Preview: Cumnock Tryst 2016

Two extraordinary ensembles will feature as artists-in-residence at Sir James MacMillan’s Cumnock Tryst festival later this month. With direction from trombonist John Kenny, both Pandora’s Box, a trio of multi instrumental trombone players, and the ground breaking HeadSpace ensemble will perform a mixture of music from the 13th Century to present day, including this year’s Cumnock Tryst commission The Barony A-Frame; by the young, multi-talented composer and instrumentalist, Scott Lygate. 

At the heart of both ensembles is world-class brass playing. Pandora’s Box features Emily White on baroque violin, John Kenny on recorders and bass trombone and Miguel Tantos, Emily and John on both alto and tenor trombones and sackbuts. For this performance the trio will be joined by Swedish trumpet player and composer, Törbjorn Hultmark on soprano trombone. 

HeadSpace also features John, this time on trombone and the fascinating ancient Carnyx as well as Törbjorn on trumpets. What makes this group particularly special is the way they combine conventional brass playing with revolutionary digital technology; Chris Wheeler, trombone player and co-founder of the pioneering Heritage Orchestra, brings the ensemble together with his sound design. The quartet is completed by Clarence Adoo MBE; a former trumpeter whose life was interrupted when he was involved in a devastating road accident at age 35, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Today, he performs on two extraordinary electronic instruments; the Head=Space and Hi-Note, both developed with sonic inventor, Rolf Gehlhaar. Clarence’s story and the development of these instruments have been very well documented. For more information, please visit his website.

Clarence introducing Head=Space

This exciting pair of ensembles will perform at the opening of this year’s festival with a variety of music, both new and old including the World Premiere of The Barony A-Frame by local composer, Scott Lygate. The piece was inspired by the huge frame that still stands at the pit-head of the Barony Colliery near to the festival’s base in Cumnock. The structure remains as a reminder of Ayrshire’s long but now lost coal mining community.  

This work will be the first ever full-scale composition for SATB trombone quartet. Torbjorn Hultmark, the ensemble’s soprano trombone player is a passionate advocate of the instrument and is already generating a new solo repertoire. However, his collaboration with Pandora’s Box is producing an increasing number of exciting arrangements and new works for the ensemble. This places the trombone, the most vocal of all instruments, in parallel with the full range of the human voice. For this festival, the ensembles will perform a new work by Torbjorn; A Fairy Tale for five performers: Tale Teller, Clap/Stomp Chap, Nonsense Gabbler, The Environment and Mime.

Read more about Torbjorn’s Soprano Trombone Project here.

Despite shared foundations, these are two very unique ensembles and a perfect combination. We look forward to hearing from both ensembles again and hope some of our readers are able to make it to this year’s Cumnock Tryst Festival.