Open Circuit Festival

Open Circuit 2017 constitutes our most varied offering of contemporary music to date. Twelve different events spread across five days present a diverse collection of music, including concert music, structured improvisations, performers with realtime electronics, acoustmatic electronic music, and audio-centric video games. This year’s festival is organised by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Composition and Technology, a newly formed group composers and technologists working at the intersection of sound, computers and visual media.

The festival runs from March 24-29th and all events are held in the Victoria Gallery and Museum. Featured guest composers and ensembles include french composer Philippe Manoury, the RLPO’s Ensemble 10/10, Christian Lindberg, Pixels Ensemble, Richard Craig, House of Bedlam and the Merseyside Improvisers Orchestra.

Download the full 2017 programme as a PDF

Friday, 24th March 2017

workshop Realtime Music - 11am

This workshop introduces secondary school students to the practice of using computers to connect action, sound and video in a real-time performance setting. Following brief discussions of fundamental concepts, participants will gain hands-on experience working with graphic programming environments and will make sound and music collaboratively using various digital interfaces, such as game controllers and drawing tablets. Reserve a ticket.

concert Digital Game Pieces - 1pm

Drawing upon the interactive quality of video games, digital game pieces feature dynamic audiovisual scores that simultaneously guide the production of music and react to the real-time decisions of players. This event features realisations of two digital game pieces that use sound from acoustic instruments as game controller, albeit in significantly different ways. Performances will be followed by a discussion with the audience.
PROGRAMME
Simon Hutchinson and Paul TurowskiPlurality Spring
Joost van DongenCello Fortress
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concert Grunting into the Machine - 7pm

This concert explores a variety of different approaches to rethinking the relationship between the performer, the composer and computer intervention.  Martin Parker’s GruntCount, an improvised but rehears-able composition for performer and computer, takes a brute force approach to technological interaction: both the performer and the computer play a series of musical sounds (grunts) which set off a chain reaction of mutual influence.  Harry Whalley’s Clasp Together invites the performer to control their own neurological responses during performance.  Other improvisations and pieces will explore the boundary between improvisation and composition.
PROGRAMME
Martin Parker/Pete Furniss gruntCount versions for flute and computer, and clarinet and computer
Pete Furniss Fragmentations for clarinet and computer
Harry WhalleyCLASP Together for musicians, electronics & brain
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Saturday, 25th March 2017

concert Swedish Meatballs - 7:30pm

The RLPO’s Ensemble 10/10 performs a concert of music curated by guest conductor Christian Lindberg. Lindberg’s programme surveys new and innovative approaches to writing for chamber ensemble by emerging young Swedish composers Andrea Tarrodi, Jan Sandström and Per Egland as well as work by the conductor himself.
PROGRAMME
Christian LindbergArabenne for Trombone and Strings
Andrea Tarrodi Empíreo for Chamber Ensemble
Jan Sandström A short ride on a Motorbike for trombone and tape
Christian LindbergCondor Canyon for Trombone and Brass Quintet
Per EglandAnother Beak for Chamber Ensemble
Christian LindbergDoctor Decker the Dentist for Trombone Quartet and three acting musicians
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Monday, 27th March 2017

concert Electronic Music and Video Art Showcase - 1pm

Open Circuit presents an immersive audio and visual experience, featuring electronic music and video art selected from the Open Circuit international call for works.
PROGRAMME
Adriana RuizPink Bourbon
Annette Vande Gorne4 Haiku: Printemps
Daniel Blinkhorn Anthozoa
Francis DhomontTo Uli A. and Antonio V.
Joao Pedro OliveiraPetals
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talk Enda Bates: The Spatial Composer as Illusionist - 2:30pm

In this talk composer Enda Bates discusses the practical and artistic use of space in electroacoustic music for multiple loudspeakers. The metaphor of an illusionist is used to emphasis the sometimes fragile nature of musical space, particularly in a performance context, and to underline the importance of an appreciation of the actual listening experience of the audience. A variety of different spatial 'illusions' are discussed in terms of their technical production, how they operate on a perceptual level, and their use in original works of electroacoustic music by a number of different composers.

