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New London festival combines improvised music with art, theatre, dance and film

August 23, 2013

Cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson (pictured), viola player Max Baillie and all-string group the 12 Ensemble are among the performers at a new ten-day festival in east London next month. The ‘i = u Festival’ will bring together music with dance, art, theatre and film as it explores improvisation and new approaches to classical, popular and experimental music.

Taking place from 12 to 21 September at the Guest Projects arts space in south Hackney, the festival is curated by violinist Eugene Feygelson, composer and double bassist Noam Faingold and guitarist and photographer Michael Dylan Ferrara. Other performers will include the Burning City Orchestra, a classical–rock hybrid ensemble combining a string quintet with a rock rhythm section and vocals. The Quest Ensemble piano trio will direct two sessions exploring group improvisation, and David Dolan, improvisation tutor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, will present a workshop.

‘We want the festival to be an open experience for the audience, involving broader interaction with the artists,’ said Faingold. ‘It’s also been very interesting to see both the similarities and differences in the different media. There tends to be a thought process or point of convergence for people in any art form who are interested in improvisation, which encompasses more than just the field that they’re in.’

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