The composer and artist Marc Yeats and I are hoping to undertake an extremely exciting project featuring a range of Marc’s fascinating and extremely varied piano music. Together with the organisations Sound and Music and PledgeMusic, this crowd-funding appeal is part of the scheme Compose. Create. Engage.
I have been enormously interested in Marc’s work for some years, and been looking for an opportunity to devote a sustained amount of time to his piano music. Drawing upon a wide range of different interests and motivations, many of them from beyond the field of music, Marc brings an extremely distinctive gestural and linear sensibility to bear upon his composition, combined with a sense of the fantastical but equally a very individual desire to construct new meanings, new expressive possibilities, from a language of fragments, often intensely mediated renditions of some of the residue of past musical languages.
You can find out much more about the piano music here. Also, here is a video in which Marc and I talk about his work and the project.
A range of ways to support the project are detailed here. One can pre-order the album of piano works for just £10, or make various other donations towards the project, from £50 upwards, in the process gaining copies of scores, signed pages, exclusive one-to-one Skype conversations, or even a dedication.
Please do come to the support of this project – we both want so much to make it happen. I am absolutely sure this will be a major new contribution to the recorded legacy of contemporary piano music.
Below is a post from Marc himself about the project.
I’ve been writing piano music since 1997 and over the years have built up a substantial catalogue of works, many of them hugely ambitious and virtuosic beyond normal pianistic expectations. I have dedicated many of these pieces to prominent international pianists but across the years, due to a number of factors mainly around the music’s enormous challenges, only a tiny handful of the pieces (often the least frightening and shortest of them) have been performed live and none recorded. I certainly haven’t set out to write piano music that most pianists dread!
Now, for the first time in an amazing collaboration with Ian Pace I have found a pianist who not only enjoys and can meet these challenges but actually wants to perform my work because of the very nature of the music itself.
Ian Pace is a phenomenal pianist; a man whose musicality and intellect I have admired for many years. I have heard him fearlessly play some of the most challenging music of our time with huge flair, passion, insight and musicality.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this, not least because even I haven’t heard the majority of these pieces yet!
So that’s our story. This is new, wild, never before heard or recorded piano music. You can be with us every step of the way as part of this unique journey simply by Pledging. Be a part of it and access our memorable insider exclusives.
You can Pledge here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-anatomy-of-melancholy-download
Why am I doing this, why crowdfunding?
Freedom. Freedom to make things happen without going through our normal cultural gatekeepers whose decisions so often result in a ‘no’ to way too many amazing projects. Freedom to appeal directly to audiences and fans, and engage new people directly in what I’m doing and bring them on the journey with me so we can make stuff happen together. And of course the freedom to have a viable alternative to deliver projects in the future. Additionally I’m thrilled I can be a bit of a pioneer with this initiative and with the help of Sound and Music share with other composers the learning and experience that results so the that whole new-music community can benefit. And last but not least, an opportunity to make my own piano music recording project with Ian Pace happen; now, that’s REALLY exciting!
What’s it all about? The wider context
According to the organisations, the initiative is designed to test whether the crowdfunding model will work for contemporary classical artists in the same way it does for acts working in rock and pop.
The project was created in response to Sound and Music’s annual Composer Commissioning Survey. This revealed the traditional commissioning structure to be inadequate and unsustainable.
Susanna Eastburn, Sound and Music’s chief executive, said: ‘Opening up new avenues for composers to engage directly with audiences who can support them in creating and sharing adventurous new music is something that is very important to Sound and Music.
‘In fact it feels more relevant than ever, given that the creative imagination of composers significantly outstrips what the traditional arts infrastructure can offer them. It’s very exciting for us to be working on this with PledgeMusic, as well as five such different and imaginative composers.’
Five composers have been chosen to take part in the scheme. They are: Alex McLean, an interdisciplinary artist working with pattern and code; Bobbie-Jane Gardner, a composer, arranger, producer and music leader; Jacob Thompson-Bell, a contemporary classical and experimental music composer; myself, Marc Yeats, a sound artist, composer and visual artist; and Shaun Blezard, leader of improvisational collective, Some Unicorn.
Visit the Sound and Music website to find out more.