Festival of New
Friday 10 – Saturday 11 September 2021
One of Britten Pears Arts’ key commitments is to facilitate the development of new and innovative works, and the Festival of New is a whirlwind of freshly devised music and sound, exploring some of the most exciting work being made in the UK. Some projects are ready to take flight, while others are just beginning. All have been developed in Snape and Aldeburgh on residencies that take place all year round, giving artists the freedom to take risks, be ambitious and release their creative spirit.
The festival takes place over two days on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 September and will feature seven performances and two installations.
THABO, Friday 10 September, 5pm, Britten Studio
Singer/songwriter/producer THABO tells stories through song within an immersive environment which offers sights and scents as well as sounds. His current practice involves exploring and creating multi-sensory musical experiences by combining visuals, music and fragrance, a concept THABO first explored through Opera North’s Resonance Project in 2019. The performance will take as its starting point Cool Burn, a short film exploring Bantu themes and philosophies in order to outline a fresh approach to modern challenges like relationships and – in particular – breakups. Directed by Julian Knxx, the film is composed of beautiful motifs and the graceful movements of four talented dancers. Coupled with original music from THABO and a series of monologues the film comes together as a poetic expression from which the viewer can ask themselves interesting and unusual questions. Pianist Aron Kyne and guitarist Matthew Waters will then join THABO in an immersive unpacking of the music featured in Cool Burn.
KOGG, Friday 10 September, 7pm, Peter Pears Recital Room
KOGG is an experimental electronic collaboration between Selena Kay and Cerys Hogg, a fusion of their diverse musical backgrounds and collective interests. Formally trained in classical and jazz disciplines respectively, KOGG’s music is a synthesis of composed, improvised and generative elements creating a kaleidoscopic sound world of elastic rhythms and shifting melodies, fabricated with an ear for both the familiar and the unknown. KOGG’s sonic palette is derived from real and home-made instruments, objects and manipulated vocals. Source sounds include ping pong balls bouncing on drums, train whistles, elastic bands, wax cylinder recordings and trombone. Their material is fed through a variety of transformational processes utilising an array of hardware and software instruments. Currently completing their debut album, KOGG are excited to bring their music from the studio to the stage offering the listener a multi-textured musical journey which is rhythmically exciting and sonically rich.
Call Me Unique, Friday 10 September, 9pm, Britten Studio
Singer/songwriter & guitarist Call Me Unique fuses the sounds of jazz, soul, futurebeats, and scat-singing with influences from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, Ella Fitzgerald & Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes. Born in Manchester and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, Unique has graced the stages of UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Latitude, Strawberry Fields, Secret Garden Party, Mostly Jazz Fest, Simmer Down, and Oxjam. As well as touring Europe, Unique counts artists such as Monkeyneck, Adée, Àbáse, and RÓQA among her many international collaborations. Performing at Festival of New with her 5-piece band, expect Call Me Unique’s performance to be honest, eclectic, and heartfelt.
Thea, Saturday 11 September, 2pm, Snape Maltings
Thea is an opera for a single strong female character, inspired by one of the composer’s Bargee Traveller ancestors. The work aims to challenge the unfavourable portrayal of women in opera, particularly those from Traveller backgrounds by offering an intimate glimpse into the world of this strong independent woman, seen entirely through her own eyes. Thea’s life is one of poverty and hard work, travelling vast distances, while also raising a large family on board a boat. The artists will explore themes such as female identity, sexual and racial discrimination, motherhood, as well as issues concerning climate change. As the first time that composer Amanda Johnson and writer Jo Clement have created work together, this is an opportunity to see how the opera is beginning to emerge from the raw elements of spoken word, music and recorded sound. There will also be time to ask questions and discuss the work with both artists.
PRANASA, Saturday 11 September, 4pm, Peter Pears Recital Room
Taking their name from the Sanskrit word ‘Prana’, meaning ‘ultimate breath’, and ‘Anasa’, Greek for ‘Breath’, PRANASA aim to do nothing less than breathe music. Together, Supriya Nagarajan (voice), Sarah Waycott (flute), and Yanna Zissiadou (piano) view their distinctive cultural diversity as a great strength and opportunity. PRANASA commented, “We want to create a brand-new sound anchored in texts spoken in our own languages – British, Greek, Indian – and in music. We will explore and manipulate time, phrasing, keys and modes, our own instrumental and vocal techniques, and experiment with light, space, time and speed refraction. We want to find the common places between us yet also borrow from each other’s heritage, creating something that has never been heard before. Using a range of acoustic and electronic instruments, our sound will be recognisable, quirky, surprising, familiar but unknown, soulful, rich, funky, curious, and at all times and in all ways, completely PRANASA!” PRANASA are joined by Duncan Chapman, a Lincolnshire-based composer / musician, whose practice ranges across performance, installation and recording, as well as regular collaborations with Supriya Nagarajan.
Christo Squier – Subatomic, Saturday 11 September, 6pm, Snape Maltings Concert Hall
Cosmic rays are produced deep in the universe. Millions shower Earth every second, in a random way currently beyond human comprehension. Subatomic particles are passing through you at this very moment…blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond our galaxy. This has happened throughout the history of the solar system. By learning about them, we can learn about our origins. Born out of a King’s College London artist residency, composer Christo Squier and experimental particle physicist Dr. Teppei Katori are joined by a host of instrumentalists to explore this fascinating subatomic world via composition, sonification, projection and performance. Some pieces are built using pre-recorded scientific data as inspiration, others embrace entropy and improvisation by using mobile cosmic ray detectors or a feed from Super-Kamiokande observatory in Japan. Part experiment, part lecture, part suite of new music, Subatomic holds a curious musical lens over a hidden yet vital part of our world.
Sound Voice: voice loss and identity, Saturday 11 September, 8pm, Britten Studio
Sound Voice is a visionary exploration of the human voice and possibilities of collaboration. It brings together those who have experienced voice loss alongside artists, biomedical researchers, healthcare professionals, academics and technology entrepreneurs. In the past year, Hannah Conway and Hazel Gould have made short operatic moments out of the life stories and insights of this diverse group. Interdisciplinary workshops have revealed deep connections for all those taking part, expanding collective knowledge and understanding of the voice. This Festival of New concert assembles all of the work to date for an event that explores the identities of those who have experienced voice loss. Researchers and other guest collaborators join the performers in a shared space to celebrate the beauty and value of the human voice.
Sound Voice Installation, Friday 10 September, 2 – 9pm & Saturday 11 September, 10am – 8pm
Jerwood Kiln Studio
The Sound Voice installation, which premieres at Festival of New, is an immersive experience made to explore the stories of people who have experienced significant voice change or loss. Video designer Luke Halls and sound designer David Sheppard have collaborated for the first time with composer Hannah Conway and writer Hazel
Gould to create a surround-sound, audiovisual setting of Tanja, Paul and I Left My Voice Behind, three works from the Sound Voice project. The installations can be experienced as a group, with breaks between them, or as short standalone experiences.
BPYAP Composers Film, Friday 10 September, 2 – 9pm & Saturday 11 September, 10am – 8pm, Dovecote Studio
A specially commissioned short film by Jessie Rodger, focusing on the creative processes of the six early-career composers currently supported by the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme. The film will examine the diversity of practice and style across the composers, their individual identities and what their year-long artist development journey will look like. It will be shown as a rolling installation across the two days of the festival in Dovecote Studio.