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Peninsula Arts
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Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2012


    10 - 12 February 2012

Friday 10 February

Saturday 11 February

Sunday 12 February

Explore, Dream, Discover

Festival Directors

Simon Ible, Director of Music, Peninsula Arts, Plymouth  University

Eduardo R Miranda, Professor of Computer Music, Plymouth  University

The 2012 Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival will explore new sound worlds in celebration of Plymouth University’s 150 years of higher education. Explore, Dream, Discover is this year’s theme, from the University’s coat of arms: Indagate, Fingite, Invenite.

The programme explores creativity through innovations in computing and musical technology, as well as traditional chamber music settings: new musical worlds that engage everything from the intimacy of the human brain, to the inspiration and imagination of vast spaces. Multiple musical traditions will work in tandem as western classical music structures are dismantled, reconstructed and rediscovered.

Our Plymouth University team of composers and resident Ten Tors Orchestra are joined this year by guests that include: Simon Desorgher, Emma Welton, Lola Perrin, Ash Madni, Craig Vear, Sarah Watts, Ivor McGregor and Leo String Quartet and The Logothetis Project . We are also delighted to welcome conceptual film designer Brian Froud and creature workshop artist Wendy Froud.

Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival is promoted in partnership with Plymouth University’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR).

Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival , organised in partnership with the Plymouth University Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR), takes place at the Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University.

Download the Contemporary Music Festival Journal

Download the Contemporary Music Festival Event Programme


Festival Programme

Friday 10 February

Festival Launch

Welcome Speech by Simon Ible, Director of Music, Peninsula Arts 

Free Event

6:00pm | Crosspoint,  Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University  



Eduardo Reck Miranda:     Fluxus
Emma Welton:   electric violin

6:30pm | Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

Fluxus , for electric violin and live electronics was originally composed for electric guitar and effects pedals. The premiere took place in the mid of the 1980s. This will be a completely new rendering by Emma Welton on the electric violin. The piece is based on serial compositional principles, as proposed by Webern and Boulez, whereby sequences, or series, of pitches and rhythmic figures are methodically repeated and transformed throughout a composition. In Fluxus Miranda extended the serial principle to the realm of electronic effects. However, the live electronics of the version prepared for this festival are not succumbed to strict serial principles. The intention is to give more expressive power to the violinist by letting her decide which effects to apply during the performance.

Emma's graduate studies took place at University of York: MA in Music, composition & performance, University of Northumbria: PGDip (dist.) in Arts Management and University of Manchester: BMus Hons.

Emma founded and runs Talisman with composer Geoff Hannan, devising performances working with composers and theatre-makers in new, adventurous and often multi-media pieces in unusual places. Emma has also worked on numerous recordings, appearing on Icebreaker's Cranial Pavement and [rout]'s ONE in music by Paul Whitty, Paul Newland and Sam Hayden. She has also been booked for Moloko, Feeder and Blue Merle and Funeral for a Friend session by Audrey Riley. Emma often works collaboratively with composers, choreographers, video artists and with artists in other media and she is particularly interested in creating music through these routes.

Free Event  

What is Fluxus?

Fluxus, a loose international group of artists, poets, and musicians whose only shared impulse was to integrate life into art through the use of found events, sounds, and materials, thereby bringing about social and economic change in the art world. More than 50 artists were associated with Fluxus, many producing a periodical anthologizing the latest experiments across the world in art and antiart, music and antimusic, and poetry and antipoetry and many taking part for the sheer collaboration opportunities and the built-in audience. Fluxus involved artists from around the world, including the Americans Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, the Frenchman Ben Vautrier, the Korean artist Nam June Paik, and the German artist Wolf Vostell.

The name Fluxus, meant to suggest both “flow” and “effluent,” was coined by Fluxus founder George Maciunas (1931–78), a Lithuanian American designer and “cultural entrepreneur.” Maciunas used the word fluxus to describe a wide range of his activities, from a published call for a common front of artists against culture to a New York artists’ housing association, as well as a publishing concern that produced ephemeral interactive multiples and staged live events called Happenings that were precursors to performance art, video art, and other progressive art forms.


Pre-Concert Talk  

7:30pm | Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

Composer Alexis Kirke introduces his new work: Insight .

Alexis Kirke is a composer well-known for his interdiscplinary practice (he has been called "the Phillip K. Dick of contemporary music").

