Red Note’s Review of 2016

December 23, 2016 in All Opportunities, featured, guest blog, News, review - rednote by mwhiteside

Welcome to Red Note’s 2016 Review of the Year! It’s been an amazing 12 months full of challenge, excitement and new things for everyone. We thought we’d share some of what happened with you to help you while away the long Winter evenings.

From all of us in the Red Note team, we’d also like to to wish you a very happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2017!

This year we’ve been travelling far and wide…

2016 was the year that Red Note truly got out and about. First of all we visited India to develop a new project for future years, and then we had three different international tours in the Autumn: to Canberra and Bermagui in Australia for two weeks of workshops and performances in September with the Griffyn Ensemble; to Belgium and Holland with Freedom O(r) Speech in October and November with I Solisti and Song Circus; and to France with KEIN.

Oh, and we went to England. Twice!

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powerful, provocative and confident”   David Kettle, The Scotsman  ★★★★★

Freedom o(r ) Speech, in partnership with I Solisti del Vento from Belgium and Norway’s Song Circus, performing in Aberdeen, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges and ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

… and we criss-crossed Scotland

This year we’ve brought Red Note’s stuff, in various forms, to quite a number of different areas of Scotland. In total, we’ve worked out that this year we’ve performed in:

The Western Isles | Aberdeenshire | Fife | the Highlands | East Lothian | East Renfrewshire | Glasgow City | Edinburgh City | Aberdeen City | Perthshire and Dumfries and Galloway

Working with Red Note requires a strong pair of shoes!

We performed the work of many composers …

Almost too many composers to name! However, here is an incomplete list in no particular order (with many apologies to anyone who has been missed out):

Bela Bartok | Louis Andriessen | Mauricio Kagel | Gareth Williams | Sally Beamish | George Crumb | John de Simone | John Mayer | Witold Lutoslawski | Edgar Varese | Fraser Fifield | François Sarhan | Jackie Shave | David Wilde | Arvo Part | Paul Stanhope | Kara Taylor | Lewis McLaughlin | David Sawer | Virginie Lesaffre | Kyle Berry | Armando Lobo | Misha Doumnov | Aggelos Mastrantonis | Arvin Papelli | Kuljit Bhamra | Paul Cowell | John Gourlay | Afrodita Kathmeridou | Derek Ball | J Simon van der Walt | Hilario Flores Conti | Vroni Holzmann | Simon Opit | Cheryl Loke | Bill Thompson | Conner McCain | George Handel | Matthew Whiteside | Robert Irvine | Olivier Messiaen | John Cage | Jonathan Harvey |Karlheinz Essl | Peter Longworth | Timothy Cooper | Denis Smalley | Henry McPherson | Martin Keary | Shona Mackay | Gregor Forbes | Taner Kemirtlek | Luciano Berio | …

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“a most brilliantly moving of elegies” Neil Cooper. The Herald  ★★★★★

The 306: Dawn. World Premiere. National Theatre of Scotland, 1418 NOW and Perth Theatre
co-production, in association with Red Note Ensemble.  (Image: Manuel Harlan)

In all sorts of different partnerships …

Oh my word yes. This year we worked with:

Film-makers: With Eggbox for their absolutely brilliant film to accompany Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union in the Concorde Hangar at the Lammermuir Festival in September.
Dancers: With the hugely talented company for the Dalcroze-inspired Sally Beamish commission Ringtime
Actors: And not one but two national treasures – Simon Callow for Freedom O(r) Speech in Aberdeen, and Crawford Logan for The Sins in the Cheltenham Festival.
Theatre Companies: One company really, but it’s a big one: the National Theatre of Scotland for the staggering site-specific The 306:Dawn
Schools: This was the year that our Schools composing project New Music Makers also got out-and-about, working with students and teachers from Kirkland High School in Leven, and Woodfarm, Lochend and Barrhead High Schools in Glasgow. That’s in addition to all of the schools we worked in as part of The 306: Dawn education projects, Go Compose! taster sessions in Aberdeen, and Knox High School in Haddington.
International Music Conservatoires: Not only our long-standing partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, working with their emerging professional conductors, performers and composers, but also this year we partnered with the Paris Conservatoire and the Helsinki Sibelius Academy for our first international Red Note Advanced Academy, bringing students from across Europe to work with us at the Lammermuir Festival. That’s also not to forget our partnerships with Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities too.
Start-up Entrepreneurs: Yes indeed. We were delighted to perform and present our work at the Scottish EDGE awards this December.
Other Ensembles: in other countries, primarily – I Solisti del Vento from Belgium, SongCircus from Norway, and Griffyn from Australia.

