A visit to the Southbank Centre last week has compelled me to think a few little thoughts about ‘feminist classical music’. Here is the first and it is not a cheerful one:::
This weekend, the Southbank Centre is hosting an event called the Women of the World Festival (WOW). It is described as ‘a festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women’. As a feminist festival in a classical music venue of national importance, it seems like a very good opportunity in which to think about and discuss women and classical music. I might even go so far as to say that, if there were ever an event at which it might be appropriate to seriously consider the role of women in today’s mainstream classical music culture, this would surely be it. Surely… Continue reading →
Here are some of the biting point‘s most anticipated music events:
As a kind of short-circuiting alternative to the slow, teleological trudge of the Rest is Noise, Nonclassical presents their Pioneers of Electronic Musicfestival, which encompasses eleven days of events (6th-17th March) and looks to be a totally fascinating undertaking. Spread across various East London venues, the festival combines screenings of documentaries and feature films with talks, a ‘synth lab’ workshop, a performance from Peter Zinovieff and Aisha Orazbayeva and a night of music inspired by the work of Daphne Oram. The centrepiece of the festival is another of their superbly-curated nights at XOYO on 14th March, probably the most exciting yet, with electronic offerings from Stockhausen, Messiaen and Varèse, an original film by Le Corbusier, and a 30-piece electronics ensemble called Dirty Electronics. Oh, and Alex Paterson of The Orb. Go. (Obviously.) Continue reading →
The Southbank Centre’s The Rest is Noisefestival started last weekend and I am terminally ambivalent over it. Sure, there are some really exciting, exclusively 20th-century concerts lined up – a pretty rare thing, and I’m sure they’ll bring in big new audiences – but I also think there’s a significant compromise involved. Either way though, it’s such an interesting opportunity to think about how music is branded, how modern art in general is conceptualised as a state-subsidised social provision, and about music’s relationship to its ‘historical/biographical context’ of composition as opposed to concepts of ‘universality’, or even other ‘contextual’ paradigms (contemporary reception, for example).
I’ve posted about the festival before: it represents a year-long programme of concerts, talks and events, a collaborative venture between the Southbank Centre, London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC and the Open University, which periodises 20th-century music into week-long, chronologico-thematic mini-programmes, each including a set of concerts involving a huge range of ensembles (subsuming much of the standard Southbank rosta), along with a weekend of talks. Continue reading →
We’ve been very privileged to help out in the programming and organisation of a super-exciting event in aid of the charity Freedom from Torture. As part of a whole month of gigs, including Iceage at the Shacklewell Arms and Bombay Bicycle Club at KOKO, the charity are working with biting point faves Nonclassical to bring a programme of contemporary music to the legendary Dalston experimental venue Café OTO, engaging specifically with the charity’s work in providing therapy, support and assistance to survivors of torture. the biting point‘s home team – Carmen Elektra Opera Collective – were also brought in to help out…
Restraint for Handcuffed Pianist (Harry) - Eldon Fayers, piano
Scars(Whitley) - a new chamber opera presented by Carmen Elektra Opera Collective
new chamber pieces by Laurence Osborn, William Marsey, Gregor Riddell and Thom Andrewes, based on texts written by survivors of torture and organised violence as part of Freedom from Torture’s Write to Life workshop Continue reading →
The excellent and important New York classical label New Amsterdam Records had its headquarters pretty much devastated by the superstorm last week. About 70% of their CD catalogue was destroyed, along with all their financial records and their back-up hard-drive, some priceless vintage synthesisers and loads of furniture/fittings. There’s a lot more info HERE.
New Amsterdam are responsible for albums from the likes of Corey Dargel, yMusic, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Ted Hearne, NOW Ensemble and Newspeak, among others, as well as organising the ‘indie classical’ collaboration-extravaganza Ecstatic Music Festival. Apparently they didn’t have flood damage cover, and incidents like this can be really threatening to small, independent organisations like New Amsterdam, so do consider donating a few dollars at the link above (or otherwise maybe downloading some albums and spreading the word).