Pop candy to take the popular music festival to the next level


Sweet-toothed music lovers will sparkle with joy at the world premiere of a new composition inspired by fizzy candies.

The tasty piece was written by acclaimed composer Guto Pryderi Puw, from Parc, near Bala, and will be one of eight new works premiering at the Bangor Music Festival next month.

Popping candies are confections that react by bubbling when they come into contact with moisture on the tongue or lips.

First created in 1956 by an American chemist, it was the result of a failed attempt to produce a “tablet” to make an instant carbonated drink.

Guto, who is also the festival’s artistic director, said the chocolate coating takes that feeling to the “next level” and is a key feature of his new work titled, what else, Popping Candy.

According to Guto, the piece commissioned by the UPROAR Ensemble, will introduce the audience to a “world of sparkle and pleasure”.

He said: “Popping chocolate covered candy is really nice. The play was inspired by popping candies and I hope there will be an opportunity to sample some of the candies during the performance to fully enjoy the experience. At least that’s the goal. »

The festival, a cultural highlight on the City of Bangor calendar for more than 20 years, takes place this year at the Pontio Arts and Innovation Center on February 11-12.

Guto said, “The theme of this year’s festival is the senses. Of course, music is a listening experience, but it’s only one of the five senses, so we also have touch, taste, sight and smell to explore.

“It will be interesting to reveal how the various composers featured have responded to the other senses through their music, so come check them out.

“One of the ensembles featured will be UPROAR Ensemble, which was launched in 2018 by Michael Rafferty and aims to bring the best international classical music written today to audiences across the country.

“The ensemble’s performances are primarily aimed at a visually minded audience, often performing in inspiring and unusual locations. His multimedia collaborations with dance, theatre, film, visual arts, video and live electronics will push the boundaries of these forms, providing unforgettable experiences.

The Saturday, February 12 concert will also feature new works by Dutch-born composer Carlijn Metselaar and Welsh composer Joseph Davies, both works commissioned by UPROAR.

At the same time, a new work by students from an educational project set up by the festival will also be performed, as well as a piece by Du Yun from China and a work inspired by the visual elements of a street theater by the composer Korean Unsuk Chin.

During the morning, Marie-Claire Howorth will present Camau Cerdd (First Steps in Music) to children aged six months to seven years on the themes of touch, sound and space, in collaboration with Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (The William Mathias Music Centre).

Young performers from Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias will also have a stage, performing an eclectic mix of music for soloists and ensembles in the early afternoon.

This will be followed by the Bangor New Music Ensemble performing new compositions inspired by the senses by students from Bangor University’s Department of Music, Drama and Performance.

During the afternoon, harpist Rhodri Davies, keyboardist Patricia Morgan and violinist Angharad Davies will perform in various public areas of the Pontio building with a sound installation presenting to the public different aromatic stations accompanied by their sound interpretations.

Students from local schools will participate in their own sound performances about smells within the installation, under the direction of Rhodri.

The festival begins the day before with a concert featuring Belfast-born violinist Darragh Morgan and Electroacoustic Wales.

Darragh Morgan has established himself as a soloist of new music giving many recitals at festivals around the world. He last traveled to Bangor for the 2018 Festival, with the Fidelio Trio.

The concert will explore the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) phenomenon with music by Arshia Samsaminia, a recent work by Jonty Harrison alongside world premieres of pieces by Bangor composer Andrew Lewis and Irish composer Irene Buckley. Pieces by the two finalists for the William Mathias Composition Prize will also be performed for the first time.

Guto is confident the festival can go ahead as planned, with arrangements in place for a hybrid event where live concerts attended in person will also be streamed live simultaneously on various digital platforms.

He added: “Last year it was a virtual event and despite the Covid-19 pandemic it was very successful. We had people watching the performances from all over the world. They ranged from the United States and Canada to the Far East in China and Thailand in addition to European countries and countries of origin.

“With the three main concerts streamed live online, we hope to build on last year’s success,” Guto said.

Guto is delighted that the highlights of this year’s festival will be broadcast later on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show programme.

“This is the first time in several years that we will be broadcast on Radio 3, which will certainly increase the profile and appeal of this exciting and important event,” he added.

To find out more about the festival, visit www.bangormusicfestival.org.uk

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