And many apologies to everything and everyone we have accidentally left out!

… in all sorts of venues

We go where audiences go. This year we played in:

Pubs | Aircraft Hangars | Very Large Sheds on Farms | School Halls | Conference Centres | Art Galleries | Churches | Theatres | Science Museums

That said, we do also play in concert halls! Just not all the time.

And many many thanks to our Festival partners – in particular, sound in Aberdeenshire, who reached their 10th anniversary this year! – but also the Lammermuir, Huddersfield, Cottier Chamber Project, Loch Shiel, November Music, Four Winds, Musiques Démesurées and Cheltenham Festivals, all of whom hosted us this year.

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“A magnificent achievement in a dazzling venue”      The Scotsman ★★★★★

Music & Film at Concorde, Lammermuir Festival.

Here’s a list of most of what we did this year:

NOISY NIGHTS – Summerhall, Edinburgh, The Byre, St Andrews, Cottiers Chamber Project, Glasgow and Australia!  |  RED to REID – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh  |  VIVE LE DIFFÉRENCE, March, RCS Glasgow  |  REELS TO RAGAS 3, March & April, Ardfern, Aberfeldy, Ullapool, Isle of Harris, Sleat, Isle of Skye, Glenfinnan  |  THE NIGHT WITH…. April, Glasgow  |  PLUG FESTIVAL – OPENING CONCERT, May, Glasgow  |  THE 306: DAWN, throughout May, Perthshire  |  THE COTTIER CHAMBER PROJECT, June, Glasgow  |  THE SINS BY SALLY BEAMISH, July, Cheltenham Music Festival  |  NEW MUSIC MAKERS, Fife – February and Glasgow, September – November  |  LAMMERMUIR FESTIVAL PROJECT with Knox Academy, Haddington, September  |  MUSIC AND FILM at the Concorde Hangar, Lammermuir Festival  |  FOUR WINDS FESTIVAL, CANBERRA with the Griffyn Ensemble, October  |  GO COMPOSE! Workshops and Concert, sound Festival, Aberdeen, October  |  FREEDOM O(R ) SPEECH, October & November, World Premiere at Sound Festival Aberdeen, European Premiere at deSingel Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and November Music Festival  |  OAKLAND PRIMARY SCHOOL PROJECT, Glasgow, September – November  |  KEIN BY FRANCIS SARHAN, November, World Premiere at 18ÈME Festival Musiques Démesurées, UK Premiere at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival  |  RING TIME and  RING TIME WORKSHOPS, Dumfries Edinburgh and Banchory, and Drygate Brewery, Glasgow  |  LEVERHULME CONDUCTING FELLOWS WORKSHOPS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, January and December  |  SCOTTISH EDGE AWARDS, RBS Gogarburn, December

And we also released our 3rd CD with DELPHIAN RECORDS!

On November 18th we released The Cellist of Sarajevo: chamber music by David Wilde on Delphian Records (DCD34179). David Wilde is the veteran of nine Delphian piano recordings, documenting his remarkable Indian summer as a performer. For this project we survey the works of Wilde’s ‘Bosnian’ period – when he travelled to besieged Sarajevo to help preserve the city’s cultural life, earning him the friendship of colleagues including the heroic members of the Sarajevo String Quartet.

To purchase please visit Presto Classical

 

ANNOUNCING THE FIRST SCOTTISH AWARDS FOR NEW MUSIC

November 22, 2016 in All Opportunities, Composers, featured, Home, News, Opportunity, Other Opportunity, Performers by mwhiteside

ANNOUNCING THE FIRST
SCOTTISH AWARDS FOR NEW MUSIC

CELEBRATING SCOTLAND’S VIBRANT
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SCENE

8 MARCH 2017, GLASGOW
www.newmusicscotland.co.uk
@scotnewmus 

The inaugural Scottish Awards for New Music will take place on Wednesday 8 March 2017 at 8.00pm at the Drygate Brewery, Glasgow.  The Awards have been created by New Music Scotland with financial support from Creative Scotland, to celebrate and champion the highest standards and achievements of Scotland’s composers, musicians, sound artists and ensembles. They will highlight and showcase the innovative, experimental and ground-breaking work taking place in Scotland, as well as the depth and breadth of the country’s contemporary music scene.

