Microscopic Dances – Oliver Searle/NYoS/Drake Music Scotland

Oliver Searle

Microscopic Dances was a new commission for an entirely new kind of orchestra formed by members of Digital Orchestra and NYOS Futures musicians. Written by Oliver Searle for a mixture of acoustic and digital instruments it was created to enable disabled musicians to fully collaborate with their peers, in a serious piece of contemporary music. This ambitious project involved a vital collaboration between Drake Music Scotland, NYOS and Oliver Searle. Each partner brought a strong track record to the project but also a real willingness to aim high and embrace the inevitable challenges.


How did the project and the collaboration come about?

Oliver has worked with Drake Music Scotland on various projects over the last few years, such as Technophonia (nominated for a British Composer Award and RPS Award), which was also one of the first collaborations for the Digital Orchestra. Oliver has worked with NYOS on many occasions, who also developed Same River Twice, with Malcolm Edmonstone, the NYOS: Jazz Collective and the Digital Orchestra, in 2015.


What was the most exciting aspect of the collaborative process?

Microscopic Dances was rehearsed and performed in a short space of time but for Oliver Searle and the two music organisations, it represented the final part of a long and intense journey. The performance eloquently displayed how equality can be achieved with no compromise in ambition, no dumbing down: a celebration of the whole range of musical voices. This collaboration represents a high point along a continuous partnership route between the three creative partners over a number of years.


What other pieces have you seen or heard in the last year that you think will stand the test of time?

Performance highlights of 2017 included the BBCSSO performing The Last Supper (by Sir Harrison Birtwistle – not a new piece, but a classic of modern times!), Humiliated and Insulted by Gerald Barry (performed by the RSNO), and The Imperfection of Memory (a collaboration between composer and artist, Colin Broom and Heather Lander).


If you were to collaborate again with an unlimited budget (the dream!), what would your ideal project be?

Ideally, we would love to work on a project with the full NYOS Symphony Orchestra, and the Digital Orchestra; this might include arrangements/expansions of previous material, so that we can include as many of the participants from previous projects as possible, along with lots of newly-written music, to explore more of the musical possibilities for combining acoustic and electronic instruments. http://www.scottishmusiccentre.com/oliver-searle/

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