(click underlined movements to hear MP3 format sound clips)
Nigel Osborne: Journey to the End of the Night
Adrian Lee: Peace for Vayu
Howard Skempton: Random Girl
Iannis Xenakis: Dmaathen
Simon Holt: Sphinx
Dobrinka Tabakova: Frozen River Flows
George Nicholson: Seven Bagatelles
Total Time 67:50
There is a biography of New Noise and many photographs.
Fusing together an eclectic mix of classical, electronic, jazz and contemporary music, the British duo New Noise was formed at the turn of the millennium by oboist Janey Miller and percussionist Joby Burgess. New Noise has to date commissioned more than fifty pieces, working with a diverse range of artists including David Bedford, Donnacha Dennehy, Sam Hayden, Simon Holt, Katharine Norman, Nigel Osborne, Howard Skempton and Andy Sheppard. They regularly collaborate with sound designer Matthew Fairclough and trombonist John Kenny, and in 2008 brought together a host of international talent to perform 'Cross Talk', originally programmed to celebrate the 80th birthday of Karlheinz Stockhausen. New Noise has performed throughout the UK including many of the country's leading festivals and venues. Further afield they have performed in the United States and Australia, and their recordings are regularly broadcast around the world. Many of New Noise's performances are supported by education events, and the duo regularly lead composition and performance workshops; from 2001 to 2005 New Noise was ensemble in residence at the Goldsmiths College University of London Electronic Music Studios.
JANEY MILLER on commisioning works for New Noise
Back in 1999 a fellow student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, percussionist Joby Burgess, came to me with the score of Iannis Xenakisí Dmaathen for oboe and percussion. My first reaction was a large gulp, and then the determination to master this difficult piece set in. Joby and I worked on the score for a few months as part of our course, and then started to investigate if there was other music already composed for this unusual instrumental combination. We found some pre-existing works, by composers including Simon Holt and Harrison Birtwistle, and as our excitement about the possibilities for this ensemble set in, we started to think about commissioning new works.
Our first concert was in October 1999, and for this we built a programme around the Xenakis, Simon Holtís Banshee and Michael Finnissyís Delal. To complete the programme we called on some college composer friends as a favour, and received some very effective works by Ben Foster (of Torchwood/Dr Who fame) and Tom Haines, who wrote a meditative piece for oboe and car brake drums. From this point on we knew we had a winning combination with oboe and percussion, and a niche that we could fill Ė we just needed more repertoire.
For such an unusual combination, we have managed to build a substantial and eclectic library of repertoire over the last few years. Sadly, one of the most difficult things about commissioning is finding the funding, and this has become increasingly difficult in the current climate. In the early days, before we had built a reputation up, we were lucky to have a number of pieces written by friends and colleagues who were happy to write us a piece in return for a number of performances, and it was through this 'scratching each other's backs' that we were really able to get going and build a name for New Noise. By about 2001, we started tapping into the funding out there, from sources like the PRS for Music Foundation, and commissioned some very successful works from composers including Katharine Norman, Nigel Osborne and Cameron Sinclair.
The process of our commission from Cameron Sinclair was particularly successful, and one we now insist on. Prior to this piece, we often spent a few hours with a composer, showing them our various instruments and skills, and then a few weeks or months later, the score arrived - by hand, post, email or fax machine! With Cameron, it was a very organic experience, and we worked together towards the finished result. The score for the first performance, at the Purcell Room, was very tonal and for oboe, percussion and live electronics. After the performance, Cameron worked further and developed the piece - it became less tonal, a little longer, and also had a pre-recorded electronic part. Cameron's piece (The Fly) is possibly one of our most performed works over the years, and is the opening track on our first CD, Insomniac.
[Available on this site. Click here and scroll down.]
Working with student composers has been another very important area of our work. We started this as ensemble in residence at Goldsmiths College University in 2001, where we continued for the next four years. In addition to this we have worked with numerous organisations on composition projects, including Manchester, Bristol and Southampton Universities, and at venues such as the Wigmore Hall. Through this, we have a collection of in excess of 200 pieces - some more successful than others, but each an experience and lesson for us in working with composers, and for them working with a professional ensemble.
In our ten years as New Noise, we have commissioned more than 50 new pieces, working with a diverse range of artists including David Bedford, Sam Hayden, Rachel Leach, George Nicholson, Andy Sheppard, Howard Skempton and Dobrinka Tabakova. We have also expanded the ensemble on occasions and commissioned for this - in 2009 Donnacha Dennehy and Martin Parker wrote for New Noise with bass clarinet and piano, and 2011 sees a new collaboration with soprano Claire Booth, and pianist Andrew Matthews-Owen, with a performance at the Southbank Centre. Our latest album, Frozen River Flows, with the exception of works by Xenakis and Holt, is all works commissioned by New Noise, and is on the Oboe Classics label. We feel very privileged and have very much enjoyed, being part of building such a wide range of repertoire for the combination of oboe and percussion.
Pictures and descriptions of the following instruments can be found at www.wikipedia.org (type in the name):
bass drum, bongos, cabassa, congas, crotales (plural), cymbals, djembe, glockenspiel, gong, marimba, rain stick, tambourine, temple blocks, vibraphone, vibraslap and wood blocks. For the other instruments, try these links:
almglocken, egyptian tabla, gong drum, log drum, spring drum, tam tam, thai gong and wind gong.
This is a new CD, but reviews are beginning to come in:
"Under normal circumstances having heard a new Oboe CD I would put it into my collection in Germany for my students to comment on, but they just canít wrench this one out of my hands yet! Iím so happy to have the chance to share my enthusiasm and to encourage people not to be scared just because itís new music, but to buy it and support the intrepid work of New Noise in their voyage of discovery.
"The composers on this fabulous disc range from absolutely wild to superbly cool, and all the works here have something important to say in their way. What I love about the choice of pieces is a wonderful catholicity of taste, huge variety of sounds and acoustic recording styles, and that the performers choose works for recording by their quality alone.
"The sheer talent and professionalism of the duo is completely outstanding; each of the performances is in every way riveting." Nicholas Daniel, Double Reed News (UK)
"Bless Jeremy Polmear's Oboe Classics for their spirit of intrepid endeavour. That was exactly what it took to produce this anthology drawing on music from so many brave new worlds of the creative imagination." Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
Phillip Sommerich, Classical Music Magazine: * * * *
"This brave album should increase exposure for their unique talents." Keith Ames, The Musician
New Noise awaits your reaction!