ISSUE Project Room presents The Bee Symphony (US Premiere) and other works by Chris Watson as part of the a week long festival celebrating Touch’s 30th Anniversary. Comprised of field recordings by Chris Watson and Mike Harding, presented by Harding with a vocal arrangement conducted live by Marcus Davidson, The Bee Symphony explores the vocal harmonies between humans and animals. Harding also presents Watson’s Forest Floor, recordings from the jungle in Borneo, and the world premiere of a new work by Watson and Davidson, a journey from Bergen, off the coast of Norway, to Antarctica, above and below the surface of the ocean.
Chris Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, and for Touch he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative. For example. the unearthly groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier is a classic example of, in Watson’s words, putting a microphone where you can’t put your ears. He was born in Sheffield where he attended Rowlinson School and Stannington College (now part of Sheffield College). In 1971 he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. As a freelance recordist for film, tv & radio, Chris Watson specializes in natural history and documentary location sound together with track assembly and sound design in post production.
Marcus Davidson was a chorister at Worcester Cathedral. He read Music at Birmingham University, studying composition with Vic Hoyland, and received a master’s degree in composition at City University, London, studying with Rhian Samuel. Marcus is currently focusing on music which reflects sounds from nature, often working with recordings which are incorporated into his compositions. His work The Passing, which includes recordings from space, was recently performed at the CTM12 Festival in Berlin and subsequently chosen by Radio Deutschland for their coverage of the festival. He has also worked extensively in the fields of music for dance, arranging and writing for stage, radio and television. He has played regularly for Ballet and Contemporary Dance at London professional schools and companies as well as Norway’s leading contemporary dance company Carte Blanche. Marcus is a member of Spire, the Organ based project by Touch. Spire has performed at festivals throughout Europe, most recently the Spitalfields Music Festival, London, June 2012.
Mike Harding is a curator, producer, lecturer, publisher, author and editor. He also occasionally participates in exhibitions, installations and performances. Harding has run the audio-visual label Touch for 30 years and in this period has acquired much experience and information on disseminating cultural sounds to a wider audience. Harding also runs the label Ash International (since 1995) and computer music label OR (with Russell Haswell since 1998). Harding is the UK ambassador of Elgaland-Vargaland [KREV], and a member of freq_out and THE FREQ_OUT ORCHESTRA.
Other links: www.touchmusic.org.uk/thebeesymphony