Projects and collaborations

Improvisation

Improvisation Workshop at CoMA 2016

In August 2016, I ran a daily improvisation class for 25 amateur players (all instruments) for a week, exploring different approaches to group improvisation, and culminating in a final showing, excerpts of which are now available on Youtube.

Free improvisation: Bay's Leap

A free improvisation trio formed of James Barralet (cello) and Noel Taylor (clarinet). Our first album, Swans Over Dorking, was released in August 2016.

Free improvisation: Clarinet and piano

With Noel Taylor (clarinet), we have been exploring texture and sound... and simply having fun. Here are some excerpts from improvisations in June 2015, all created in the spur of the moment, with no prior discussion:

Improvisation 1: Noel Taylor and Clare Simmonds

Improvisation 5: Noel Taylor and Clare Simmonds

Dance: Contemporary Dance at The Place with Viv Bridson

The Sunday Open Contemporary Class at The Place is run by Viv Bridson. The class draws on influences such as Graham, Laban and Cunningham. All the music for the class is improvised, usually without any prior discussion on length or scope, simply responding to the movements of the dancers. View examples of my work below:

Warm-up (16 June 2013)

Making Magic (8 June 2014)

Improvisation (16 June 2013)

Dance: Gemma Coldicott
Brit School Dance Project (2014)

This was a project organised by Gemma Coldicott, co-founder of SLIDE Dance. It involved sharing work remotely: Gemma emailed me video clips of her dance class, and I emailed her improvised music in response to those clips. Gemma's next class involved working with the improvised music I had sent, to create new dance. The process culminated in a performance on 7 July 2014.

Workbook Series (2015)

Another project organised by Gemma Coldicott, which involved a series of dialogues through movement, music, writing and objects, and formed part of Gemma's research into co-creating a language of dance across time zones and cultures. It involved working remotely: using a live video link, I improvised (in London) to Gemma's live dancing (in Brighton). Gemma also collaborated like this with musicians from Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Turkey, Germany and Croatia. More information at Facebook: Workbook Series I-V.

Film: 'OCD' (2014)

The film director Marialena Varela created a short film called 'OCD'. The music for the film was a shared improvisation by Panaretos Kyriatzidis and me. View the trailer, featuring my improvisation:

OCD Trailer

Classical improvisation (2014-15)

At the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Clare studied with David Dolan, on his classical improvisation course, working on improvisations in the style of composers such Bach, Haydn and Mozart. She regularly improvises preludes and minuets as interludes or postludes to services at St Peter's Lee Church in Lewisham.

Drama: Circus Skills and Storytelling

Clare has participated in two projects involving actors at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama:

  • Year 2 actors and groups of musicians performing a circus/acrobatics showing on the topic of 'entering another world' (March 2015)
  • Year 1 actors and groups of musicians performing a storytelling showing (July 2014)

Free improvisation groups

Clare's experience of free improvisation includes:

  • establishing, and performing in the 'October Improvisation Group', a group of 8 musicians and dancers, for the 2012 John Cage Festival at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • playing with David Leahy (from the London Improvisers Orchestra) in his project, Music-based Underscore (see Facebook: Music-based Underscore)
  • organising, and performing in, an 18-hour performance of 'Vexations' by Satie, from 11pm to 7pm the next day. This performance involved ten musicians, four dancers, live artwork and poetry and took place at Blackheath Halls Recital Room in February 2014. Every 22 renditions of 'Vexations' was followed by a group improvisation. See excerpts on Youtube.
  • participating in a full performance Cornelius Cardew's 'Treatise' at the University of Greenwich (March 2015) directed by David Ryan, with members of the London Improvisers Orchestra

Clare has also improvised on courses at Dartington Summer School, and at other CoLab events at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

With film-makers

In September 2014, Clare collaborated with Will West, a film-maker, to create Contemporary Piano, a film introducing a contemporary piano work, 'Black Box Flight Recorder', by Edward Henderson.

With composers

Clare enjoys performing new compositions, and has recently performed works by:

Janet Oates
Ian Mikyska

Construction in Snowfall; Crystals for Pianist, Prepared Piano, and Tape

This piece is also on Youtube.

Find out more about Ian from his Web site.

Alex Stephenson

Nails, 2015

Find out more about Alex from his Web site.

Elliot Galvin

Black and White, 2014

Find out more about Elliot from his Web site.

Edward Henderson

Black Box Flight Recorder, 2013

Find out more about Edward from his Web site.

Clare also supports new music through Bastard Assignments, a composer's collective.

Nick Morrish Rarity

With Clarice Rarity (violin):

'Psyche' Violin Concert Movement 3: Splitting (excerpt), 2013

With instrumentalists

Clare has played in a range of ensembles, including:

Pierrot Lunaire

This started with an initial, exploratory workshop run by Lore Lixenberg at CoMA (August 2016), in which I repetiteured from the piano reduction (see the performance on Youtube). A few months later, in December 2016, I organised three full performances of the work, drawing upon coaching from Jane Manning and Adrian Brendel. The ensemble included Rosie Bowker (flute/piccolo), Henri Hill (violin/viola), Baldvin Tryggvason (clarinet/bass clarinet), Joe Davies (cello); and three Pierrots: Harriet Burns, Patricia Auchterlonie, and Elisabeth Swedlund.

'Babar' and 'Peter and the Wolf': Piano and narrator

Performances of 'L'Histoire de Babar' (Music by Francis Poulenc, Text by Jean de Brunhoff) and 'Peter and the Wolf' (by Sergei Prokofieff, with a narrator (Martin Vander Weyer or Samuel Blenkin). Performances have been given in an arts centre, church and school.

The Duruflé Trio: Flute, viola and piano

The Duruflé Trio was formed in 2015, and includes Henrietta Hill (piano) and Rosie Bowker (flute). For more information on forthcoming events, see the trio's Web site.

Violin, viola and piano trio

This trio was formed with Katie Meyers (violin) and Henrietta Hill (viola). We performed works by Clarke, Finch and Schumann in Fulham, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The Simmonds Piano Trio: Violin cello and piano

The members of this trio were Katie Meyers (violin) and Chris Brown (cello). We performed Beethoven Piano Trio Op. 70 no 2 in Blackheath and Battersea.

Trio 642: Three pianists at one piano

This trio included the pianists Marion Caldwell and Aaron Burrows. It was formed to play at the 2015 Festival di Torroella di Montgri (Fringe). We performed duets by Bach arr. Kurtag, Ravel, Stravinsky and triets by Sadie Harrison, Percy Grainger, Beethoven arr. Wildman. We also performed a concert of Brahms Walzen Op. 39 interspersed with selected pages from Cornelius Cardew's 'Treatise'.

 

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