Fizzing candy and a sensory exploration of our surroundings; Wales’ cutting edge music ensemble UPROAR returns with Scenes from a Street to immerse audiences in experimental new sounds from the frontiers of classical music
Wales’ critically acclaimed contemporary music ensemble UPROAR returns with its fifth instalment of exciting and progressive new classical music. Following its sell out inaugural project 10×10 in 2018 and its exploration of music transformed by live electronics in the Professor Bad Trip project in 2020, Scenes from a Street is a new, evocative and immersive programme inspired by the climate crisis, movement of people, our behaviour and the lack of touch during lockdown over the last two years.
It will be first performed at the Bangor Music Festival on 12th February 2022 before touring to Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Abergavenny’s Priory Centre.
At the heart of UPROAR’s latest project are three brand new works from outstanding contemporary Welsh composers: Guto Pryderi Puw, Carlijn Metselaar and Joseph Davies, with pieces created for an ensemble of 15 exceptional musicians. Their pieces are life affirming expressions of a positive post-COVID future. Joseph Davies documents the conflicting emotions of sadness and joy experienced through the lockdown, ultimately ending with an expression of unbridled joy. Carlijn Metselaar explores the freedoms through reconnecting with nature relevant to many through these times whilst Guto Pryderi Puw’s work is a euphoric, sensory exploration that is both inspired by and involves an immersive experience with popping candy!
Alongside these new commissions are world renowned pieces from two celebrated international female classical composers that will premiere for the first time in Wales; Gougalon from multi-award winning Korean composer Unsuk Chin (‘Vivid, extravagant and technically assured to the point of virtuosity’ The Guardian) and Impeccable Quake from Shanghai born, Pulitzer Prize winning composer Du Yun described as ‘an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge’ by The New York Times.
Scenes from a Street will be an evening packed full of assorted styles, experiments and immersive sound experiences for those especially interested in the new frontiers of classical music, reflective of UPROAR’s mission to embrace all areas which involve contemporary classical music. The well-honed ensemble of musicians are united by both their passion for and considerable skill level necessary to perform contemporary music.
Michael Rafferty, UPROAR’s Artistic Director and conductor said “‘Most countries throughout the world have at least one large scale ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music. Wales didn’t have one, so we formed UPROAR to give audiences in Wales the opportunity to hear the wealth of music created by outstanding composers worldwide. We also wanted to give the many talented composers currently writing music in Wales, opportunities to have their work performed at the highest standards to audiences both within and outside Wales. We’re pleased that this project brings the total number of new welsh commissions by UPROAR to 27.”
Composers and programme:
Guto Pryderi Puw World Premiere Popping Candy
Welsh composer, university lecturer and conductor, Puw is considered one of the most prominent Welsh composers of his generation and a key figure in current Welsh music. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and been featured on television programmes for the BBC and S4C. He has twice been awarded the Composer’s Medal at the National Eisteddfod and was Resident Composer, the first holder of this title, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 2006 to 2010. Puw’s own Welsh identity is a recurrent theme in his music. Popping Candy will introduce the audience to a “world of fizz and fun”. “Popping candy coated in chocolate is really nice. The piece has been inspired by popping candy and I hope there will be an opportunity to taste some of the sweet during the performance in order to enjoy the full experience. At least that’s the aim.” Guto Pryderi Puw
Joseph Davies World Premiere Collider
Born in Cardiff in 1987, Joseph Davies has been hailed as “one of the brightest of rising stars” (Bernard Clarke, RTÉ) whose music, described as “extraordinarily vivid and exuberant” (Ivan Hewitt, BBC Radio 3) has been performed and broadcast throughout Europe and the USA. Collider begins with an impassioned howl from the string quintet, music suggestive of the pain of absence which seems unavoidably connected to the various kinds of absence endured during the COVID-19 pandemic. This yearning is quickly answered by an explosion of rhythmic activity in the brass and percussion, a harmonic engine that drives the music through wildly contrasting episodes. Midway anxious woodwinds over a skittering hi-hat warn of a malfunction, leading to a nervous breakdown for the full ensemble followed by a return of the anguish of the opening, this time more extended. Eventually the engine returns to life even more intensely than before, ending in a coda of unbridled joy. The title was suggested partly by particle colliders, the enormous underground machines like CERN in Geneva which investigate the dance of matter and energy making up the universe, and partly by the sense of touch and colliding with strangers in urban environments, so strangely missing the past couple of years.
Carlijn Metselaar World Premiere Forest Bathing
Carlijn Metselaar is a composer of contemporary classical music based in Cardiff, Wales. She recently composed a fanfare for orchestra for the Wiener Symphoniker, for the inaugural concert of Andrés Orozco-Estrada as the new Music Director of the orchestra, performed in October 2020 at the Konzerthaus. She also takes part in the RSNO Composers’ Hub with Stuart MacRae. Forest Bathing is music that celebrates the natural world and our place in it. More specifically, it is inspired by the Japanese idea of forest bathing, or going by oneself to a wood or forest to be alone, to connect with nature, and to rest and heal. Carlijn explains “I wanted to write a piece which is a love-song to nature, to remind us of our personal relationships with the natural world, and what we have to lose and gain. In the middle of an ongoing environmental crisis, I am interested in the different ways in which music could potentially contribute to a cultural shift in the way we consider and feel about the natural world.”
Unsuk Chin Welsh Premiere Gougalon
Unsuk Chin (진은숙) is a multi award winning South Korean composer of contemporary classical music based in Berlin, Germany. Chin was self-taught piano from a young age and studied composition at Seoul National University as well as with György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg.In 2019, writers of The Guardian ranked her Cello Concerto (2009) the 11th greatest work of art music since 2000, with Andrew Clements describing it as “perhaps the most original and entertainingly disconcerting of all of [her concertos], cast in four brilliant movements that never quite conform to type.” Unsuk Chin describes how the title of her new ensemble work Gougalon has multiple meanings: “to hoodwink; to make ridiculous movements; to fool someone by means of feigned magic; to practice fortune-telling.” Gougalon explores a colourful sequence of musical snapshots alluding to Korean street theatre. This piece is about an “imaginary folk music” that is stylised, broken within itself, and only apparently primitive.
Du Yun Welsh Premiere Impeccable Quake
Chinese born composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and performance artist, Du Yun won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her opera Angel’s Bone, and was a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She was named one of the 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2018 and received a 2019 Grammy nomination in the category of Best Classical Contemporary Composition for her work Air Glow. Impeccable Quake’s frenetic ensemble passages evolve and take the audience on a riotous journey. Du Yun notes that “… the sound that comes out of the back of my head, the familiar music sound home… and the energy that sprang out from the bottom of my throat follows me everywhere like a shadow…This remembrance and familiarity were so intact and worn-tout that they are, to me, senses of nausea…They are blinding, the form, the narrative of this explosion.”
Pontio, Bangor Music Festival 12th February 2022, 7.30pm
Box Office: 01248 382828
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Dora Stoutzker Hall, Cardiff, 25th February 2022, 7.30pm
Box Office: 029 2039 1391
Aberystwyth Arts Centre 25th March 2022, 8pm
Box Office: 01970 62 32 32
Borough Theatre @ The Priory Centre, Abergavenny 8th April 2022, 7.30pm
Box Office: 01873 850 805
Full details can be found on the UPROAR website uproar.org.uk