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Cyborg pianist among performers at City Summer Sounds

The free four-week festival celebrates new and experimental music

by Nicola Ranson (Communications Officer)

City, University of London is hosting a free four-week music festival, celebrating the talented musicians and composers from its Department of Music alongside internationally acclaimed guests. The City Summer Sounds festival began in May and runs until Friday 9th June 2017.

This year’s festival features world and UK premieres, freshly unearthed masterpieces, unique collaborations and performances that break with the conventions of the usual concert experience, using video, light and new technology.

The diverse range of events feature music from across the world, jazz, electronica and classical chamber music. Immersive, multichannel electronic music is also a major part of the programme, with studio work being a proud and significant part of the department’s legacy.

City launches City Pierrot Ensemble

On Tuesday 6th June, City’s Music Department will host the inaugural concert by the City Pierrot Ensemble. This ensemble is a new group of professional musicians associated with City, including past members of the The Fires Of London, who were directed by the late Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016).

The concert will feature Arnold Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece, Pierrot Lunaire (1912), alongside two rarely performed works by contemporary composers: Michael Finnissy’s wild music theatre piece, Mr Punch (1976-1979) and Pierrot On The Stage Of Desire (1998), by Roger Redgate, who will also conduct the ensemble.

The vocalists will be two distinctive composer-performers, Alwynne Pritchard and Adam de la Cour.

The City Pierrot Ensemble intend to make City’s Department of Music their base, and will be performing lunchtime concerts of music by twentieth century composers in the forthcoming 2017-2018 concert series.

To coincide with the launch, the department is also presenting a study day, Musical Modernism and the Commedia dell’arte, with visiting academics and interviews with the composers.

Cyborg Pianist

Alongside the students, guest performers include jazz bassists Tom Herbert and Ruth Goller (Wednesday 7th June), award winning Irish composer Ailís Ní Ríain (Thursday 8th June) and “cyborg pianist” Zubin Kanga (Friday 5th June).

Zubin Kanga will be presenting new works from British, Australian, German and Canadian composers that extend and subvert the body of the performer using immersive multimedia. The recital draws upon sci-fi and horror themes and includes doppelganger pianists, deformed Hitchcock films, drowning pianos and mutant hands. Kanga uses 3D motion sensors to control electronic instruments, earning him the title of cyborg pianist.

Upcoming event listings

Friday 2nd June

Ian Pace: Charles Ives - Concord Sonata

A performance including Charles Ives' landmark piano piece and tributes to the work of Belgian composer Luc Brewaeys (1959-2015).

Monday 5th June

Zubin Kanga: The Cyborg Hand

Pianist Zubin Kanga presents premiere performances by international composers, featuring multimedia, motion sensors and tropes from sci-fi and horror cinema.

Tuesday 6th June

Musical Modernism and the Commedia dell’arte Study Day

To coincide with the City Pierrot Ensemble’s evening concert, an afternoon of talks from academics in the fields of music and theatre, and interviews with the composers.

Tuesday 6th June

City Pierrot Ensemble: Mr Punch

The launch of an outstanding new ensemble, with Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, Michael Finnissy’s rarely heard Mr Punch and Roger Redgate’s Pierrot On The Stage Of Desire.

Wednesday 7th June

Tom Herbert & Ruth Goller: Low Tunes

A unique collaboration between two of London’s most imaginative bass players.

Thursday 8th June

Ailís Ní Ríain: Sklonište

The London premiere of Ailís Ní Ríain's commemoration of the end of the siege of Sarajevo, combining music and archive video images, and featuring the accordion playing of Dermot Dunne.

Friday 9th June

Ensemble x.y

Ensemble x.y presents works by Neil Luck and a world premiere by City composer Alice Jeffreys.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.