I have started working on an AHRC-funded Cultural Engagement Project at the University of York: ‘From score to sound: Engaging audiences with new music’.
The Score to Sound project aims to implement and evaluate an approach for engaging the public in twentieth and twenty-first-century British music, and is funded by the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund. In partnership with Sound and Music (the UK’s charity for new music) the Contemporary Music Research Centre will facilitate three Discovery Days and concerts – concentrating on music chosen from the British Music Collection – in York, Huddersfield and London.
I will deliver this project with Tim Howell, designing and hosting the Discovery Days, and bringing contemporary music ensemble Dark Inventions, which I co-direct. Sound and Music will contribute a framework in which the project’s events will be evaluated. The result of the project will be threefold:
- Discovery Days and concerts will provide an opportunity for audiences in three cities to explore this music;
- a web resource and recordings will allow a worldwide audience to access similar content and will provide a framework within which similar projects can be delivered;
- project evaluation with audience feedback will support other organisations to plan such events, ensuring the highest level of ongoing knowledge transfer.
Three Discovery Days will be held. These will be an opportunity for Martin – in collaboration with Dark Inventions – to present a series of interlinked activities that aim to introduce the audience to twentieth and twenty-first-century British music.
The audience will be given the opportunity to see how the ensemble tackles this repertoire in an open rehearsal that starts each day. A talk, illustrated with live examples from the ensemble, will follow, giving an insight into how the works are constructed and how this might influence how they are heard. A roundtable discussion with several of the featured composers will allow the audience to see how the creators of this music themselves understand it, before the discussion is opened out with a Q&A.
Taken together, these elements will equip the audience with the knowledge and context to approach these works in a new light, opening up what can be seen as difficult music. More broadly, participants will have had the opportunity to develop ways of approaching music that enables them to discover new music and broaden their tastes.
In the evening, Dark Inventions will present a programme of British music tied together by the theme of melody, including all works explored during the day. These concerts will act to uncover some lesser-known music, with a juxtaposition of different styles that will see works informing and contrasting with one another.