The Magic Paintbrush (By Helen Madden) and Greenacre School Anthem (By Judith Weir and Helen Madden).
Feb 13th and 15th 2017 saw two very special performances of ‘The Magic paintbrush’, a folk opera written for professional performers and school children. Performers ranged from 7 year old primary students to special needs college students who wanted to take their drama skills outside of the classroom. iPads were used to create occasional soundscapes to enable non vocal performers to contribute musically. All projected artwork was produced by students from the participating primary schools.
The opera was written by Helen Madden and utilised the talents of other York students and Alumni. Morag Galloway ran many of the school workshops and performed alongside the children on the evening. James Whittle was cellist in the 4 piece ensemble and Omar Shahryar played the evil but often hapless Emperor.
The evening of the 15th was supported by Judith Weir CBE, who on a pervious visit to Barnsley had agreed to write a school anthem for Greenacre Special school. The words were provided by the children and developed into song form by Helen. Judith turned this into a song with piano score which was then made into voice and brass band arrangement by Helen.
The anthem was premiered on 15th February 2017 with Judith in attendance, and she captured the essence of the evening in the following blog:
Plans are afoot to develop of the opera to include artwork from mental health patients, community groups including dementia groups and the development and use of technologies such as visual mapping.
Miller Theatre in New York City has unveiled its 2017-18 season, which is to include an evening length Portrait Concert of Composer Ann Cleare, Associate Lecturer of Composition in the Music Department.
BBC Radio 3 celebrated the 70th birthday of Emeritus Professor Nicola LeFanu by selecting her as Composer of the Week.
A.I.LOVEs2scream captures a recent improvisation session by Federico Reuben (live coding / electronics) and Paulina Owczarek (alto saxophone).
Ricardo Alvarez Bulacio took part in two international conferences this month, presenting postdoctoral work developed at the Humanities Research Centre.
Catherine Laws gave a keynote address and a performance at ‘Embodied Monologues’, an international symposium of practitioner-researchers in music, theatre and dance, at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, on March 31st. On April 29th she will present a keynote speech at ‘Please Specify!: Sharing Artistic Research Across Disciplines’, the conference of the International Society for Artistic Research, at the University of the Arts, Helsinki, including a performance of ‘Touch and Go’ for piano, written for Catherine by Roger Marsh.
The summer term Composition Seminars kick off on April 25th with a special seminar/recital presented by Tom Williams and Juliana Yaffe (Coventry University). Tom’s composition Meditations on a Landscape is for solo soprano with electronics. The series continues with seminars from NIna Whiteman (RNCM) on May 2, Nicola LeFanu May 9, JohnTilbury May 16 , Grainne Mulvey May 30, Martin Suckling June 13 and PhD students Helen Madden and Richard Evans June 20.