Singing the Ringing Changes: new commission celebrates Summer Music Week

With Summer Music Week set to begin this Sunday, we’ve a week-long series of musical events celebrating the end of the musical year here at Kent; one of the highlights will be a performance on Friday 12 June of Ringing Changes, a Music department commission written especially for the University’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations this year.

Part of the celebrations focus on the creativity of members of the University community, and Ringing Changes is a genre-busting, multi-media experience written for the University Chamber and Cecilian Choirs, piano, harp and electronics by composer Matthew King, to words by Patricia Debney from the School of Creative Writing, inspired by landscape photography by Deputy Director of Research Services, Phil Ward. The piece combines live performers with a shimmering electronic tapestry that will pick up and re-imagine live sounds captured during the performance, creating a sonic stained-glass window that responds to and refracts the music as the piece unfolds; during each electronic interlude. each photograph that has inspired a response from both poet and composer will be projected above the heads of the performers

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Image: Phil Ward

The first half of the concert includes choral music by Tallis, Lassus, Schütz and Monteverdi’s joyous Beatus Vir, and it’s very exciting to be combining great figures of the choral tradition with a piece that brings that same tradition right up to date. It’s what universities are about – exploring new territory, creative collaboration, new directions; the piece promises to be a landmark addition to the University’s fiftieth-year celebrations and to Summer Music Week itself.

From image to poem: Patricia Debney's working process
From image to poem: Patricia Debney’s working process

Read more about the Ringing Changes project on the blog here; details and tickets for the concert on Friday 12 June here.

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