Tuesday 4 March 2014 / Door Times : 8pm / Tickets: £7 adv / on the door


Kammer Klang returns for a first 2014 concert in March, with two iconic, iconoclastic pieces by legendary Hungarian composer György Ligeti, Mysteries of the Macabre and Musica Ricercata, the haunting piano tune featured in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, accompanied by Sky-me, Type-me, for four megaphoned voices by Jagoda Szmytka, a young and up-and-coming Polish composer based in Germany. The night will end with a session of free improvisation with Jamie Coleman, Ross Lambert and Guillaume Viltard..



György Ligeti Mysteries of the Macabre (1974-1997)

Mark Knoop – piano
Toby Street – trumpet
Serge Vuille – percussions

Jagoda Szmytka Sky-me, type-me (2011)

Ana gasco, Elsa Bradley, Jonathan French, Serge Vuille – megaphones
Mark Knoop – conducting

György Ligeti Musica Ricercata (1951-1953) Gwen Rouger – piano

Free improvisation

Jamie Coleman – trumpet
Ross Lambert – guitar
Guillaume Viltard – double bass



György LigetiMysteries of the Macabre (1978-1997)

Three aria from the opera Le grand macabre arranged by Elgar Howarth for trumpet, piano, ad lib percussion and voices
I composed my opera Le Grand Macabre from 1974 to 1997. The Mysteries of the Macabre are arrangements of three coloratura arias of the chief of the “Secret Political Police” which have been arranged (beautifully!) for chamber ensemble by Elgar Howarth. My friend Howarth had conducted the world premiere of the opera in Stockholm in 1978 and some of the further productions. The half-nonsense text is an immediate – however more accurate – continuation of the idea of my works Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, but there is no chromatics in the music any more. (György Ligeti)

Jagoda SzmytkaSky-me, type-me (2011)

For four voices amplified with megaphones

Textual collaboration – Kuba Mikurda

What happens, when connection fails? The non-stopping desire to call, the uncontrollable dialling of (wrong) numbers, the typing, the typing, the messaging to (whom?). Why is it difficult to admit defeat?
Four communicators, four microphones, four mouths and four individuals, misunderstanding each other. The piece explores various modes of the presence of voice: different stages of separation from its owner, the singer.
Symptoms of alienation from one’s own voice may here appear as an imitative use of voice, as voice deformation or grotesque interjections. Private messages come back to choke up the throat of their sender because of the lack of a recipient, or only remain a tattered text consuming the voices out of the excess of meaning.
Only redemption: reaching the beauty of mumbling. (Jagoda Szmytka)

The Piece written for the Voix Nouvelle Program of the Royamont Foundation.

Sky-me, Type-me on SoundCloud

© Aleksandra Waliszewska

György LigetiMusica ricercata (1951-1953)

An irresistible elemental force emanates from Ligeti’s eleven pieces Musica Ricercata, composed during 1951 and 53. The early piano works of the famous Hungarian composer György Ligeti were composed in a spirit of experimentation with minimalist rhythm and sound structures, "in order to build a new music from scratch, so to speak," as Ligeti himself said. The effect he achieved with only a few notes is very striking. In the first piece only a single tone is used to which a second is added at the very end; the second piece is made out of three notes, the third of four, and so on up to twelve tones in the eleventh piece. The second piece of the Musica Ricercata, served as the soundtrack to the film Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick.

An extract of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut:


© Fritz Peyer, Deutsche Grammophon, 2006


György Ligeti was one of those great pioneering spirits of the post-war era who created whole new ways of devising and perceiving music. Yet, unlike Stockhausen, Boulez and Nono, he had no taste for strident manifestos, disliked ideologies of any kind and preferred to remain unattached to schools or movements.
That quality of being an outsider was instilled very young. Ligeti was born in 1923 into a small Jewish community in a part of Transylvania whose culture was partly Hungarian and partly Romanian. Isolated by anti-Semitism, he took refuge in a rich inner world. He enrolled at the conservatory at Cluj, where he discovered Bartók’s quartets, which influenced him profoundly.
During the war, Ligeti was put into a Jewish forced-labour unit which narrowly avoided being liquidated; his father and brother both perished in concentration camps. After the war, he enrolled at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and later taught there. Ligeti responded to the repressive nature of the Communist regime by going into ‘internal exile’. For public consumption he composed in the official populist style; privately, he was groping his way towards a new musical language. When the Soviets invaded in 1956, Ligeti fled to Austria. From there he went to Cologne, spent six weeks with Stockhausen, and soon established a reputation as a brilliant theorist of new music and the composer of a handful of witty pieces in a medium not noted for its wit: electronics.
What really put him on the map were the orchestral pieces Apparitions (1959) and Atmosphères (1961), which first revealed that beguiling Ligeti world of murmuring textures and sudden, sinister comic shocks. He produced a whole series of works with a Dadaist flavour, including Aventures (1962, rev. 1963) and Nouvelles aventures (1962–5). During the 1960s and 1970s he elaborated his idea of ‘micropolyphony’ in works of ever-increasing aural refinement and emotional amplitude, including the Cello Concerto (1966), the Chamber Concerto (1969–70) and San Francisco Polyphony (1974–7, rev. 1996). His opera Le grand macabre (1978) transformed and satirised numerous other musics, from Monteverdi to Wagner.
After a creative hiatus, the Horn Trio (1982) announced a new direction, with complex polyrhythms, experiments in nontempered tuning and a new, overt expressivity. The key works of this period are the Piano Concerto and Violin Concerto (1985–8 and 1989–93), the Hamburg Concerto (1998–9, rev. 2000), and the dazzling series of 18 piano Études. The charming yet profound set of Hungarian songs, Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel – written in 2000 – was the last work Ligeti composed before illness silenced him.