The Scottish Awards for New Music are welcoming nominations for music being made by Scottish and Scottish-based creators of new music. The nine categories are listed below. Nominations are open from Thursday 24 November until Tuesday 20 December 2016 and can be made by both members of the public and industry professionals.  Nominations can be made via the website where details of eligibility and submission criteria can be found: www.newmusicscotland.co.uk/awards2017.

The winners of each of the nine categories will be selected by an international panel of composers, musicians and music industry experts and announced at the awards evening in Glasgow on 8 March 2017. Profiles of the shortlisted entries will be available on New Music Scotland’s website in the weeks leading up to the event.

New Music Scotland Chair, composer Oliver Searle said, “We are excited about the launch of these awards in Scotland, in recognition of the range of innovative new work being created, promoted and performed. New Music Scotland recognises the diversity and quality of new music that exists here, providing a further opportunity to raise awareness of the range of musical activity that is essential in making Scotland such a culturally vibrant place to live and work.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland, said, “The Scottish Awards for New Music offer a fantastic opportunity to celebrate work that resonates locally, nationally and internationally. Excellence and experimentation thrive across all of the award categories, proving yet again that Scotland is home to musicians and composers who are truly world-class. Creative Scotland also hopes that these new awards raise the profile of such artists in our society, allowing the public to engage with some of the most thrilling music currently being made here.”
 

 

THE CATEGORIES:

  • electroacoustic/sound art work
  • small scale new work (1-10 performers)
  • large scale new work (11+ performers)
  • recorded new work
  • innovation
  • collaboration
  • community/education project
  • achievement in new music
  • new music performer(s) of the year

THE PANELLISTS:

  • Jessica Cottis (conductor)
  • Brian Irvine (composer)
  • Dr. Evonne Ferguson (Director of the Contemporary Music Centre Ireland)
  • Rose Dodd (composer)
  • Tom Poulson (musician)
  • Susanne Eastburn (Chief Executive, Sound and Music)
  • Kate Molleson (music writer)
  • Emmanuel Cocher (Director of the Institut français d’Ecosse)

New Music Scotland- Networking and Discussion Day 2nd September 2016

July 11, 2016 in All Opportunities, Conference, featured, News, Opportunity by mwhiteside

New Music Scotland

Networking and Discussion Day
2nd September 2016
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow 10.30am – 4pm

You are invited to join us for our third networking and discussion day. A day where we all come together to celebrate the successes of the last 12 months, to discuss the challenges that we face and to plan how to overcome these and shape new opportunities.

Our main discussion of the day will be ‘Working in Europe post-Brexit – what are the implications for funding and free movement of artists and how should we best prepare?’ The panel will include Geoffrey Brown from Euclid, Susanna Eastburn from Sound and Music, Norah Campbell from the British Council and Janet Archer from Creative Scotland.

In the afternoon Kyle Brenders from the Canadian New Music Network (skypeing in now following funding challenges) will join Alan Morrison from Creative Scotland, Susanna Eastburn from Sound and Music and Aidan O’Rourke to discuss ‘Making a Living from New Music’. The session will be chaired by Oliver Searle.

The day will include networking sessions, the NMS AGM (at which you are invited to contribute to planning the future direction of the organisation) and a networking lunch.

After a short break in the evening, you are invited to join us at the Echoes and Traces concert at Glasgow Cathedral featuring new works from Sally Beamish, Aidan O’Rourke, Matthew Whiteside, Allie Robertson and more. Attendees at the NMS Day are offered ‘Pay What You Can’ tickets for the concert. To take advantage of this fantastic offer, please email nicola@newmusicscotland.co.uk to reserve your tickets (payable in cash on the door). If you would like to pay the regular price, tickets are available online at £10-£15.

The NMS day itself is free for all to attend, but places must be booked. To reserve your place, book here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nms-networking-and-discussion-day-tickets-26461435867.
Schedule for the day:

10.30am-11am – Coffee and Tea on arrival

11am – 12pm – AGM – all are welcome at this, but only members can vote. You can become a member on the day!

12pm-1pm – PANEL DISCUSSION: Working in Europe post-Brexit – what are the implications for funding and free movement of artists and how should we best prepare?

1pm-2.30pm – Networking Lunch

2.30pm-4pm – PANEL DISCUSSION: Making a Living from New Music

4pm: ENDS

7.30pm: Echoes and Traces at Glasgow Cathedral

If you have any problems with the eventbrite link or have any questions, please do not hesitate in emailing nicola@newmusicscotland.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you there!

