imagesSt Ann’s Church, St Ann St, Manchester, M2 7LF

Lunchtime New Music Series: 12.30-1.30pm, £5 all/on door

16th September, 21st October, 18th November, 9th December

This Autumn St Ann’s presents an introductory New Music Series, showcasing some of the fascinating work being created and performed by a diverse range of composers and performers across the UK, programmed by pianist Kate Halsall, in partnership with Simon Passmore, Director of Music.

Kate Halsall is a pianist developing and commissioning new music for a variety of projects, collaborating with ensembles and composers.  Born (and based) in Stockport, she grew up in the Upper Eden Valley, Cumbria, studying at Royal College of Music with Kendall Taylor and Yonty Solomon.  Kate co-produced the Sound Source series for SPNM and Sound and Music with Ed McKeon at Kings Place. She was founder and programmer for Music and The Mind concert series at the IOP, which received a PRS for Music Foundation Promoters Award. Kate and composer Colin Riley produced Music Orbit (Brunel University), an artist led network which ran from 2002, presenting a monthly platform for experimenting composers and performers at venues including The Forge, Kings Place, and ICA .

Kate has commissioned and premiered many new works, by composers including Kerry Andrew, Colin Riley, Shiva Feshareki, Edward Jessen , Katharine Norman, Graham Fitkin, Ailís Ní Ríain, Dominic Murcott, Angie Atmadjaja and Philip Cashian. Broadcasts include In Tune, Late Junction, Resonance fm, with album releases on Metier, NMC, Squeaky Kate and Summerfold Records (Skin and Wire, Piano Circus with Bill Bruford).

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September 16th 12.30-1.30pm:
Sarah Dacey soprano, Kate Halsall piano
Programme includes music by composers Philip Cashian, Elspeth Brookes and Camden Reeves; Judith Weir Master of The Queen’s Music, Tansy Davies, Kerry Andrew and Bushra El Turk.

Sarah Dacey
trained at the University of York and Royal Academy of Music. Sarah made her international opera debut with Opéra de Baugé as ‘Amor’ in ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ and made her Royal Opera House debut in Elspeth Brooke’s ‘Dot, Squiggle & Rest’. Future operatic performances include playing ‘Belinda’ in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ with the ‘Helios Collective’ and the premiere by Hannah Kendall’s ‘The Knife of Dawn’ at the Roundhouse in October 2016.
An advocate of new music, Sarah was the soprano soloist in the London premiere of Claude Vivier’s ‘Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele’ with the London Contemporary Orchestra and gave the Qatari premiere of Gavin Bryars’ ‘The Adnan Songbook’ with members of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Doha. Her debut album, a CD of contemporary songs with pianist Belinda Jones, is entitled ‘Calliope’ and is due for release on the Foundry Label in October 2016. She is a member of ‘Juice’, a critically acclaimed female trio specialising in contemporary music. They have performed at the Purcell Rooms, the Wigmore Hall, the Roundhouse, St. John’s Smith Square, live on Radio 3 and Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour. Their debut album, ‘Songspin’, was awarded Best Contemporary Classical album in the Independent Music Awards. She also performs regularly with a great variety of professional ensembles including the BBC Singers, Philharmonia Voices, The Riot Ensemble, Octandre Ensemble and Aether Vocal Ensemble.

‘Quirky, wry and virtuosically genre hopping The Times

Kate Halsall
studied at the Royal College of Music with Kendall Taylor and Yonty Solomon. She regularly commissions new music and produces projects with a number of ensembles and composers. Performances include hcmf//, Galvanize for Hack The Barbican, a project of art installations, film, improvising ensemble; multi-sensory opera A Quiet Life for Tête à Tête opera festival and Not Until We Are Lost with aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor; Southbank’s Imagine Festival for children, BBC Proms Families Music day; John Cage Uncaged Barbican Centre, Aldeburgh, Michael Clark Dance Company Oh My Goddess, LIFEM, Frontiers Festival, Sound Source (Plundering Žižek), Nest Collective, and her Boom residency with Oxford Contemporary Music and companion radio series on Resonance fm.
Kate has worked with a number of ensembles including Dark Inventions, Chimera Ensemble, Andrew Poppy’s Sustaining Ensemble, piano duo duoDorT, as pianist/director in Piano Circus (02-12). Current ensembles include electro-acoustic Galvanize Ensemble and Halsall Miyachi piano duo. She has released new music on several albums including with King Crimson and Yes drummer Bill Bruford, Miniaturised Concertos | Maché on Metier, for piano duo, ensemble and electronics.

“.. the ambition of the‘ Miniaturised Concertos’ concert with Kate Halsall.. was inspirational; much character and vibrancy was on offer throughout the whole programme.”  Tempo, Issue 272, hcmf// 2014

October 21st 12.30-1.30pm

Rhodri Davies was born in 1971 and lives in Swansea, South Wales. He plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water, ice, dry ice and fire harp installations. He has released four solo albums: Trem, Over Shadows, Wound Response and An Air Swept Clean of All Distance. His regular groups include: a duo with John Butcher, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, Cranc, a duo with Richard Dawson, The Sealed Knot, Common Objects and a trio with John Tilbury and Michael Duch. He has recorded, toured and/or performed with the following artists: David Sylvian, Jenny Hval, Mark Fell, Kahimi Karie, Laura Cannell, Lina Lapelyte, Sachiko M, Bill Orcutt, Jim O’Rourke, Ben Patterson, Christian Marclay, Kaffe Matthews and John Zorn.