(Ivan Hewett © BBC)


Jagoda Szmytka's music has been featured in such festivals as the Summer Courses for New Music (Darmstadt), Acht Brücken (Cologne), Warsaw Autumn, Sacrum Profanum (Cracow), ENSEMS (Valencia), LOOP (Brussels), and Tokyo Experimental Festival, as well as in performances at ZKM Karlsruhe, Experimental Studio des SWR Freiburg, the Abbaye de Royaumont or ADK Berlin. In 2013 her opera “for hands and voices” was premiered in the Polish National Opera Grand Theatre in Warsaw.
She often collaborates with Ensemble Garage, Ensemble Interface, KWARTLUDIUM, leise Dröhnung, Trio Catch, Eva Boesch, Maciej Frąckiewicz, Małgorzata Walentynowicz, as well as in performances by Bang on a Can All-Stars, ensemble l'arsenale, Ensemble Besides, EWCM, Grup Instrumental de Valencia, IEMA, Les Cris de Paris, and MCME.
In 2011 she was composer-in-residency at ZKM Karlsruhe and in 2012 at La Muse en Circuit Paris. Current projects include commissions for the ECLAT Festival Stuttgart (Ensemble Recherche), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Trio Catch), Lucerne Festival (Lucerne Festival Ensemble) and a music theatre piece for the Summer Courses for New Music Darmstadt/Wien Modern (Ensemble Interface). In 2015 a portrait CD will be released by Edition Zeitgenössische Musik/WERGO.
Jagoda Szmytka has received scholarships and grants from various foundations, among others: ÖAAD, DAAD, a scholarship from the Baden-Württemberg Art Foundation, Alfred-Töpfer-Stipendium, the Wolfgang Rihm Scholarship of the Hoepfner Foundation, an artist grant funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
In 2012 she received The Staubach Honoraria from the IMD (International Music Institute Darmstadt) and is the Kranichstein Stipend holder 2012. In 2013 Szmytka held a fellowship at the Herrenhaus Edenkoben.
She studied composition with Beat Furrer, Pierluigi Billone and Wolfgang Rihm (Germany/Austria). Before she moved on to composing, she studied art history, philosophy and theory of music (Poland).


Sleepless nights, storytelling, radio phone-ins, an out of tune piano, old jazz records, puddle-splashing, sticky valves, neighbour issues, west-London issues, traffic jams, tax return fears, a loving family and persistence will all play a part in my presence on this night.

'Conditions: A Bright Nowhere' is available from Matchless Recordings.


Northern Irish (and London-based) guitarist and ‘magnetic and vibrating sources’ player Ross Lambert, has in his own words, the following fundamental and simultaneous approaches to live performance: to play as though it was both the first time and also the last; and to able to differentiate between what is good and worth conserving and what is not. Ross has been involved in, initiated and been a connector between a very wide variety of improvisatory music since his first exposure and (immediate) commitment to it, in Sheffield via Derek Bailey during the mid-1980s. Although under-recorded (he claims ‘by choice’), Ross has worked with a huge number of musicians from around the world, including Tetuzi Akiyama, Ami Yoshida, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Paul Hession, Rhodri Davies, John Butcher and Evan Parker, as well as his close friends Eddie Prevost, Seymour Wright, and Sebastian Lexer.


Born in 1975 in the North of Ivory Coast, I grew up in a wild countryside with almost no music. Back in France ten years later, I felt much better roaming through woodlands than attending school. Nonetheless I did my best, but a double bass finally came to me in the mid 90's. It is almost like a tree. I have been working hard to play properly for another ten years or so. I hate exams and any kind of competition but I survived classical training and even jazz playing. I like the idea that I could give up with music and do something completely different but it may be wrong. Nice also to think about aesthetics, choices or freedom and being only an experiment in the musical life of one’s very instrument.


