Battle of Ideas: Turn That Racket Off at the 2007 Battle of Ideas conference hosted by the Institute of Ideas
Music is everywhere, but do we really listen? With high-tempo dance music in shops and computerised Mozart as we wait for a phonecall to be connected, it seems impossible to escape the relentless soundtrack to modern life. Should we learn to relish silence, the better to appreciate real music? Or is this objection to ubiquitous music just a form of snobbery? Do people simply get used to unwanted noise, and listen attentively when there's something worth listening to? Is it time to turn it off, or is it just a question of quality over quantity?- IoI
Dolan Cummings is research and editorial director at the IoI. He edits the IoI's reviews website, Culture Wars and is a co-convener of the yearly Battle of Ideas festival, next taking place in London in October 2007.
Cummings's interests lie in the relationship between ideas and politics, the role of the intellectual, ideology, and religion in public life. He is especially interested in the question of intellectual authority and how it is contested. Cummings firmly believes that politics should start from the needs and passions of the public, and that this puts a premium on open debate and free speech. Most recently he has edited a collection of essays, Debating Humanism by contributors to the Battle of Ideas 2005.
His interest in the role of intellectuals builds on Ideas, Intellectuals and the Public, a conference he organized in 2003.
Bill Drummond was born in 1953. Since leaving Liverpool College of Art in 1973 he has used various ways to investigate and converse with the cultural landscape. These investigations and conversations have found expression via the written word, pop music and actions.
His written words include the following books: The Manual (1989), Bad Wisdom (1996), 45 (2000), How To Be An Artist (2002), and The Wild Highway (2005).
The pop music (1977 - 1992) comprised of various projects, from Big In Japan to The KLF, the details of which have now faded into the twilight world of pub pop quiz questions and car boot sale bargain box oddities.
The actions have been the one constant in his practice. There have been hundreds over the years, nearly all carried out anonymously and left unrecorded. Recently Drummondâ€™s activities have included the instigation of The 17, the production of a pack of cards titled Silent Protest, the foundation of The Intercontinental Twinning Association, the making of The Soup Line and setting up the websites www.mydeath.net, www.youwhores.com, www.openmanifesto.com, and www.the17.org.
He has had numerous one-man exhibitions in major UK regional galleries.
Since 1998, all Drummond's work has been framed within the context of The Penkiln Burn. To have a better understanding of what this is please visit www.penkilnburn.com.
Professor Colin Lawson is Director of the Royal College of Music, London. He studied music at Oxford University and was subsequently awarded a Masters degree at Birmingham University for his work on the eighteenth-century clarinet. He taught at Aberdeen, Sheffield and London Universities before moving to Thames Valley University as Pro Vice-Chancellor (2001-5). At TVU he was Dean of an Arts Faculty that contained some 8,000 students, with a curriculum ranging over a wide creative and technological spectrum.
Colin has an international profile as a period clarinettist, and has played principal in most of Britainâ€™s leading period orchestras, notably the Hanover Band, the English Concert and the London Classical Players, with whom he has recorded extensively and toured worldwide. Described recently as 'a brilliant, absolutely world-class player' (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and 'the doyen of period clarinettists' (BBC Music Magazine), he has appeared as soloist in many international venues, including Londonâ€™s major concert halls and New York's Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall.
His discography comprises concertos by Fasch, Hook, Mahon, Mozart, Spohr, Telemann, Vivaldi and Weber, as well as a considerable variety of chamber music. Among his most recent recordings is a highly-acclaimed disc of basset horn trios by Mozart and Stadler, and a recital disc entitled 100 Years of the Simple-System Clarinet.
Colin has published widely, especially for Cambridge University Press. He is author of Cambridge Handbooks to Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Brahms's Clarinet Quintet. He is co-editor of a series of Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, for which he has co-authored an introductory volume (1999) and a book on the early clarinet (2000).
Claudia Molitor, born in 1974, studied Music and Media at Sussex University, went on to do an MA in Music at City University, London and completed her PhD in Composition with Michael Finnissy in 2004.
In March, 2006, Oh Du Kleines Kabinett, commissioned by Queens' College Cambridge, was premiered by Anton Lukoszevieze and musicians of Queens' college. This piece was short-listed for a RPS Music Award this year. Her piano piece, Tango, was short-listed by spnm in 2004-5 and was performed by Rolf Hind at the music festival fuseleeds06.
The Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli performed Even if the world is infinitely complex as part of spnm's HINDSIGHT series at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London during April 2006. That May, Who kissed my head?, for live electronics and acoustic instruments, was performed by players from the London Sinfonietta in collaboration with Sound Intermedia. She was commissioned by CoMA (Contemporary Music Making for Amateurs) to write a flexibly scored piece called I had to protest for their 2006 Open Score Project.
It descends occasionally, Kurbis and For Leone were performed earlier this year by the Kurbis ensemble in London and at Cambridgeâ€™s Kettleâ€™s Yard and there were performances of Leek in London and Manchester by the BackBeat Percussion Quartet.
She is currently taking part in spnm's 2006/07 Adopt a Composer scheme which pairs amateur ensembles, in this case the City of Southampton Orchestra, with a composer for a year. The piece will be performed at Southamptonâ€™s Guildhall in November.
Cecilia Wee is working on her DPhil in Music and Philosophy at the University of Sussex, on the relationship between performance/live art and its documentation. With a background in contemporary classical music, her research interests include technologies of cultural reproduction in contemporary performing and visual arts, post-Kantian aesthetics, and cultural understandings of warfare and combat.
Cecilia is co-organiser of the monthly inter-art event series 'Rational Rec' in London's East End, and has been a regular producer/presenter for London art radio station Resonance FM since 2002. Programmes include the weekly contemporary arts programme 'New Art on Mondays' (2003-6), panel discussions at Resonance FMâ€™s Frieze Art Fair residency (2005, 2006) and the debate series 'Salon or Seminar', which visits London art venues putting a cultural take on the BBC programme Question Time (since 2006). Her work aims to question the sophistication of existing structures for debate on artistic production and aesthetics, within and beyond the realms of academia.