Introducing Music Sparks!
We’re very excited about the launch of a brand-new project next month, Music Sparks, in partnership with Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. We’d love to see you on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June for a weekend of creativity and exploration! There are various workshops happening on the Saturday, tailored for specific age groups, as well as an extended session for instrumentalists of all ages (please bring your own instruments along for this one)! On the Sunday, a final workshop draws on ideas already explored and feeds into a concert with a difference – the audience will have their say, helping map out a programme based on the idea of a day in Glasgow – you can set the rules, take inspiration from images on screen and hear the results play out, live! Come along to one workshop or take part over the whole weekend and experience a different way of creating music.
We recently caught up with founding member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and long-time friend of CCC, Dr Una MacGlone, who has given us some background information and insight into this style of music which you can read, below:
“Improvisation, at a very basic level is something that we do in our everyday lives. There’s not a ‘road-map’ telling us how to interact with others, or to make choices. We often have to improvise to find new ways of doing or thinking about things.
In music, improvisation is part of many genres. We often associate it most closely with jazz…but don’t forget about Scottish traditional music, Argentinian tango, Honduran Garifuna punta, Mexican-style son jarocho, Iranian classical music, and Karnatic kritis of South India! The interesting thing is that in each tradition, improvisation plays a key role but thought of in a different way.
Free improvisation refers to a way of creating music where musicians can draw on diverse influences to make up music spontaneously. These influences can be decided by the players in real-time or beforehand. It is mainly understood as a very social way of making music with musicians listening really carefully and creating responses in relation to others’ playing.
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra is a large improvising ensemble of around 20 musicians from diverse artistic backgrounds ranging from free improvisation, jazz, classical, folk, pop, experimental musics and performance art. Since its inaugural project in 2002 the Orchestra has established an international reputation and garnered critical acclaim for its innovative projects and its exploration of improvised music. A host of collaborations with world renowned improvisers and other ensembles have expanded the band’s artistic horizons and given rise to musical connections throughout the world.
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra perform in venues around the UK and Europe and have now established their own annual festival in Glasgow which provides a platform for improvising musicians and artists. Alongside their composing, recording and performing activities they are committed to an ongoing programme of education and outreach activities including workshops, lectures and master classes.
GIO are very happy to be collaborating with CCC for the new venture ‘Music Sparks’. During workshops we will also collaborate with the participants, being guided by their musical gestures. For all ages, our first priority is facilitating people’s creative agency through music and sound. During the workshops we will explore a range of strategies for spontaneously creating music in a group which are carefully tailored to both age and experience. Una MacGlone (bass), Alex South (clarinet) and Paul Stone (trombone) are all experienced educators and improvisers. Together with CCC’s own Owen Gunnel and Colin Hyson our friendly relaxed approach combines with the belief that no sound is a ‘mistake’, just an opportunity to explore!
During the concert on Sunday we will create music to illustrate the narrative of a journey through Glasgow. We will have an expanded band of musicians to add to the possible soundworlds. Expect an adventure with plenty of fun and audience participation!”
We can’t wait to see and hear Glasgow with a fresh perspective. Each piece in the concert will be based on a particular landmark or journey (on the subway for example), the people who ‘make Glasgow’ or period of the city’s history. Both the musicians and members of the audience who wish to get involved, will work from a screen with projections of images, and a live camera feed will turn props into a graphic score. There will be basic pre-conceived ideas as to the foundation of each piece in the programme, for example, the sun rising over Glasgow as the opening number, but the music itself has not been written or rehearsed – the end result will therefore be completely new and nothing like it will ever be heard again, it cannot be repeated, it will be a snapshot in time brought about only by the people sat in the theatre of the CCA on Sunday 2 June, and this is truly exciting!
To give you more of a feel of what to expect, check out the video below which features young children in a free improvisation setting (filmed at GIO Fest in 2014). We hope to see you soon!