Tuesday 5 May 2015 / Door 8pm, music 8:30pm / Tickets: £7 adv / £9 on the door (£5 students)

Tuesday 5 May Kammer Klang presents We Spoke performing theatrical works by Georges Aperghis, Mark Applebaum, and Guo Wenjing, and an audio-visual work by William Cobbing.




A live performance by Aktion Set - outside!


Mark Applebaum - Tlön (1995)
Guo Wenjing - Drama (1995)

We Spoke Ensemble
Serge Vuille
Julien Annoni
Olivier Membrez


William Cobbing

Performative Clay Work


Georges Aperghis - Les guetteurs de sons (1981)

We Spoke Ensemble
Serge Vuille
Julien Annoni
Olivier Membrez


Francis Beaudevin, a Swiss artist currently in residence in London, will play music during the intervals.



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It is usually not possible to see how, where and by whom your products are made. In 2014, an international group of ten artists met at Weißensee School of Art in Berlin and devised Aktion Set.

Aktion Set is a performance that demonstrates the mechanism of production, from source to target. We are a female workforce who transform raw materials into products through both material and immaterial labour. Source materials are appropriated from the public and fed into the production chain. We process the material through different stages, from marketing research to industrial development, from product design to packaging. Optimised using only the most advanced technology, coupled with the input of 'creatives', the finished product is available for consumption at the iconic price of 99 cents, producing value – for nothing!

The production chain can be witnessed step by step by consumers. The chain continues to run as long as the consumer continues to feed it.

Aktion Set have performed at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Kunsthochschule Weissensee and Ackerstadt Festival, Berlin. This will be their London debut.

By and with: Patricia Breves, Alexine Chanel, Laura Engelhardt, Sonja Hornung, Yukiko Nagakura, Mari Poller, Eva Schmidhuber, Pailin Tansawat, Jolanda Todt, Maria Fernandez Verdeja

With thanks to Kathrin Wildner



We Spoke

We Spoke  is a contemporary music company based in Switzerland and London. We Spoke merges ‘we speak’ with ‘bespoke’ and explores the huge stylistic range of contemporary art music. Each production features a major artistic collaboration – with a composer, dancer, visual artist, choreographer or other creative practitioner – and focuses on one theme, coupling original musical interpretation with virtuosic live performance.
We Spoke has performed extensively in Switzerland, the UK and South America in cities including Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Zurich, London, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Lima. Following over twenty performances in 2012, 2013 concerts include Fondation Suisse in Paris, Unerhörte Musik in Berlin, KammerKlang in London, Florence international contemporary music festival and a new residency at the Lima Contemporary Music festival as well as the new production 'Song' to be toured in Switzerland and the UK.



Georges Aperghis

A Greek composer born in Athens in 1945, he has lived and worked in Paris since 1963.
In 1971, after a few instrumental pieces more or less inspired by serial techniques, he composes his first musical play La tragique histoire du nécromancien Hiéronimo et de son miroir. This piece is at the root of much of his future investigations into the relationships between music and text, between music and stage.
Thus, he takes part in the great adventure of musical theater that begun in France at the Festival d’Avignon.
In 1976, with the founding of ATEM (Atelier Théâtre et Musique), he reinvents his approach to composition with a new art-form inspired by everyday life and social issues transposed into an often absurd and poetic world, in which musicians, singers, actors, and multimedia artists meet on an equal footing (La bouteille à la mer, 1976; Conversations, 1985; Sextuor, 1993; Commentaires, 1996)
After leaving ATEM in 1997, he goes on writing musical plays (Machinations, 2000; Paysage sous surveillance, 2002; Le petit chaperon rouge, 2003; Luna Park, 2011).
His concert music includes a large series of instrument or vocal solo pieces (among them is his masterpiece Récitations, 1978), introducing theatrical elements here and there, sometimes purely gestural. His chamber music, either orchestral, vocal or instrumental, is rich of many pieces composed for a wide variety of performing ensembles. In these, he does not give up his taste for experimentation, nor for a certain kind of provocation (Die Wände haben Ohren, for large orchestra, 1972), but unlike musical theater, nothing is intentionally stage-oriented, all is composition-driven.
His opera works, a third domain of activity, may be considered a synthesis of his musical theater and concert music; here, the text is the unifying and decisive element, and the singing voice is the main vector of expression. Georges Aperghis has composed seven lyrical works, including Pandemonium (1973) inspired by Jules Vernes’ writings, Liebestod (1981) after a letter from Brentano to Goethe, Tristes tropiques (1996) after Levi-Strauss, Les Boulingrin (2010) after Georges Courteline.
Indeed, since the early 2000s, classifying Georges Aperghis’s works in three distinct domains is more confusing than ever because of their very nature.
Die Hamletmaschine (2001), an oratorio based on Heiner Muller’s work; Dark Side (2004), a "monodrama" based on Aeschylus’ Oresteia; Avis de tempête (2004), an opera; perhaps even Wölfli Kantata (2006), a cantata after Adolf Wölfli’s writings; or Happiness Daily (2009), for soprano, mezzo-soprano and ensemble; all of them challenge the issues of drama, of performance, of staging, and they illustrate the freedom with which Georges Aperghis plays on classification and genre, in the performing arts as well as the theater.
A prolific composer with a never-ending inventiveness, Georges Aperghis is building a very personal corpus of works, serious and humorous at the same time, rooted in tradition as well as free of institutional constraints. Knowledgeably opening up unexpected horizons of vitality and ease for his performers, he skillfully reconciles the sound and the visual, as much as he broaches issues embedded in the tragic or derisory aspects of his time.
In October 2011, Georges Aperghis received the Mauricio Kagel’s Prize. (
In 2015 he was the recipient of The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music in Venice.



