7 October - 13 October 2016
Spontonality: a live music improvisation sequence with Tim West, Matthew Barley, Tony Woods, Torbjörn Hultmark and Julian Bliss returns to Kestle Barton for a second year – following the success of the event last season.
On successive days these five master musicians from radically different traditions will push boundaries in this concert series/sound installation, devised and led by Tim West in collaboration with Matthew Barley. Last year the sequence began with linked solo improvisations on day one, and gradually combined in duets, trios and quartets, finishing with a group quintet performance and evening concert. This year the structure has changed….in true improvisation style: counting down from quintet to solos and building back up again over the course of five days and then working with various groups in the community and at Kestle Barton.
We’re still talking about what we did at the workshop and how it felt to take part in the concert both as performers and audience members – we have a plan to perform an improvisation at one of our weekly lunch time concerts at the university… It would be a very natural thing to feel nervous before attending an improvisation workshop but we were made to feel very welcome and very supported. I feel that the bond between those of us who attended has deepened a little further.
There were so many moments from the day that are worthy of mention but in particular Torbjörn’s performance of the piece for soprano trombone and electronics was moving, thought provoking and inspiring. It really resonated with discussion that we’ve been having around our “music at the cutting edge” module.
Falmouth University student Philip Innes
Then there was the music that Spontonality created – well this was some of the most inspirational that I have ever been lucky enough to experience live and I know that every one of our students lit up with the pleasure of it. The workshop was brilliant with Tim, Julian, Tony and Torbjörn covering an excellent spread of approaches to improvisation with a great balance of humour and discipline! What was particularly delightful was the incredible way that they empowered the group to feel able to perform what was to many of the group a new approach to music making that very evening! To be invited to perform at the evening’s concert was quite astonishing, especially in the configurations of small self appointed groups, and the feedback that came from the audience and musicians helped to build confidence further.
This was a priceless experience for all involved and I really hope that you would consider having us back again next year.
Andrea J. Rushton
Lecturer in Music
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
From a solid grounding in the classical world, Tim West has moved predominantly in other musical spheres. Alongside composition and performing he has developed the science of music, leading to a significant advance in its understanding.
As members of the National Youth Orchestra he and Matthew Barley first met. Then a bassoonist, he continued this focus through his time at Cambridge University playing with Nigel Kennedy and Jerzy Maksymiuk amongst others. As a conductor he worked with Emma Johnson, Tom Morris and Ed Shearmur.
Since his time at Cambridge Tim’s musical interests have been predominately in rock, jazz and experimental music – though today he still holds two long term posts as church organist.
For several decades he has played keyboards in the band Akasha: working with Maxi Jazz, Jerry Dammers, Sarah Cracknell, Damon Brown, John Bentley, John Eacott, Colin Edwin, Dave Ruffy, Andy Gangadeen.
He also plays keys in a new project with Rat Scabies and another with Jane Horrocks.
Tim West has gigged extensively over the years with a variety of artists including Johnny Borrell, John Fiddler’s Medicine Head, Tim Whitehead, Emily Saunders, Guy Barker, Ray Majors, Mitch Benn and Steve Hyams – as guitarist, keyboardist and saxophonist. Other sessions cover the ground from rock legends UFO to Leonard Bernstein.
For many years Tim ran the 20 strong music department at Richmond Community College. Here, a Eureka moment fused his Cambridge Maths degree and experience in teaching/playing music into a dramatic discovery which has tremendous repercussions – dramatically simplifying the learning process of musical theory and leading to many new possibilities.
Throughout, improvisation has been a core concern. Tim West has an almost evangelical zeal for encouraging its practice on a wide scale.
Cello playing is at the centre of Matthew Barley’s career, while his musical world has virtually no geographical, social or stylistic boundaries.
Music Director of BBC2 TV’s Classical Star programme, Matthew Barley is passionate about education, improvisation, multi-arts projects, new music, and pioneering community programmes. He is a world-renowned cellist, who has performed in over 50 countries in many of the world’s great concert halls with orchestras including BBC Philharmonic, Netherland Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphonies and Kremera- ta Baltica.