New Music Scotland Conference 2015

September 2, 2015 in All Opportunities, Composers, Conference, featured, News, Opportunity, Other Opportunity, Performers by newmusicscotland

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New Music Scotland Conference and Showcase 23rd and 24th October 2015. For more info and how to book go here: http://www.newmusicscotland.co.uk/conference2015/

New Music Scotland Day 2014, Review

September 23, 2014 in featured, guest blog, News, Stuart MacRae by Stuart MacRae

NMS Day 2014A couple of weeks ago I attended the first NMS Day in Glasgow, hosted by the recently formed New Music Scotland. Run as a cooperative, New Music Scotland is unusual in including among its membership not only composers, but promoters, ensembles, performers, festivals and other professionals with an interest in new music.

This spirit of new music as a shared enterprise was apparent throughout the day, which began with a broad discussion of what the fledgling organisation had been set up to do – namely, to foster and encourage opportunity, networking and dissemination among Scotland’s new music practitioners and organisations – and how the board planned to put these aims into action over the coming years. All of which sounded to me like something that should have been done A Very Long Time Ago, so I stumped up 20 quid and became a member there and then.

A longish lunch break provided plenty of time for networking (I don’t like the word, but it’s essential nonetheless!). However the real substance of the day was in the afternoon panel sessions chaired by John Harris and Oliver Searle, which were billed as discussions of the opportunities available for the development of new music, both in Scotland and internationally.

Let’s deal with the massive elephant in the room – at least for the composers – first.

The recent Sound and Music commission fee survey, which revealed the average composer’s annual income from commission fees to be a paltry £3689 (for an average of 2-3 pieces), may have come as a bombshell to many outsiders, but to composers it was merely confirmation of what was already suspected: that the funding available for new commissions is hopelessly incommensurate with the number of new works being written, asked for, performed and commissioned. Not only that: nearly half of the survey’s respondents didn’t get paid for their work at all.

It seems clear that most composers would like to be busy and in demand, but also to be paid fairly for their work. And promoters, performers and festivals say they’d like to do more new music, but that it’s expensive to rehearse, to commission, to hire and to promote. Where there is a limit on available funding (and there always will be) something has to give; and it’s evident that composers bear the brunt of this mismatch, lowering fees and in many cases foregoing them entirely for the sake of having their work performed. Such devaluation of new music surely cannot be acceptable.

Susanna Eastburn, Chief Executive of Sound and Music, stressed in the first panel discussion that what is required is not an imposition of minimum fees, but a change in the value society places on new music: this, it seems, could come about if we find new ways to engage our audiences, to reach a global market through online dissemination and social media, to transform the live experience of music by taking it away from the traditional concert hall.

Clare Hewitt from Creative Scotland, who was also on the panel, echoed this in her emphasis on cross-artform work, citing the recent Commonwealth Cultural programme as an example of how artists and organisations could contribute to public events on a large scale.

But first composers need to decide what value they place on their own work.

Some commissioners of new work really don’t know how much they should be paying for a commission, and this makes it impossible for them to budget appropriately and take the necessary steps to secure funding in good time. I can’t think of a way to improve this that doesn’t involve a set of guidelines of some kind – or at the very least a collective effort between composers and commissioners to decide what is acceptable and reasonable.

The panel’s third contributor, James Hannam from the PRS for Music Foundation, told us he had seen a 300% rise in funding application activity over the last three years, and that there are also fewer festivals across all genres of music. This chimes with anecdotal evidence I’ve heard that as funding sources dry up or tighten their belts (for example private endowments, estates and trusts) there is increasing pressure on large funders such as PRSF and Creative Scotland as commissioners are bottlenecked into the same funding streams. On a more positive note, he pointed out that international interest in UK music is increasing, which suggests there is a wider international market for ensembles and composers out there if we can break into it.

It strikes me that all of the above leaves three options: the status quo, in which many commissions are not paid at a sustainable rate; far fewer, better paid commissions; or finding ways to make new music more economical, more attractive to alternative funders and promoters, and more ‘useful’ as composer John De Simone put it on the day.

The last option surely seems the most positive, and there was much advice to this end during the day, particularly with regard to the use of the Internet as a promotional and dissemination tool with truly global potential. The trick seems to be in learning how to use it effectively; and those who have done so are often now promoters in their own right, far more in control of their own work and opportunities (and income…?) than composers who are more dependent on the traditional system of commissions from established institutions.

(One caveat here: we don’t really know whether these empowered composer-curators who might just change the paradigm for new music are paying themselves either enough, or at all, and it would be interesting to know what goes first when there’s pressure on the budget.)