Mark Applebaum

Mark Applebaum (b. 1967, Chicago) is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University where he served as John Philip Coghlan Fellow and received the 2003 Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied principally with Brian Ferneyhough. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable performances at the Darmstadt summer sessions, ICMC in Beijing and Singapore, the TRANSIT Festival in Belgium, Stockholm New Music, the American Composers Orchestra’s OrchestraTech, the Unyazi Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sonorities in Belfast, Sonic Circuits in Hong Kong, SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, the Essl Museum in Vienna, the Kennedy Center, at Electronic Music Midwest where served as the 2002 visiting artist, as featured composer at the 2004 University of Michigan Eclectronica Microfestival, and as featured composer at the 61st Festival of Contemporary Music at Louisiana State University.
He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Fromm Foundation, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Vienna Modern Festival, Antwerp’s Champ D’Action, Festival ADEvantgarde in Munich, Zeitgeist, MANUFACTURE (Tokyo), the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Composers Forum, among others. In 1997 Applebaum received the American Music Center’s Stephen Albert Award and an artist residency fellowship at the Villa Montalvo artist colony in Northern California.
Since 1990 Applebaum has built electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools. Mousetrap Music (1996) and The Bible without God (2005), CDs of sound-sculpture improvisations can be heard on the Innova label. Also on Innova is The Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering, a CD of eleven electronic works whose source material corresponds exclusively to recordings of the eleven acoustic compositions that constitute his Janus Cycle (1992-1996), as well as Intellectual Property, a CD of hybrid acoustic and electronic works. His orchestral music can be heard on the Innova CD Martian Anthropology; solo pieces appear on the Innova CD Disciplines; and chamber works appear on the Innova CDs 56 1/2 ft. and Asylum, and on the Tzadik CD Catfish.
Applebaum is also active as a jazz pianist and has concertized from Sumatra to the Czech Republic, most recently performing a solo recital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso sponsored by the American Embassy. At present he performs with his father, Robert Applebaum of Chicago, in the Applebaum Jazz Piano Duo. Their first recording, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree, is available on Innova. At Stanford University Applebaum also serves as the founding director of [sic]—the Stanford Improvisation Collective. Prior to his current appointment, he taught at UCSD, Mississippi State University, and Carleton College. Additional information is available at



Guo Wenjing

Guo Wenjing was born in 1956 in Chongqing, an ancient city of China’s mountainous Sichuan province. In 1978, Guo was one of a hundred students admitted out of 17,000 applicants to Beijing’s re-opened Central Conservatory of Music. Unlike many colleagues from this acclaimed class (Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Zhou Long), Guo remained in China after graduation except for a short stay in New York (on an Asian Cultural Council grant).