Alexis works across multiple platforms including the large-scale multimedia and acoustic works, and the creation of science-based algorithmic scores. He is composer-in-residence for the Plymouth Marine Institute - the UK leader in Marine research and work on sustainability, marine pollution and conservation. Alexis has completed two PhDs, one in Arts and one in Technology. He has worked as a Project Manager and a Stock Market Analyst (where he developed some of the foundation concepts of the industry textbook ‘Optimal Trading Strategies’). He is a member of the University of Plymouth's Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, and has published articles on Algorithmic Composition and Performance.

Alexis is a poet and critic who has written for publications such as Terrible Work, Oasis, Tremblestone (UK) and Transmog (US). He has also been invited to read at Glastonbury Festival, and was editor of the UK's first poetry webzine 'Brink'. Alexis' works have been performed on BBC Radio 3, the World Service, and at the Southbank; and he has been featured in Wired, Independent, Guardian, O Globo, Discovery News, New Scientist, Gramophone, and The Strad.

Free event

  Alexis Kirke 


8:00pm | Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building

Alexis Kirke:
Insight for solo flute and halluciphone (2012) premiere
Joel Eaton: The Warren for Brain-Computer Music Interface (2011)

Hanns Holger: 
Rutz Leere Nullen (Empties) (2012) premiere
Simon Desorgher: New Work for solo flute and electronics (2012) premiere


A flautist accompanies live hallucinations: Alexis Kirke has the harmless visual condition Palinopsia; his halluciphone is an iPad augmented reality application on which he draws his hallucinations for the audience to see - and hear – in real-time as internal experience is converted by the iPad into sounds to accompany the flute. Dr Alexis Kirke is a post-doctoral researcher at the ICCMR, Plymouth University.
Hanns Holger Rutz – Leere Nullen (Empties)

In a novel by the brothers Strugatsky, Empties are peculiar artifacts left behind by aliens: Two copper plates enclose a void into which the humans project their fantasies. Initiated by a quote from the movie Raspad, an algorithm develops an endless sound universe - only to disintegrate back into a sound atom using an inverted process, demystifying the notion that composition should begin with an empty sheet.

This electroacoustic tape composition is constructed around utopian ideas (or paradoxes) of composing. The most pervasive ones being double-ended: On one end that composition means creation ex nihilo; the blank sheet situation; the coming-into-existence of something that was prior inexistent. While in fact no such thing as an origin exists and every decision, every choice of material can be traced back in an infinite chain (or network) of references. On the other end, the inexhaustibility of a sound formation.

In each sound an infinite number of further sounds. That out of every noise something could emerge which before was invisibly coalesced with its background. An auditive magnification, an isolation through a surgical cut which, as a cut, reveals something new. The premonition of the future diverging network of traces, an antinomy of the blank sheet.

The notional frame of the piece is radiation and radioactivity, in a very loose sense, as far reaching as the Russian Woodpecker and the Nuclear Boy. The title reflects the utopian artefacts occurring in the Roadside Picnic: “an empty really is something mysterious and maybe even incomprehensible. I’ve handled quite a few of them, but I’m still surprised every time I see one. They’re just two copper disks … with a space of a foot and a half between. There’s nothing else. I mean absolutely nothing, just empty space.”
Hanns Holger Rutz is PhD student in computer music at Plymouth University.

The Warren

Explores the mental and physical readjustments we undertake through the medium of walking in the countryside to breathe fresh air “into” our minds. How we perceive a 'country walk' to clear our thoughts and how the shift in our aural environment interacts with this process. It is built using recordings of instruments, computer-generated sounds and field recordings. Built using recordings of instruments, computer generated sounds and field recordings, the piece investigates the contrasts in the open spaces of the hills and coombes of Rowberrow Warren, Somerset, against the density of the forest floor and the internal interactions we form whilst passing through.
In the same vain that we reposition ourselves into a different physical environment, sounds and data are relocated into new realms. Guitars and breathing become sustained cellos, white noise is sculpted into percussive rhythms, bird chatter is morphed into sweeping breezes of wind, as the noise floor of the forest takes over the monotonous urban drone and merges with our thoughts.
Whilst computer algorithms build fire and the ground trodden on creates layers of granular thought, the lingering presence of mankind still follows us with echoing trails of machinery and melancholy.
Joel Eaton is a PhD student at Plymouth University,

