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QME : Call for Scores 2012

The Quiet Music Ensemble invites composers and sound artists specialising in Experimental Music to create original works for the ensemble. The works will be workshopped in May and performed in June 2012.

Through this Call for Scores the QME intends to expand the existing repertoire of Experimental Music, while offering underexposed composers the opportunities for high profile performance of their works. The QME is committed to programming repeat performances of new works to maximise the exposure of young composers, whenever possible.

QME’s working process is extremely collaborative: the group works closely with composers to develop the playing techniques and the frame of mind necessary for their music. Thus, following short-listing by Artistic Director John Godfrey, pieces appropriate to the performance style and mission of the ensemble will be rehearsed and publicly workshopped with the composers, following which there will be a period during which the composers may revise their works if they wish. During the premiere, composers will be offered the opportunity to speak about the work and engage with the audience regarding composing experimental music.



• This call is open to artists in the early stage of their career, who are not yet well known for their sonic work.

• Quiet Music Ensemble is not a ‘generic’ New Music ensemble, and will only take on works suited to its idiom! For this reason, it is essential to read the technical and other information carefully before deciding on your submission.

• If your work is selected, you must be available for the public workshops and performances

• Works may be submitted in many forms (see below for details).

• There’s no entry fee

• Submitted works must have not been previously performed



Work Duration: Open (may be indeterminate)

Deadline for submission: 5 May 2012

Submission Requirements: Performance materials plus brief text explaining your vision for the piece. See below for details..


Sean Mac Erlaine: Bb and Bass Clarinets, Saxophones (NB ask for details before writing for saxophone)

Roddy O’Keeffe: Trombone Bb/F or Bass Trombone

John Godfrey: Electric Guitar with effects boards (see below for details)

Ilse De Ziah: Cello

Dan Bodwell: Double Bass

Amplification and Electronics (optional)

Performance Materials – further information

There is no restriction on the form that your performance materials may take: they could be scores using musical notation, graphic scores, text scores, recordings which act as the basis for performance, live interactive computer programmes, videos etc. In many such scores, the composer leaves open the intended interpretation of the provided materials; but if you intend that the materials be read in particular ways, the score should include precise instructions. Given the nature of this music, a short piece of text explaining the intent of the work is also requested. Scores least suited to the ensemble are those that employ completely conventional musical notation.

QME Performance Practices

QME never uses a conductor. All the players are experienced free improvisers and have a wide range of extended instrumental techniques. All the players are willing to play their instruments in unusual ways, or to play other instruments, conventional or otherwise. QME plays both amplified and unamplified: please specify which is preferred for your work.

Writing for QME is both an opportunity and a challenge, since it is not an all-purpose New Music ensemble: it’s specifically dedicated to Experimental music and improvisation, with all the mind-set that that involves. Like other specialised ensembles (e.g. the Bang On A Can All-Stars), the group comes ‘parceled’ with musical expectations and ideals. Its music is typically extremely pared-down, (partially) improvised, quiet, and with a heavy emphasis on explorations of sonority. Its music is meditative, often serene and definitely unhurried. Some of its music is for mobile musicians and/or audience.

These pieces, performed by QME, might help to clarify:

• David Toop’s night leaves breathing has an aural score: the musicians improvise within guidelines concerning mood and colour while responding to the pre-recorded materials. The trademark piece of the ensemble, it’s a quietly intense lens on the miniature sonorities of deep night…

• Alvin Lucier’s Shadow Lines asks for steady notes from the winds and ultra-slow glissandi from the strings and guitar, resulting in a transparent mesh of ever-shifting, elusive harmonies and acoustic beating…

• John Godfrey’s Washing Yourself With Food fills areas of the performance space with unvarying spectra from 7 different electronic sound sources: the musicians move within the space and respond with improvised high tones to what they hear. The audience is also mobile: moving within the space causes dramatic changes in the audible sonorities.

• John Cage’s Ryoanji is a meditation on the famous Zen rock garden in Kyoto: in QME’s version, the irregular beat of the percussion is played on the body and the spike of the cello, while soloists Dan Bodwell and Roddy O’Keeffe follow the sinuous lines of a graphic score. In his Four6, each musician independently chooses 12 sonorities, which are then combined according to Cage’s loose timings, expressed as text: the resultant chance layerings are dropped into an intense silence, as if making calligraphic marks on an empty sheet of paper.


You may use pre-recorded and/or live electronics, including video. Live electronics should ideally be submitted as Max/MSP/Jitter programmes, but standalone apps that can run on Mac OS are also acceptable.

The Electric Guitar

A conventional electric guitar is used, but it is typically very heavily processed using multi-effects pedals such as the Boss GT6 and the Roland VG99. Patches designed for the latter may be provided if you wish. The guitarist typically employs bottleneck, ebow and various other implements (coins, blackboard eraser etc); he is very happy to demonstrate a range of techniques, or work out new ones.

For more information, contact John Godfrey 

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