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Sinfonietta Shorts: Laura Bowler and Matthew Shlomowitz 6th May 2020

This live-stream featured Matthew Shlomowitz's Hi-Hat and Me. We also hear a World Premiere of Laura Bowler's new piece The Digger. Both played live by London Sinfonietta Percussionist Joe Richards.

As a new weekly series, Sinfonietta Shorts Live will bring bite-size pieces of new music – commissioned by the London Sinfonietta and performed by its Principal Players – direct to your living rooms every Wednesday at 3.00pm. Future programmes will be announced in due course.

Unfortunately due to unforeseen seen technical issues part of Matthew's interview with Joe was unable to be captured. They kindly agreed to complete a written Q&A which can be found below. 

Question from Joe to Matt: - What was it that drew you towards the particular combination of hi hat and voice? It’s very unusual, probably one of a kind!

Answer: I wrote the piece 12 years ago so must confess I don't remember so well. I think I was attracted to the simplicity and minimal-ness of the set-up. Such constrains present a very concrete creative challenge. I'm sure I was also thinking of Tom Johnson's Failings (a very difficult piece for double bass), for speaking solo double bass player, which is a long time favourite. I have also always liked the hi-hat although as a childhood drummer I was never very good at briefly opening the hi-hat for the final quaver of the bar, as one does in disco styled beats. 

Question from Joe to Matt:  -It’s very exciting as a performer to be given freedom in a score, here this is offered in the story and also the animal/military sounds. Is this freedom something you commonly allow in many of your other works? 

Answer: And I really loved your story! Some of my pieces have open elements, such as my Letter Pieces series, which involve the players creating their own sets of short sounds and actions that the scores put into patterns . This is the only piece I've written where the openness is directed towards the biography of the player (the "when I was 7" story) and I always look forward to hearing that story from each performer.

Question from Matt to Joe:  How does it feel performing to a screen?

Answer:  Different! I felt this piece was perfect for this performance context. By playing to the computer, which was essentially like sitting in front of a mirror, I found myself naturally becoming more creative with what I saw as well as what I heard. Given that this work allows, or rather encourages, so much flexibility in the interpretation, it felt obvious to include some theatrics where appropriate!

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Published: 7 Apr 2020