concert Flute and Electronics with Richard Craig - 7pm

Richard Craig is renowned as a performer of challenging new music for flute and electronics. At the centre of his work is the development of contemporary repertoire through commissioning works from well-established and emerging composers. In this concert he will premiere a new arrangement for flute and voice of Steven Takasugi’s The Flypaper as well as performing three world premieres by University composers Matt Fairclough, Liam Carey and Ian Costabile.
PROGRAMME
Kaaja SaariahoLaconisme de l’aile
Jesse Ronneaufhbf for bass flute and electronics
John CroftIntermedio I for bass flute and live electronics
Luc FerrariMadame de Shanghai for flute/s and tape
Steve TakasugiThe Flypaper world premiere of the solo flute version
Alvin Lucier947 for flute and sine tones for solo flute
Ian Costabile Bi-dimensional Alto Flute and Electronics
Liam CareyAn intense and unpleasant excitement Flute and Electronics
Matt FaircloughThrough the leaded light Alto Flute, percussion and electronics
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Tuesday, 28th March 2017

talk Philippe Manoury: Recent Music for instruments and electronics - 4pm

French composer Philippe Manoury is known for his work with instruments and computer sound. He was a pioneer in this field, collaborating with Miller Puckette in the 1980s at IRCAM in Paris on a series of pieces that pushed the boundaries of interactions between performers and computers. These innovations included new strategies for ways in which computers process live sound and methods for teaching the computer to understand where the performer is in a musical score. His work with Puckette also led to the creation of the electronic music making programme known as Max/MSP, which is now widely used by composers, musicians and sound designers.

concert Pixels Ensemble - 7pm

This concert is centred around Philippe Manoury’s Partita I for viola and realtime electronics, which combines cutting-edge electro-acoustic interactivity with the traditional form of the baroque suite. Other works curated by Pixels Ensemble explore the theme of composers' responses to older music, including the Open Circuit 2017 commission by composer Mic Spencer and a new work by festival director Ben Hackbarth for piano and electronics.
PROGRAMME
John Dowland, transcribed by Ian BuckleIf my complaints could passions move for viola and piano
Robert Schumann, transcribed by Ian Buckle Mondnacht for viola and piano
Mic Spencer/Max ErwinVon ihm nun träumen müsst for viola, piano and electronics
Mario DavidovskySynchronisms no. 6 for piano and electronic sounds
Ben HackbarthLiquid Etude no 2 for piano and computer sound
Benjamin BrittenLachrymae (Reflections on a song of Dowland) op. 48 for viola and piano
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Wednesday, 29th March 2017

concert House of Bedlam - 1pm

Three new works exploring relationships between music and narrative through projected text. Joe Snape’s (music and text) Disappointment and Small Relief, Hospital Scenes tells the story of a doomed romance between Out Hero (a photosensitive in-patient at an eye clinic) and You (an ophthalmologist with a strobe like smile). Larry Goves’ (music) and Matthew Welton’s (text) The book of Matthew is a ‘setting’ of part of a poem of the same name; a collection of 39 hauntingly beautiful variations arranged according to Roget’s Thesaurus. Tithonus, Drunk, by Laurie Tompkins (music) and Sam Quill (text) is a short soap about life of the sauce for four instrumentalists, electronics and projected drinker.
PROGRAMME
Joe SnapeDisappointment and Small Relief, Hospital Scenes
Larry Goves (music) & Matthew Welton (words)The book of Matthew
Laurie Tompkins (music) & Sam Quill (words)Tithonus, Drunk
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workshop Sound Recording and Production - 2:30pm

The music department’s head sound technician offers a workshop to adults who are interested in Digital Audio Workstations, the software-based production environments which are at the heart of most recorded music production. Realtime recordings of live musicians will be made and then used to demonstrate how modern recordings are assembled. The aim is to de-mystify the notion that big recording studios are needed to make professional sounding recordings, and to show how the modern producer takes advantage of the creative potential and high quality of affordable recording setups.

Please note there is limited availability for this workshop which will have a maximum capacity of 15. Reserve a ticket.

concert Open Works and Improvisation - 7pm

The Merseyside Improvisers Orchestra, under the direction of Ged Barry, present a wide variety of compositions, improvisations, and everything in between. This program celebrates performer agency and collaborative authorship by showcasing open works of the twentieth century, contemporary compositions by local composers, and directed improvisation.
PROGRAMME
Kristina WarrenObjects eager and unbaffled
Michael Beiert Hope Street
Will Redman Book
Jennifer Walshe Zusammen i
Christian Wolff Play
George Lewis Artificial Life
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Past Festivals

Both University of Liverpool staff and postgraduate student work is on display at the University’s annual Open Circuit Festival of new music and audio-visual performance, headlined by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music group Ensemble 10/10 and a featuring variety of distinguished guest performers and composers from around the world.

Open Circuit 2016

Featuring Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Ensemble 10/10, Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard, the Gildas String Quartet, John Kenny and more.

More info...

Download the full programme as a PDF

Open Circuit 2014

Featuring the Elysian String Quartet, Ensemble 10/10, Oliver Coates, Joby Burgess, Markus Popp, Vessel and more.

More info...

Download the full programme as a PDF