Saturday 17th September, 1pm – 6pm
GLA City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA
Part of Open House London 2016
About the work
City Hall, designed by Foster + Partners, has been the home to the London Assembly and the offices of the Mayor of London since July 2002. Soaring above the main chamber is an open atrium that spans the full height of the building. A 500 metre ramp curves around the inside of the glass walls, giving spectators spectacular views down to the chamber below and across the River Thames. The spirit of openness is at the heart of this building.
In his new Live Music Sculpture, composer Samuel Bordoli will express and explore the design of the building with sound. A musician will be placed upon each level of the ramp where they will form a spatial dialogue with a group of six musicians on the floor of the chamber. The audience will enter the chamber at the top (level 9) and descend downwards along the ramp at their own pace until they reach the assembly floor (level 2).
The musical form will be inseparable from the architectural form, meaning that the composition can only function properly in this building. Certain sounds will become more prominent at different levels of the ramp, meaning that the texture is altered depending on where it is heard from. The spectators will feel as if they are inside the music as it fills the space around them.
The music has been fully notated and composed with the help of an architectural model. As well as relying on an intuitive sense of how the sound will behave, the composer has worked with Foster + Partners’ acoustician, Philip Robinson, to carry out sound tests. Philip has analysed frequencies that behave differently in each part of the space, which Samuel will build into the music. A video and binaural recording of the Live Music Sculpture will be made so that the experience can be replicated as far as possible.
There will be four performances throughout the afternoon on Saturday 17th September 2016 at City Hall during London Open House weekend. This is a rare chance to see the inside of this extraordinary building and experience a brand new musical work inspired by the design.
Notes to editors:
Live Music Sculpture
In 2011, British composer Samuel Bordoli founded Live Music Sculpture whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music with the intention of producing site-specific work for live musicians in unusual spaces. Since then, the company has produced performances in some of the UK’s most iconic buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge, which have been nominated for multiple awards and admired by audiences and critics.
The founding project was designed for Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London, and featured twice in the City of London Festival. Musicians sat in the alcoves of the giant column and the sounds reacted in fascinating ways with the acoustic as they echoed upwards. The work has since been acknowledged in The Monument’s guidebook as a significant event in its 400 year history.
Two works followed in 2012 and 2013 for 30 musicians performing inside the enclosed walkways of Tower Bridge, and the balconies of St Paul’s Cathedral.
In 2014, Samuel Bordoli and Live Music Sculpture teamed up with Tête à Tête and the PRSF for Music Foundation to produce GRIND, a site-specific work for skateboarders, community choir and skatepark acoustics.
Samuel Bordoli is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the foremost composers of his generation. His radical vision for pushing musical boundaries is setting a fascinating precedent for exploring the relationship between architecture, music, literature and theatre.
His new anthem The Great Silence will be premiered at Windsor Festival by The Children and Gentlemen of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, The Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, The Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, and The Choir of The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy in a concert celebrating The Queen’s 90th Birthday, in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in 2016. It has been composed to commemorate choristers who lost their lives in the First World War and performances of the work will be used to raise funds for the charity London Music Masters. His fourth Live Music Sculpture, composed for Foster + Partners’ GLA City Hall building (Foster + Partners), will be premiered in Open House London; and Crux fidelis, commissioned by Choir and Organ magazine, will be performed in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Samuel Bordoli became the first composer to create site-specific compositions for the Monument and Tower Bridge in 2012 when his Live Music Sculptures were featured in the City of London Festival. They were described by the Observer as “working wonders with public acoustics” and “beautiful and ethereal”. His site-specific work for St Paul’s Cathedral, Live Music Sculpture 3, was performed five times during one day and subsequently shortlisted for a 2014 BASCA British Composer Award in the Choral category. His new chamber work As I Lay Dying was premiered in the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today Series at the Royal Festival Hall as a result of winning the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.
Other recent premieres have included GRIND, a major commission from PRS for Music Foundation, performed at the Southbank Centre and the Glasgow UNESCO Commonwealth Games, released on NMC Records, and shortlisted for a 2015 BASCA British Composer Award; Fire, Silver, Gold commissioned for the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the grant of a royal charter to The Worshipful Company of Founders; There the Dance Is composed for the clarinettist Emma Johnson; and a new anthem for Foremarke Hall for their 75th Anniversary celebrations.
Born in 1987 in England, Samuel Bordoli began composing and conducting at an early age. His first orchestral work was performed at the Bedford Corn Exchange when he was aged sixteen. Samuel held the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Manson Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied for a MMus with Philip Cashian and Simon Bainbridge. He was mentored by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for nine years after studying with him at Dartington International Summer School. He gained a BMus (Hons) at Birmingham Conservatoire tutored by Edwin Roxburgh. His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service, and ITV News.
Samuel Bordoli composed the music and libretto for the chamber opera Amerika, in 2012, based on the novel by Kafka, which was commissioned by Tête à Tête. In the same year, he was also a featured composer in the City of London Festival. In 2011, he was Composer-in-Residence on the Liturgical Music Courses held at Winchester Cathedral, and collaborated with the dramatist Mark Ravenhill on a lite-bite opera for the Tête à Tête Opera Festival. In 2008 his piece Eta Carinae Nebula was featured by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as part of the 'Boulez in Birmingham' festival, alongside work by Boulez.
Bordoli’s work has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, Charles Lucas Prize, the Alan Bush Prize, the Lena Pritchard Green Award, the Charles Black Fellowship as well as recognition from the Mendelssohn Foundation, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the AHRC and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust.
Performances of Samuel Bordoli’s music have also been given by Chapelle du Roi, RADA, Southbank Sinfonia, the Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, Exaudi, the London Sinfonietta, Wildscreen, the Orchestra of the Swan, The Mid Wales Music Week Festival, The Warehouse Ensemble, The Swift Ensemble and The New Century Players.
In addition to composing, Samuel has also been very active as a conductor in numerous contemporary music performances in London and Birmingham including concerts and workshops with The Swift Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Thallein Ensemble. As a student, he conducted over thirty premieres of his colleagues’ work. His choral music is published by Stainer & Bell.
Principal Sponsor: Foster + Partners
With additional support from: The Hinrichsen Foundation