BBC Radio 3 / Wellcome Collection festival features Martin Suckling premiere
The world premiere of Martin Suckling’s String Quintet at 1pm on Sunday 15th October at the Wellcome Collection will be broadcast live on Radio 3 as part of Why Music? The Key to Memory. Martin’s quintet, alongside poetry by Frances Leviston, was commissioned by Poet in the City and Aurora Orchestra, supported by Bio Nano Consulting Ltd for the dissemination of PETMEM (piezoelectronic Transduction Memory Device), an EU Horizon 2020-funded project exploring low-voltage memory technologies.
About the collaboration, Martin writes:
‘Among the many fascinating aspects of the PETMEM project that frequently arose in conversations between Frances and myself were the strange otherworldly landscapes revealed under the scanning electron microscope, and the piezoresistive effect, where a material under sufficiently high pressure changes state from a resistor to a conductor of electricity.
There are many ways in which the idea of pressure can be translated into music – squeezing material into shorter and shorter timeframes, squashing the pitch space around a given note, increasing the density of activity – and all of these have a role to play in my quintet. In the first section, a viola melody is surrounded by a filigree tapestry of echoes and fragments and distorting mirrors across a series of compressions until all that remains of the available space is a single trill. At this point of extreme pressure, the properties of the material suddenly change: bright, gleaming, sudden bursts of sound in a highly microtonal environment.
All of this is haunted by the ghost of Schubert, above all the incomparable Adagio from his String Quintet in C major. A memory of this music, perhaps my favourite piece by my favourite composer, increasingly asserts itself on the surface of my quintet until the final passages become as if hypnotised by Schubert’s harmonies, crystallising around them like frost on a fallen leaf.’
Following the success at the 2019 International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) – World Music Days , Thomas Simaku’s most recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been broadcast by four European radio stations.
The Royal Philharmonic Society have announced the latest members of their prestigious Emerging Composers scheme, including Robin Haigh, currently studying for a PhD at York with Martin Suckling, and Joel Järventausta, a former York undergraduate.
Back in June Martin was invited to speak about Radulescu’s seminal solo viola piece Das Andere alongside violist Garth Knox at the Spectralisms conference in IRCAM.
Praise for Music Dept students featured in BBC Proms
Following on from his specially-commissioned Radio 3 takeover to extend the Last Night of the Proms 2018, Music Department PhD student Neil Luck was invited to contribute a live set as part of 2019’s first ‘Proms at…’ event. Joined by second year undergraduate Rebecca Burden and former student James McIlwrath, Neil masterminded three pieces in an event described by the Guardian as a ‘teasing, challenging new-music bill’. Proms at …
His new work will be performed by four different ensembles in four European cities and released on CD in 2020
The objective of Discovering Young Composers of Europe (DYCE) Competition was to bring together the four regions of Europe (North, South, East, West) by inviting the composition students and alumni of all European Academies, Conservatories and Universities to submit a work.
His work will be performed by a Grammy Award-winning ensemble
Thomas Simaku’s recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been selected by the international jury for performance at the 2019 ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) – World Music Days, which takes place in Estonia from 2 – 10 May.