HyperFlute in Space

"A new computer-music system devised by computer wizard David Stevens allows flautist Simon Desorgher to "steal" sounds from his performances and then play them literally in-the-air with a range of movement sensors attached to the body and sensing the movement of the musician within the space. The result is a kind of super-flute orchestra controllable by the player to extend flute sounds into new realms of imagination"

Simon Desorgher has become known as a flautist with a large range of new tone colours developed for contemporary music. He explores unusual departures from conventional flute playing such as the world's largest set of panpipes (listed in the Guinness Book of Records) which he built and plays. Other projects have included playing the flute suspended 25 feet in the air and inside a giant sphere floating on water and playing a vintage motorcycle wired up to computers.

Tickets: £5 concessions £3
Free for Friends of Peninsula Arts, PU students and staff


Saturday 11 February

Festival Lecture  

11:00am | Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building  

Composer Craig Vear introduces his work, including The Guardian Diaries appearing in the Landscapes of Exploration exhibition showing in the Peninsula Arts Gallery.

During 2003-4 Craig Vear held the Arts Council England Fellowship with the British Antarctic Survey, which resulted in a large-scale composition created from field recordings

Composer Craig Vear introduces his work, including The Guardian Diaries appearing in the Landscapes of Exploration exhibition showing in the Peninsula Arts Gallery. During 2003-4 Craig Vear held the Arts Council England Fellowship with the British Antarctic Survey, which resulted in a large-scale composition created from field recordings For more information go to:

Free Event

About Craig Vear

Craig works with found sounds, making compositions using computers that allow the individual sounds to be free. His open works are inspired by John Cage, Gavin Bryars and Christophe Charles and use chance elements within performance to determine the final outcome of the composition.

These compositions generally concentrate on a time and location, journeying along channels of memory and imagination expressing the continuity and fluidity of thought. Here the confluence of the vivid see-hearing 'dimension' evoked by sound, the intrinsic creative listening act and the theatre of seeing through other peoples eyes creates an aural landscape; a sense of place that the mind projects back onto sound it hears. The result is each individual see-hears something that only exists in their mind.

In 1997 he co-founded the pop group Cousteau, which made 300,000 sales worldwide and gained a gold disc; as part of the duo ev2 he have been working with improvisation since 1992. During 2003-4 he held the Arts Council England Fellowship with the British Antarctic Survey, which resulted in a large-scale composition created from field recordings. In 2006 Play: Antarctica was commissioned about these experiences.

Singing Ringing Buoy, an installation at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, was shortlisted for the 2005 PRS New Music Award. During 2007-8 he held a Leverhulme Fellowship as artist in residence with the University of Hull, and is currently on a three year research project funded by the University of Salford, exploring the interrelationship between composition, digital technology and intermedia/ interdisciplinary performance.


The Logothetis Project

1.30pm | Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

The Logothetis Project: Music for a very large space (2012)
Richard Douglas-Green, Matt Lord, Mike McInerney, Michael Neil

The quartet specialises in the performance of live electroacoustic music, combining live instrumental performance with sound diffusion and computer-generated material.
Mike McInerney lectures in music at Plymouth University.

Free event


The piTrio

2.30pm | Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

The piTrio - Plymouth iPad Trio - is a collective of 3 performers, founded by Alexis Kirke, who incorporate iPads into audio-visual performances.

'Explore A patchwork piece introducing the trio’s favourite iPad music apps.

Dream The trio will form themselves into a music circuit that “thinks logically” using melodies. 

“Discover In this piece, if the audience bring their own iPads or even iPhones – they will be able to participate in a spontaneous iOrchestra. “

Free Event


Ten Tors Orchestra

  Simon Ible: conductor 
  Mary Eade:  solo violin
  Emma Welton:  solo electric violin
  Simon Desorgher:  solo flute

7.30pm | Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building

Eduardo Reck Miranda: Electric Waggle Dance: for solo electric violin and amplified string ensemble (2011)

Electric guitar amplifiers and effects pedals share the stage with a classical string ensemble in Miranda’s latest composition, Electric Waggle Dance, which is premiered in the festival by Emma Walton on the electric violin solo and Ten Tors Orchestra under the baton of Simon Ible. Each instrument of the ensemble is relayed to an electric guitar amplifier, to accompany the electric violin part, which involves live electronic processing. The piece is inspired by fractal geometry. Mathematicians developed fractal geometry to represent complex self-similar forms in nature, such as landscapes and life forms. In a nutshell, the shape of a fractal object is made of smaller copies of itself. The copies are similar to the whole: same shape but different size. In Electric Waggle Dance, musical patterns evolve and occasionally re-appear twice as faster or slower on top of their originals creating fractal polyphonic structures. Those mathematical forms appear amid materials developed from motifs reminiscent of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 12, blending musical tradition with contemporary music methods.

