DMU professor's music recognised with prestigious prize


A piece of music composed by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) professor has won first prize at a prestigious international competition.

Professor John Young, Professor of Composition, created the work, called Three Spaces in Mid-Air in the research studio of DMU’s MTI2 Institute for Sonic Creativity.

DMU Young-280

It was awarded first prize in the Klang! International Competition of Electroacoustic Composition 2019, held as part of the annual festival celebrating the sonic arts held in Montpellier, France.

Artists from around the world come together for a series of concerts, installations and conferences exploring the latest developments and thinking in the world of sonic arts. Organisers have more than 60 loudspeakers arranged around the venue to ensure the very best sound quality for performances.

It is the second international first prize for Professor Young in six months, following the success in December of his work Magnetic Resonance at the Prague Musica Nova competition.

Three Spaces in Mid-Air is in three connected movements and explores the compression of musical form.

"The experience of sound is directly physical, even tactile, and electroacoustic music opens up new worlds for the imagination by lifting us out of our daily encounters with sound,” said Professor Young.

“In many ways electroacoustic music naturally lends itself to extended timescales, since it is so often about immersion in the richness and complexity of sound.  In Three Spaces in Mid-Air I wanted to challenge that by conveying reflective and sonically rich atmospheres but within time frames that encourage listeners to engage with the way sounds are shaped in time. 

“A good analogy might be in observing the movement of clouds, which can be fast or slow, turbulent or passive. Sounds can be made to act out these qualities of motion and change. The difference is that sound is immaterial, yet it touches us - and that can be a very powerful avenue of expression.”

The KLANG! competition is organised by the Maison des arts sonores, which also promotes concerts and educational initiatives in the sonic arts through partnerships with the Montpellier Conservatoire, the Orchestra of the Opéra National de Montpellier and others.

Two other works from the DMU studios were among the eight finalists for the award, James Andean's Valdrada, recently released on the Montreal empreintes DIGITALes CD label along with Abwesenheit – another work by Professor Young premiered in Austria by the Vienna Acousmonium.

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As part of the prize for winning first place, Professor Young will give a solo concert of his work at the 2020 KLANG! Festival in Montpellier.

Judges of the Klang! Festival this year included highly-regarded practitioners including Annette Vane de Gorne, Jonty Harrison, Denis Smalley and Francis Dhomont.  

The festival is in partnership with the Opera Orchestra of Montpellier Occitanie, the SCRIME Studio of Creation and Research in Computer Science and Experimental Music of Bordeaux, BEAST Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theater, All For Contemporary Music, Ensemble Flashback, Nau Côclea, the festival Manca Nice, Zepplin Festival Barcelona and the Regional Conservatory Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole.

*You can listen to Professor John Young's Three Spaces in Mid-Air by clicking here.

Posted on Thursday 25th July 2019

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