The thrilling Explore Ensemble with virtuoso pianist/composer/technologist Zubin Kanga present first performances of Larry Goves and Lara Agar alongside new music by Laura Bowler and Alex Paxton.

Lara Agar:
They have the fish, you love the fish (Britten Pears Arts co-commission / first performance) (15’)
Larry Goves:
curious codes of silence (first performance) (20’)
Laura Bowler:
SHOW(ti)ME (20’)
Alex Paxton:
Spit Crystal Yeast-rack, dripping (à l’orange) (15')

Explore Ensemble
Nicholas Moroz live sound
Zubin Kanga
piano, keyboard, Lumatone, MiMU gloves, multimedia

Main image: Explore Ensemble © Dimitri Djuric

This cutting-edge programme abounds with new music and personal connections with the Aldeburgh Festival: Larry Goves leads the CAPPA composition and performance course (see 7 June), Laura Bowler and Alex Paxton are former Britten Pears Young Artists, and Lara Agar’s composition is rooted in a strong sense of East Suffolk.

Larry Goves’ Curious Codes of Silence is a new concerto commissioned by soloist Zubin Kanga to perform with Explore Ensemble, which completes Goves’ three works inspired by The New York Trilogy by American author Paul Auster. This new work, combining real and virtual pianos, mirrors the shifts in identity of the story, in which a writer fully assumes the identity of a missing colleague – including appropriating his work and marrying his wife – then refuses to acquiesce when his colleague resurfaces.

Zubin Kanga also performs Laura Bowler’s solo piano and multimedia work, SHOW(ti)ME, which explores the contrast between musicians’ public personas (on stage and social media) and their private anxieties. It draws back the mask of performance through an explosive magnification of the minutiae of piano practice, combining the piano with a range of technologies including live video and audio (including talking emoji) and MiMU sensor gloves that shape sounds in the air.

In her new sextet, co-commissioned by Britten Pears Arts and Explore Ensemble, Lara Agar takes sound recordings from various sites along the Suffolk coast, her childhood home, as a starting point for a semi-autobiographical and ecological thought piece. It incorporates recordings from the Sizewell nuclear facility, as well as the former atomic weapons-testing facility at Orford Ness, and the many marshlands and rivers nearby.

Alex Paxton’s sextet is a relentless rollercoaster that, though composed of seemingly familiar musical components, pushes chamber musicianship to its limits. Competing layers of materials run at different speeds and rhythmic feels, each one constantly battling for attention, while Paxton encourages the players to “earnestly personalise the details beyond what is written on the page, as if playing in a band”.

This performance is being recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast on the New Music Show and will be available afterwards on BBC Sounds.

Larry Goves’ Curious Codes of Silence and Laura Bowler’s SHOW(ti)ME were commissioned by Zubin Kanga as part of Cyborg Soloists, supported by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, and Royal Holloway, University of London, with additional development support for SHOW(ti)ME from the Vaughan Williams Foundation.

Lara Agar’s new work was commissioned by Explore Ensemble with the support of the Hinrichsen Foundation and the Vaughan Williams Foundation. Co-commissioned by Britten Pears Arts for the Aldeburgh Festival.