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:

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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.

First Portfolio composer workshop success

Last week the orchestra hosted the first composer workshop of its Sound and Music partnership. The workshop was used to trial embryo pieces by Ruthless Jabiru’s three Portfolio scheme composers: Eugene Birman, Michael Cryne and Egidija Medekšaitė, and was reported by each to have been hugely beneficial. The three works will be further developed through a second workshop in the new year. Photos from the session here.

Ruthless Jabiru to work with Christopher Fox

Ruthless Jabiru is to work with British composer Christopher Fox through the orchestra’s creative partnership with Sound and Music. Fox will join the project as a mentor to Ruthless Jabiru’s three Portfolio scheme composers: Eugene Birman, Michael Cryne, and Egidija Medekšaitė, who will participate in their first workshop with the ensemble this week.

Hailed by The Wire as “a tantalising figure in British music”, Fox has been a longstanding member of the composition faculties at Darmstadt New Music Summer School, University of Huddersfield, and Brunel University, and writes regularly for publications including The Guardian and The Journal of Music.

Matthew Hindson composer portrait

Matthew Hindson’s Maralinga for violin and string orchestra will receive its European premiere at the centre of our Maralinga Lament programme at the Union Chapel next week with violinist Lara St. John.

Australian composer Matthew Hindson is among the most frequently performed and commissioned composers of our generation. His works have been programmed by ensembles and orchestras throughout Australia and internationally, including the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He has been the featured composer at both national and international festivals, among them the 2003 Vale of Glamorgan Festival where 14 of his compositions were performed including a full concert of works for string orchestra in the hangar at Cardiff Airport.

Hindson’s music is often influenced by popular styles within a classical music context, with his 1993 orchestral work Homage to Metallica considered one of his first major successes. His music has been used extensively for dance by companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Japan, Ballett Schindowski, Sydney Dance Company and Ballet Boyz at The Roundhouse, London.

In the next week alone Hindson’s music will be performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells, Ensemble Offspring at Brugge Concertgebouw and the University of Glasgow, Sydney Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia at Eugene Goosens Hall, Attacca Quartet at the Melbourne Festival, Darwin Symphony Orchestra in its landmark performance at Uluru, and by the Southern Cross Soloists at QPAC Concert Hall Brisbane, in addition to Ruthless Jabiru’s performance at the Union Chapel in London.

Matthew Hindson is Chair of the Composition and Music Technology Unit at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He was the founder of the award-winning Aurora Festival, a festival of contemporary music based in Western Sydney. In 2006 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to music composition and music education, and from 2009-2012, was the Chair of the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Ruthless Jabiru and Lara St. John perform Maralinga Lament at the Union Chapel, London at 19:30 on Monday 14 October. Tickets are £16 advance from the Union Chapel online store or £18 at the door.

Paul Stanhope composer portrait

Ruthless Jabiru will give the European premiere of Paul Stanhope’s Qinoth for string orchestra at our 14 October performance, Maralinga Lament.

Paul Stanhope (b. 1969) is an award-winning Australian composer with recent performances in the UK, Europe, Japan, and both North and South America. After studies with Andrew Ford, Andrew Schultz and Peter Sculthorpe, Paul was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship which enabled him to study at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Paul’s international standing was confirmed in 2004 when he was awarded first place in the Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize. He received two APRA/Australian Music Centre Awards in 2011 for Instrumental Work of the Year and Vocal/Choral Piece of the Year, and is the recipient of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship for 2013-2014, the first Australian composer to be granted this honour.

In 2010 Paul was Musica Viva’s featured composer. His String Quartet no. 2 received nation-wide performances by the Pavel Haas Quartet as part of the season, as did his Agnus Dei – After the Fire for violin and piano, performed by Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. Paul’s music has been featured at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and at the City of London Festival, with recent performances by the Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, among many others.

Paul’s forthcoming projects include a choral-orchestral cantata about the life and deeds of Western Australian indigenous hero Jandamarra, written together with librettist Steve Hawke, and a new piece for string quartet.

Ruthless Jabiru and Lara St. John perform Maralinga Lament at the Union Chapel, London at 19:30 on Monday 14 October. Tickets are £16 advance from the Union Chapel online store or £18 at the door.

Linda Buckley composer portrait

As part of our Maralinga Lament programme on 14 October, Ruthless Jabiru will give the UK premiere of Linda Buckley’s Fall Approaches for string orchestra and electronics.

Linda Buckley is an Irish composer from the Old Head of Kinsale, currently based in Dublin, who writes for both electronic and acoustic forces. The diverse instrumentations of her work include Javanese gamelan, choir, multi-channel tape, prepared piano and orchestra.

Her music has been described as “strange and beautiful” (Boston Globe, July 2004), a “fascinating interaction between live sound and electronics” (Irish Times, Nov 2006), and “an exciting body of work that marks her out as a leading figure in the younger generation of Irish composers” (Journal of Music, Sept 2008).

Linda’s work has been performed by the Dresden Sinfoniker Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, Fidelio Trio, Orkest de Ereprijs, Janus Trio, Rothko Trio, University of York Javanese Gamelan, and featured at international festivals including the Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Music at MassMoCA, Gaudeamus Music Week Amsterdam and Seoul International Computer Music Festival.

Her orchestral work chiyo, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, features on the album new music :: new Ireland released by the Contemporary Music Centre in June 2013. Her work for Javanese gamelan Telephones and Gongs was performed alongside other new music for gamelan at the Southbank Centre in July 2013. In the past month alone Linda’s music has been programmed by festivals, galleries and conventions in both North and South America, as well as at home in Ireland. Her recent commission for the Irish Chamber Orchestra and dancer Colin Dunne, The Turn, will be featured tonight at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center.

Linda’s current works in progress include commissions for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Choir for premiere at New Music Dublin, Crash Ensemble for Cork Midsummer Festival, and a piece for Dublin International Piano Competition 2015. Linda is currently the composer-in-residence for RTÉ Lyric FM.

Ruthless Jabiru and Lara St. John perform Maralinga Lament at the Union Chapel, London at 19:30 on Monday 14 October. Tickets are £16 advance from the Union Chapel online store or £18 at the door.

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