Gwen Rouger, pianist, conceives the concert as a moment of experimentation, as much for the audience as for the performer; a time and space in which questions are expressed through engaging the senses. This explorative approach provides the creative impetus for the development of her performances, which bring together notated contemporary composition, improvisation, live electronics and installation.
French pianist Gwen Rouger completed her initial training in Paris and received her Diplôme d'Études Musicales in 2005. Her interest in Contemporary music and its aesthetic discourse led her to pursue four years of further studies with the composer and pianist Carlos Roque Alsina. In order to pursue her research interests in greater depth, Rouger is currently undertaking a Masters degree in Contemporary music performance at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2008, Rouger was a finalist in the Xavier Montsalvatge International piano competition for contemporary music performance and since has played as a soloist or as a chamber music member in a number of venues internationally, including the Palace of Congress (Girona, Spain), the Arsenal (Metz, France), the 104 (Paris, France), Cadogan Hall and Cafe OTO (London, UK). She particularly enjoys collaborating with young composers, which has resulted in her premiering many of their works. She is co-artistic director and pianist of the new music ensemble soundinitiative. (


/ percussion

Elsa Bradley is a professional percussionist, timpanist and hammered dulcimer player who performs with a great variety of orchestral, chamber and folk ensembles across London, the UK and internationally. Elsa is currently in her final year of study for her Masters in Performance at the Royal College of Music where she is the current holder of a John Lewis Award and is supported by The Yorkshire Ladies’ Council of Education. Elsa previously read Music at King’s College, London graduating with First Class Honours.
As an orchestral musician Elsa has played with Opera North, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Concert Orchestra, as well as the Banff Festival Orchestra (Canada), Youth Orchestra of Bahia, Brazil and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Elsa has recently founded her new percussion trio, Abstruckt Ensemble with her colleagues Ana Gasco Gomez and Joe Richards. Recent performances include Kammer Klang, Nonclassical’s Pioneers of Percussion 2013 festival and the Florence Contemporary Music Festival in a collaborative project with We Spoke: New Music Company. Elsa also plays the hammered dulcimer performing as a soloist, with her dulcimer duo partner Colin Huehns of the Royal Academy of Music and with the contemporary folk band, Tir Eolas at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, The Forge, Camden and Cecil Sharpe House.
Elsa is involved in teaching and music education workshops and works on a range of projects with the RCM SPARKS organisation, which aside from their own projects, include BBCSO Family Orchestra and Teenage Cancer Trust. Elsa also teaches percussion on their Juniors programme.

/ conductor

London based pianist and conductor Mark Knoop is known for his fearless performances and individual interpretations. He has commissioned and premiered countless new works and worked with many respected composers, and also brings fresh approaches to the standard and 20th-century repertoire. He is currently Turner Sims Fellow at the University of Southampton.
Mark has appeared throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia and in New Zealand, South Korea, Mongolia, United States of America, Canada and at festivals including the Transit, Ultima, Huddersfield, Spitalfields, Borealis, Lucerne, Spor, Melbourne, and Adelaide Festivals, and the ISCM World Music Days.
He performs with such groups as Plus-Minus (London/Brussels), Letter Piece Company (London/Brussels), musikFabrik (Köln) and Apartment House (London). His recordings of music by John Cage, Richard Beaudoin, and David Lumsdaine have been critically acclaimed.

TOBY STREET / trumpet

Toby is currently a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music. Generous funding from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, Martin Musical Fund, Countess of Munster and The Royal Academy of Music has enabled him to complete his Masters degree.
Toby is currently on trial for Principal trumpet at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal trumpet at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Toby has also worked professionally with the Philharmonia orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the London Concert Orchestra.
Toby is a founding member of Riverside Brass quintet and also regularly plays with Oompah Brass quintet. His solo performances include the Hummel Trumpet concerto with the Bromley youth Symphony Orchestra and the Neruda trumpet concerto at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar room.

/ percussion

Serge Vuille is a Swiss freelance percussionist established in London. He founded and directs We Spoke : New Music Company since 2008 performing in Switzerland and internationally. He plays with many ensembles including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, Colleguim Novum Zurich, Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain or Usinesonore Festival. Serge also regularly performs as a soloist in recitals or as part of new music ensemble programmes including performances at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Kings Place and the Royal Albert Hall in London, Musikpodium in Zürich, SMC in Lausanne, Musik Festival in Bern. He also plays baroque timpani with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Music for Awhile, drums with the Martin Creed Band and co-curates the contemporary series Kammer Klang in London.
As a committed and creative musician, Serge has premiered many solo and ensemble works and often collaborates with composers or artists to create new pieces or artworks. He composes soundtracks for arthouse films as well as concert music and his latest work was commissionned for the 100th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s first house in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Graduate with distinction from both the Royal College of Music and the Conservatoire Neuchâtelois, Serge was awarded many distinctions, scholarships and prizes including the 3rd prize at the prestigious Nicati Competition for contemporary music in Switzerland in 2011.
Serge is a professor at the Royal College of Music in London where he coaches the RCM percussion ensemble and lectures in experimental music.