Ars Nova Workshop concludes season with British Contemporary Music Festival

Ars Nova Workshop is proud to announce the British Contemporary Music Festival, a two-day celebration of Britain’s extraordinary contributions to jazz and contemporary music.
 
Presented in conjunction with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, the festival presents compositions and performances by some of the leading pioneers of free improvisation and avant-garde composition in the UK. Renowned saxophonist/composer John Butcher will present a scintillating evening-length composition inspired in part by classical Arabic and Sufi music, while the compositional achievements of ground-breaking free improvisers Derek Bailey and Paul Rutherford, many of them world or US premieres, will be realized by a remarkable ensemble of creative musicians from the UK and Philadelphia.
 
On Friday, June 24 at FringeArts, the festival kicks off with an evening of compositions by guitarist/composer Derek Bailey and trombonist/composer Paul Rutherford, two of the artists who helped lay the foundation for European free improvisation beginning in the 1960s. The program includes the US premiere of Bailey’s realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Plus-Minus;” the world premiere of “Ping,” Bailey’s transliteration of the titular Samuel Beckett play, and a trio of solo guitar compositions; and the world premiere of a new version of Rutherford’s piece “Quasi-Mode” for 12 players.

Bailey co-founded Incus, the first musician-owned independent record label in the UK, with Evan Parker, Tony Oxley and Michael Walters, while his long-running Company Week festival convened a wide range of improvisers annually for nearly 20 years. Rutherford met drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Trevor Watts in 1958, laying the foundation for European free improvisation through the trio’s experiments with American jazz. He was a member of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Barry Guy’s London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, Globe Unity Orchestra and Keith Tippett’s Centipede, and founded the group Iskra 1903, originally with Barry Guy and Derek Bailey.
 
On Saturday, June 25 at the Phialdelphia Art Alliance, the festival concludes with saxophonist/composer John Butcher and percussionist Mark Sanders performing Butcher’s hour-long composition Tarab Cuts, which was shortlisted as one of the Best Contemporary Jazz Compositions of the Year in the 2014 British Composer Awards. The concept of “tarab” stems from Arabic classical music and refers to a state of musical ecstasy, a melding of music and emotional transformation.
 
Butcher earned his PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Surrey in England before turning his full attention to music. He’s since become a vital and prolific contributor to the British contemporary music scene, both as a renowned improviser and composer. He’s well known for his solo work, often employing multitrack effects, extended techniques, and acoustic explorations of his environs. A regular duo partner with Butcher, percussionist Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians including Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Peter Brotzmann, Otomo Yoshihide and William Parker.

 

FULL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE BELOW

Friday, June 24, 2016 - 8:00pm
ENSEMBLE ANOMALY: THE MUSIC OF DEREK BAILEY AND PAUL RUTHERFORD

with Simon H. Fell, double bass + direction; John Butcher, soprano saxophone; Alex Ward, electric guitar; Mark Sanders, percussion; Dan Blacksberg, tenor trombone; Tom Kraines, cello; Ron Stabinsky, piano; Ben Mulholland, mellophone; Larry Toft, euphonium; Hayley Varhol, euphonium; Dan Nosheny, tuba; Ello Shertzer, tuba; Nick Millevoi, guitar; and Matthew Landis, voice

FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.)
$15 General Admission

Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present an evening of compositions by Derek Bailey and Paul Rutherford, night one of our British contemporary music celebration. Presented in conjunction with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, Ars Nova Workshop’s two-day festival celebrates Britain’s extraordinary contributions to jazz and contemporary music. Night one brings together a remarkable ensemble of some of the finest creative musicians from the UK and Philadelphia to realize several incredible pieces by two of the music’s pioneers.

The program includes the US premiere of Bailey’s realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Plus-Minus,” which was composed while Stockhausen lived in Philadelphia; the US premiere of “Ping,” Bailey’s transliteration of the titular Samuel Beckett play, and a trio of solo guitar compositions; and the US premiere of a new version of Rutherford’s piece “Quasi-Mode” for 12 players.

For ticketing and more information visit: http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com/events/ensemble-anomaly-music-derek-bailey-and-paul-rutherford-06-24-2016

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Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 2:00pm
PING OF OLD…HENCEFORTH NEVER: THE COMPOSITIONS OF DEREK BAILEY

with Alex Ward, guitar; Nick Millevoi, guitar; and Simon Fell, presentation

Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street
Free Admission

Derek Bailey was one of the seminal ‘first generation’ British improvising musicians. As his work progressed, Bailey acquired a reputation as an uncompromising purist with an explicit anti-composition agenda. The truth, however, is more nuanced, and his relationship with composition more ambiguous than is generally appreciated.

Bailey’s personal archive contain a series of approximately 30 compositions from the 1960s, in various stages of completion. At this time Bailey was exploring ways to break down the received habits of musical language, in order to leave behind the devalued traditions of existing idioms. Initially, composition seemed to provide a possible mechanism for effecting this, although it was quickly to become clear to Bailey that improvisation was the most appropriate response to musical stagnation.

As far as is known, only one of these pieces was ever performed, with the remainder safely stored in the archive at Downs Road. Simon Fell talks about the moral, practical and aesthetic issues surrounding the decision to publicly perform some of the Bailey archive scores, including constructing performing versions of some scores which were unfinished or partially lost. As part of the presentation, Alex Ward and Nick Millevoi will perform Bailey’s solo guitar pieces nos. 10, 18-20 and 23.

For more information visit: http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com/events/ping-oldhenceforth-never-compositions-derek-bailey-06-25-2016

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Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 8:00pm
JOHN BUTCHER’S TARAB CUTS

with John Butcher, composition, saxophones + samples; and Mark Sanders, percussion

"In Arab culture, the merger between music and emotional transformation is epitomized by the concept of tarab, which may not have an exact equivalent in Western languages." - The Culture and Artistry of Tarab, Dr. A. J. Racy.

Presented in conjunction with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, Ars Nova Workshop’s two-night festival celebrates Britain’s extraordinary contributions to jazz and contemporary music. Night two features saxophonist/composer John Butcher and percussionist Mark Sanders performing Butcher’s hour-long composition Tarab Cuts, which was shortlisted as one of the Best Contemporary Jazz Compositions of the Year in the 2014 British Composer Awards.

The concept of “tarab” stems from Arabic classical music and refers to a state of musical ecstasy, a melding of music and emotional transformation. Butcher’s piece, which draws inspiration from classical Arabic and Sufi music, grew out of a shorter 2011 commission that was part of a five-hour performance conceived and programmed by Lebanese musician Tarek Atoui.

John Butcher earned his PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Surrey in England before turning his full attention to music. He’s since become a vital and prolific contributor to the British contemporary music scene, both as a renowned improviser and composer. He’s well known for his solo work, often employing multitrack effects, extended techniques, and acoustic explorations of his environs. A regular duo partner with Butcher, percussionist Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians including Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Peter Brotzmann, Otomo Yoshihide and William Parker. He also has a longstanding duo with Sarah Gail Brand and works with Christian Marclay in his “Everyday” piece for film and live music.

Advance ticketing: http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com/events/john-butchers-tarab-cuts-06-25-2016