Author Archives: Luke Nickel
Autumn is ticking away. At the moment I’m working on a Manitoba Arts Council-funded commission for EXAUDI in London. This piece takes as a starting point the vocal utterances of Glenn Gould while he plays his the Goldberg Variations. I am exploring ways of transforming these musical byproducts into beautiful blooms of choral texture.
I am also beginning research on a solo roller-coaster-building performance. I will use No Limits Coaster as an interface to both build roller coasters and create/perform live electronic music. I am excited to finally make something that I can perform myself!
I’ve recently had the pleasure of developing a new piece for two solo performers at the same time. In this project, I worked with Liam Byrne, viola da gamba, and Émilie Girard-Charest, cello. Both performers received the same instructions, but the result is quite different.
Cousins explores the idea of these two instruments as related-but-different—twisted bloodlines, voices behind walls, overgrown forests… that sort of thing.
Liam has premiered his version of the piece in Bristol on October 12 at Glitch, and Émilie will premiere hers in Argentina at the end of the month. Then, in November, we will all get together in Berlin and see if we can make it into a solo. How exciting!
This summer I will be returning to the work of Éliane Radigue for a new article for TEMPO. I will be researching Éliane’s amazing work in the context of other practitioners—both composers and performers—who also work in an orally-transmitted compositional setting. Once again I will focus on interviews with performers to provide the majority of the content of the article. This will be published in Dec. 2019.
Hopefully alongside I will be working with at least one new soloist on a new living score. Word on the street is that I may be collaborating with the fabulous Liam Byrne (viola da gamba) and Émilie Girard-Charest (cello)… rumour has it there may even be a Bristol performance in the pipeline!
I am very pleased to announce that I will be presenting a new piece and paper at TENOR 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. In July 2019 I will be heading to Monash University to work with Decibel New Music Ensemble on a new piece. This will be another impossible roller coaster piece and, for the first time, I’ll be presenting some written research alongside it.
In a fantastic turn of events, I’m learning how I can export roller coaster track as CVS files. This means that I can effectively turn a roller coaster into data. This is quite fun, because it means that now I can manipulate numbers (in ways that are much more difficult in the hand-built nature of the editor) and import them back as track.
I’m currently experimenting with algorithmically generating roller coaster track. I guess my goal is to make an even more impossible track… something that defies all expectations. Below are a few examples of some initial attempts at building tracks using data manipulation rather than hand-building techniques.
Check out a recorded livestream of my University of Oxford lecture from November 2018.
I am very lucky to have received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to continue my research on the intersection of impossible roller coasters and music. This will take the form of two projects. The first will be a work for TAK Ensemble. In this piece, I will create a roller coaster accompaniment to a piece of chamber music. In the second piece, written for Decibel New Music in Melbourne, I will create a video score for the ensemble.
I’m feeling very fortunate to be working on something that is essentially a childhood dream of mine!
I have been featured in Musicworks Issue 132 in a lovely piece written by Heather Roche. In her article, Heather discusses collaborating with me on an orally-transmitted composition entitled A Hushed Workshop. She really gets to the heart of working in a pretty unusual manner. The article also features a few excellent (heavily edited) photos by Sam Walton, as well as a gorgeous recording of the piece care of Simon Reynell (of Another Timbre).
James Saunders, Tim Parkinson, and Michael Duch will be touring a new piece I have created for them, String Trio #1. This piece is pretty similar to my String Quartet #1, except that it is a transcription of a piano, violin, and double bass trio (not exactly a string trio… but I like the continuity in names). Parkinson/Saunders/Duch will play the piece in a few different places. If you’re in Norway, be sure to check it out!