Free Range Orchestra at Margate Now Festival, perform at the Turner Contemporary Gallery

This Sunday, October 6th, from 3-4pm the Free Range Orchestra will perform a set of experimental works by both members of the ensemble and those closely associated as part of the Margate Now Festival at the Turner Contemporary Gallery. The Free Range Orchestra (FRO) is an interdisciplinary collective of some 25-30 musicians, experimental dancers and poets, and a puppeteer that engage in performing free improvisation, and experimental works that employ notation for improvisation in some way. The name of the ensemble relates to the large range of individuals, their backgrounds, and what they bring to the group rather than an orchestra in the conventional sense. Based in the South-East Kent region FRO is closely affiliated to the Free Range Concert Series in Canterbury; it does not have a closed membership and is open to anyone interested. There is no governing style associated with the group as, during rehearsals ideas are tried out and discussed, evaluated, and decisions are made by the performers on the music. This is similar to a model described by composer/improviser Christopher Williams in his PhD entitled tactile paths, especially that described in path 04 where the classical hierarchical system (composer-conductor-performer-audience) is circumvented to allow the process of realising each piece transparent to all performers.

For our concert we have had work composed for us by: Sophie Stone, Tim Long, Lawrence Fletcher, and Sam Bailey, there is also a piece that the orchestra have developed as a free improvisation using aleatoric techniques.
—Sam Bailey is a composer and improviser specialising as a pianist and keyboard player. He organises and curates the Free Range Concert Series. We will perform his work Roscoe’s Ritual which has turned out to be the most clearly melodic of all the pieces performed on Sunday, and this is the first time we perform this piece.
—Sophie Stone’s piece Far Infra Red has been recorded by FRO in 12′ and 30′ versions. The strong aesthetic direction this piece has is influenced by publishing house based in Berlin Germany called Wandelweiser. As such Stone’s music is very quiet and focused; the score provides a timeline and a small set of descriptions for the players. These descriptions relate to the kinds of sounds that need to be played. In this sense the performers have the responsibility to play the exact sounds according to Stone’s description.
—Tim Long is an artist and former lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University. Tim has composed Parlost Again which is a score that consists of pages of words derived from John Milton’s famous epic poem Paradise Lost, using processes similar to a set of Oulipo exercises.
—Lawrence Fletcher is one of our regular bass clarinetists and has composed No Time Like The Present, the score of which contains both musical notation and descriptive instructions.

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