Ash Madni: Sounds from the Bazaar for solo violin and string orchestra (2010 - 11)

Ash Madni’ s Sounds from the Bazaar sets out to capture in sound, images of the bazaars of the east. Stalls laden with produce, goods and aromatic spices; customers perusing stalls whilst others haggle with merchants, and musicians playing exotic sounds, are all imagined in a backdrop of sunlit streets, thronging with people from all nations.

Sounds from the Bazaar 1st movement
The opening cello pizzicati and bass col legno soon followed by pizzicato from the violas is reminiscent of the tabla, as used in Indian Ragas. Suddenly out of nowhere, comes a Western- based melody on the violins to create an un-usual blend of East meets West.
1st movement - dedicated to Richard Howarth

Sounds from the Bazaar 2nd movement
The fusion structure developed in the first movement is extended in this piece. Harmonically speaking, the piece stays within the confines of the modal structure of the first movement, although small excursions into dissonant territory add colour and depth to the overall piece.

Sounds from the Bazaar 3rd movement
Unlike the first and the second movements, the third movement has a strong Chinese and blues feel. I sincerely hope you enjoy ‘Sounds of the bazaar’ and that my music takes you on a journey uniquely your own.
2nd & 3rd movements - dedicated to Stuart Millard

Nicholas Grew:
Triptych (2011-12) premiere

Triptych marks the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Written for chamber orchestra, it serves as an homage to the haunting and sublime second movement. Nicholas Grew explores perception and recognition, employing new forms and textures. The piece evokes a slow, unfolding erosion and transformation of this musical icon. Nicholas Grew lectures in music at Plymouth University.

David Bessell: Solve et Coagula for solo flute and chamber orchestra (2012) premiere

Solve et Coagula, a piece for strings and winds, takes as its starting point information derived from spectral analysis of a tubular bell and a flute multiphonic. The title, which is a well known alchemical motto, refers here to the dissolution and recombination of the harmonic components of these two sounds forming the structure of the piece. David Bessel lectures in music at Plymouth University.

Tickets: £10 concessions £5
Free for Friends of Peninsula Arts, PU students and staff


Sunday 12 February

Labyrinth (1986) (PG) 
1.00pm |  Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building

Dir. Jim Henson, with David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Brian Henson
Running time: 102 minutes

Labyrinth is the story of teenager Sarah who, frustrated at being asked to babysit for her stepbrother, summons the Goblin King to take him away.  When the Goblin King appears and kidnaps the baby from his crib, Sarah must venture into the mysterious and dream-like Labyrinth in order to save him from the goblins. The film soundtrack features classic Bowie-penned 80's songs.
We are delighted to welcome the film’s conceptual designer Brian Froud and creature workshop artist Wendy Froud to discuss their work following the screening. 
Tickets: £5 concessions £3
Free for Friends of Peninsula Arts, PU students and staff


Pre-concert Q & A  

3.30pm | Upper Lecture Theatre, Sherwell Centre

Ivor McGregor discusses his String Quartet No.2 with Simon Ible. 

Ivor McGregor was born in 1962 in Leamington Spa where he began composing and playing the violin at the age of 8. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Alan Ridout and later at Huddersfield University with Richard Steinitz and John Casken for a Masters Degree. His works include 2 Symphonies, 3 String Quartets, and other chamber music.

Currently based in Birmingham, he composes and freelances as a violinist, and proofreads for Faber Music. He continues his composition studies privately with the distinguished composer John Joubert. 

