Composer’s Kitchen 2013

About

This unique event revolving around the string quartet is a combination workshop, laboratory, playground, and master class. Over the course of a week, the Quatuor Bozzini and two experienced composers will observe the work of four up-and-coming composers. Their compositions will be read, played, assessed, analyzed, worked on, played again, and performed in the closing concert.

Invited Composers

Participants

  • Sean Clancy, UK
  • Marielle Groven, Canada
  • Simon Martin, Canada
  • Amber Priestley, UK

The Workshops

  • Montréal, Canada: April 21 - 27, 2013
  • Huddersfield, UK: November 17 - 20, 2013

The Quatuor Bozzini (Montréal) announces the ninth edition of the Composer’s Kitchen in its expanded format in collaboration with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//), the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music.

The Exchange

The Composer’s Kitchen hosts an exchange with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, providing the opportunity for two UK composers to attend the Canadian edition, and two Canadian composers to attend the UK edition of the Composer’s Kitchen. All four participants attend both phases:

  • the seven-day workshop in April 2013 in Montréal, ending with a public laboratory-concert, and
  • a three-day follow-up masterclass in Huddersfield, UK in November 2013, to refresh and bring to maturity the work which was developed in the springtime. This phase closes with a feature concert at hcmf//.

Composer’s Kitchen

Composer’s Kitchen is a professional residency produced by Quatuor Bozzini since 2005 whose aim is to train emerging composers in string quartet writing. This unique event is like an “incubator” for original works, combining workshop, laboratory, playground, and masterclass. The new compositions are read, played, assessed, analysed, worked on, played again and performed in a final concert. The residency occurs over two phases: in the first phase, a week-long workshop occurs in Montréal (Canada); six months later, all the artists reunite in the Composer’s Kitchen second phase which takes place in partnership with an international organization (in the past: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Sound and Music/Sound Scotland). Quatuor Bozzini and the participants refresh and review in detail the pieces which have matured over the last number of months. Throughout the process, the composers will be supported by — other than Quatuor Bozzini — the presence of experienced mentors who are amongst the most important figures in new music creation.

“Dare to do what you’ve never dared before!”

Each edition of the Composer’s Kitchen is a chance to rigorously work in a creative, non-competitive and relaxed atmosphere. Participants are encouraged to experiment beyond the limits of convention and to explore new and varied aesthetic styles in a way that their mastery in string quartet writing is strengthened to its highest degree during this enriching experience.

Quatuor Bozzini loves cultivating these relationships with composers beyond the residency period, resulting in a rich network of collaborations. In this way, Quatuor Bozzini always strives to stay active in current trends and practices of emerging composers.

In the Press

  • Review in seanlclancy (UK)
    “I’m just back from two fabulous weeks in Montréal where I was a participant in the Bozzini Quartet’s Composer’s Kitchen…”
  • Critique in Clavier bien tempéré (Québec)
    “Lors de la 9e édition de leur Composer’s Kitchen, le Quatuor Bozzini invitait hier les curieux à entrer dans l’antre de la création, à humer ce qui bouillonnait dans le chaudron, en proposant quatre pièces de jeunes compositeurs.”
  • Review in seanlclancy (UK)
    “This project had a huge impact on my aesthetic and working method and I am so incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a class act as the Bozzini Quartet…”

Review

By Seán Clancy in seanlclancy (UK), May 3, 2013
I’m just back from two fabulous weeks in Montréal where I was a participant in the Bozzini Quartet’s Composer’s Kitchen…

I’m just back from two fabulous weeks in Montréal where I was a participant in the Bozzini Quartet’s Composer’s Kitchen alongside fellow composers Marielle Groven, Simon Martin and Amber Priestley, as well as mentor composers Laurence Crane and Michael Oesterle. We were all immensely fortunate to work extremely close with the quartet and two incredibly brilliant and insightful mentors and for this I am very grateful. Prior to Composer’s Kitchen, it was a great treat to hear some wonderful English, Canadian and Norwegian music during the Bozzini Quartet’s Salon QB series where they were joined by English Pianist Philip Thomas. These were extremely refreshing concerts with superb performances, with particular highlights for me being afforded the opportunity to hear live performances of Martin Arnold, Laurence Crane, Bryn Harrison, Cassandra Miller, Michael Oesterle & my good friend Howard Skempton. The sound of their music rang in my ears long after the performances had finished.