Matthew Barley’s collaborations include Matthias Goerne, the Labeque Sisters, Viviane Hagner, Martin Frost, Thomas Larcher, Kit Armstrong, Amjad Ali Khan, Julian Joseph, Talvin Singh, Kathryn Tickell, Nitin Sawhney, and Deep Purple’s Jon Lord, and his new music group, Between The Notes, has undertaken over 60 creative projects with young musicians and orchestral players around the world.
Matthew’s critically acclaimed catalogue of CDs and DVDs has appeared on Black Box, Navras, Signum Classics and Onyx Classics including The Peasant Girl with his wife, Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova.
In 2013 Matthew undertook an astonishing 100-event UK tour celebrating Benjamin Britten – the tour was accompanied by a CD release, Around Britten, described by Sinfini as “a defining statement in modern cello playing”.
Future projects include BBC Philharmonic, a tour to Mexico with City of London Sinfonia, the world premiere of Classic House Orchestra – new arrangements of acid house classics for cello and orchestra at Poland’s Sacrum Profanum festival, a return to the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, a recording project of Matthew’s arrangements of Brazilian jazz with the City of London Sinfonia, and a three-month holiday.
A graduate of Keele University, Leeds College of Music and The Guildhall School of Music, Tony received the soloist’s prize at the Dunkirk International Jazz Festival.
In the mid 90s, Tony Woods Project was formed. It has recorded three highly acclaimed albums of original, folk inspired compositions: High Seas (1997), Lowlands (2004), and Wind Shadows (2009). The band has attracted airplay on BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM, UK Jazz Radio, has toured the UK extensively and performed at festivals across the country including Manchester, London, Swanage, Ealing, Ascot and Teignmouth.
To explore the possibilities of improvising on English classical music Tony formed the Avalon Trio with Pete Churchill and the debut album Forlana (BBC Music review here) was released in 2011, resulting in interviews on BBC Radio 3 and Jazz FM. Tony has also performed at the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, Pizza Express Jazz Club and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
Tony has worked as a session musician in many of London’s studios including Lansdown Studios, Angel Studio, Abbey Road and Maida Vale Studios. He has frequently performed with Michael Garrick, both live and on disc, in large and small ensembles, often with his wife, singer Nette Robinson.
In 2010 Nette’s Little Big Band released its debut CD The Little Big Band Plays and in 2012 Michael Garrick’s Lyric Ensemble, which features Nette and Tony, released Home Thoughts – Michael Garrick’s final album.
2012 also saw the release of Seventh Daze, the debut album from Kwartet -Tony’s collaboration with long time musical associate Tim Whitehead.
Torbjörn Hultmark was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1957. He is a naturalised British citizen subsequent to having moved to the UK in 1985. Torbjörn studied trumpet and composition at the Gothenburg Conservatoire of Music and at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, Goldsmith’s College, London. His main teachers were Bengt Eklund (Gothenburg) and John Wallace (London).
Alongside his work as a member of Notes Inégales and the Headspace Ensemble, he works with orchestras and ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as well as film and TV session work. Torbjörn has worked as a soloist with the Northern Sinfonia and with the BBC Philharmonic, on BBC Radio 3 and at the Albert Hall Proms. He was a founder-member of Chaconne Brass.
‘…its fiendish trumpet part particularly crisply delivered by Torbjörn Hultmark’ Richard Morrison, The Times (Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Torbjorn is also an experienced composer whose compositions have been performed extensively, including Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand and the UK (BBC R3, Classic FM etc).
Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest solo clarinetists excelling as concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players, as guest lecturer and creator of the Leblanc Bliss range of affordable clarinets, and introduced a large new audience to his instrument. The breadth and depth of Julian’s artistry are reflected in the diversity and distinction of his work. He has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and performed chamber music with Joshua Bell, Hélène Grimaud, Steven Isserlis, Steven Kovacevich and other great interpreters.
Julian stands today among the finest musicians of his generation. He launched the Julian Bliss Septet in 2012 at Wigmore Hall and at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and fronted their debut disc, Benny Goodman –The King of Swing. This programme has gone on to be performed across the world, including a sell-out performance at the Concertgebouw.