Field Notes by Howard Skempton and Matthew Harris


A full press release and associated images can be downloaded using the links in the right column.

Presented by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Craftspace & Arts Alive

World Premiere: Saturday March 8 2014 at 7.30pm, Wem Town Hall, Shropshire

Tour: March 8 – 29, 2014: Shropshire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire
and October 14 – 25, 2014 (venues tba)

Field Notes – a performance featuring specially commissioned new music and textile art – will transform village halls in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire – and beyond – into both a gallery and a concert hall.

The programme, which tours to rural venues in March and October 2014, is a unique collaboration between composer Howard Skempton and artist Matthew Harris and hand-picked musicians from* Birmingham Contemporary Music Group*.

Internationally renowned Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, award-winning Birmingham-based Craftspace and Shropshire and Herefordshire’s Arts Alive have come together to present the programme with funds from the National Lottery awarded by Arts Council England.

Using old maps of Shropshire and graphic scores as common starting points, Skempton and Harris have engaged in a lively creative exchange resulting in complementary new works from each artist. Harris’ freestanding artwork, combining textiles and drawings, will frame the performance space as four of BCMG’s world-class musicians perform Skempton’s new piece, Field Notes.

Howard Skempton’s joyous, sparse and decidedly enigmatic music has featured at the BBC Proms and has been widely performed by many of the UK’s top orchestras and ensembles. Visual artist Matthew Harris makes abstract artworks constructed through marking, piecing, patching, dyeing, cutting and hand-stitching cloth. It was the remarkable resemblance to graphic scores in the latter’s work which created an immediate rapport between Skempton and Harris.

In addition, the immersive programme will feature music by other leading composers, including Oliver Knussen, Judith Weir and Betsy Jolas, and a rare performance of extracts from Cornelius Cardew’s exquisite Treatise, realised by Howard Skempton and described as the ‘Mount Everest of graphic scores’.

A chance to meet the artists involved in the project, and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ film by Hereford-based film-maker Chris Smart which charts the progress of Skempton and Harris’s collaboration, will enable audiences to share their creative journey. Participatory workshops for families and young people and an artist development project are also included in the tour.

Faith Wilson Arts Publicity (for BCMG) 0794 113 7453

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