Guest of the Month June 2013: Susannah Simons
Susannah Simons is the Head of Development for The Space at the BBC – the digital platform for the arts launched as an experiment last year in partnership with Arts Council England.
She was involved in bringing New Music 20×12 to life as part of our steering group, and is also playing a significant role in New Music Biennial.
She told us: “I’m thrilled that we have been able to continue what we started with New Music 20×12 with the launch of the New Music Biennial for 2014. Some of my best moments of last summer were associated with New Music 20 x12: from Emily Howard’s Zatopek! in Liverpool to the entire weekend on the Southbank. Looking at the commissioned composers for the New Music Biennial I am looking forward to weekends in both London and Glasgow.”
We asked Susannah to tell us about some pieces of music and performances that have inspired here recently. She told us:
Most of the new music I have heard recently has been associated with contemporary dance –
‘Uprising and The Art of Not Looking Back’ were written and choreographed by the great Hofesh Shechter and revived at Sadler’s Wells. Powerful , emotive scores full of pulsating rhythms that ideally suit his very particular style of dance.
The young choreographers who took part in Youth Dance England’s Young Creatives show case also introduced me to music new to me. Barny Sharratt, inspired by the Darwinian quote: “From so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved”, worked with the Brian Eno and David Byrne song ‘The Carrier’ to great effect.
Darwin also inspired Morika Richmond with a piece that asked “have we evolved so much or have we hit our pivotal point in history and are slowly returning to a blank state of thinking and living” and she used Ben Frost’s ‘Through the Roof of Your Mouth’.
It was inspiring to see and hear these young people using dance and contemporary music to address the issues that are of concern to them and much like the effect of the Hofesh Shechter pieces the evening had a powerful effect on me.
We had new music on The Space as well – Matthew Herbert, the resident composer, gave us The Sound of The Space and Britten Sinfonia took a real leap into the future with Tweet music – a partnership with Twitter that reflected the emotions of the nation during 2012 and played on a continuous loop throughout the duration of the project.