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Wed, 21 Jun


Musical Symposium

Concerto for a Salad Bowl

Concerto for a Salad Bowl is a concert with a difference. As well as premièring four pieces by OCA Music Student Christopher Barchard, there is a musical symposium which, unusually, puts back to back a talk about the climate crisis.

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Concerto for a Salad Bowl
Concerto for a Salad Bowl

Time & Location

21 Jun 2023, 19:30

Musical Symposium

About the Event

Concerto for a Salad Bowl is a concert with a difference.  As well as premièring four pieces by Christopher Barchard, there is a musical symposium which, unusually, puts back to back a talk about the climate crisis by a prominent scientist in the field with music inspired by the crisis following on immediately.  

Climate science remains a controversial subject, but mainly because of  biased reporting in some influential sections of the media. Christopher Merchant is a professor in the field at Reading University and is in a better position than most to comment on the situation. There are questions from the audience to a panel after this. The panel comprises the composer, the pianist and the climate scientist and is chaired by the organist Fionagh Bennet.

The music in the event has been composed using a variety of methods and two of the pieces are played on solo acoustic instruments.  A third piece is purely electronic, and spectral. It is from this piece that the event takes its name. It is rendered in the programme Logic, using sound samples, many of them recorded by the composer and electronically altered, often considerably. These include the sound of a salad bowl made by the composer in the past when he worked as a potter. This bowl is pictured in the poster and all the sounds derived from it are manipulated from a recording of a single strike to it with his knuckle. These sounds fulfil the role of a solo instrument for the piece. Beyond the use of a solo instrument, there is not much structural similarity to a traditional concerto. The final piece is spectral music and is for orchestra and electronics. It is electronically synthesised using the software Note Performer. This recreates the sound directly from the score, notated in electronic form, and has all its detail. This piece formed the main part of a set of pieces submitted for the composer’s final composition module in his BA Hons Music Degree course. His work for this module was awarded a mark of 93%.

The event Concerto for a Salad Bowl is the focus of the final module in this course.

This event is on Zoom and it is necessary to have the (free) software for this installed on your computer or smartphone. It is necessary for your device to have a web/web compatible camera. It is very much recommended to use headphones for this event. To purchase tickets to link to this event please go to: OCA students can get a reduction with the code: Salad Days

If you want to help fund the concert you can do by visiting here

This event is open to those aged 18 and over only.

Christopher Barchard is a student at the Open College of the Arts, where he has studied since 2011 and is completing a BA Hons Degree in Music, specialising in composition. He was taught to play the piano for 8 years at school. Later he worked as a potter, amongst others in the workshops of David Leach and Mary Wondrausch. He also worked in a factory setting and owed much to the industrial thrower, Peter Bowmer, in learning the techniques of accurately making pots on a wheel in repetition at speed. He has had a lifelong passion for art music but until starting at OCA his taste in music ended at the early 19th Century, comprising mostly Baroque and Classical composers. He is familiar with all the major works of Beethoven, symphonies, quartets and other chamber music, sonatas, bagatelles, variations, opera and more, having had a particular liking for his music. He has only come to study music in depth at a theoretical level in later life.  At OCA he has studied under several musicians, Duncan Druce, Douglas Seville, Andrew Glover, Gavin Wayte, Desmond Clarke, Ben Gaunt and currently Carla Rees. This has greatly broadened his appreciation of music to the extent that he now composes in a distinctly modern way. He has an interest in the visual arts and is a keen photographer and has done many drawings. He is interested in nature and likes to walk in the country. Find out more about Chris here

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