Joby Burgess percussion workshops and performance at Elstow Abbey

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Joby Burgess
Joby Burgess

Bedfordshire-based percussionist, Joby Burgess, is giving Bedford’s musicians a unique opportunity to take part in a workshop as part of CoMA’s Contemporary Music For All Festival at Elstow Abbey this Saturday (5 March).

One of Britain’s most diverse percussionists, Joby is best known for his virtuosic performances, daring collaborations, extensive education work, and appearances throughout Europe, the USA and beyond.

Both in the studio and on the road Joby has worked with artists including Peter Gabriel, Will Gregory, Nicole Lizée, Gabriel Prokofiev, Max Richter and Pete Tong.

His work has also featured in numerous film and television scores including Rocketman, Paddington 2 and Doctor Who.

Keen to give something back to his local community, Joby is running a morning workshop for musicians of all ages and an evening concert as part of the CoMA Festival. Both are being held in the beautiful Elstow Abbey on Saturday 5 March.

The workshop, which costs £5 and runs from 10.30am – 1pm, focuses on Terry Riley’s revolutionary In C, composed in 1964 on America’s west coast.

In C marks the beginning of the minimalist movement in music, fusing ideas from rock ‘n’ roll and Indian raga with classical performance.

53 short melodic fragments provide each musician with their own path through this joyful, rhythmic and essentially hip slice of new music.

Those interested in coming along should be able to read music and have experience of performing in an ensemble, orchestra or band.

Minimum age is 13, recommended ability Grade 5 or above. Every instrument is welcome – although pianos will be provided.

The evening concert (tickets £6 – £12) is an opportunity to hear the Joby Burgess Percussion Collective in a special performance celebrating new music.

Joby Burgess

Marimbas, bass drums and aluminium harp feature in the atmospheric and acoustically perfect Elstow Abbey.

All proceeds from the evening concert’s interval drinks will go towards the build of Elstow Abbey’s Hillersden Hall – the fantastic new community space built on the ruins of Hillersden Manor.

Joby said, “I am excited to be bringing CoMA’s Contemporary Music for All Festival to Bedford for the first time.

“Our events are part of a nationwide celebration of new music, which see workshops and performances led by some of the world’s leading musicians at 22 locations across five countries.

“With fresh, dynamic music, this is a unique opportunity to embrace a new sonic experience in the heart of Bedfordshire.”

Talking about the venue, Joby said,  “I only discovered Elstow Abbey recently – it is a beautiful building with a dreamy acoustic – that has been a site of worship for nearly 1,000 years. My group of percussions, piano and electronics, the Joby Burgess Percussion Collective, will perform a range of 20th century classics and recent work in this atmospheric setting.”

“We’ll be performing John Cage’s satirical Credo in Us pits piano – performing cowboy songs and boogie-woogie – against classical gramophone recordings and live radio, whilst John Luther Adams uses four bass drums in great musical waves to recreate the shaman’s journey, riding the sound of the drum to and from the spirit world.”

“We also perform blissful music from my new recording Marimba Quartets, which uses the warm, earthy sound of the marimba in my arrangements of some of Eric Whitacre’s ever-popular choral works and the ethereal Canna Sonora – a nine-foot tall Capone era Aluminium Harp – takes centre stage in Linda Buckley’s 2018 Barbican commission Discordia.”

To book you space on the workshop, click here.  For evening concert box office info click here.


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