Second update from the summer: I was at the Nadar Summer Academy in Sint Niklaas to work with the students on a new piece commissioned by Transit Festival and Matrix New Music for Nadar. The academy is an amazing week of intensive work with the students, who are aged between 14-21. We stayed in a retreat in the countryside near the city, started the day with yoga, cycled the 10k to the music school, ate amazing food, and worked very hard on the pieces. The students were amazing, and did an astonishing job of performing the pieces. The piece I made for them, it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want, asks the players to construct sequences of sounds, responding to what they hear preceding players do. Players have control over their own actions, but generally not those of others. They can influence some behaviours but not control the group totally, although forming allegiances might enable more control to be exerted on the group. The piece uses a set of artificially constructed or presented sounds, including text-to-speech computer voices, recordings of real world sounds, algorithmically generated music, synthesisers, radio, dictaphones, and spoken commands delivered over megaphones. The title is taken from Larry Diamond’s text ‘What is Democracy?’ (2004).
The players will be performing it again at Transit on 13 October in a morning concert that includes a new 40-minute choral piece by Bryn Harrison.