Monday 20 February 2023, 8pm
Versionland - A video opera by Jamie Hamilton (film presentation - premiere)
Performed/devised by Phaedra Ensemble
Live set by Phaedra Ensemble:
Finlay Clark - New commission for string quartet and electronics
Linda Buckley - Fiol for string trio
Versionland is a video opera telling stories written by an artificial intelligence about the creation and destruction of the world by a sound known as ‘The Hum’.
The Hum is a disputed acoustic phenomenon that happens in many places throughout the world, in which hearers claim to hear an unexplained, untraceable sound. Versionland takes as its influence the myriad responses people have to The Hum - re-enactments, recording experiments, conspiracy theories, spoofs, and bad jokes.
It was initially developed through a series of recorded devising sessions with Phaedra Ensemble, as part of Sound and Music’s New Voices programme. These were edited and fed through neural nets and algorithms to create a prismatic and otherworldly feature-length video opera, which draws in an encyclopaedic range of influences, from British variety acts and karaoke to musique concrete and early 90s speech synthesis.
The concert also features a live set by Phaedra Ensemble, including a premiere by Finlay Clark (of Still House Plants and other projects) for string quartet and electronics, and Linda Buckley’s Fiol for string trio.
Versionland was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and was made possible by Sound and Music's New Voices programme.
With thanks to the Marchus Trust and the Vaughn Williams Foundation for additional funding.
Founded in 2014 by violinist Phillip Granell, Phaedra has evolved from its inception as a string quartet to a larger collective of like-minded performers, drawn from London’s diverse musical landscape.
2023 sees the culmination of their collaboration with the extraordinary vocalist/composer Meredith Monk, with the forthcoming release of their debut album featuring the first recording of her only string quartet Stringsongs plus two works for larger ensemble.
Previous UK performances include Kings Place, The Barbican, Kammer Klang @ Cafe Oto, Royal Festival Hall & Purcell Rooms, The Royal Opera House, and internationally at NYU Arts Center (Abu Dhabi), and La Seine Musicale (Paris). They have been broadcast and performed live on BBC Radio 3 and Resonance.fm.
Finlay Clark is an artist based in London. 2023 will see Clark continue to work with Still House Plants as well as play violin for Kahil El’Zabar and begin a new composition. Clark has previously collaborated with Ailie Ormston, Vera Karlsson, Dorit Chrysler, Ligeti Quartet and Phaedra Ensemble, as well as taken piano lessons with David Cherry and performed violin with Neneh Cherry and Exotic Sin.