We hit the ground running with the Composer’s Kitchen and it was incredible. Every day we experimented, refined, rehearsed, discussed and experienced each other’s compositions, with the quartet making every discernible effort to really get inside each of our pieces. Their utter dedication to the music was palpable. This was matched by extremely sound comments and advice from Laurence and Michael which really elevated the pieces. The final concert was a huge success and it was such a warm experience hearing these four pieces really coming to life with expert performances from the quartet.

It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to get to know my peer composers Marielle, Simon and Amber and Mentors Laurence and Michael. A pleasure to hear their music, hear them talk about their music and experience all their little eccentricities and how these filtered into their music. Their music for me was an extension of their personality and it was so heart warming to hear this play out. It was incredibly beautiful to hear their work develop over the week and how it was tweaked, refined, rendered and given birth to in high-definition. For my own part, I was extremely delighted with my own piece Neue Kraft Fühlend and believe it to be amongst the best things I’ve written. It was also such an honour to work with a quartet so dedicated to our music and so interested in bringing it to life. This was trumped only by their friendliness, hospitality, generosity and genuine warmth, with each member of the quartet welcoming us into their families and homes.

I really feel that this was an invaluable experience for my development as a composer and I really feel that I have met some life long friends and co-conspirators. I was immensely sad to have left everyone behind as we went our separate ways, but this was only leg I of our journey together. We will meet again for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival!

I want to thank the Bozzini Quartet (and Cléo Palacio-Quintin for her hospitality!) for selecting me for participation in this scheme and affording me the opportunity to work with them and to meet so many remarkable people.

À bientôt mes amis du Canada!

Critique

By Lucie Renaud in Clavier bien tempéré (Québec), April 28, 2013
Lors de la 9e édition de leur Composer’s Kitchen, le Quatuor Bozzini invitait hier les curieux à entrer dans l’antre de la création, à humer ce qui bouillonnait dans le chaudron, en proposant quatre pièces de jeunes compositeurs.

Que trouve-t-on dans la cuisine d’un compositeur? Des sons, des expériences, des idées; autant de potions plus ou moins magiques qui, si correctement utilisées, peuvent mener l’auditeur ailleurs. Et si on pouvait se tapir dans un coin du laboratoire et être témoin des essais et parfois erreurs, alors qu’une œuvre en est encore à ses balbutiements, qu’interprètes et compositeur cherche la voie pour transmettre l’émotion efficacement. Lors de la 9e édition de leur Composer’s Kitchen, le Quatuor Bozzini invitait hier les curieux à entrer dans l’antre de la création, à humer ce qui bouillonnait dans le chaudron, en proposant quatre pièces de jeunes compositeurs (deux du Canada, deux du Royaume-Uni) qui, toute la semaine, avaient travaillé en collaboration avec les musiciens, sous la houlette de leurs parrains compositeurs, Michael Oesterle et Laurence Crane.

Amber Priestley a proposé avec And Yest Something Shines, Something Sings in That Silence une page ludique, les membres du quatuor retournant leur partition après chaque bref mouvement, piochant dans les motifs proposés, assemblant le tout au fur et à mesure. Même si nous avions affaire ici à une narration ne relevant aucunement de la linéarité, le pièce dégageait néanmoins une impression de cohérence, les intentions se trouvant cernées en quelques gestes, souvent habiles.