In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on ‘Self-cancellation’, a large-scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow. New pieces for solo harp have been composed for him by: Eliane Radigue, Philip Corner, Phill Niblock, Christian Wolff, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Mieko Shiomi and Yasunao Tone. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grants to Artists Award.
(photo by Heiko Purnhagen

“..prolific and adventurous musician is freshly discovering a harp that has been there all along.” Julian Cowley, Wire Magazine, October 2014

November 18th 12.30-1.30pm:
Amber Priestly- composer focus

Performers are student ensemble from Manchester University Music Department, with Lecturer in Composition Camden Reeves and SKD electro-acoustic trio of Sarah Dacey soprano, Kate Halsall piano/midi keys, Duncan MacLeod electronics.

Amber Priestly
Born in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Amber Priestley has lived in the U.K. since 1991. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sussex, and her doctorate in composition at the University of York. Some recent performances include: And Yet Something Shines, Something Sings in that Silence (Bozzini Quartet, Composer’s Kitchen 2013); There, I’ve said it, I’ve put my cards on the table. (London Sinfonietta commission); Floors are Flowers, Take a Few (EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, Tectonics Festival 2014); and And Yet Something Shines, Something Sings in that Silence. (The Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Borealis Festival 2015).The majority of her work deals directly with musicians performing both music and theatre. Some of this forms a very small portion of the performance (for example, choreographed page turns) or a fundamental portion of the performance (such as where the music is the least important element, with the focus on the various movements of the musicians).

Another of her major preoccupations lies in open-form scores. In 1932, the American photographer Edward Weston wrote that photography “is not all seeing in the sense that the eye sees…Our vision is in a constant state of flux, while the camera captures and fixes forever a single, isolated, condition of the moment.” As in photography, most concert music is also an attempt to define a certain time (in music it is the length of the piece of music). This certain length of time will be very similar each time it is experienced in most music. Amber is interested in trying to allow again for a possibility where time is not fixed, and each time a piece is experienced, the music has the chance to be different. The other separate reason that Amber is interested in open-form scores is that she would like, without use of traditional jazz-style improvisation, to allow for the performer’s own individuality to emerge through her scores. Amber is particularly fascinated by the visual aspect of a completed score, especially simple but elegant staves which are, in fact, stripes! She finds these stripes to be æsthetically pleasing and add to the joy of composition.
“Amber Priestley’s installation, ‘That I Overlooked Before’..a satisfyingly analogue, tactile and genuinely interactive experience” Daniel Spicer, The Wire

Manchester University Music Department has “the liveliest performance culture of any university Music department in the country”, and an exceptional student-run Music Society, supporting well over 100 concerts and events each year. The professional concert season includes resident string quartet, the Quatuor Danel, contemporary ensemble-in-residence, Psappha, and a Thursday lunchtime concert series. The emphasis on high-quality performance coupled with rigorous academic study makes Manchester a popular destination for students who want the best of both worlds. All Music Department teaching takes place in the state-of-the-art facilities in the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, and adjacent award-winning electroacoustic composition studios, which host the NOVARS Research Centre.

SoundKarD are soprano Sarah Dacey, pianist Kate Halsall and composer Duncan MacLeod. They have worked together in various guises, including voice and piano, voice and electronics, harpsichord and electronics and as part of Galvanize Ensemble projects Happenstance and Galvanize for Hack the Barbican. Some performances include The Barbican London, hcmf//, Frontiers Festival, 100 Years Gallery, LV21 Gillingham Pier, Music Orbit, LimeWharf Gallery and sound festival. They programme scored/improvised work, alongside existing/flexible repertoire, working with and commissioning composers.

December 9th 12.30-1.30pm:

Juxtavoices is an anti-choir of 36 mostly untrained voices whose repertoire includes members’ own compositions and arrangements of classic modernist poems and found texts. The scores provide structure but freedom of pitch allows improvisation to shape the detail so that no two performances are ever the same. Audiences are unfailingly surprised by the Juxtavoices sound. Some try to name-check composers in the avant-garde tradition but none quite fit. Some shudder at the dark theatricality, some hear the humour, some are outraged while others feel an irresistible urge to join the ranks. This is singing on the edge of not-singing or vice versa, a music only previously heard in a sound-poet’s dreams. The group enjoys unusual acoustic spaces – furnace floor or bear pit or library stairwell – as well as churches and more conventional concert venues. It hopes to create a chord which will startle the ghost of Thomas Tallis. Directed by Martin Archer and Alan Halsey Juxtavoices uniquely combines the outer reaches of improvised music and innovative poetry.
Here’s a mass exorcism, a whole tribe talking in tongues, 30 full-moon were-Ligetis, and Wicker Man workings wrangled by the Swingle Singers. – Stewart Lee, SUNDAY TIMES