His music first became known in the West in 1983, when Suspended Ancient Coffins on the Cliffs on Sichuan was premiered in Berkeley, California. The piece clearly pays tribute to Bartók, highlighting two solo pianos with a battery of percussion instruments, but the strong imprint of Guo’s own Sichuanese roots is unmistakable in the orchestral writing. Shu Dao Nan [Hard are the ways of Sichuan] (1987), a symphonic poem with voices, is a setting of Li Bai’s poetry, which the official People’s Music Publishing House selected as part of its series “Twentieth-Century Distinguished Chinese Classics”. Chou Kong Shan [Sorrowful, Desolate Mountain] (1992, rev. 1995), a concerto for Chinese bamboo flute, was premiered by the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden under the baton of Neeme Järvi. Guo’s other orchestral works include concertos for violin, cello, and harp. One of his most recent works, written for soprano and orchestra, is Journeys, first performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic conducted by Edo de Waart in October 2004. The text for Journeys was taken from epic poetry by contemporary Chinese poet Xi Chuan.

Apart from his chamber music for traditional western string quartets and percussion ensembles, Guo also has composed Late Spring (1995) for Chinese ensemble and Sound from Tibet (2001) combining instruments from China and the West. Among his most performed chamber works are Drama (1995, a trio for three percussionists who also speak and sing), Inscriptions on Bone (1996, for alto singer and 15 instruments), She Huo (1991, for eleven players) and Parade (2004, a sequel to Drama, for three percussionists). Guo has also composed music scores for 20 feature films and 25 television films in China.

At home, Guo has been honored among the Top 100 Living Artists of China. Abroad, his works have been featured at festivals in Amsterdam, Berlin, Glasgow, Paris, Edinburgh, New York, Aspen, London, Turin, Perth, Huddersfield, Hong Kong and Warsaw, and at venues like Frankfurt Opera, the Berlin Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and New York’s Lincoln Center. He has written works for internationally distinguished ensembles like the Nieuw Ensemble, Atlas Ensemble, Cincinnati Percussion Group, Kronos Quartet, Arditti String Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The former head of the composition department of the Central Conservatory, where he still remains on the faculty, Guo maintains a busy schedule as composer and educator. His forthcoming works include: a concerto for erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle) co-commissioned by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (worldpremiered on 19 January 2007) and the Bavarian Radio’s longstanding concert series “Musica Viva”; the opera PoetLi Bai (upon the most famous Tang dynasty poet) the world premiere of which was on July 2007 in Denver (Colorado) during the Summer Festival of the Central City Opera. European premiere took place in Rome, May 2008. (Ricordi)



William Cobbing, photography by Olga Koroleva, cardboard box performer Henrik Heinonen

Starting from a sculptural sensibility William Cobbing’s artworks encompass a diverse range of media, including video, installation and performance. People are often depicted as being fused with the surrounding architecture, or buried under layers of clay or concrete, from which they absurdly struggle to extricate themselves. These works allude to the concept of entropy and, underlining the extent to which earthly material is irreversibly dispersed, they give rise to a definitive blurring of the boundaries between the body and the landscape and put any possibility of meaning on hold.
Since 2000 William Cobbing has exhibited internationally, in group shows including A Secret History of Clay, Tate Liverpool (2004), Room with a View, Gemeente Museum, The Hague (2006), Drifting Clouds, Furini Arte Contemporanea, Italy (2007), and solo exhibitions at Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2002) and Netwerk Centre for Contemporary Art, Belgium (2007).
He was awarded the ACE Helen Chadwick Fellowship in 2005/6 at Ruskin School and British School at Rome, resulting in the Gradiva Project at Freud Museum and Camden Arts Centre in 2007/8. In 2009/10 he had residencies at Turquoise Mountain in Kabul, Afghanistan, the artworks from which were exhibited in his solo exhibition Man in Planet at Viafarini DOCVA in Milan (2010). In 2012 he exhibited in Revolver at Matt’s Gallery and curated The Stone of Folly at Down Stairs in Hereford. Exhibitions in 2013 include The Big Bamboozle at Camden Arts Centre, Drawing Biennial at the Drawing Room, Peckham PAMI, and Corridor Plateau at Northern Charter, Newcastle.
Exhibitions in 2014 include the solo Transactions of the Duddo Field Club at Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, touring to mima in Middlesbrough, and What’s Love Got to Do with It at Hayward Gallery Project Space.

Recent exhibitions:
What's Love Got to Do with It, Hayward Gallery Project Space
Transactions of the Duddo Field Club, mima Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

William Cobbing, Epilogue (2014) video still


Kammer Klang gratefully acknowledges support from the Arts Council England and the PRS for Music Foundation.