Ahead of her appearance at Sounds New in May, I put Three Questions to composer and performer, Lauren Redhead.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a composer and an organist. As a composer I work within experimental music and as an organist that’s largely what I’m interested in as well. I perform music that extends what the organ can do, and that considers the organ in the space as a single instrument. Since 2010 this has also included extending the organ with the use of fixed media or live electronics and (sometimes) with live voice. Both as a composer and a performer I really enjoy collaborating with other musicians and artists from different disciplines. As a result I’ve specially commissioned most of the pieces that I play.
What excites you about contemporary music ?
Everything! Contemporary music offers its listeners and practitioners a real opportunity to think about the role that music plays in our lives and society and, if we want to, to shape the spaces and society that we live in through art. That’s a grand claim, but I think that it is a valid one. In terms of the music I play, I really enjoy finding out about the way that composers think about art and life through their music. And probably most of all I am excited by the sounds of contemporary music: it isn’t only about hearing something that is new or that hadn’t been heard before, it’s also about really beautiful music that, to me, can’t be rivalled by music which is from the past.
What can we expect from your performance at Sounds New in May?
At Sounds New I’ll be playing a programme of music with and without electronics that represents the breadth of pieces the music that I perform. There are some things you might expect from an organ recital: loud sounds and low notes, but also some things that you probably wouldn’t: psychoacoustic effects, spectral extension of the instrument, convolution, and a piece that creates a feedback loop between the building itself and the music. Most of all it’s an opportunity to hear the organ in a way that you probably haven’t heard it before.
Find out more about Lauren’s performance at Sounds New here.