Neue Kraft Fühlend de Sean Clancy se voulait le négatif du mouvement central du Quatuor opus 132 de Beethoven (de la partition duquel est tirée la citation du titre), les sections plus intenses se trouvant allégées, les passages effervescents devenant concentrés, comme si la structure même du mouvement de Beethoven se trouvait évidée et que Clancy y réarrangeait le matériau, y intégrant bien évidemment de larges pans de son univers. Sans pouvoir obtenir une image claire de la «photographie» d’origine à l’écoute, on peut néanmoins reconnaître le côté obstiné du Beethoven tardif et cette maîtrise imparable avec laquelle il peut échafauder un édifice cohérent à partir d’une simple cellule mélodique ou rythmique. Le tout s’est terminé dans la fatalité la plus pure, les pizzicatos des violons et de l’alto, presque féroces, s’opposant au chant du violoncelle. Une œuvre que je prendrai plaisir à réentendre, qui m’a paru particulièrement achevée.

Les deux compositeurs canadiens ont proposé quant à eux des esquisses, des explorations. Marielle Groven, qu’on avait pu découvrir avec l’ECM+ il y a quelques mois lors du concert Génération 2012, semble continuer son exploration organique, décomposant les sons de la nature, du chant d’oiseau au craquement des branches sans oublier le souffle du vent pour les transmettre en musique. On reconnaissait ici et là des battements d’ailes, des superpositions de sonorités qui semblaient se déformer (un peu comme l’effet Doppler) et le tout m’a semblé un intéressant prolongement (même si la matière était traitée différemment) de la pièce Warblework de Cassandra Miller, présentée il y a deux semaines par le Quatuor Bozzini, qui explorait les différentes possibilités offertes par le chant des grives.

Simon Martin a expliqué en être encore à la phase exploratoire dans son traitement des textures du quatuor à cordes, dont il cherche à maximiser les pouvoirs expressifs, vocaux aussi bien qu’à détourner les fonctions premières des instruments. Ainsi, les archets glissaient sur le corps ou les chevilles des instruments, les musiciens intégraient de menus objets métalliques aux cordes pour obtenir un timbre qui rappelait par moments la guitare électrique par instants et la pression excessive des archets sur les cordes semblaient dématérialiser le son, rendant l’expérience très proche de l’acousmatique. Il faudrait sans doute ramasser tout cela, mais déjà, j’ai aimé ce passage de l’inaudible à l’audible et cette ellipse qui permettait de revenir au point de départ (juste avant les sections avec objets ajoutés et le traitement forcé des sonorités).

Review

By Seán Clancy in seanlclancy (UK), December 17, 2013
This project had a huge impact on my aesthetic and working method and I am so incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a class act as the Bozzini Quartet

Special mention must be given this year to my time spent with the Bozzini Quartet. On two separate occasions, the first in Montreal and the second at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, I had the great privilege of working with this amazing quartet as part of their Composer’s Kitchen Project. Here I was a participant alongside fellow composers Marielle Groven, Simon Martin and Amber Priestley, as well as mentor composers Laurence Crane and Michael Oesterle. It was such a fantastic experience to get to know my peer composers Marielle, Simon and Amber and Mentors Laurence and Michael on these two separate occasions. A pleasure to hear their music, hear them talk about their music and experience all their little eccentricities and how these filtered into their music. Their music for me was an extension of their personality and it was so heart warming to hear this play out. It was incredibly beautiful to hear their work develop over the two separate weeks and how it was tweaked, refined, rendered and given birth to in high-definition. It was also an honour to work with a quartet so dedicated to our music and so interested in bringing it to life. This was trumped only by their friendliness, hospitality, generosity and genuine warmth. Moreover, it was extremely fruitful getting to see this project through over two separate legs; hearing the pieces grow and becoming more and more refined, developing a strong relationship with the performers and seeing an incredibly polished object at the end of the project at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a group working as hard over such an extended period of time as the Bozzini Quartet. They performed my piece Neue Kraft Fühlend superbly, with the energy and delicacy that it deserves, balancing light and darkness perfectly. I am immensely proud of this piece as I am with this collaboration. This project had a huge impact on my aesthetic and working method and I am so incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a class act as the Bozzini Quartet and I hope our creative paths cross again in the very near future.