Hallé and MMU team up to create "dubstep gamelan"


INDONESIA’S traditional gamelan orchestras might not be the first instruments that come to mind when you think of dubstep, but an exciting new project at the Axis Arts Centre, at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire campus will show a never-before seen side to the percussion ensembles.

Working in collaboration with students from the university, The Hallé and Electric Voice Theatre, Dr Rachel Swindells and Dr Ornette Clennon from the Department of Contemporary Arts will create a new piece of music, titled Only You 2.0, to be performed live at St Peter’s Church in Manchester on 4 June as part of the Focus on Gamelan festival.

Dr Clennon said: “The prospect of exploring the vastly incongruous sonic worlds of dubstep and the gamelan are hugely exciting for me.

"It is not every day you get a chance to work with a full gamelan orchestra and be able to explore relocating it into an alien soundscape with the luxury of top flight musicians at your compositional disposal.”

Ongoing collaboration

Steve Pickett, Education Director of the Hallé, said: “The Hallé has had a long association with Higher Education establishments in Manchester and we very much look forward to extending this work through collaboration with staff and students at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“We are particularly excited that the work will culminate at Hallé St Peter's, our new rehearsal centre in Ancoats, during the Hallé ‘Focus on Gamelan’ Festival in the first week of June.”

The concert is the culmination of a compositional residency at the Axis Arts Centre funded by Arts Council England, starting on 24 May. The residency will also include the delivery of gamelan workshops to young people at the Manchester Academy. These link to wider research being undertaken within MMU’s Research Institute of Health and Social Change and led by Dr Swindells around the uses of gamelan in education and community.