Concert: Compositions by Joseph Clayton Mills, Adam Sonderberg and Sarah Hughes

Compost and Height and the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARU) present an evening of compositions by Sarah Hughes, Joseph Clayton Mills and Adam Sonderberg.

The Patient by Joseph Clayton Mills, Compression for septet (2014) by Adam Sonderberg, and Fires and Conifers by Sarah Hughes will be performed by Ryoko Akama, Jane Dickson, Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes, David Lacey, David R J Stent, and Paul Whitty.

Church of St. John the Evangelist, Oxford
March 27th, 2015. Doors at 7:30pm, performances start at 8:00pm.
Advance tickets can now be purchased here, £6.

Joseph Clayton Mills – The Patient 

Inspired by and incorporating fragmentary notes written by the writer Franz Kafka on his deathbed, the score of The Patient largely consists of suggestions to guide musical improvisation that draw on the text for specific materials, imagery, actions, and instrumentation. Forbidden to speak by his doctors, Kafka communicated with those friends and family who visited him through scribbling notes that range from the mundane to the poetic. The collected conversation slips provide a cryptic, incomplete record of his final weeks and form a constellation of intensely observed moments that, while disconnected from one another and often elusive in meaning, are nonetheless unified by their specific context—Kafka’s dying body, his intense will to connect with and communicate to others, and the constraints that inevitably rendered such communication difficult, partial, and incomplete. The Patient attempts to reflect this, not simply by responding to or expanding upon the content of individual conversation slips, but also in its overall structure, which gives a framework for performance that is nonhierarchical, contingent, open-ended, and suggestive rather than proscriptive. In inviting the performers to provide the absent, unspoken answer to Kafka’s words, the score provides a setting that allows the greatest possible degree of interpretive freedom to the performers to engage with the material in their own fashion. The Patient was premiered at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio in the fall of 2012 and was released as a CD and accompanying book by Entr’acte in 2013.

Joseph Clayton Mills is a musician, artist, and writer who lives and works in Chicago. His text-based paintings, assemblages, and sound installations have been exhibited in Chicago, New York, and Europe and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker. He is the author of the short-story collection Zyxt, and in 2012 published Nabokrossvords, a translation of early Russian crosswords by Vladimir Nabokov.

Adam Sonderberg – Compression for Septet (2014)

1. Assembly Line

2. Cries and Whispers (set)

3. Model Kit

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Adam Sonderberg (b. 1978) is a composer working predominantly with concreté-based compositions utilizing the computer as a discreet processing and assembly tool. his selected discography includes over two-dozen releases, both solo and ensemble work. He is one-third of Haptic, former co-director of the Dropp Ensemble, and former curator (1993-2007) of Longbox Recordings.

Sarah Hughes – Fires and Conifers 

Fires and Conifers (2012) is one of a series of scores that takes Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things] as a point from which to explore structure, repetition and composition.

The poem, written in c.55bc, interrogates the material nature of things and provides explanation of how relationships that form the properties of matter (such as the heaviness to rocks, heat to fire, liquidity to water and intangibility to void) are formed. A distinction is made between these properties of matter and what Lucretius calls accidents of space (wealth, poverty, concord, war), which do not impair the essential nature of things.

The structure of the poem, written in six books, is such that the odd numbers outline the basic doctrines of Epicurean philosophy, with which Lucretius is outwardly concerned, and the even numbers present deductions made from those doctrines. The score follows a similar structure and the title plays on Lucretius’ frequent use of the metaphor of written language to demonstrate that just as all words and sentences are permutations of the letters in the alphabet, all material is created though different permutations of the same primary elements.

Artist, composer and performer Sarah Hughes produces work that explores the boundaries of interdisciplinary practice, often moving between sculpture, installation, composition and music. She is co-director of Compost and Height, and co-founder of BORE, a publication dedicated to experimental text-based and graphic scores. Hughes’s work has been exhibited and performed internationally, including at Supplement, London; V22, London; Sydney Non Objective, Australia; Oriel Davies, Wales; Center for New Music, San Francisco; Constellation, Chicago and The Wulf, Los Angeles.

Performed by:

Ryoko Akama’s work approaches the aesthetics of silence and time/space. She has worked with and been mentored by Eliane Radigue, and pursues the quality of minimal, reductive, cumulative and contemplative sonic experiences.

Jane Dickson is a London based musician. Her background includes classical piano and conducting, live electronics performance and composition. Her current work uses an interdisciplinary approach to research areas including the aesthetics and cultural significance of virtuosity in contemporary performance.

Patrick Farmer plays motors as if they were spinning drums, writes books, his most recent publication being the novella, Yew Grotesque, and occasionally text scores.

Samuel Rodgers is a musician and sound artist. He has ongoing collaborations with artists Stephen Cornford, Jack Harris and Laura James, and co-curates the Consumer Waste record label and Empty Orchestra curatorial project. Samuel studied MA Time-based Art Practices and BA Music Composition at Dartington College of Arts.

David R J Stent is an artist, writer and musician currently based in West Sussex. He is Programme Leader of Visual Arts at West Dean College

Paul Whitty leads research in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University and is a co-founder of the Sonic Art Re- search Unit. Recently Paul has been engaged in a series of interventions in pre- exist- ing contexts – re-reading, re-organising, re-categorising, re- distributing and re-sounding the materials that are found there. These contexts can be scores, actual physical sites or instruments.

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