The Vocal Constructivists worked closely with American composer, philosopher, writer, activist, and visionary Pauline Oliveros, who passed away in November 2016. The group pays tribute to her life and work in a wide-ranging programme that draws from over six decades of her career. Featured works will include her 1961 Sound Patterns, awarded the Gaudeamus International Composers Award in 1962, text scores from Sonic Meditations (1971), Wind Horse (1989), and the participatory A New Indigo Peace (2008).
As well as works by Oliveros, the ensemble will perform Robert Ashley’s She Was a Visitor (1967), and new commissions – all receiving their world premiere – by composers who knew and worked with her.
‘Dying will happen to all of us at some point. Impermanence still rules. However we should think about this question: what is your relationship to peace? Do you want to live in peace or do you want to live in violence? Which would you choose? One of the things we want to do according to my partner and co–Deep Listening teacher Ione is “make peace more exciting than violence.” That is the process we are attempting’. (American Music, 2007).
THE VOCAL CONSTRUCTIVISTS are a dynamic ensemble specialising in the performance of text and graphic scores, alongside works that extend ‘traditional’ notation. The group was formed by Jane Alden in 2011 and was the first ensemble to perform an all-vocal version of Cornelius Cardew’s epic Treatise (1964-67). The Vocal Constructivists included various renditions of Treatise in performances across the UK before recording excerpts on their debut recording Walking Still (Innova: 2014). Coming from diverse backgrounds including classical music, punk, dance, mime and noise art, and with an age range of 18-78, the group draws on a variety of artistic influences to create programmes that reflect their shared interests in experimental music from the UK, the US, and Poland. In their short history, the group have commissioned and premiered twelve works, establishing themselves as an important force in new music-making.
The Vocal Constructivists have performed at South London Gallery, Morley College, Hanbury Hall, V22 Summer Club (The Old Biscuit Factory, Bermondsey), The Forge, Arcola Theatre, Peckham multi-storey car park (as part of the London Contemporary Music Festival), JACK (Brooklyn, NYC), and Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin. They were chosen as Ensemble In Residence for the 2013 Time Stands Still conference at Wesleyan University, Connectiut, where they worked with composers Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff, Ron Kuivila, Mark Applebaum and Paula Matthusen. In 2016 they headlined at Ideoprenurial Entrephonics 2 in Dublin and were the closing act of Southbank Centre’s Deep Minimalism festival at St John’s Smith Square.
“a group of exceptionally gifted singers who are at one with each other” – Choir and Organ
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pauline Oliveros, a composer and musical visionary who has been close to the Vocal Constructivists’ development and influenced our thinking and musical life in so many ways. Pauline’s compositions and her wisdom have inspired us to work more closely as an ensemble and her personal input has been invaluable. We were honored to work with her as recently as June 2016. In Pauline’s own words:
‘Dying will happen to all of us at some point. Impermanence still rules. However we should think about this question: what is your relationship to peace? Do you want to live in peace or do you want to live in violence? Which would you choose? One of the things we want to do according to my partner and co–Deep Listening teacher Ione is “make peace more exciting than violence.” That is the process we are attempting’.
(American Music, 2007)
We shall be performing some of Pauline’s works in the near future, and hope you will join us to remember her and her extraordinary vision – one which we could all benefit from in these uncertain times.
The Vocal Constructivists.
The Vocal Constructivists are looking forward to performing their programme “MMM: Lullaby to Dawn,” in the Deep Minimalism Festival, St Johns Smith Square, London (June 26, 2016). This will include a rendition of Lullaby for Daisy Pauline by Pauline Oliveros, who will be present for the festival.
The Vocal Constructivists will be performing this weekend, 23 April 2016, in the Ideopreneurial Entrephonics II festival in Dublin. This event explores the synthesized, natural, and modified voice, featuring a wide variety of exciting music.
The Constructivists,a London-based choir which specializes in unusual and graphic notation, are delighted to be presenting a range of vocal pieces starting on Saturday at 7 pm at the historic Freemasons Hall in Dublin. This concert will begin with Ron Kuivila’s piece City of no Allusions, for massed choirs; a piece that appears on the VC’s 2012 album Walking Still. This festival will provide an exciting opportunity to revisit this piece in a larger setting with many vocalists joining in from choirs around Dublin and Ireland.
The second half of the program features new and historic work, with a 21st century twist. This includes several medieval pieces, revisited to mesh them with the 21st century by updating the text or using them as a basis for improvisation. This includes Alleluia Te Martyrum from the 10th century, Leonin’s Alleluia from the 12th century with 20th century poetry, and Musica enchiriadis Organum + Organ, featuring Lauren Redhead improvising on the organ.
20th century Composers include György Ligeti, Toshi Ichiyangi, Jean Ritchie, Pauline Oliveros and Meredith Monk. From the 21st century, composers are Matthew Stein and also Charles Hutchins and Ben Zucker, both of whom, along with Ron Kuivila, will be present at the festival.
On Sunday at 1 pm, Constructivists George Chambers and Rebecca Hardwick will be performing a cappella In The Sky by Stockhausen.
The entire weekend of events, also including additional performances by Ron Kuivila and many modular synthesizers, is free and open to the public at the Freemasons Hall, 17-19 Molesworth Street, Dublin
For the full schedule, see the included image or visit the event’s website.
“MMM: Lullaby to Dawn,” Vocal Constructivists performance in the Deep Minimalism Festival, St Johns Smith Square, London (June 26, 2016)
“American Constructions,” Vocal Constructivists perform in the Ideopreneurial Entrephonics Festival of Sound Art, Freemason’s Hall, Dublin (April 23-24, 2016)
CALL FOR WORKS
The Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival and experimental chamber choir the Vocal Constructivists are jointly issuing a CALL FOR GRAPHIC SCORES to composers, artists, graphic designers – and anyone else who feels creative.
The winning entry will be performed by the Vocal Constructivists in their concert as part of this year’s Festival at St. Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington on 5th December. The winner and selected others may also be exhibited at the concert venue on the night.
The Constructivists’ concert takes the centenary of Kazimir Malevich’s Eight Red Rectangles as the starting point for a fascinating journey through contemporary Polish scores incorporating graphics and text instructions, tightroping the intersection of a cappella vocal performance and live art.
Scores might or might not respond to this context, but we welcome a variety of approaches to the graphic score medium. Send scanned or photographed scores to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline: Sunday 1st November 2015.