Congratulations to all the performers involved in the mesmerising first performance of Between Worlds by composer / violinist Anna Phoebe, which took an entranced audience on a meditative odyssey on the penultimate day of Summer Music Week.
Drawing on research media from the School of Biosciences, Anna’s piece explores the intangible boundary between science and art in a collaborative piece for choir, strings, percussion, soloists and film-projections by artist Skyla Bridges. Conducted by Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding, the University Chamber Choir and String Sinfonia, together with Anna herself on violin, pianist Jacob Downs, second-year postrgraduate Leon on percussion, and oboist Dan Lloyd (also Deputy Head of the School of Biosciences) unfurled Anna’s evocative piece against a tapestry of ambient electronic soundtracks and beneath Skyla Bridges’ wonderfully beautiful projections taken from research imagery by Dr Chris Toseland.
The first half of the concert saw a conducter-less (for the most part) String Sinfonia in music by Britten, Reger, Purcell and Arvo Pärt’s lachrymaic Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, for which the strings were joined by conductor, Susan Wanless. Pärt’s haunting tribute to Britten closed the first half an set the atmosphere for the second.
Afterwards, performers, audience and guests mingled for a post-concert reception to celebrate the fruition of a project that has been in rehearsal since January. Read the programme from the event yourself here.
Between Worlds is an exciting new inter-disciplinary project which brings together music, science, film, live media projection and performance in the form of a new piece for choir and ensemble by composer and performer, Anna Phoebe. Written for the University of Kent Chamber Choir and String Sinfonia, the piece is a direct, original musical response to spectacular visual imagery provided by research at the University’s School of Biosciences, and to the scientific environment in which is is conducted, drawing on hi-resolution spectroscopy, video evidence and even sampled sounds from the laboratory.
Composer and performer Anna Phoebe has toured extensively throughout the world, both as a solo artist and with bands including Roxy Music and Jethro Tull, from arenas across the USA to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury, including supporting Bob Dylan at the Rock Legends Festival in Poland . Anna works with The Royal Ballet School as a composer and music advisor, and has worked on several music/dance projects with the students, as well as improvisation workshops
Bringing together a combination of disciplines, the mixture of live music, projections and performers forms a new, highly creative approach to engaging audiences with cutting-edge scientific research data; the project presents images and film generated by exploratory research at the sub-molecular level. Field recordings from the laboratories at the University are also incorporated into a mesmerising soundscape clothing the live musicians, forming an evocative sonic backdrop to stunning research imagery.
The research, led by Dr Chris Toseland, explores Gene Expression, and is used to combat diseases. Funded by Cancer Research UK, Chris’ research is the inspiration behind the 38-minute work for choir, solo violin, string ensemble, synthesiser and percussion. Chris received a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Wales – Aberystwyth in 2006 then commenced a PhD at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research – London. He received his PhD in 2010 from the University of London. His thesis focused upon the biochemical and biophysical characterisation of DNA helicases. At the end of his PhD, Chris was awarded an EMBO Long Term Fellowship to move to the Ludwig Maximilians Universität – Munich to work on single molecule studies with myosin motors. After 3 years he relocated to the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry with a research focus on genome organisation. Chris joined the School of Biosciences in 2015 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. In the same year he was awarded a highly prestigious MRC Career Development Award to establish his research group.
The University Chamber Choir, directed by Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding, has been working with Anna since January, and performed three a cappella choral movements from the piece as part of a recent concert the Choir gave in Wye, for which they were joined by Anna on solo violin.
The premiere of Between Worlds in its entirety, complete with live projections and electronic soundscapes, will be given on Friday 7th June 2019, in the spectacular surrounding of the University’s Colyer-Fergusson concert-hall, conducted by Dan Harding, as part of the Music department’s annual Summer Music Week festival.
The ever-developing Cellular Dynamics project, where science meets music, takes on an international aspect this weekend, with a performance as part of #SPARKhk2019 in China.
A Festival of Ideas run by the British Council in Hong Kong which takes place from 18-20 January, the weekend includes an incarnation of Cellular Dynamics at Tai Kwun, at the venue pictured here earlier today by Professor Dan Lloyd from the School of Biosciences.
Read the Festival programme online here, and follow Cellular Dynamics on Twitter here.
It’s installation day at Beach Creative, Herne Bay’s thriving arts centre, for the latest incarnation of the Cellular Dynamicsproject bringing live music and scientific research together.
The exhibition, featuring hi-resolution spectroscopy, goes behind the scenes of capturing scientific data in research from the University’s School of Biosciences, and is on display over the next two weeks. As part of the exhibition, there will be a unique, interactive performance of Cellular Dynamics on Saturday 23 June at 7pm, where the performers (Dans Lloyd and Harding) will make the audience a part of the unfolding performance, taking them into the collaborative nature of the project and the combination of live music for piano and live projection.
Pictured above, Rob Turner, one of the centre’s creative directors, hangs one of the images. The exhibition at Beach Creative is open until Saturday 30 June; find out more here.
Today marks the official opening of our new exhibition here in Colyer-Fergusson, an exploration of beauty in the scientific environment from the School of Biosciences.
Curated by Dr Dan Lloyd, the collection of images, each generated through engagement with current research, showcases the beauty in scientific data.
The exhibition aims to shed some light on laboratory life and the process of discovery in the biological sciences.
Every image shown has a story to tell, and explores cutting-edge research in the fields of biomedical science, biochemistry, genetics and biotechnology. In addition to introducing new and interesting concepts at the forefront of scientific research, the exhibition aims to encourage the viewer to explore their own perspectives on art within the context of the biological sciences.
The exhibition forms the backdrop to an exciting lunchtime concert on Weds 1 February in the concert-hall, Cellular Dynamics, which brings together science and music in image-projection and time-lapse photography, accompanied by live music for piano by Philip Glass and Tarik O’Regan, and Gavin Bryars’ My First Homage for two pianos, performed by Dan Harding and Matthew King (details here).
Admission is free, and the exhibition is on display during building opening hours. Find out more about the images drawn from the Stacey Collection here. The exhibition is supported by Creative Campus.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.