still point at Wigmore Hall

Orfea Duo: The Mobile ProjectOn Wednesday, 4 September, the Orfea Duo — Mea Wade (oboe) & Olivia Jageurs (harp) — will present a curious pro­gramme at London’s Wigmore Hall built around Heinz Holliger’s 1962 open-form work Mobile. This mod­ular and re­con­fig­ur­able work comes in 12 bits and it will be presented in­ter­mingled with 12 new matching mini­atures, in­cluding my (tiny) still point.

The con­cert is private, but I have two in­vit­a­tions to give away. Leave me a tweet @swithinbank or a com­ment below, and on Monday evening I’ll pick someone at random to go along.

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March Music: Stockholm & Brussels

Caravaggio’s Incredulity of St ThomasI’m lucky enough to be fin­ishing this month with two con­certs. On 22 March, the Curious Chamber Players will per­form The Incredulity of St Thomas as part of Samtida Musik’s Vårflod Festival in Stockholm. The rest of the pro­gramme fea­tures re­cent works by Swedish com­posers and the con­cert is fol­lowed by a re­cital given by Garth Knox.

Listings: Vårflod Festival

soundinitiativeTwo days later, soundini­ti­ative will give their second per­form­ance of my most re­cent piece, All that is solid melts into air, at the What’s Next Festival in Brussels. The con­cert will also in­clude the second per­form­ance of Joanna Bailie’s Artificial Environment Nos. 9a – d and Rebecca Saunders’s Molly’s Song #3 — shades of crimson, which they played with in­tensity and sub­tlety in February, so don’t miss it!

Listings: Ars Musica | soundini­ti­ative

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Icebloom in Graz

This morning, Stockholm’s Curious Chamber Players will read my mini­ature Icebloom, a piano trio with music box drawing on Schubert’s Winterreise, as part of the Impuls Academy in Graz, Austria. While here, I am also en­joying lec­tures on and per­form­ances of new music, meeting plenty of fellow com­posers and per­formers, and taking les­sons with Georges Aperghis, Chaya Czernowin and Georg Friedrich Haas. I am grateful for the schol­ar­ship from Fondation Royaumont which is en­abling this trip.

Update, 9/3: Here’s an ex­tract of Icebloom re­corded in the reading ses­sion last month:

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All that is solid melts into air in Paris

On Sunday 3 February, soundini­ti­ative will give the first per­form­ance of All that is solid melts into air at the Collège Franco-Britannique (MÉTRO Cité Universitaire) in Paris.

The con­cert will also in­clude a new ver­sion of my All the time that you have what we have. / All the time that you have. for mezzo-soprano and two vi­olas, the premiere of Joanna Bailie’s Artificial Environment Nos. 9a-d, Rebecca Saunders’s Molly’s Song #3 — shades of crimson and Jonathan Harvey’s Tombeau de Messiaen. Hope to see you there!

Listings: Facebook | soundini­ti­ative | Resonanta

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Things 2012

As the year draws to a close, here’s a se­lec­tion of things from the last twelve months that I have en­joyed and would like to share. Have a happy 2013!

Dan Vezza (Composer Conversations)Dan Vezza’s Composer Conversations pod­cast has kept me listening with its utter candour and un­pre­ten­tious dis­cus­sion of com­pos­i­tional nitty-gritty since the first episode in September. Dan is not only able to steer good chat, but pos­sibly uniquely qual­i­fied to present com­posers from quite dis­tinct scenes, in­cluding com­posers from both Europe and America, with a wide variety of mu­sical voices.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch - 1980Tanztheater Wuppertal, 1980 — Ein Stück von Pina Bausch — I was lucky enough to catch the re­vival of this Pina Bausch cho­reo­graphy at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris twice in the spring. The per­form­ance, which lasts al­most four hours, is an as­ton­ishing med­it­a­tion on loss and farewell with an in­tensity and breadth that com­pletely bowled me over.

Piaras Hoban, stamme : nahuskild : 존재감 — I met Piaras and heard this piece at Fondation Royaumont in September. There is some­thing won­der­fully bold and forceful in the way this work un­folds, let­ting sound slip into a kind of un­pre­dict­able, mys­tical dimension.

In a much briefer vein, here is Tim McCormack’s Apparatus vividly per­formed by young German en­semble hand werk at this year’s edi­tion of the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik.

Neil Luck, Fiona Bevan & ARCO: Last Wane DaysNeil Luck, Fiona Bevan & ARCO, Last Wane Days — This two-track EP col­lab­or­a­tion between com­poser Luck and singer-songwriter Bevan around texts by Richard Foreman per­forms the kind of ADHD–evoking styl­istic leaps that one might ex­pect of Van Dyke Parks and yet somehow hangs to­gether with a weird, geeky co­he­sion. The music is linked to Luck’s ‘Notebook’ per­form­ance pro­ject, a video of which is also worth watching.

Old(er) things new to me

Don DeLillo, White Noise
E.E. Cummings, ViVa
Werner Herzog, Herz aus Glas
Heinrich Schütz, Historia Der Auferstehung Jesu Christi, Ricercar Consort, Mark Padmore et al.
Mark Andre, iv 4, Ensemble Alternance
Robert Phillips, Mapuana mai kekahi (scent of an­other), The Nonsense Company


Two thou­sand el­even & Two thou­sand ten.

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  • Microbiography

    Chris Swithinbank is a British-Dutch com­poser who works with both acoustic in­stru­ments and elec­tronic sounds. He is cur­rently a stu­dent at Harvard University with Chaya Czernowin.
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