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Workshop 1: 23-24 September 2010

Creative learning and ‘original’ musical performance: Workshop 1

Creativity and originality in performance

University of Cambridge, 23-24 September 2010

Workshop timetable

The first workshop in CMPCP’s ‘Creativity and “original” musical performance’ project took place in Cambridge on 23–24 September 2010. The aims of the workshop were as follows:

  • to introduce participants to the project plans under development and gain feedback on these
  • to seek participants’ input in their areas of expertise as these relate to the project
  • to foster dialogue and cross-fertilisation of ideas among participants working in diverse areas
  • to seek examples of ‘creativity in action’, both through participants’ narratives and through workshop activities
  • to gain a greater sense of the theoretical ground relevant to the topic and refine the theoretical framework for the current project
  • to examine and refine the methodology of the project

Twenty-nine participants, representing twelve British and international institutions, attended over the two days. The first day was designed as a Forum with a panel of seven professional performers and teachers from diverse fields of music and drama. The Forum began with individual ‘position statements’ from panel members on the themes of creativity in performance and the development of an original artistic voice both in themselves as performers and in students. These statements generated lively debate which continued in a roundtable discussion. The Forum was followed by dinner and then a concert given by the Academy of Ancient Music which delegates were invited to attend. The second day consisted of a Seminar structured around four formal papers with discussion. This too proved to be stimulating as well as provocative. Throughout the workshop the project team received invaluable advice from participants on the research that will follow over the next two-and-a-half years. It was especially exciting to hear the views of the seven professional practitioners and to weigh up their implications for this project and other research within and beyond CMPCP itself.

Forum participants – 23 September 2010

Simon Channing
After finishing his studies with Peter Lloyd in 1982, Simon Channing worked regularly as a freelance flautist with the English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, before joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra as sub-principal flute in 1988. He was a member of the orchestra for eight years, including three as chairman, and his wide orchestral experience has included playing for many of the worlds great conductors, including Solti, Tennstedt, Mehta, Haitink and Rattle. In 1997 he was granted a year’s sabbatical by the London Philharmonic Orchestra to become Head of Woodwind Brass and Percussion at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, before returning to London as Head of Performance Planning at the RCM. He became Head of Woodwind at the RCM in 2010 and is also one of CMPCP’s Affiliate Artists.

David Dolan‘s career is now focused on two combined activities: the more traditional one as a concert pianist, and the other, which introduces classical improvisation through his teaching and masterclasses as well as his concerts. Born in Israel, he studied at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem where he obtained his BMus (First Prize) with the late Prof. Sonia Valin as well as the ‘Artist Diploma – Summa Cum Laude’. He studied composition and improvisation with Prof. Haim Alexander. He then studied with Leon Fleischer, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and with Claude Frank in New York. David is Head of the Centre for Classical Improvisation and Creative Performance of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is also a professor of piano, chamber music and Interpretation through Improvisation at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music. He is frequently invited to give masterclasses in music centres such as Bloomington (Indiana), Paris and Geneva conservatoires, The Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem, the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Moscow and the Julliard School.

Janis Kelly
Lyric soprano, born in Glasgow, graduated as a performer and teacher from the RSAMD, RCM and then with Elisabeth Grummer in Paris. A prize winning student who has had an extensive singing career in this country and internationally in Opera, Concert and Recitals, Television, Recording and Film. Janis’ technical and dramatic accomplishments come from a fascination and drive to communicate through word and sound while maintaining good body balance, ease of production and optimum impact. Experienced in repertoire that includes Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Satie, Weill, Kern, Tchaikovsky, G&S Britten, Adams, Sondheim and Doyle Janis understands the benefits of versatility in this privileged and rewarding profession. She has been a vocal professor at the RCM since Sept 2007 and finds her work hugely rewarding with student successes in internal and external awards and scholarships including the winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Competition 2009 Sarah-Jane Brandon. Her passion for teaching has led her to produce and appear in a DVD on the History of Vocal teaching along side Norbert Meyn entitled An exploration of a vocal Lineage available via the RCM website. Janis is one of CMPCP’s Affiliate Artists.

Kenneth Rea studied at the University of New Zealand and worked extensively as an actor and director there. He studied and taught in Bali, India, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as studying with European teachers. He has also taught and run workshops in Italy, Canada and for companies including English National Opera, Royal Opera House, English Music Theatre. Plays and adaptations include The Brave Magicians of Margalave (Polka Theatre) and Pippi Longstocking and The Deceived, and he is also Artistic Director of Jet Theatre: most recent production Voyagers. Ken has written articles and reviews for radio and TV and for numerous periodicals and journals.

