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out of the
calendar's net*


Musical encounters
from Germany to Kazakhstan

* from Changes! by Victor Tsoi

Composer of the Month Leona Jones has enjoyed a whirlwind year during which she has been awarded the Karl Sczuka Prize and taken part in residences and festivals  across Europe. 

Leona reflects the amazing experiences and the new music she has encountered on her travels.

'Fortunate' is an understatement when I think back over the past year and the travels I’ve been on.  My work has taken me to parts of the world and events new to me and, of course, it’s brought myriad new experiences and Listenings, often touching on ideas central to my own work such as language, experiment, collaboration, improvisation and spatiality. 


Time for reflection on how my practice fits into the much bigger soundscape, refreshed, inspired and awed by the works of others.


Donaueschingen, Black Forest, Germany


As well as receiving my prize for babblesnatch, I crammed my ears with as many performances as I could at this festival dedicated to contemporary sound/music works of all genres.  Highlights included two premieres by women composers I’ve admired for years.



Éliane Radigue and Carol Robinson:

Occam Océan Cinquanta for Orchestra 
(World premiere)

Éliane Radigue is an early pioneer of electronic music.  Over her career she’s developed a unique way of creating collaborative work through sensitive oral/gestural enabling, on this occasion – and for the first time - applying it to a whole orchestra.  Now 91 and unable to travel herself her close collaborator Carol Robinson co-composed and enabled the SWR Symphonieorchester through a deeply immersive and intense experience.  The resulting Sound of Concentration was a revelation.



Annea Lockwood & Yarn/Wire:

Into the Vanishing Point   

(European premiere)

Annea Lockwood is also long-established, this time in the field of electro-acoustic composition.  Working closely with Yarn/Wire new music quartet they produced this collaborative piece sparked by an article on the world-wide decline of insects.  A gripping exploration of Listening differently.  



An opportunity beyond dreams - a month living in Almaty to work on a soundtrack for Jeg, Hamlet, a collaborative Clown solo production!  Although the work schedule was cram-packed, time was shoe-horned to discover some of the distinctive culture surrounding me.



Victor Tsoi and Kino:     

Kukushka and Changes!  

Victor Tsoi and Kino are influential, pioneering Russian rock musicians from the 1980s, a time of great changes in the Soviet Union. Tsoi’s poetic, politically charged lyrics reflect the uncertain times he lived through before dying in a car crash in 1990 at the age of 28. On the peaceful tree-lined Tulebaev Street a statue and plaques with song lyrics are a fitting memorial. At the other end of the avenue is the monument to classical composer Mukan Tulebaev.  The juxtaposition is a beautiful physical statement on the necessity and power of music and words of all genres. 

Kukushka - written only months before Tsoi’s death.  In Russian folklore the call of the cuckoo (kukushka) counts off the years of your life.  It’s one of Kino’s best-know songs - contemplative, atmospheric, reflective.  


Changes! - banned in Belarus since 2021.  Anthemic.  


Mukan Tulebaev:

Dance from Birzhan and Sara


Mukan Tulebaev is a prolific composer/conductor in the Western classical tradition who worked during the first half of the 20th century. He was also steeped in the folk music of his native Kazakhstan, as can be heard in this work for 2 pianos and 8 hands - exciting. 


Dombra (traditional Kazakh instrument)


The dombra is the traditional stringed folk instrument in Kazakhstan, often heard being played by highly skilled buskers in subways and streets, and the Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments houses a wide collection.  This video contains 3 performances - captivating. 


Berlin, Germany


Classical:NEXT is an annual conference and showcase highlighting new music performances from around the world and I was part of this year’s Welsh delegation.


Stegreif Improvising Symphony Orchestra       Hildegard of Bingen to Clara Schumann: 
Sounds of Sustainability


Stegreif is an international collective I’ve wanted to witness live for a long time - a classical orchestra that’s removed conductor, chairs and sheet music and uses movement in the performance space.  An added bonus during the conference was a talk outlining their collective and collaborative ethos which has broken with hierarchical structure.  The openness was refreshing, acknowledging the difficulties as well as the benefits.  Inspirational.   

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