Students from the Composition Department at Birmingham Conservatoire present their own unique insights into The Life of the Mind: Love, Sorrow and Obsession Exhibition in this unique afternoon concert. The composers have taken a variety of sources of inspiration from the exhibition and will perform their original pieces of music throughout the gallery. Expect the unexpected!


Free, no need to book, just drop in! Everyone is welcome!


The concert will include:


The Icarus Vocal Ensemble

 Formed in 2009 and based at Birmingham Conservatoire, the Icarus Vocal Ensemble is a flexible group of between 12-16 singers, dedicated to the creation and performance of contemporary/ experimental music for voices. Working with the Conservatoire’s Composition Department, the ensemble has since premiered over thirty works specially written for them by student composers alongside other established works in the contemporary music repertory. They made a highly successful debut at the 2010 Sounds New! Contemporary Music Festival in Canterbury. This year, they will embark on a series of themed concerts entitled ‘Defining Spaces’ with concerts and appearances scheduled at Birmingham Conservatoire, The New Art Gallery Walsall and at the Royal Northern College of Music.   


I Shot Andy Ingamells
Rose Mitchell and Andy Ingamells will present a collaborative performance inspired by the failed assassination of Andy Warhol, as depicted in Jessica Vorsanger’s paintings. Join either Andy or Rose for a militant separatist feminist adventure and become the newest recruit of the Society for Cutting Up Men (and Women)!


Luke Deane – The Roots

The roots explores the fragility of inspiration and the crucial moments in the lives of artists which start the sparks of inspiration for a work. The chamber inside the glass bowl represents the mind of the artist, and the sounds inside it: thoughts and feelings. When the inside of the bowl is silent, the mind of the artist is like a blank canvas, waiting for it’s first mark. Then the chimes touch the surface of the bowl and a moment of inspiration is born. The chimes are hand-tuned to correspond with important dates in Jacob Epstien’s life; his first portrait of Kathleen Garman, was made in 1927 and is created with a single chime tuned at 1927Hz. The single source of inspiration is then expanded and developed by the electronics and these new sounds come closer to representing a fully formed idea. Created and performed by Luke Deane.


Ryan Latimer – Rubix, Roses and Ladies in Red

The performer sits behind a desk upon which rests a rubix cube (right side), a rose (centre) and a portable CD player containing a CD of Michael Bolton’s How Am I Supposed to Live Without You (left side). Each of these items crudely represents the three themes that underpin The Life of the Mind exhibition – obsession (rubix cube), love (rose) and sorrow (Michael Bolton (or rather his song). Although, physically, the themes are represented exclusively from one other, the actions performed throughout the piece, demonstrates the interchangeable and reciprocative nature of these, seemingly detached, emotional states.


Where there’s a head there’s hope by Thomas Lenthall

Inspired by the title of the exhibition and the Coen Brothers cult film Barton Fink, the piece comprises several contrasting elements. The main focus of the piece is an ensemble playing a simple song using lyrics derived directly from the text of the film Baron Fink, situated at the front of the audience. Icarus, a contemporary vocal ensemble from the Birmingham Conservatoire will also interact with the gallery space and audience in conjunction with the song. Like the exhibition theme and the Coen Brothers film the piece draws upon themes of the mind and the way in which the mind functions.  The idea of the piece is to juxtapose all the original source material upon itself creating a dense texture and hopefully replicate the way the brain handles thought.


The Region of Moriah by Josh Herring

There are three elements used to create the piece: spoken word, radio (both on tape) and a live violin. The three elements of the piece do not directly correspond to the three themes of the exhibition, rather they play collaboratively on their meaning as a whole, and go some way towards representing the workings of an unstable mind.


Provisional concert programme

2:18 – Bonfire with Icarus
2:27 – Rose and Andy’s “tour”
2:49 – Ryan Latimer
2:58 – Luke Deane
3:11 – Josh Herring
3:23 – Tom’s piece with Icarus
3:32 – Icarus piece by Hopkins
3:43 – Icarus Improvisation piece by Andy Ingamels
3:59 – Rose and Andy’s “tour”
4:21 – Ryan Latimer
4:30 – Luke Deane
4:39 – Josh Herring
4:51 – Tom’s Piece with Icarus
4:57 – Icarus (If there is more time)