Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fred Frith and Evelyn Glennie

Last year Fred Frith and Evelyn Glennie were resident artists for the UVA Music Department. I missed the concert they did together, but caught Mr. Frith and the UVA Music Students in their concert.

That was a very unusual night in itself. It was evident that students were encouraged to bring improvised instruments. One table appeared to consist of guitar effect pedals, with no instrument as a source. The artifacts of the pedals were the source. The stage was filled with students. There were music stands too, but I think that large areas of time were assigned to pure improvisation. On the other hand, the introduction and ending of the piece was carefully followed from a written score.

Mr. Frith used mostly electric guitars which were either played directly, or bowed with both gut and “electronic” bows. After a while, he slowly moved away from the stage and was gone until the end of the piece, where he once again joined with the others. It was an entertaining performance, and the students appeared to really enjoy the experimentation.

Just recently I decided to look into Evelyn Glennie, and was amazed by some of this percussionist’s accomplishments. What was even more startling was that she became deaf at age 12. After searching a bit, I found some examples of her playing and a lecture she gave for TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design). I’ve included the You Tube material and link to the TED lecture. The TED lecture, where she explains how she learned to listen with her body, is remarkable.

Fred Frith and Evelyn Glennie, from 2007

The TED lecture;

And here's another piece done by Fred Frith/ Iva Bittová/ Pavel Fajt "Morning Song" (1989) . An electronic alarm clock is used as an instrument.

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