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  • Monday, May 16th, 2016

Barry Russell ‘A Cage Circus’ | Dates & info

Barry Russell

Inspired by renowned American composer John Cage‘s idea of a music circus, Holmfirth New Music present this brand new work – directed by Holmfirth composer Barry Russell. Barry will be working with participants as part of the festival in order to create the Holmfirth Circus.

Part performance, part sound sculpture and 100% amazing experience, don’t miss this unique event! The last major music circus in Kirklees was with Cage himself some 25 years ago.


Workshop #1 | 21 June | Click here

Workshop #2 | 25 June | Click here

Holmfirth New Music

A Cage Circus with Holmfirth New Music

John Cage, composer of the (in)famous 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, developed the concept of Music Circus. In this, different musics are superimposed and spatially separated to create an environment which is part performance and part sound sculpture (and 100% amazing experience). The last major Music Circus in Kirklees was with Cage himself as part of the 1989 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. This took place in the Town Hall and was based on James Joyce’s novel ‘Finnegan’s Wake’.

Barry Russell‘s new book, ‘Everything We Do Is Music‘, looks at cross-curricular experiments on sound based on the music of John Cage. To celebrate this publication, Holmfirth Arts Festival will present a Music Circus based on the Holme Valley and directed by Barry Russell.

There are several strands to the creation of a Music Circus, and the workshops will devise various layers of the performance. These will include:

1) Texts and poetry about the Holme Valley. We will work with existing texts such as songs about the Holme Valley, news items past and present and stories about Valley characters and also use ideas from John Cage to create new experimental material.

2) Visual art about the valley including pieces made with found objects and natural materials and collages using old printed music.

3) Instruments from found and recycled materials and objects from the Valley.

4) Musical performances, to include existing music (folk, brass band, rock, etc.) and newly improvised pieces which reflect aspects of the valley geography.

These elements will be organised according to chance procedures to form a 60 minute event in the Parish Church on Saturday 25th May. If you enjoyed the anarchic fun of our bicycle performance in 2014, then please come and get involved in this exciting project. No previous musical experience is needed.

No previous experience is necessary for the workshops, and the age range is open. All you need is a spirit of adventure!

There will also be a chance to purchase copies of Barry’s new book.
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