Xenia Pestova Bennett - As Trees Grow

Wed 6th April 2022
6pm concert, with pre-concert talk at 5:30pm
Harty Room

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As Trees Grow

Featuring: Xenia Pestova Bennett (piano) and Ed Bennett (live electronics)

Microtonal recordings of frozen waterfalls, truffle mycelia, fruiting trees in Umbria, ephemeral spring wildflowers in Canada: join us on a journey across a rich tapestry of music for piano and electronics by Ed Bennett, Alvin Lucier and Gayle Young. Lucier’s classic “Music for Piano with Slow Sweep Pure Wave Oscillators” will “tune” our ears, teaching us to discern minute variations of microtonal beating as we liberate the piano from familiar restrictions of equal temperament. Bennett’s premieres of a set of striking miniatures will explore spectral relationships and establish a lively and striking dialogue between the piano and electronic sound, while Young’s poetic musings on environmental themes will soothe and provoke, massaging our ears and waking up multi-sensory associations.

This concert also celebrates the launch of “As Trees Grow”, a new portrait disc of music for piano, live electronics and field recording by Gayle Young released on Ars Subtilior / Farpoint Recordings.

Photo Credit: Rachel McCarthy

Pre-concert talk (5:30pm)

Edible plants, mycelia and foraging: music for piano, electronics and field recordings by Gayle Young

Local wild food foraging expert Clare McQuillan (Feasting on Weeds) will join Bangor-based pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett and Canadian composer, instrument designer and sound artist Gayle Young in conversation about edible plants and our relationship with the environment. We will learn about Young’s use of field recording and descriptive texts that draw on wild flower foraging recipes and fungi-dependent fruit-bearing trees. We will place this inspiration into a local context, discovering about edible plants that can be gathered around our wild coasts and weaving together collective stories of foraging in Canada, Siberia, European Russia and Northern Ireland.

Concert Programme

Alvin Lucier (1931 – 2021): Music for Piano with Slow Sweep Pure Wave Oscillators (1992), piano and fixed media
Ed Bennett (b. 1975): New Work (2022, world premiere), piano and fixed media
Gayle Young (b. 1950): As Trees Grow (2014, Irish premiere), piano and live electronics
Forest Ephemerals (2004, selections), piano solo
Ice Creek (2018, Irish and UK premiere), piano and field recordings


Ed Bennett was born in Bangor, Co.Down, Ireland. His music, which has been described in the press as ‘anarchic’ (Irish Times), ‘manic’ (Classical Music) and ‘thrilling’ (Gramophone) is often characterized by its strong rhythmic energy, extreme contrasts and the combination of acoustic, electronic and multimedia elements; it was recently described in The Guardian as ‘unclassifi able, raw-nerve music of huge energy and imagination’ and by Sinfi ni Music as ‘one of the most scintillating voices to emerge of late from the British Isles.’ His body of work includes large-scale orchestral works, ensemble pieces, solo works, electronic music, opera, installations and works for dance and film.

Xenia Pestova Bennett has earned a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire. Her commitment and dedication to promoting music by living composers has led her to commission dozens of new works, collaborating with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her solo recordings of works for piano and electronics appear on Innova and Ergodos and include a new version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations by Karlheinz Essl, Gold.Berg.Werk. Xenia’s own compositions are available on Diatribe Records and TakuRoku. Her full-length album “Atomic Legacies” features the Ligeti Quartet and the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Xenia’s subsequent digital EP “Atonal Electronic Chamber Music for Cats” takes an unexpected turn-around, using vintage synthesizers in an exploration of 1990s techno-art-pop nostalgia.

Music by Gayle Young places the tactile experience of sound in the foreground of a listener’s experience. Her compositions are sonic landscapes revealing a unique aesthetic. Young’s evocative texts act as phantom conductors, shaping intricate details of sound. In addition to composing works for traditional instruments, Young designs and builds sound installations and unique microtonal instruments on which she performs and records her own compositions. Young wrote The Sackbut Blues, the biography of pioneering electronic instrument inventor Hugh Le Caine (1914–1977). Over her decades as editor of Musicworks magazine, she established an inclusive perspective on the complex and multifaceted sound worlds that characterize experimental music today.

Post-Concert Events

On Wednesday 6th April we open our exhibitions at QSS Gallery and host our Launch Party at Banana Block. Sonorities is providing transport to these venues via a private bus departing at 7pm following the Xenia Pestova Bennett concert at the Harty Room. The bus will arrive at QSS Gallery for the opening of the Sonorities exhibition. You can then take the short 5 minute walk from QSS Gallery to Banana Block for the Launch Party event (doors open at 8pm, Music from 8:30pm).



Booking Info

Ticket Price: Free
Booking is via Eventbrite (coming soon)

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