solo project “No [more] Pussyfooting” with live arrangements of music by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, which he toured extensively in several international festivals and venues. Kobe is currently involved in an artistic research project on the music of Anthony Braxton at the Conservatory of Antwerp. He also forms the guitar duo Oh Mensch with Matthias Koole, with whom he was a fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.
Max Syedtollan is an artist-composer living and working in Glasgow, with a multi-disciplinary practice spanning music, text and image. Interests include world-building, anachronism, affect, melody, improvisation, comedy and the naïve. His pieces have been broadcast on BBC Radios 3, 4 and 6; performed in places such as Café Oto and Snape Maltings, and featured in The Quietus and The Wire. Besides composing under his own name Syedtollan produces music as ‘Horse Whisperer’ which has been featured on NTS Radio, Resonance FM and Radiophrenia.
The British composer Joanna Bailie was born in London in 1973 and now lives in Berlin. She studied composition with Richard Barrett, electronic music at the Institute of Sonology, Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, and in 1999 won a fellowship to study at Columbia University. She completed her PhD at City, University of London in 2018.
Her music has been performed by groups such as Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Contrechamps, The Ives Ensemble, Ensemble Nadar, Ictus Ensemble, Asamisimasa, L’instant Donné, EXAUDI, Ensemble Mosaik, Explore Ensemble, Ensemble Musikfabrik, KNM Berlin, Zwerm, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and The SWR Vokalensemble. She has written solo pieces for Mark Knoop, Francesco Dillon, Heloisa Amaral and Gunnhildur Einarsdóttir.
She has been programmed at events such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Musica Strasbourg, Darmstadt, ECLAT, Wien Modern, Huddersfield, SPOR Festival, MaerzMusik, Rainy Days Festival Luxembourg, Venice Biennale, November Music, Borealis Festival, and Ultima.
Her recent work includes chamber music and installation, and is characterized by the use of manipulated field recordings and other sound media together with acoustic instruments. She is also interested in the interplay between the audio and visual as evidenced by her works incorporating camera obscura, and film.
Together with composer Matthew Shlomowitz, Joanna founded Plus-Minus Ensemble in 2003. In May 2010 she was the guest curator at the SPOR Festival in Aarhus, Denmark and in September 2015 she curated and produced the Cut and Splice Festival for BBC Radio 3. She has taught composition at HMDK Stuttgart, the Luxembourg Composition Academy, the ReMusik online composition course, The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, City, University of London, and at the 47th edition of the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music. In 2016 she was a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin- program.
Balancing between notation and improvisation, Anthony Braxton’s “Ghost Trance Music” represent a unique body of “open works” that challenges traditional roles of composer, score and performer. In “Ghost Trance Music” Braxton’s entire fascinating musical universe comes together. You step into a ritual, guided by a melody without beginning or end, a stream of consciousness that serves as the central track leading you into the unknown. Originally inspired by the Native American practice of the Ghost Dance ritual, where surviving members of Native American tribes would attempt to communicate with their ancestors through transcendental ghost dances, the Ghost Trance Music pieces are specifically designed to function as pathways between Braxton’s different musical systems, between notation and improvisation, between past, present and future. It allows for a plurality of musical practices to join forces, transcending traditional genre boundaries. It creates an arena in which Braxton helps curate intuitive experiences for both performers and listeners.
Ghost Trance Project is the result of a research project dedicated to performing and exploring the different interpretational possibilities of Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music (GTM) in both solo as group contexts.