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Hi tech wizardry breaks new ground for music

A high tech studio which uses computer wizardry to create new forms of music and sounds is being launched at The University of Manchester this week (2 November).

The £2.25 Million Novars Research Centre will also bring composers and traditional musicians into contact with the cutting edge technology.

Some of the world’s leading exponents of ‘electroacoustic’ music, who are based at the University, will be able to access the £150,000 worth of equipment at the electroacoustic music studios within the centre.

A ‘room-within-room’ design of concrete blocks suspended on hundreds of rubber cylinders will create perfect acoustic isolation for the composers and musicians.

That and other innovations will ensure they get the most out of the 24 channel surround equipment - which works like a huge version of a home cinema.

The building will be officially launched with a concert featuring compositions by the electroacoustic music pioneers Francis Dhomont and Gerald Bennett.

There will also be contributions from leading British composer John Casken who is Professor of Music at The University of Manchester and David Berezan, also from the University, who represents the new generation of composers.

It will be followed by a weekend of concerts. Internationally acclaimed clarinettist Esther Lamneck and flautist Elizabeth McNutt from the US will perform five new works written for the launch.

Composer Dr Ricardo Climent, from The University of Manchester said: “Traditional classical music has not utilised the potential that technology has to offer.

“But this leading research centre will hopefully help correct that and break down the divide between traditional and contemporary forms of music.

“It will, we hope offer more possibilities for composers as well as a chance to collaborate with the exponents of other art forms such as drama and performance within a studio.

“The technology is exciting and groundbreaking: the 24 channel system in particular will mirror the sounds we hear as human beings. After all ,we don’t hear in stereo.”

Director of the studios and the Mantis festival, composer Dr David Berezan said: “The Centre was named Novars to celebrate the seminal electroacoustic work by Francis Dhomont.

“In Dhomont’s own words: it’s a reversed version of Ars Nova - New Art, New Science. We are grateful for his permission to use his title.

“The centre uses technology to explore the sounds that we hear in the everyday world.

“Most electro-acoustic compositions make use of sounds not available to, say, the traditional orchestra, often using pre-recorded sounds from nature or from the studio that are then further transformed and manipulated by the composer."

Professor John Casken said: “I am delighted that this innovative and important development for research in music and in the School of Arts Histories and Cultures has come to fruition.

“It’s a great opportunity to explore new ways, with the aid of cutting-edge technology, for composers and performing musicians, as well as those working in other branches of the performing and visual arts, to come together in inspiring and challenging ways.

“This is a major new international facility and I have no doubt that those working in the Novars Research Centre will go on to produce some ground-breaking creative work.”

Jon Keighren | alfa
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