The third instalment of Bristol New Music, featuring its boldest programme to date, will bring some of the world’s most innovative musical pioneers to the city in April.
From Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd, new and established artists will explore the outer possibilities in sound at venues across the city as part of the biennial event. The hotly-anticipated weekend will offer the opportunity to stand at the heart of a dissected live orchestra, encounter the new sound worlds of an instrument that was almost never built, and explore the concept of sound as a weapon.
Five key Bristol organisations – St George’s Bristol, Colston Hall, Arnolfini, Spike Island and the University of Bristol – are collaborating on this year’s event which will feature innovators and boundary-pushers of contemporary music from across the worlds of jazz, classical, folk and electronica.
Audiences will get the chance to walk among a live orchestra during a performance when conductor Charles Hazlewood, members of the British Paraorchestra and The Army of Generals take over the Colston Hall Foyer to perform composer Steve Reich’s rarely-heard piece The Four Sections, experience one of the modern pioneers of synthesised sound – Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – perform amidst special-curated visuals in the former Bristol IMAX Cinema and hear folk duo a Hawk and a Hacksaw, the innovative project about collecting music and inspiration through travel masterminded by Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, in the Sportsmans pub in the city centre.
The visceral nature of sonic warfare will be explored during a unique weekend of installation, talks and performances at creative hub Spike Island, and for jazz fans, Bristol’s own Keith Tippett plays live with fellow pianist Matthew Bourne alongside the Keith Tippett Octet at the Colston Hall.
Experimentation is one of the cornerstones of Bristol New Music, and a truly horizon-expanding evening awaits when Berlin’s electronic innovators Rashad Becker and Moritz Von Oswald collaborate with Eric Chenaux at The Cube.
The never-completed synthesiser of BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder Daphne Oram finally comes to life at St Georges Bristol when Sarah Angliss, who revels in exploring sound worlds well beyond the boundaries of traditional instruments, joins up with tech wizard Tom Richards to perform material they have specially composed for the mini Oramics machine.
Todd Wills, Artistic Director for Colston Hall and Bristol New Music, said: “Whether in the studio or the rehearsal room, progressive musicians open up new worlds through their innate ingenuity and restlessness to expand our experiences in sound. Bristol New Music, in its third and perhaps most ambitious instalment, is aiming to match their ambition by providing new and unusual spaces in which to perform.
“Whether it’s a journey into folk storytelling in a traditional working men’s club or the audio-visual experiences made possible in Bristol’s cinema spaces, the partnership’s vision for a contemporary music festival that is distinct to a forward-thinking city like ours, not only through a sense of performances, but an incomparable sense of place too, is being realised.”
Ben Spencer, Head of Programme for St George’s Bristol, said: Bristol New Music revels in the sonic hinterlands, the uncharted territories of sound beyond the horizon of the familiar – and it spotlights the deeply creative artists exploring these lands. This year’s programme is bristling with performers and composers of this ilk, and is a rich testament to the audacious experimental spirit that underpins originality. St George’s Bristol is proud to be a part of such an exhilarating musical offering.”
To see the full list of events and venues for Bristol New Music and to buy tickets see the festival’s official website.
Todd Wills, Artistic Director for Colston Hall and Bristol New Music
at University of Bristol Botanic Gardens