Richard Barrett – Systems & Spontaneity (Compositions 2020-21)

Wednesday 12 January, 12-2pm [online via Minerva]

Restrictions on live performance over the past two years gave rise to some quite extensive rethinking of my approach to composition, starting from a desire to produce work which made creative use of a different set of possibilities, rather than a simulation of pre-pandemic circumstances. This led to a particular focus on how my work process interweaves spontaneous actions and reactions with systematic structural processes at every level, whether the result takes the form of a score, a fixed media composition or a live electronic performance.

Richard Barrett (Swansea, 1959) is internationally active as composer and performer, and also teaches at the Institute of Sonology in Den Haag. In December 2020 he was appointed to a new professorship in Research in Creative Music at the University of Leiden. His work encompasses a range from free improvisation to intricately-notated scores, and from acoustic chamber music to innovative uses of digital technology. Current projects include a major new cycle of works for the  ELISION Ensemble, with whom Richard Barrett has been working regularly since 1990, and for the Chicago-based Fonema Consort. Ongoing performative collaborations include with Paul Obermayer (in FURT), Evan Parker, and several other improvising ensembles such as SKEIN (with Achim Kaufmann, Frank Gratkowski, Wilbert de Joode and others) and Colophony (with Jon Rose and Meinrad Kneer). Richard Barrett’s principal composition teacher was Peter Wiegold, and he currently resides in Belgrade. His work as composer and performer is documented on over forty CDs, including seven discs devoted to his compositions and nine by FURT. In October 2020 he set up the digital label STRANGE STRINGS together with harpist Milana Zarić. His book Music of Possibility was published by Vision Edition in 2019.

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