Meet the Composers
As we move towards the release date of our album 48 Hours we wanted to delve a little deeper into the music and explore the two musicians whose work features on the recording – Thomas Adès and Tullis Rennie.
Here we learn more about composer and musician Tullis Rennie…
Who is Tullis Rennie?
Tullis Rennie is a composer, trombonist, improviser, electronic musician and field recordist. His work has been presented at concerts and festivals across 20 countries worldwide, alongside UK national broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and ResonanceFM. He is co-founder of Walls On Walls with visual artist Laurie Nouchka, and a member of the Insectotròpics audio-visual collective, based in Barcelona. He curates the multi.modal label with Claudia Molitor. His writing has been published in Organised Sound and Leonardo Music Journal, and his music has featured on releases by the Luminous label, ZeroWave and Efpi Records. In addition to composing and performing, Tullis is also Senior Lecturer in Music at City University of London. He completed a PhD in Composition at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast.
How does Tullis make music?
Central to Tullis’s working ethos and way of composing is his focus on collaboration with others to create music. He teams up with partners to make works, influenced by their experiences of playing, and listens to the ways in which they learn, perform and inhabit music. Rennie’s process has been described as “…foregrounding the act of listening as an active component in the creation of musical experience”, by The Wire Magazine, recognising his emphasis on others’ musical practice and focus on creative collaboration.
When considering our new piece, 48 Hours, this ethos is key. Tullis commented ‘This work is about the response of the musicians of the Vonnegut Collective to the work of confronting complex contemporary music, and involving listeners in that.’
How did we create 48 Hours in collaboration with Tullis?
When we began working on Thomas Adès’ Piano Quintet, we knew from the beginning that we also wanted to make another piece, which gave audiences a glimpse of the long and complicated rehearsal process it would require. Tullis felt like an obvious choice for this because of his passion for collaboration and wonderful way of sharing human experiences through sound.
This resulted in 48 Hours – a new composition that sits side by side with our recording of Adès’ Piano Quintet. It is an artistic impression of our forty-eight-hours of rehearsal, a sonic representation of this creative journey. To achieve this, Tullis sat in on all our rehearsals, armed with a microphone, notebook and pencil. He recorded every minute of our practice plus interviews with each of us at various times over the two week period. He noted moments he knew he wanted to include in his piece, but also how the process made him feel as an observer of such an intense and private process. He then went away to compose for 3 months, reflecting on his experience, his notes, and creating something new.
What can we expect from 48 Hours?
48 Hours features excerpts of phrases, sounds and conversations recorded during the rehearsal period for the Adès Piano Quintet, interwoven with improvised interpretations of a new graphic score for the quintet, combined with trumpet and electronics to create a unique sound-scape, part performance, part installation, a new and innovative piece.
It is not so much a look behind the scenes, or a glimpse into the recording process. Tullis has taken our process and created a sound-world, a score and a totally new piece that is very much its own work. It encapsulates the ebb and flow of energy, confusion, progress, and anticipation throughout the rehearsal process as we experienced it, so that we don’t just tell the listener about these things, they feel it. And that is 48 Hours.
Thanks everyone, take care and we’ll see you soon.
Written by Liz Wallace and Gemma Bass