Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York & Birmingham

E# by Andreas SterzingLg copyPresented by Birmingham Conservatoire and Third Ear a major festival of music, celebrating the sounds and cultures of downtown New York and Birmingham, takes place this spring (22 March-5 April & 2-8 June 2014).

Frontiers Festival looks to the collaborative and do-it-your-own-way traditions of New York and the sounds, ideas and iconic moments from that city which have fuelled music culture. Birmingham’s own vibrant music scene, with its strong young voices and bold new work, adds to the programme.

As well as group performances encompassing post-punk to new composition, and jazz to theatre-of-sound, visitors can expect performance art, exhibitions and cutting-edge technology, including a real time networked improvisation encompassing two continents and a 24-hour marathon of music by the American giant Thelonious Monk.

Highlights include the first fully-realised performance of Robert Ashley’s String Quartet Describing the Motion of Large Real Bodies (1971), a work requiring 42 laptop artists alongside the Elysian Quartet.

Elliott Sharp brings his stunning graphic score Foliage for a big band improvisation, together with Christian Marclay’s Shuffle. The performances coincide with SCORE, an exhibition of graphic and text scores in the Library of Birmingham curated by Joe Scarffe and Beth Derbyshire.

Winner of the 2012 John Cage Award, Pauline Oliveros has over the last 50 years established a unique body of work and practices focused on improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual. She will lead a ‘Deep Listening Meditation’ at Ikon Gallery, and directs a real-time improvised performance, linked through the internet, with collaborators in Stanford (California), Troy (New York), and Montreal.

Classic works by Philip Glass are presented by Frontiers’ resident ensemble Decibel, whilst the ‘king of sampling’ Carl Stone presents his latest work Fujiken in which the sounds of south east Asia shape-shift into clouds of sound.

Other events include the Frontiers Marathon, a ‘festival in a day’ with sounds, performance and film; and the UK premiere of Morton Feldman’s Swallows of Salangan performed by Thallein alongside Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York & Birmingham

22 March-5 April & 2-8 June 2014

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