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Framing the Ephemeral

Improvisation is fleeting and ephemeral; but what stays in our mind after an improvisation, and how can we return to an idea, in a subsequent improvisation, to build on our discoveries in music and performance?  

Review of Scroll Ensemble at York Early Music Competition

Harpsichordist IasonMarmaras’s colourful socks suggested that we might be about to hear something unusual before he and his fellow musicians had played a note. They also dispensed with stands and sheet music. Was this an experimental drama troupe? A circus skills workshop?No, this was something much better.

Kircher’s Music Machine

Athanasius Kircher, 17th Century traveller, writer, and polymath, describes in his Musurgia Universalis (1650) a machine, whereby any person, even a non-musician, can make music. This Arca Musurgica  (musical arch) consists of a complex of musical choices and parameters, very much foreshadowing the logic of the modern computer, and it travelled widely, even as far as China, as it was very advantageous for kings and emperors to be able to underline their authority by presenting their own musical ‘composition’.

The DaMu Collective- Explorations in the Printing Press

The interdisciplinary DaMu  Collective blends music, dance, performance art, visual art, and film, and recently started a project with Victorine Van Alphen set in the printing press, De Raadraaier Amsterdam.

Improvisation Courses

In November, the Scroll Ensemble gave courses in historical improvisation at the conservatoires of Katowice and Bydgoszcz in Poland.

Simkchat Hanefesh radio broadcast

The ensemble Simkchat Hanefesh  ('Joy of the Soul') focusses on Jewish music of the Renaissance and Baroque, with particular focus on Yiddish song from 1500-1800.

Amsterdam Virtuosi

Amsterdam Virtuosi is a programme with lutenist Irene Thomas.
Amsterdam was a centre of musical activity during the 18th century and, along with London, one of the major centres of music publishing.

 

The Story of Christ's Crucifixion - or -The Birth of a Passion

As all good stories, this one begins at the beginning, when Robert de Bree said,naturally during Lent, "What we need is a new Passion!" Being of the adventurous type, he and his Scroll Ensemble colleague, James Hewitt, decided to leave the safety of their home territory, the Baroque, in pursuit of a more 'oriental' period. Perhaps thinking that it might be thematically preferable to look backwards in time, James turned to Rebecca Stewart for inspiration, to whom 'old' meant chant, of whatever kind.

New work for Orgelpark

On 16th Feburary the Scroll Ensemble will present a new project in the Orgelpark Amsterdam, with Guus Janssen (organ) and Cora Schmeisser (voice): O Solitude, a programme around Henry Purcell combining past and present, early music and improvisation. For this performance I am writing a new piece, Still Point of the Turning World.

Meeting of two worlds in Weimar

Yiddish Summer Weimar 2012 included a dance ball with Yiddish and baroque dances, and an instrumental workshop including baroque music alongside klezmer.  I was invited to direct the orchestra in Playford  dances, and to teach baroque improvisation. 

The theme was the “Bridges of Ashkenazi”: that is, the migration of the Western European Jews (Ashkenazi  1) to Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi  2), and possible influences of earlier music on the Jewish repertory.

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