Mid way through an action packed European Tour with Ensemble Offspring (EO), had an opportunity to share some thoughts on the premiere of a new collaboration with Scottish composer Genevieve Murphy. Gaudeamus Muziekweek was the setting, with the opening at Theater Kikker in Utrecht. The piece was generously commissioned by Charles Davidson.
I was almost tempted to write a piece on bicycle riding, as people do indeed move differently over here, but the subject of this piece was arachnophobia.
The necessity of travel to Australia to workshop some ideas with us presented a major hurdle, her fear of spiders. So, after a few visits to a therapist to treat her phobia, Genevieve ventured to Australia late 2018. She presented recordings of her therapy sessions and used these as a vehicle for players to improvise material.
Fast track to September 2019, and we had four days to put together a 30-minute piece for the festival. The result was a multidisciplinary work sewn together with a few band numbers. Highlights included Veronique (violin) physically gesturing like a spider, a duet with auto-tune clarinet and korg minilogue synth, looping of analogue tapes, communal laughing fits and Genevieve’s narrative journey in tackling her fears.
Was it merely the means for the composer to overcome these fears, or an intriguing work? Your chance to see it and make up your own mind up in Sydney in 2020 when the work is re-staged.