Free event

Leo String Quartet 

Jane Sidebottom and Byron Parish:  Violins
Cathy Bower:   Viola
Kate Setterfield:   cello

4.00pm | Upper Lecture Theatre, Sherwell Centre

The Leo String Quartet is one of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s small ensembles, which include string trios and jazz bands. The quartet performs throughout the season as part of Centre Stage , the chamber music series at CBSO Centre. They have built a reputation for dynamic performances of diverse repertoire, both across the Midlands region and further afield, and have a passion for taking their music to new and wider audiences – future projects in 2012 include a site-specific performance of Different Trains in central Birmingham’s Moor Street station.
Ivor McGregor: String Quartet No.2 (2010)

Eduardo Reck Miranda:
Wee Batucada Scotica (1998)

David Everson:
Necromancer Waltz (2011) premiere

Steve Reich:
Different Trains (1988)

String Quartet No. 2 by Ivor McGregor is inspired by the landscape and sea of Cornwall, but also rooted in an idiom that combines the heritage of the classical String Quartet with a more personal harmonic language. David Everson graduated from Plymouth University with BA Hons Music in 2011.

Wee Batucada Scotica was commissioned by Glasgow University and was premiered in 1996 by the Saltire String Quartet at the University Concert Hall. The composition involves materials automatically generated by a computer in tandem with elements of Brazilian bossa nova style. A critic of The Scotsman reviewed the piece as Tom Jobim’s legendary “The Girl from Ipanema” song transmuted into “a lass from Glasgow tune” amid computer-generated melodies and rhythms. Wee Batucada Scotica is one of Miranda’s first successful instances of using the outcomes of his research into composing music with Artificial Life algorithms, which are computer simulations of biological systems.

Tickets: £5 concessions £3
Free for Friends of Peninsula Arts, PU students and staff 


Pre-concert talk  

6.30pm | Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

Lola Perrin introduces her new work
Her Sisters’ Notebook 

Lola Perrin has played live on Radio 3 and FabTV (Berlin) and appeared at the First International Conference of Minimalist Music. She has performed extensively in the UK in recent years at venues including the Design Museum, London’s Jazz Café, Latitude Festival, Henham Park, 2010 and the London Jazz Festival.

Tracks from CDs appear on UK TV broadcasts and European & USA radio playlists. Lola, who has been published by Boosey & Hawkes; "Breakfast in Milestown" in Elena Riu's R&B Collection, has a close affinity with visual art and has created works after Edward Hopper, Ansel Adams, Rachel Whiteread, Nazarin Montag, Roberto Battista, Carsten Hoeller, Hussein Chalayan and Hanif Kureishi.

In March 2011 Lola played her Birds Eye View Festival commissioned score for Sjöström's ‘The Wind’ to a sell out audience at BFI Southbank, and is currently preparing for her seven date concert series in central London, “Lola Perrin’s Seven Fridays”.

Free Event

Her Sisters’ Notebook (2012) premiere

Lola Perrin: Her Sisters’ Notebook for solo bass clarinet & pre-recorded bass clarinet ensemble (2012) premiere

Sarah Watts: bass clarinet
Commissioned by Sarah Watts 

7.00pm | Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building 

A girl found a book filled with music. It was too vast to have a beginning or ending, rather the music turned as the moon above turned shadows and light over her dream.
UK-based American composer Lola Perrin has written extensively for the piano, culminating in the release of eight piano books during 2011. Hailed as a “modern-day Schubert” (Ratko Delorko), Perrin now turns her attention to another of her passions, the bass clarinet, to commence a new phase of her output. 

Lola worked from the painting "Kiss 19" by David Oates in the composition of this work.

Sarah Watts specialises on the bass clarinet and was a founder member of the World Bass Clarinet Foundation and an organiser for the First World Bass Clarinet Convention in Holland in October 2005. She is currently researching bass clarinet multiphonics for a PhD at Keele University.

Free event  


Music without dots  - improvisation sessions

Sam Richards directs the Improvisation Workshop performance

Three workshops held during Jan/Feb 2012 will focus on spontaneity, intuitive music-making and improvisation. From simple seed-ideas to conduction, guided improvisation to being entirely freeform, the emphasis will be on the qualities of listening and response, and the individual and the group. The sessions are open to all, on any instruments or voices, at any level of previous experience - including no experience. The only qualification is a willingness to explore, dream, discover.

The workshops will lead to a concert performance during the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival on Sunday 12 February at 20.00, Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building .

Workshop Dates: Mon 23 January, Mon 30 January and Monday 06 February

Time: 19.30 - 21.00

Venue: Sherwell Centre, Plymouth University

Free event - not suitable for young children

For information and how to take part contact the Peninsula Arts Box Office on 01752 585050 or email