skeins © Meriel Price 2008 and Larry Goves 2006
Stimuli is a multimedia performance which combines music, visual art and theatre. It is a work in which all elements are integrated from their conception, in order to create an original art form.
The idea for stimuli began with the piece skeins by the composer Larry Goves, written for Meriel Price and Jordi Bitlloch (piano). For a solo recital Meriel filmed and created a video to accompany the live performance (see above).
Interested in developing this chain of inspiration she came up with the concept of stimuli. The video for skeins without the music is given to the composer Luke Bedford who uses it as his stimulus for a piece for saxophone and cello. Whilst working on the piece he sends ideas and sketches to the poet Jack Underwood. Jack in turn begins to develop a poem and passes his ideas onto Meriel. Together, Jack and Meriel create a piece for solo saxophone and text. Whilst developing this work Meriel uses the ideas and sketches Jack has given her, to begin work on an animation. As she produces this animation she passes her ideas onto the first composer Larry Goves, who writes the final piece for saxophone, cello and piano. The pieces are then combined to create a single work in which all elements are fundamentally integrated.
Meriel Price has been awarded an Elsa-Neumann-Scholarship in order to develop this project.
Larry Goves is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. He has written for the Nash Ensemble, The LSO, the London Sinfonietta, The BBC Philharmonic, Psappha, EXAUDI, Ensemble 10/10, L’Instant Donné, Sarah Nicolls, Oliver Coates and many others all over the UK and abroad. He performs live electronic music mainly with his own ensemble the house of bedlam. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, New Zealands Concert FM and New York’s WQXR and released on NMC, Dutton Epoch and the London Sinfonietta’s Jerwood series. He lives in Manchester and teaches composition at the Royal Northern College of Music. More information is available at www.larrygoves.com.
Luke Bedford was born in 1978 and studied composition at the Royal College of Music with Edwin Roxburgh and Simon Bainbridge.
His works range from chamber groups (e.g. the string quartet Of the Air), to ensemble, sometimes with voice (Good Dream She Has and Or Voit Tout En Aventure) and to full orchestra (Outblaze the Sky, Wreathe).
Tom Service wrote of Or Voit Tout en Aventure, that is was “one of the most outstanding pieces by any young composer I’ve ever experienced – music of brooding expressive intensity and charged with that indefinable quality that makes a piece sound as if it was written out of sheer necessity.”
Bedford was the recipient of a prestigious Paul Hamlyn Artists’ Award in 2007, and in 2008 Wreathe won a British Composer Award. 2010 saw the world première of At Three and Two by the Hallé Orchestra.
Bedford’s first opera – Seven Angels, based on Milton’s Paradise Lost – was premièred in 2011 by the Opera Group and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Bedford is currently the first ever composer in residence at the Wigmore Hall in London, which has earned him several commissions, including the string quartet Nine Little Boxes, All Carefully Packed (2011) and a new work for ensemble (to be performed by the Britten Sinfonia). In Feburary 2012 Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale was given its world première by the Scottish Ensemble.
Bedford was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Composer’s Prize in June 2012 in Munich.
Jack Underwood was born in Norwich in 1984. He graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2005 with a BA Hons in Creative and Cultural Studies, before completing an MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He was awarded full funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to undertake his MA research, and was presented with the Postgraduate Scholarship Award from Goldsmiths award for excellence on its completion. He continues to conduct postdoctoral research, specifically in the growing discipline of Creative writing and its emerging body of theory.
Underwood won an Eric Gregory Award for poetry in 2007 from the Society of Authors. He was awarded a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship in association with Aldeburgh Music in 2008 and continues to develop libretti with the composer Elspeth Brooke and the video artist Ellie Rees.
Faber published his debut pamphlet in October 2009 and he continues to work towards his first collection, which is currently being funded by the Arts Council of England.
His poems have been widely published and anthologised, most notably in ‘Voice Recognition: 21 poets for the 21st Century’ from Bloodaxe, ‘The Salt Book of Younger Poets’, and in Poetry London, The Rialto, and The Manhattan Review.
He teaches at the Poetry School in London, and co-founded and co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives, now published by Eggbox. He has published criticism and essays with Team magazine, The Yellow Nib journal produced by the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University, Belfast, and he reviews for Poetry London and Ambit. He lives in Hackney.
Rachel Helleur, born in Great Britain in 1980, started learning the cello at the age of 6. She attended the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, from where she also took a semester’s exchange to the Eastman School of Music in the USA. She moved to Berlin in 2004 to study at the Hochschule fuer Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ with Troels Svane and then a year later took up a place at the Orchestral Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic where she studied with Olaf Maninger. Rachel gained orchestral experience as guest principal cello with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Hamburg Radio Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2007 Rachel was engaged as Principal Cellist of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, then 2 years later moved to a tutti position with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Jordi Bitlloch was born in 1984 to french and catalan parents and grew up in Perpignan (France) in a musical family. He is a graduate of the Yehudi Menuhin School (England) and holds a Concert Diploma from the Universität der Künste Berlin.
He was a prizewinner in various international competitions, and since taking 2nd Prize and the Audience Prize at the International Beethoven Competition in Bonn in 2009, has been appearing regularly in Germany and abroad (France, Spain, USA, UK, Holland….) as a soloist, chamber musician and lied accompanist. He has also been a guest at renowned festivals such as the Klavierfestival Ruhr or the Euriade festival. He currently lives in Barcelona.
Modern and contemporary music play an important part in his repertoire. Already in 1996 he was a winner of the Aujourd’hui Musiques competition for contemporary music; since then, his interest in modern music has been steady. Projects for 2012 include performances of the 20 Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus by Messiaen.