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Scottish Ensemble Launches New Solo Collaborations

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The heart of each Solo Collaboration will be the creation of a new commission.

Scottish Ensemble Launches New Solo Collaborations

Solo Collaborations are online audiovisual works, capturing Scottish Ensemble's approach to imaginative cross-artform collaborations and finding a way to bring amazing performers together while the industry cannot re-open fully. What's more, these works are conceived to give people an experience they couldn't have live, embracing the technology and the possibilities of digital.

The heart of each Solo Collaboration will be the creation of a new commission: a short work created in partnership between a composer, a collaborator from another artform and a member of Scottish Ensemble. Working together closely throughout the process, the composer will create a new work, recorded by the musician at home, while the collaborator creates a filmed visual response. Each Solo Collaboration is also a starting point for exploring the potential for longer-term collaboration between these artists.

these bones, this flesh, this skin

Developed in partnership with Scottish Dance Theatre, these bones, this flesh, this skin is a new commission for solo violin and solo dancer by composer Martin Suckling and Scottish Dance Theatre's Artistic Director Joan Clevillé, performed by dancer João Castro and Scottish Ensemble's Artistic Director Jonathan Morton, and filmed by Genevieve Reeves.

Using the same sources of inspiration as a starting point, three 4-minute musical works and three 4-minute choreographed works for camera have been created. Through a bespoke website, the audience is invited to combine different musical and visual layers and decide how they want to experience the work, with up to 21 possible variations. There is over an hour of potential score to choose from depending on the combinations chosen.

Jonathan Morton, Artistic Director of Scottish Ensemble said: "The initial idea was relatively simple - in the absence of live performance, could we create a short collaborative project designed to be experienced online? As soon as we started discussing ideas during those early lockdown Zoom calls, I was thrilled by the scope of the conversations and the shared ambition to find a common artistic impulse that would bind us throughout the making of the project.

"Although we were unable to meet each other face to face, we developed a kind of creative camaraderie which allowed the piece to grow in ambition and depth. So much material was shared in this virtual studio: music and dance sketches, drawings, photos, improvisations, technical diagrams, musings and thoughts. I think we developed our own way of working together, adapting and responding to the circumstances."

Joan Clevillé, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre said: "This project has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other and discover that Scottish Dance Theatre and Scottish Ensemble share very similar interests and values across different art forms. Genuine collaboration, artistic integrity and a passion for developing new music and dance audiences have driven the creation process, which we hope is just the first of many.

"The result of our collaboration is a unique interactive experience, composed and recorded across the UK and choreographed and filmed in the streets of Dundee. Rather than being illustrative, we wanted both art forms to be in dialogue with each other and the digital media, and for the viewer to retain a degree of agency in the work. This project has been born out of a unique time in our lives, but it aspires to have relevance beyond this particular moment."

Composer Martin Suckling said: "I wanted to be certain we produced something which wasn't simply a filmed version of a live performance but rather something which was made to be experienced online and took advantage of the possibilities this opens up. Something which allows the audience to participate in the experience; something which would not be possible 'in real life'.

The various possible combinations of layers allow you to experience a single journey from different visual and aural perspectives. The music was written alongside the dance and filmography rather than prior to it: we found a shared vocabulary and sent each other snippets of music, film and dance to work from; I improvised violin lines to rehearsal footage and reshaped structures to respond to the rhythms of draft cuts of the film."

Solo Collaborations is part of Scottish Ensemble's wider digital work for summer 2020, which includes Sonic Meditations and Musical Book Club. The new works all respond to the coronavirus crisis and demonstrate its commitment to providing imaginatively programmed and exceptionally performed music in new and non-traditional ways.



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