Helen Reid is currently professor of piano at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity College of Music Junior Department and has given masterclasses at Hull University. She also has a strong interest in chamber music and has regular duos with flautist Gareth McLearnon, violinist Fenella Humphreys and cellist Sheida Davis. In addition, Helen is a member of the group Pianocircus, with whom she has performed in Malaga and at the Royal Northern College of Music. Helen studied at Chetham’s School before going on to Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating in June 2000 with a first-class honours degree in Music and German. She then studied in Cologne for a year before returning to take her Master’s degree in Music Performance at City University and the Guildhall School in London. Her teachers have included the late Enid Oughtibridge, Alicia Fiderkiewicz, Andrew Zolinsky, Arbo Valdma and Ronan O’Hora.

Paul Roberts is known internationally for his performances of French music. He is author of a celebrated book on Debussy, Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy (Amadeus Press) – which has just been reprinted in paperback – and Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel. His parallel career as a writer also led to a commission from Phaidon Press for a biography of Debussy, which was published in 2007. Paul is Professor of Piano and a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he is currently working on a research project on Ravel’s piano music, and he is the director of the piano summer school in southern France, Music at Ladevie. He has given masterclasses and recitals at the conservatories of Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, at the Stockholm Academy, in Madrid, and in San Francisco, New York (Juilliard) and Baltimore (Peabody).

Susan Tomes is a pianist and writer. She grew up in Edinburgh and was the first woman to be admitted to study music at King’s College, Cambridge. Her discography contains over fifty discs of solo, duo and chamber music as well as hundreds of radio recordings made around the world. Though she performs all kinds of piano music from concertos and recitals to light music, she is especially renowned for her achievements in chamber music. For fifteen years she was the pianist of the chamber group Domus, and for another sixteen she has been the pianist of the Florestan Trio, one of the world’s leading trios. Parallel to her work with these two groups, she has been the pianist of the Gaudier Ensemble for eighteen years. Susan is the author of three books, Beyond the Notes (2004), A Musician’s Alphabet (2006), and Out of Silence (2010). She writes for The Guardian, reviews books for The Guardian and The Independent, and has written and presented programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. She is one of CMPCP’s Affiliate Artists. She also gives masterclasses, sits on competition juries and award panels, gives seminars, and is a keynote speaker at dinners and conferences.

Seminar – 24 September 2010: speakers’ abstracts and biographies

Paul Barker, Central School of Speech and Drama
How to sell a different drummer?

Baudrillard’s concept of simulacra and simulation is epitomised in some attitudes to popular entertainment and enshrined by reality programmes. It has also been noted by Norman Lebrecht that the recording industry which was the twentieth-century engine for the enshrinement of classical music has also been responsible for its alleged demise. Auditions for music theatre abound with those who believe that singing a song like someone else is a ticket to success, and their perspective is encouraged by a global industry which demands Les Miserables (as an example) to look and sound the same any night anywhere in the world, whoever is singing. Tribute bands and Jukebox musicals epitomise the insatiable hunger for copycat performers, subjugating their voice, personality and individual musicality. The global commoditisation of music applies this consideration to all musical styles, and orchestras are now thoroughly homogenised in a way unimaginable 50 years ago. Additionally, some contemporary composers often seek to embalm their music, demanding each performance to be a faithful copy of the original. This talk outlines these and other current and important threats to the value of originality as epitomised by Thoreau’s different drummer. It considers some implications to teaching and learning and proposes practical – if radical – reparations.

Paul Barker is a composer of several operas, concert and theatre works performed, recorded and televised internationally. His thirteenth opera El Gallo, premiered in Mexico last year, has since received over fifty performances. Later this year he will be conducting performances in Chicago, Seattle, Seville, Cadiz and Brighton. His latest opera – Hello Mr. Darwin!, commissioned for schools – will premiere in November this year. Two CDs of his music are available. His first book, Composing for Voice, was published by Routledge in 2003, and he has two articles in OUP’s Encyclopaedia of Peace. He is Professor of Music Theatre at the Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London.

