Ruthless Jabiru commission shortlisted for 2014 Lithuanian music awards

Ruthless Jabiru’s recent commission Sandhi Prakash by Egidija Medekšaitė has been shortlisted for the 2014 awards of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union and Lithuanian Music Information Centre in both Composer of the Year and Performance of the Year categories. A live recording of the premiere from our programme The Past is now on Soundcloud:

Andrew Ford awarded Australia Council Project Fellowship

Composer Andrew Ford has been announced as the recipient of a Project Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, with the grant to be used towards a collaboration with Ruthless Jabiru. Ford will develop his 2009 work A Dream of Drowning for baritone, string orchestra and percussion into a full length song cycle The Drowners, for premiere by Ruthless Jabiru in 2015.

Sound and Music Portfolio composers announced

Ruthless Jabiru welcomes composers Egidija Medekšaitė, Eugene Birman and Michael Cryne as collaborators on the Sound and Music Portfolio scheme for 2013/14. The three UK-based composers will each write a 5-7 minute work for Ruthless Jabiru, to be premiered within the orchestra’s 2014 programmes. The three pieces will be developed through a series of workshops with the orchestra in the months ahead.

Egidija Medekšaitė (b. 1979) studied composition with Rytis Mažulis at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, graduating in 2007. In 2003 she took part in the Programme of Composition and Music Technology in Tampere (Finland). In 2004 she attended master classes across Europe, where she studied with Jonathan Harvey, Philippe Manoury and Martin Matalon. In 2006 she studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Music with Marco Stroppa and Caspar J. Walter. Medekšaitė participates in various interdisciplinary projects, writes music for dance performances and movies, her music is constantly performed in contemporary music festivals in Lithuania and abroad. Currently Medekšaitė is studying PhD in composition at Durham University, supervised by Richard Rinjvos and Sam Hayden. Medekšaitė composes mostly chamber music, often combining acoustic and electronic sound. One of the most important underlying principles in her work is strict organization of all parameters of music, based on some predefined patterns (progressions of pitches or durations, different numerological prodecures, etc). However, Medekšaitė’s music sounds more as a meditative flow than mathematically built structures.

Eugene Birman (b. 1987 – Daugavpils, Latvia,) first prize winner of the Concorso Internazionale di Composizione “Lavagnino 2007” and recipient of the 2013 Young Composers Award from Tenso – the European network for professional chamber choirs, has written for a variety of genres, ensembles and performers, with performances across the United States, Europe, and Asia. His music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and orchestras such as the Latvian Radio Choir, Eric Ericsons Kammarkör, Juilliard Symphony, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and the Milan Conservatory, as well as by soloists Maurizio Ben Omar, Iris Oja, and numerous others. Eugene Birman’s musical language is a sonic extension of the ubiquity of the environment, where silence is paramount both as a moderating force and a source of tension. A former student of John Adams, Samuel Adler, Luis Bacalov, David Conte, Azio Corghi, and Christopher Rouse, Eugene Birman graduated with an M.M. degree from the Juilliard School and a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University.

Michael Cryne lives and works in London as a composer and music director, and is currently pursuing doctoral study under the supervision of Dr. Mark Bowden at Royal Holloway, University of London, having previously studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Music for the concert platform includes works for solo instruments through to full orchestra, from purely acoustic music through to electro-acoustic work and work for electronics alone. Recent compositional work for the concert hall includes Prism for String Quartet (Winner of the 2012 Molinari String Quartet International Composition Prize) and Hearing Voices for Solo Cello and Electronics. As a music director and composer for the theatre, his portfolio includes full music-theatre works as well as incidental music for several productions. He has an ongoing relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company and frequently acts as a visiting music director and music supervisor.

Ruthless Jabiru partners with Sound and Music for Portfolio composer opportunity

Ruthless Jabiru is pleased to announce a partnership with Sound and Music, the national agency for New music and sound art in the UK.

The orchestra will collaborate with Sound and Music on its Portfolio scheme, which provides a key development opportunity for emerging composers to create new work with and for some of the UK’s leading ensembles and presenters of new music.

Sound and Music are now accepting applications from UK-based composers for an opportunity to work with Ruthless Jabiru. Participating composers will develop their pieces in two workshops with the orchestra, with public premieres of the works to be given in 2014. The application deadline is noon on 23 July 2013.

Guest blog by Leah Kardos “Kick”

It’s been almost a year since Kelly first spoke to me about writing a piece for her orchestra, Ruthless Jabiru. The name of the piece, Kick, comes from a short double bass motif occurring throughout that reminds me of an impact or involuntary motion.

In commissioning the work, Kelly really gave me scope to do whatever I wanted but we did discuss initial concepts – we liked the idea of pinching some stylistic ideas taken from the world of record production – in my 2011 album Feather Hammer, I was focusing on timbre, texture and the ambience as much (if not more so) than the notes and harmonies – we talked about using some of the sound world ideas from Feather Hammer to see if any could be translated to score for string orchestra.

Those original concepts provided the starting point for Kick, which quickly took on a character of its own as it grew: after the opening slides into view from a unison D, there is a shimmering tremolo that transforms into a gentle but nervous energy of changing harmonies. Slow, angular melodies cascade between violins and cellos as it grows in momentum, getting ‘itchier’ as it goes. The nervous energy gathers up into a high register tremble, dissipating against a low drone on D. From the stillness, a single viola and violin tease and converse using a pentatonic scale, while the ensemble swells around them. Angular melodies return in the violins. The music climaxes with a loud trembling tutti, ducking against more violent kicks from the basses. The energy loosens and subsides, all voices sliding back into line with a unison D.

In its final version, and especially in the latter half, Kick is a warm and emotive meditation on simple figures relating to major triads and pentatonic scales. Somehow these musical elements feel very human to me; a sense of naïveté and tenderness. It makes me imagine the sound of prayer; the repeated melody of “mi re do” can feel like saying the words “I love you” over and over again and stroking the face of someone you love.

In the context of producing records, I have always enjoyed using technology to manipulate and position notes in unusual spaces – transforming them into ghosts or shadows using reverbs and delays and fancy mic techniques, or making the tiny sounds gigantic through creative EQ filters, compression and distortion. Whilst what Kick became isn’t really about such ‘tricks’, this way of thinking about music and sound has soaked through, inevitably because that’s the way my mind works these days.

Born and educated in Queensland, Leah Kardos is a composer and producer working in Bedford, UK. Leah makes eclectic music that combines live instrumental performance with technology, location recordings and found sounds. She is fascinated by the communicative power of timbre, the manipulations of psychoacoustic phenomena, memory and pattern recognition, and the ways in which music connects to life. www.leahkardos.com

Leah Kardos to write Ruthless Jabiru’s first commission

Queensland composer and producer Leah Kardos is to write Ruthless Jabiru’s first commissioned work, for premiere in London in Spring 2013. Scored for string orchestra, the piece will explore Leah’s ideas of modern sensuality and sound, drawing from her experience as a studio composer. Leah has just released her second album, Machines, on the Bigo and Twigetti label.

Kelly Lovelady awarded New Work grant from Australia Council

Ruthless Jabiru is pleased to announce that its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Kelly Lovelady, has been awarded a New Work grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. The funding will support a major commission from the orchestra’s Patron, composer Peter Sculthorpe, which will be premiered by Ruthless Jabiru in London in late 2013. The Australia Council is the arts funding and advisory body of the Australian Government.