Open Circuit 2016

Friday, 4th March 2016

19.00 Gildas String Quartet    The Open Circuit festival begins with the brilliant Gildas String Quartet playing an exciting set of American music in the VG&M’s downstairs Waterhouse Cafe. Ben Hackbarth’s piece Liquid Study 1, for string quartet and electronics, explores the relationship between acoustic and electronics forces, as he explains, the two “behave much more like oil and water - two distinct entities which share a diaphanous boundary, inherently responsive to each other, yet stubbornly separate and divisible.” Ben’s piece is followed by George Crumb’s atmospheric Black Angels, a seminal work for amplified string quartet. Each of the four string players perform on additional instruments, including wine glasses and tam-tams, to create an ethereal and haunting music inspired by the Vietnam War.

Friday, 4th March 2016

20.00 Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard    This is an exciting opportunity to hear two of Britain’s most innovative and talented musicians. Taking inspiration from the music of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and traditional American spirituals, pianist Joanna MacGregor and jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard create a new live score for Sunrise, F.W. Murnau’s 1927 masterpiece of silent film. More well-known for his 1922 film Nosferatu, an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Murnau made Sunrise in the twilight of the silent era, it became a swan-song for the vanishing medium and one of its greatest expressions, a story about innocence and experience, urban and rural America, love and violence. MacGregor and Sheppard, joined by the University composer Matt Fairclough, create a compelling and surprising new soundtrack for Sunrise, exploring the effect that music has on film and vice-versa.

Saturday, 5th March 2016

19.30 An Evening with Sir Harrison Birtwistle    In collaboration with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic we present an evening of music and conversation with one of Britain’s foremost composers, Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Ensemble 10/10, led by conductor Clark Rundell, perform some of Birtwistle’s iconic works including Bach Measures, Secret Theatre and Tragoedia featuring pianist Ian Buckle. The concert includes a rare opportunity to hear Birtwistle in conversation his biographer, the academic Dr David Beard. They will discuss the evening music as well as Birtwistle’s style and ideas about creativity.

Monday, 7th March 2016

19.30 Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis    Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 film Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis forms the backdrop to an exciting new collaborative effort between the University of Liverpool, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Four postgraduate composers from the Department of Music are collaboratively writing a film score to accompany Ruttmann’s classic silent film. This score will be performed live with the help of musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in FACT’s downstairs venue, The Box. Seats will be limited, so please book in advance! Featuring composers Liam Carey, Daniel Fallon, Andrew Graley and Isabel Benito Gutierrez.

Tuesday 8th March 2016

19.30 Ian Buckle Trio   In an evening of British and American contemporary music spanning the 1950’s to the present day, an all-star trio of cello (Jonathan Aasgaard) piano (Ian Buckle) and percussion (Julian Warburton) present music for instruments and electronics. The concert begins with Elliot Carter’s classicSonata for Cello and Piano followed by Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronisms no. 6 for piano and tape. Tristan Perich’s Momentary Expanse for vibraphone and “2 channel 1-bit” electronics rounds off the first half. After the interval we will hear two world premieres: Martin Iddon’s trio Limnades and Ben Hackbarth’s new work Telegraphed Love Letter for trio and real-time electronic sound.

Wednesday 9th March 2016

13.00 Lunchtime concert with John Kenny    The Electronic Music day starts with highly acclaimed Trombonist Professor John Kenny, who will present an exciting and diverse programme of works for Trombone and electronics, including a new work by University composer Matt Fairclough. The concert also features a rare opportunity to hear him talk about and perform on the Carnyx, a 2000 year old instrument discovered in Deskford, Scotland in 1816.

14.30 - 16.00 Sound Diffusion Workshop    Manuella Blackburn (Liverpool Hope University) will discuss her most recent work Ice Breaker and with Oliver Carman present a workshop on sound spatialisation, using the Department of Music’s sound diffusion system. Music students from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University will then be invited diffuse their own works using the system in an informal listening and feedback session.

19.30 - 21.15 Electronic Music and Video Art Showcase    Prepare for an immersive listening experience with an evening of acousmatic sonic explorations and sound images, engaging audio-visual art and more virtuoso performances for Trombone and electronics. Presented through the Department of Music’s multiple loudspeaker sound diffusion system, the concert will feature the finalists selected from the Open Circuit call for works, as well as Manuella Blackburn’s recent work Ice Breaker and the world premiere of Tape/Machine by University of Liverpool composer Oliver Carman.

Thursday 10th March 2016

11.00 and 13.00 Guild Sound Collective    The Guild Sound Collective present an educational programme for secondary school pupils. The university’s in house contemporary/classical/pop crossover student ensemble will play a variety of pieces that demonstrate the potential of putting classical instruments into new situations. Guild Sound Collective director Rod Skipp of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic will conduct an orchestration of a Radiohead song and then spend time talking about how to approach arranging popular music for classical instruments. The ensemble will then play live music to a film excerpt, composed by composer Dan Fallon, who will speak about how he uses classical instruments to add unusual sounds to film scores. Finally, the group will play an exciting piece of contemporary music, Louis Andriessen’s Worker’s Union, which asks players to play rhythms without specifying precise pitches.