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World premiere pieces to unveil new kind of instrument

The long-awaited debut of a "new kind of instrument," is to be unveiled in the world première of two pieces, at an evening concert on the opening night of the IF:06 contemporary music festival, in central London, [on February 26, 2006].

The debut is the result of an 18-month long project at Brunel University, London between composers Peter Wiegold, Professor, Head of Music Research, John Croft, Head of Music, music software programmer Carl Faia, and the world-renowned cellist Matthew Barley.

The research, to develop a new way of using the cello and the computer was funded with a £25,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

Wiegold and Croft have tried to blur the boundaries between human and computer-generated sound. The effects that can be produced include altering the pitch deeper than a double bass, or multiplying the sound to give the impression that there are 30 cellos supporting the soloist.

Peter Wiegold's piece, entitled "The Burden'd Air" is inspired by William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" – and John Croft's new work "Sonata," takes its inspiration from some Renaissance pieces.

"The research project focussed on new ways of using the cello and the computer, to create a completely new kind of instrument," explained Peter Wiegold.

"It was very fruitful to have Matthew Barley, as the performer, to assist us. Carl Faia's software was invaluable to the project."

John Croft added that "in music for solo instruments and electronics, one often finds the conventional relationship of soloist and accompaniment."

But, "by using a number of sensor devices on the performer and instrument, and by using treatments which closely track the sound of the instrument, I create an environment in which the soloist plays the cello-plus-computer as a single extended instrument," he said.

Interactive Electronics and Performance: February 26; LSO St Lukes, 161 Old Street, London EC1V 9NG. Evening concert: 19:30. (Day conference: 10:30-17:30) http://www.electro-brunel.org.uk.
IF: 06 runs from February 26 until April 20. http://www.if-festival.co.uk