Next up was Graham McKenzie, Director of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, who was not short of advice for ensembles and composers alike: make sure project proposals are as well targeted as possible; try to give a clear impression of the composer’s influences and approach; think internationally.

There were two headline figures from Mr. McKenzie’s talk:

  • 1%: the proportion of unsolicited project ideas that end up in the festival.
  • €2000: the amount he expects to contribute to a commission fee for a work to be premiered at the festival.

The first of these gives an indication of the enormity of the task facing big festival directors in choosing what to programme, and should encourage us all to work hard to make proposals as distinctive and necessary as possible.

The second figure, €2000 (yes, that’s Euros and not Pounds, which is revealing in itself) is meant to be just a part of a co-commission, the rest being made up of similar sums from as many as six international partners, which Mr. McKenzie says he works hard to persuade once he has decided to back a project. He didn’t say what size of piece this scenario would relate to (but it seems likely to be something quite substantial such as a full-length string quartet) but pointed out that a successful co-commission benefits everyone involved: more performances, international exposure, and lower costs.

And what if the international festivals don’t want to join in? Well, then the composer might end up with €2000, or no commission.

This all feels quite a long way from the empowered composer-curator mentioned earlier (in fact it seems like good old-fashioned patronage with a bit of modern venture capitalism thrown in) but perhaps that’s the price of finding a top-notch international platform.

Whatever conclusions can be drawn from the day, one thing is certain: the more we talk to each other about how to create and develop a healthy, thriving new music environment in Scotland, the more progress we will make, and the more confident we will grow.

 

Alchemy: Scotland’s new New Music Ensemble

September 8, 2014 in News by mwhiteside

RSNO’s new contemporary music group to challenge the nature of conductor, performer and composer

This September the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) launches RSNO Alchemy, a new music ensemble, developed in conjunction with composer/conductor Peter Wiegold, with a mission to explore new works, methods of performance, improvisation and collaboration.

RSNO Alchemy will work with contemporary composers, exploring established repertoire and newly-commissioned works. A principal goal of the new ensemble is to meld structured performance with elements of improvisation, a departure for many orchestral musicians, expanding the responsibilities of participants and blurring the boundaries between conductor, performer and composer.

RSNO Alchemy will venture beyond the restrictions of its expected genre, and incorporate influences from jazz, folk, dance, and theatre to present a culturally diverse experience. Moreover, it will be a flexible group in terms of size and style, working on a project-by-project basis, collaborating with a selection of guest artists suited to the nature of each project.

This is the first ensemble from a UK orchestra to be established with these goals, further illustrating the RSNO’s intention to be one of the nation’s leading innovative performing arts institutions.

Developed in conjunction with composer/conductor Peter Wiegold, in its first year RSNO Alchemy will give three performances, the first held at the Tramway, Glasgow, on Wednesday 10 September at 7.30pm. The evening’s theme takes its inspiration from 20th century Italian writer Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel Invisible Cities, which depicts over fifty views of the city of Venice, as described by Italian merchant traveller Marco Polo to Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. RSNO Alchemy will take its source material from one-page scores by James MacMillan, John Woolrich, Peter Wiegold and Aidan O’Rourke amongst others, interspersed with narrated extracts from Calvino’s book, read by Deacon Blue’s Lorraine McIntosh.

RSNO Alchemy Director Peter Wiegold: “I am so pleased to be asked to work with the RSNO on launching RSNO Alchemy. We tested the water with this ensemble in February of this year, and it was a complete delight to work so closely and fruitfully with the imaginative musicians and everyone was keen to continue.

“I would describe RSNO Alchemy as a directed ensemble with a heightened sense of chamber music, in which the players are always creatively responding. In Invisible Cities we will begin with concise source material. Then indeed an alchemical mix of direction, realisation and improvisation begins. Some music written, some from hand signals, some free. One signal might mean copy someone else, another means perform a solo, and so the audience and the musicians actually experience music being created before their eyes.”

RSNO Associate Leader William Chandler: “The idea is to give participants the freedom to explore some avenues of music-making that might be off the path of what orchestral musicians are normally used to. As someone who is specifically trained to interpret written music, the prospect of not fully knowing what the music will turn out like is thrilling, if a little daunting.”

RSNO Alchemy, with Director Peter Wiegold and narrator Lorraine McIntosh, will appear at the Tramway, Glasgow, at 7.30pm on 10 September 2014. For more information please visit www.rsno.org.uk.



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