In September 2006 we started working on a new project with BCMG, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and the Austrian composer Johannes Maria Staud. BCMG have commissioned Johannes a new work for harpsichord, ensemble of nine instruments (flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, percussion, violin, viola and cello) and live electronics. One Movement and Five Miniatures will be premiered in Birmingham on 22 April 2007, with Jonathan Green and Simon Hall performing the electronics. Under my supervision Jonathan Green has realised the live electronics part of the score using MaxMSP.
Together with trombonist David Purser and composer-technologist Jonathan Green, we’ve been working since late 2005 on a user-friendly Max/MSP environment to let performers improvise with technology. To capture performance data we have been using a microphone and a flexion sensor, measuring the angle of the arm to track the position of the trombone slide.
In June 2005 I invited to Birmingham Conservatoire the Italian composer Luca Francesconi. We performed his multimedia work, Lips Eyes Bang, in a Thallein Ensemble concert conducted by Lionel Friend. The actress-singer role in Lips was given to Abigail Kelly, a very gifted vocal student with superior dramatic skills. Luca gave also some master classes and two talks on his music.
In order to make the performance possible, in collaboration with AGON – the Milan production and research centre – in February 2005 we started to migrate the original live video setup of the piece to a different software environment: from Image/ine to Jitter, a suite of video manipulation objects for the Max/MSP software environment.
Jonathan Green went to Milan in April 2005 to work with Paolo Solcia and the composer at AGON studios. Back in Birmingham he finished the porting of the software in time for the June performance. We were able to rehearse the piece and put together the final performance thanks to the generous support offered by Gregory Sporton, Director of the VRU (Visualisation Research Unit) at BIAD, the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.