Tom Phillips speaking at Graphic Scores
"Featuring Joanna MacGregor, Elaine Mitchener, Tom Arthurs, Oliver Coates & Isambard Khroustaliov
UK Tour 3 - 11 October
How do you play a picture? Composers and artists from John Cage to Brian Eno have experimented with notation to create extraordinary visual scores that rival the best contemporary art. This transatlantic programme spans classical, experimental and jazz with a super group of the UK's most original musicians playing works by George Crumb, Cathy Berberian, Fred Frith, John Cage, Wadada Leo Smith, Cornelius Cardew, Tom Phillips RA and Jennifer Walshe against the striking backdrop of their projected scores.
A series of illustrated talks take place alongside the events featuring Theresa Sauer, from the fascinating Notations21 project that inspired this tour, with Tom Phillips RA joining Theresa in Southampton and London.
WHAT IS A GRAPHIC SCORE?
From the early twentieth century, certain groups of composers began questioning every convention and by the 1950s began liberating themselves from traditional notation through the use of visual symbols to create works of often stunning aesthetic quality. Blurring the boundaries between visual, written and musical languages, graphic scores saw collaboration between composers and visual artists, the influence of which is still felt today.
John Cage famously celebrated this prolific era for graphic scores with his book Notations (co-edited with Alison Knowles), which included works by the likes of Louis Andriessen alongside Yoko Ono and even a decorated lyric sheet by The Beatles. Whilst the initial blast of heat around graphic scores cooled in the 70s, their visual excitement remains highly seductive for many creating music today with artists from Aphex Twin to John Zorn using graphic notation in their work. In 2009 Theresa Sauer's Notations21 explored these new developments in musical notation, just as Cage did, in a compendium of innovative scores from over 50 countries.
An ensemble of some of the UK's most exciting musicians has been specially put together for this project including:
Joanna MacGregor - piano
Tom Arthurs - trumpet
Oliver Coates - cello
Elaine Mitchener - voice
Isambard Khroustaliov - electronics
PROGRAMME - in alphabetical order:
Cathy Berberian - Stripsody
John Cage - Water Music
Cornelius Cardew - Treatise (excerpts)
George Crumb - Crusifixus
Fred Frith - Bricks for Six & Zurich
Wadada Leo Smith - Luminous Axis
Tom Phillips - Golden Flower, Lesbia Waltz, Ornamentik
Jennifer Walshe - This is why people O.D. on Pills
Produced by: sounduk . Funded by: Arts Council England, RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Trust
3 October - Southampton, Turner Sims8pm, £20 (£19 conc / £18 friends / £10 students), 023 8059 5151, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer and Tom Phillips RA at 7pm, free to ticket holders
Turner Sims website
4 October - Manchester, Royal Northern College of Music7.30pm, £12 (conc avail), 0161 907 5555, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer at 6.30pm, free to ticket holders
5 October - Gateshead, Sage Gateshead8pm, £19.50, sagegateshead.com, 0191 443 4661, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer at 7pm, free to ticket holders
Sage Gateshead website
6 October - London, LSO St Lukes7.30pm, £22 (£19 conc) / £15 (£12.50 conc) / £10, 020 7638 8891, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer and Tom Phillips RA at 6.45pm, free to ticket holders
LSO St Luke's website
10 October - Leeds, Howard Assembly Room7.30pm, £12.50 (conc avail), 0844 848 2727, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer at 6.15pm, free to ticket holders
Howard Assembly Room website
11 October - Oxford, St John The Evangelist, promoted by Oxford Contemporary Music8pm, £17 (£15 conc), £14 (£10 conc), 01865 305 305, pre-concert talk with Theresa Sauer at 7pm, free to ticket holders"