Pamela Burnard, University of Cambridge
Researching creative learning

The assumptions that underpin the concept of creative learning, what creative learning is, how it is applied by and to different individuals or groups of people in a specific domain, community, institution and learning culture, depend upon how the concept is grounded and practised and in what context. It is fitting, therefore, to start this presentation with an exploration of different views on what counts as creative learning and how creative learning might be distinguished from other modes of learning, and to end it with a discussion of why the alignment between practice and theory is important to strive for. Drawing on insights from several relatively recent studies, and rich in implications for the rethinking of research (and the foundations of valid assessment) practices, examples of the methodologies and methods that might potentially be useful in documenting the teaching and learning of originality/creativity in performance will be explored. The presentation concludes with a summary of the challenges of creativity research and the basic factors to consider when researching creative learning.

Pamela Burnard‘s career has been woven from a combination of experiences as a musician, performer, educator, academic and researcher in Australia, USA and England from where she holds degrees in Music Performance, Education and Music Education. Pam currently works at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, where she manages Higher Degree courses in Arts, Culture and Education and in Educational Research. She is Co-Editor of the British Journal of Music Education and Associate Editor of Psychology of Music,and she serves on numerous editorial boards.She is section editor of the ‘Creativity Section’ in the International Handbook of Research in Arts Education (Springer, 2007), and the ‘Musical Creativity as Practice’ section of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Education (OUP, 2010). Pam is currently completing a book on ‘Music Creativities in Context’ (OUP). She is convener of British Education Research Association Creativity in Education SIG and co-editor of Creative Learning and How We Document It (Trentham, 2008).

Christopher Gayford
Enhancing expressivity: continuity versus fragmentation

For some musicians, a characteristic of peak performance is a sense of continuity; a feeling that they are engaging with music without interruption. Are there particular mind-sets associated with an ability to attend to music over extended time-spans and are there any instinctive or learned behaviours that act as obstacles to a continuous experience of music? Research on enhancing expressivity at Trinity College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music carried out by Ginsborg, Minassian, Sloboda and Gayford partially addressed these questions, and Chris Gayford has continued to explore how engagement with large-scale structures might be modelled and successfully taught.

Christopher Gayford studied piano at the Royal College of Music and conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music with Timothy Reynish. He has conducted a wide repertoire and worked with many major British orchestras and opera companies, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (where he was assistant conductor), Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble 360, Opera North and Scottish Opera. He has conducted the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra since 1994. He has taken part in master classes with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Ilya Musin and Peter Eötvös and competed in two international conducting competitions, winning joint first prize in Besançon and second prize in Cadaques. These successes led to concerts in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Italy and Austria. As a founder member of the new music group Psappha, he was involved in audience development work that now forms one of his chief areas of interest, and is at present working on a long-term audience development project called Feeling Sound. In January 2000, he led a series of three Feeling Sound concerts at the Barbican with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducting Mozart’s last three symphonies. From 2001 to 2003, he was Research Fellow at Trinity College of Music, collaborating with Professor John Sloboda on the development of a new system for teaching listening skills. More recently, he has been a visiting researcher at Royal Northern College of Music, working with Professor Jane Ginsborg.

Harald Jørgensen, Norwegian Academy of Music
Instrumental practice and originality in performance

Is it possible to nurture and develop originality in performance through specific practice strategies? Are there approaches to practice that are counterproductive to originality in performance? What about spontaneity and improvisatory activities in practice? What about the relationship between teachers’ behaviour and students’ practice routines: How can teachers influence students’ originality in performance through their teaching of practice behaviour?

These and other questions are relevant for a study of creativity in musical performance because so much of a performance is established during practice. As far as I know there are no studies that explicitly address these issues. Some studies give information of what expressive and interpretive ‘tools’ are used in the preparation of a performance, but they are primarily described and not discussed in relation to the basic question: Is there some sort of originality and creativity in these interpretive and expressive choices? This paper will refer to some studies that might be relevant to a project like this. There is also a historical aspect to the issue: Are there historical (and abandoned) traditions of practice that are interesting to know about when we look for originality and creativity in performance? This is also an issue which has had very little attention from researchers.

Harald Jørgensen is Professor of Education at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo. He has been Rektor (Principal) of the institution (1983–89 and 2002–05), Head of Research and Development (1995–2002) and Head of the PhD programme (2006–08). He has published several books on issues of research, music education and psychology of music in Norway; edited books published in English; published several articles in international journals and handbooks given presentations on international conferences; and been a member of and chaired national and international committees on issues relevant to music education, especially higher music education. His special research interests include instrumental practice and research into higher music education. Among his most recent publication are Research into Higher Music Education. An Overview from a Quality Improvement Perspective (Oslo: NOVUS Press, 2009). He has been the leader of several evaluation committees for academies of music in Europe and Asia.