Symphony for skateboard and choir to star in UK's first New Music Biennial

Soundtrack incorporating ‘cavernous concrete slopes of the skate park’ part of festival of new British music

A symphony for skateboard and choir, performed live at the concrete skate park under the South Bank which is facing the threat of closure, will be one of the highlights of the first ever UK-wide New Music Biennial.

Twenty new compositions, reflecting the richness and diversity of musical life across Britain, will be premiered at the 2014 event, which has been developed in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the British Council.

The inaugural Biennial, organised by PRS for Music Foundation, hopes to repeat the success of last year’s Cultural Olympiad, which an official report published this week said achieved a “huge” level of public engagement and boosted the UK’s artistic standing internationally.

The commissions include a new piece by composer Matthew Herbert, which will tell the stories of 20 pianos from across the world using cut-up samples, a vocal work for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games featuring  Shingai Shoniwa, lead singer of the Noisettes and a piece of electronica created on ferry crossings in the Scottish Highlands.

One of the most ambitious commissions, selected by a panel including Dame Evelyn Glennie and Roger Wright, Director of the BBC Proms, is a work which will blend skateboarding, choral singing and the unique acoustic of skate parks.

The Tête à Tête opera company is collaborating with composer Samuel Bordoli, 25, who creates works incorporating natural acoustics and previously produced a “live music sculpture” for 30 musicians inside Tower Bridge.

“I’ve always been very interested in activities which have musical elements as by-products and skateboarders make very percussive musical sounds,” said Bordoli, who will stage the piece in Glasgow, Aberdeen and at the graffiti-covered South Bank underpass skate park, which resounds to the thud of hardcore skaters.

Bill Bankes-Jones, artistic director of Tête à Tête, will create a poem for community choirs to sing, inspired by discussions with the skaters.

Bordoli will orchestrate a soundtrack using “the cavernous concrete slopes of the skate park, the sound the skateboard makes and the acoustic resonance of the venue.”

There will be an element of improvisation. “The piece will be designed so the singers respond to the percussive elements of the skateboarders. They will be asked to perform certain manoeuvres and gestures in response to musical cues from the choir.”

The composition will have added piquancy at its South Bank premiere since the urban skate park, which has become a tourist attraction in its own right, is under threat of closure. The undercroft would shut from autumn 2014 so the space can be turned into retail units as part of a £120 million transformation of the South Bank.

The skateboarders oppose a plan to relocate them to a new purpose-built space beneath Hungerford Bridge, which they say lacks the undercroft’s authentic scuzzy grandeur. A petition to retain their current home has attracted 15,000 signatures.

“I think it would be a shame if the park had to be moved,” said Bordoli. “This piece will celebrate what it brings to the South Bank. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Bordoli, who says he hasn’t stepped on a skateboard since he was 10, will “audition” skaters with a musical ear who want to participate.

His proposal, one of the 20 chosen from 130 submissions, met the Biennial’s call for works which cross artistic boundaries and can be staged across a number of locations. Each of the 20 works will be available for download after their premiere.

“It’s taking us into unchartered territory,” Bordoli said. “We want to find a new musical language that combines the cultural background of skateboarders with choral singers.”

The Biennial commissions will be premiered at the South Bank Centre, Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music and on BBC Radio 3 between July and August 2014.

Cerys Matthews, the 6 Music presenter and member of the Biennial judging panel,  said: “Can’t wait to hear the new ferryboat songs from the  Scottish highlands and a choir singing on a skateboard ramp.”

Best of the Biennial:

Mary Ann Kennedy commissioned by Watercolour Music

‘Aiseag’ (The Ferryboat): A lifelong fascination creates a journey between the Highlands  and Canada’s Gaelic diaspora. Mary Ann Kennedy and Scott Macmillan will work with audio designer Nick Turner and poet Aonghas MacNeacail to create a new work combining electronica, found sound and musicians from both Cape Breton and  Scotland.

Matthew Herbert commissioned by Third Ear Music

Matthew Herbert will be telling the stories of twenty unique pianos from around the world; from Steinways at famous locations, to forgotten out-of-tune family pianos. The composer will sample each piano, document it in photographs and record short oral histories. The composition, for solo pianist, will be played on a simple table, turned into a virtual piano through bespoke soft/hardware created by the Radiophonic Workshop.

Shingai Shoniwa commissioned by Serious

The Noisettes’ Shingai Shoniwa and acclaimed singer-songwriter/producer David  Okumu are coming together to create a new vocal work inspired by the values of the  2014 Commonwealth Games. It will be performed by different vocal forces, including community choirs.

Gwilym Simcock commissioned by City of London Sinfonia

This commission fuses the worlds of classical music and jazz, and celebrates the virtuosity of City of London Sinfonia Principal Conductor and Clarinettist Michael Collins with a distinctive new work for Clarinet, Strings, Jazz Trio and Speaker. The project brings together some of the UK's most exceptional musical talents.

Yann Seznec commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival

Artist and musician Yann Seznec will create a new installation and performance for Edinburgh Art Festival’s common-wealth, a major international exhibition of contemporary art selected from five continents to coincide with the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The work will explore the relevance of ‘commons’: those things we value and hold in common.

Matheu Watson & Luke Daniels commissioned by Gael Music

This commission will feature an outstanding international quartet representing four  countries from the Commonwealth; Scotland, England, Canada and Australia. The project explores the many drove roads or tracks set deeply into the Scottish countryside and the long-vanished trade of Scottish cattle-droving through its hardy highland cattle drovers and their wider connections to the New World.

News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss