By: Lucy Bloore, Director of Music  |  

We love having the opportunity to challenge our most able musicians through their involvement in our Music Scholars’ Programme. One part of the programme is a termly concert trip, and this term’s experience left us lost for words!

Propellor brings together soloists, writers and ensemble players from backgrounds as diverse as the English Baroque Soloists, amplified ensemble – Decibel, folk septet The Fair Rain (The Old Dance School), The Harborough Collective, CHROMA, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, improvisers from The Destroyers and the Glowrogues, electro-acoustic experimentalists from the Hidden Orchestra and collaborators with Britten Sinfonia and the Manchester Camerata. Over the last two years Jack McNeill  has been developing this project and an ambitious new concert-length work with the group and mentor Aidan O’Rourke (LAU) ,on the Open Space residency programme at Snape Maltings in Suffolk.

Loom (n.) The slow and silent movement of water in a deep pool (Cumbria)

We were privileged to be able to go to Propellor’s open session performance of Loom at Snape Maltings. The piece mixed acoustic and electronic music with visual imagery in an installation style performance. Free to walk round and stand behind performers, we heard unusual timbres, creative mixing, and staggeringly beautiful motifs, all evoking the many facets of water, and nature. The piece lasted for an hour, during which our students could watch incredible musicians from close-up, and hear a huge variety of techniques and timbres from every player. It was one of our stand out trips, and the students’ reactions ranged from stunned, excited, enthused and inspired, to quietly thoughtful and contemplative. Amazing stuff! I’m not sure how we will top this, and thoroughly recommend this ensemble as being well worth a visit.

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