I’ve just started work on a commission for the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto. This project is a collaboration with British artist Stephen Vince who is making a series of paintings and sculptures that will be a response to my new piece. His work will form an exhibition at Waddington’s Toronto Gallery that will coincide with the premiere of my piece.
Laura Bowler – Composition
I’m exploring Antonin Artaud’s manifesto for a 'Theatre of Cruelty', and how it can serve as a catalyst for my own work. I’ve been exploring his methods through several case studies, including work for Size Zero Opera (an Opera company I founded in 2007). Currently I’m working on a music theatre adaption of The Spurt of Blood to be directed by Sue Dunderdale (RADA, Head of Directing). In addition to Artaud, I’m looking at other approaches to theatre including those of Grotowski and Stanislawksi.
My last three pieces incorporate theatrical elements and build on my experience of working in opera: Skin Deep, a satirical operetta set in a plastic surgery clinic in Switzerland, consists of a variety of solo, choral and orchestral numbers; Rumpelstiltskin is conceived as a sequence of dance movements based upon events in the fairy tale, with gesture and action - part dance, part dramatic movement - closely related to the rhythm and structure of the composition; Flesh and Blood, a dramatic scene for the concert hall, scored for mezzo soprano, baritone and large orchestra, sets a specially commissioned text by Howard Barker.
David Coonan – Composition
Through a sort of ‘recycling’ my work tries to render afresh ideas from the past, in such a way as they may resonate in contemporary contexts – their clear articulation in sound being a definite research aim. In my recent orchestral Sarcasms, connections to Prokofiev’s identically named pieces suggest music seemingly innocuous on the surface, yet with perhaps darker implications underneath. The expressive duality of this Soviet-era model served as precedent for how a composer might deal with current societal pressures.
Elo Masing – Composition
My Academy research is centred on the physicality of instrumental performance in chamber music – a relatively new direction in contemporary composition that is being investigated in different ways by a number of younger generation composers, such as Simon Steen-Andersen, Aaron Cassidy and Neil Luck. I focus specifically on relating instrumental performance to choreography, often deriving musical material from choreographic movements