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Walking Still features pieces by three American composers and three British composers, including our original rendition of Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise.

Want to hear some now? Go to our SoundCloud page or here to purchase the CD.

Three Sound Sculptures

15 December 2019 | 8:30pm | Swiss Church

Event Poster

In this newly commissioned work, composer Wojtek Blecharz and art curator Kasia Sobucka work with the Vocal Constructivists to transform sculptures by the constructivist artist Katarzyna Kobro (1898–1951) into musical compositions. Drawing on ideas from the Polish interwar avant-garde, they offer 21st-century audiences a way to experience directly the early 20th-century utopian belief in the ability of art to organize life and its functions. Expanding Unism’s four arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, and typography) to include sound and movement broadens visual art’s ability to achieve unity. Blecharz’s Sound Sculptures translate the colours and proportions of Kobro’s Spatial Compositions 4, 5, and 6 into musical structures and actions. Kobro understood sculpture in relation to human movement, time-space rhythm, and mathematical symbolism, particularly the 8:5 ratio. She and her constructivist contemporaries placed great emphasis on geometrical forms, and on ‘modern’ technologies, to access ideal harmonies and to create socially-orientated abstract art.

The Swiss Church performance projects these ideas both literally and metaphorically. Using cutting-edge technology, 3D-scanned images of the sculptures will inform and direct the sounding events. Sculpture is particularly well suited to a multi-sensory spatialized interpretation. The Vocal Constructivists articulate not only the external borders of Kobro’s sculptures but also the inside, made accessible to the audience via the projections. The interior connects with the exterior in an open articulation that begins with the sculpture, moves out into the space, and finds resonance in the venue.

Where: Swiss Church
79 Endell St
London WC2H 9DY
When:Sunday 15 December 2019, 20:30 – 21:30
Price:Full Price: £15.00
Concessions: £10.00
Tickets available in advance here
LINk:https://www.jempfestival.com/wojtek-blecharz-and-the-vocal-constructivists

Irma

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Irma |17 June 2019 | 7:30pm | Lumen Church

“Quick—

quick!

just a chance

the chance opera”

A skeptical heroine, a lovelorn philosopher, a wandering misfit.

The surviving heroes of a forgotten novel,

on a quest for one another and themselves.

The Vocal Constructivists present a new incarnation of Tom Phillips’ 1969 opera, Irma.

88 Tavistock Pl, Kings Cross, London.

Tickets at vocalconstructivists-irma.eventbrite.com

Limited availability at the door.

Vocal Constructivists

THE VOCAL CONSTRUCTIVISTS specialize 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). They have since performed works by a variety of experimental composers, including Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, Neely Bruce, Jan Duszyński, Wojciech Kosma, Paula Matthusen, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Michael Parsons, Bogusław Schäffer, Tomasz Sikorski, Christopher Williams, and Christian Wolff. In London, they have performed at the South London Gallery, Morley College, Hanbury Hall, V22 Summer Club (The Old Biscuit Factory), The Forge, Arcola Theatre, and Peckham multi-storey car park (as part of the 2013 London Contemporary Music Festival). The group has made guest appearances in Canterbury and Southampton, in Dublin (Ireland), and New York (USA). They were Ensemble-in-Residence for the 2013 Time Stands Still conference at Wesleyan University, Connecticut; at the 2014 Music and/as Process conference at Christchurch University, Canterbury; at the 2015 Stoke Newington Contemporary Music festival; featured in the 2016 Dublin sound art festival, Ideoprenurial Entrephonics 2; and they were the closing act of the 2016 Southbank Centre’s Deep Minimalism festival at St John’s Smith Square. In 2017, they gave the first tribute concert in memory of Pauline Oliveros at London’s Café Oto.

The Vocal Constructivists explore idiosyncratic notation as a form of social practice, with the scores supplying open-ended vocabulary for collective discourse. The group has commissioned and premiered sixteen works, establishing themselves as an important force in new music-making. Coming from diverse backgrounds, with ages ranging from 18 to 78, the Vocal Constructivists draw on a variety of artistic influences—classical, global, avant-garde, eclectic, and dramatic. Experimentalism is a primary motivation, propelling the group away from an expected sound world. Their CD Walking Still is available on the Innova label (#898).

“a group of exceptionally gifted singers who are at one with each other” – Choir and Organ

‘Deep Listening: a gesture for sonic peace’

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.