It’s been a busy few months, but I’ve got a lot to post on this blog before the new year. Most importantly, our book We Break Strings: The Alternative Classical Scene in London is now available to purchase (get it now from the Nonclassical website, for £20 w/ free CD). We had a great book launch event at Red Gallery in Hoxton, which involved performances from some of the musicians interviewed, as well as an exhibition of Dimitri Djuric‘s beautiful photographs, which make up a large proportion of the book. There was also a panel discussion on classical music outside the concert hall, which featured Gabriel Prokofiev, Igor Toronyi-Lalic, Kerry Andrew, Paul Morley, Tim Rutherford-Johnson and myself (available as a podcast on Sinfini).
We Break Strings features interviews with over 30 musicians, composers, promoters and critics from London’s alternative new music scene. As well as an overview and history of the scene’s unique aspects, the interviewees assess the motivations behind their own involvement, and more general discussions are organised thematically, touching on the importance of new spaces and audiences, the role of experimentalism and new composition, political dimensions and questions of funding, the particular characteristics of London as a musical milieu, and the relationship with the classical mainstream. It also includes four new mini-essays: on Nonclassical, on alternative venues, on the figure of the curator, and on ‘post-Fordist musical production’.
I’m very happy with how the book looks, feels and reads, and I like to think that it would be of interest to a range of different readers, whether or not they’re acquainted with the scene and musicians in question. At the very least, it’s a beautiful thing to look at – you can check out some of Dimitri’s work here. With Christmas coming up, I thought I’d share the first of the mini-essays here and try to pique some interest::: Continue reading