Q&A with Robert Ames from London Contemporary Orchestra

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With Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 just around the corner we’ve been catching up with the artists and ensembles involved to find out about what to expect at their performances and what inspires them to create.

Here’s Robert Ames, Artistic Director & Co-Principal Conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO), talking about In the Light of Air

What inspired you want to work with André de Ridder as a part of this festival and why were you driven to programme the pieces you have chosen?

André de Ridder came to us with the idea of performing Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s In The Light Of Air at the festival. We were both amazed that it hadn’t been performed in the UK yet as its an incredible piece of music. Pauline Oliveros text scores seemed like a perfect partner. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with her in 2016 the experience has really influenced the way we think about music and programme ever since.

How do you define the music that LCO creates?

We don’t! Trying to define and label music is really boring, better just to perform, listen and experience it.

The performance has a mindful theme – What (if anything) is the difference between a ‘mindful’ gig and other LCO concerts?

We didn’t set out to give the concert a ‘mindful theme’ for us it was inspired by Pauline’s idea of Deep Listening. We are interested to see how the experience of listening and participating with Pauline’s music influences the experience of In The Light Of Air.

What is special about this performance in Shoreditch Church from a standard concert-hall experience?

The audience will be invited to participate in some of the Oliveros pieces, encouraging relaxed concentrated listening. The concert will be in the round and In The Light Of Air is partnered with a really special light installation.

Why did you choose to programme an additional late-night, 1.15am, slot – do you expect this to have a different atmosphere to the 8pm performance?

An intimate late night concert for this music just feels right. I think it will be a really special experience for night owl types.

Describe the audience experience in three words…

Intense, Serene, Expanding

What are you listening to at the moment?

An album called Deep Listening with Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis. We are featuring it on our upcoming NTS show and chatting a little more about what to expect at our Spitalfields shows!

The London Contemporary Orchestra perform works by Pauline Oliveros and the UK premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s In The Light Of Air on Friday 8 December, 8pm & 1.15am as part of Spitalfields Music Festival. Book Now!