Portfolio partner Joby Burgess

Aluminium Music
Joby Burgess

As part of our 2014-15 Portfolio programme, Sound and Music and percussionist Joby Burgess offer a rare opportunity for up to five emerging composers to develop their skills in writing for solo percussion focussing on the vibraphone and the little known Canna Sonora – both of which are manufactured, and derive their sonic properties, from aluminium. Composers will spend time working with Joby in hands-on practical sessions, leading up to having their works premiered by him.

Joby is one of Britain’s most diverse percussionists; best known for his virtuosity, daring collaborations and extensive education work. He is dedicated to the development of the percussion repertoire, often in combination with electronics, and has led many workshops on rhythm, composition and improvisation, often using West African music as the stimulus.

The Vibraphone is one of the most flexible percussion instruments and is capable of real sustain, harmonics and a selection of rarely deployed extended techniques. However, it has been explored only occasionally as a solo instrument.

The Canna Sonora (a modern adaptation of the Aluminium Harp) has echoes of sci-fi and siren song, played entirely by friction. Referred to as ‘Rub Rods’ in Hollywood studios, this instrument covers the top range up to C8 and has a distinctly electronic sound quality. Both instruments were first produced in the late 1920s by J C Deagan, a legendary Chicago instrument maker.

Creating a new work for these instruments is something we at Sound and Music believe would be challenging and rewarding for composers looking to expand their repertoire under experienced guidance, and we encourage those interested to view the call document available here.

Applications close at noon 2nd July. 

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