Structured/Scored Improvisation in January/February

This is an early announcement and call for participants for a research project I will be doing in January/February 2013, focusing on structured group improvisation. This project is part of my studies’ research on composing for interdisciplinary, collaborative improvisation groups, and it combines the composition of scores with composing in the moment through improvisation.

WHEN: This research project will happen in 3 sessions: 17th and 24th of January, and 7th of February 2013, from 13:00 to 17:00. Please note that the sessions are sequential, which means you need to commit to attending all three of them.

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN: In these sessions, we’ll be exploring in detail just how a pre-fabricated score or set of rules can be used as a starting point for group improvisation and collaborative composition, as well as a tool for achieving connectedness between the improvisers. It is already stated in this blog’s Knowledge Base that “crisp and open interaction does not happen without a shared, transparent context,” and that “the more you have a clear picture of the context you are in, […] the more connected you will feel” with the other performers. My wish is to explore how could a score provide this very transparency and clarity of context for interaction to happen; in other words, how can a score, that is composed especially for improvisers, be designed in such a way that it conditions interaction and expression, and could become a helpful support for the sought-after precision, control and focus within an improvisation context. Can a score solve problems of performance, while subtly adding to the complexity of the improvising moment?

As a classically trained composer myself, I’m also interested in how does the role of the composer change within such a context and when facing these questions. I don’t have a particular vision or idea about what the final “product” of the sessions will be. All I know is that we will use a score as a starting point for experimentation and discussion, and that while tackling the aforementioned questions (and others that will come up during the process) a performative event will emerge out of our sessions. On the last day of the sessions we’ll be doing an informal sharing, where we’ll invite a group of friends and colleagues to come and watch, give us feedback, and discuss about our findings and process.

WHO: I encourage experienced improvisers and performers from any artistic background to sign up. As I already mentioned, it’s required that the participants commit to all 3 sessions; unfortunately I deem this necessary, because the work will be created in collaboration with the group, and it will grow based on our day-to-day work throughout the three sessions.

If you are interested please let me know by the 20th of December, so that I can then organise the group and prepare the score accordingly. You can sign up to the sessions by posting a comment below this post.

Also note that the sessions will be documented in video and audio, for archiving and research purposes. The plan is then to create a small documentary of the sessions, to be posted online as a research film and also accompany my thesis. (We’re looking for two cameramen! Let me know if you know someone.)

Normally participants of the Carpet Sessions are asked to donate a small amount, so that the rent of the studio can be covered. However, I’m looking for some funding at the moment, so maybe this cost could be paid for you. (I will keep you posted.) You can find more about the Carpet Sessions (info, address, etc) here.

This message is an early invitation to the sessions, so some things might change on the way! More info will follow in December, about the details of the research questions, the score, the group formation etc. Looking forward to your messages and participation!

ABOUT ME: I’m Kiriakos Spirou, a composer and pianist from Cyprus, currently studying Music Design at the Utrecht School for the Arts, while also doing research at Bournemouth University in the UK. You can find out more about me and my work on my blog. You can also stalk me on Facebook/kiriakos.spirou. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have via, or in the comments below.

21 thoughts on “Structured/Scored Improvisation in January/February

    1. Yinkse, if you’re still up for the sessions please give me your email address so that I can send you and the others some preparatory material. 🙂

  1. Dear Kiri,
    I would like to contribute but i can’t make it the first session.
    Dat is jammer!

    1. Hey Martine, that’s a pity indeed. Hopefully we can work together on some other project. Please drop by on the last session on the 7th of February, for discussion and to give us feedback. 🙂

  2. Dear Kiri,
    Although Im very curious to work with you in this research I can not join this time. Im working on a project both in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf fulltime beginning next year. I wish you lots of inspiration and hope to hear/read the outcome of it.
    Have a nice christmas and newyear. Warm greetings Maaike

  3. hello kiri, as i cannot make the first date either i was wondering if you would like someone else to attend the last session on feb 7 and give feedback. always interested in seeing new forms in relation to improvisation! you can read ab my work via the link to my website if you like. best, margo

    1. Dear Margo, thank you for your response. Yes, it would be great to join us for the discussion on the 7th! Even a friend from Frankfurt is coming to join us on that day, as well as other people, my school mentor, and colleagues. It’s going to be a nice discussion I think.

      1. Great! I am an MA student from DasArts Amsterdam. Please do let me know if you’d like me to invite some of my co-students for the viewing. And what is the address? I have never been before. look forward to seeing you all then and best of luck with your research!

    2. Hello Margo, this is a reminder for the open session of my Structured Improvisation series, where you are welcome to join us for a presentation and discussion. We plan to start the presentation at 15:30. I hope you can still come! Feel free to invite a couple of people from your school.

      The address is Vredenburgersteeg 31-35, ring the doorbell that says Dance Studio. 🙂

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