Archive for April, 2010

Violinist, improviser, composer, instrument builder, and installation artist Jon Rose discusses his work creating music by bowing the Great Fences of Australia. These include the famous Dog Proof Fence and Rabbit Proof Fence. Hollis Taylor’s recent book/DVD Post Impressions documents this project, and a new work for the Kronos Quartet, was recently premiered at the Sydney Opera House.

Jon also discusses the development of his Relative Violin philosophy and artistic trajectory, beginning with the inauspicious attempted destruction of his violin at the tender age of 7, just 2 years prior to Fluxus artist Nam June Paik did the same before an audience in New York. Discussion also leads to ornithology, and Hollis Taylor’s work observing and decoding the music of various songbirds native to Australia, including the Pied Butcher Bird, the Crimson Rosella, and the Lyrebird. James Ilgenfritz and Jon Rose also play a handful of duos for bass and violin, with colorfully abstract directionality and, at times, striking comparisons to the actions of the birds discussed.

Born in 1951 in Rochester, UK, Jon Rose started playing the violin at seven years old, after winning a music scholarship to King’s School Rochester. He studied violin with Anthony Saltmarsh (exponent of the Knud Vestergaard ‘Bach’ bow). He gave up formal music education at the age of 15 and from then on was primarily self-taught. Throughout the 1970’s, first in England and then in Australia, he played, composed and studied in a large variety of music genres – from sitar playing to country & western; from big band serial composition to sound installations. The collaborative LP Tango (Hot Records) in 1983 with Martin Wesley-Smith was a world first in violin and  sampling improvisation using the renowned Fairlight sampler. In 1986, he moved to Berlin in order to more fully realise his on-going project (of some 25 years): The Relative Violin. This is the development of a total artform based around the one instrument. Necessary to this concept has been innovation in the fields of new instrument design, environmental performance and new instrumental techniques. In 2000 Rose formed the duo Temperament with pianist Veryan Weston, specialising in improvisation with different tunings (Just, 19 tone, etc) for the keyboards and various scordatura for the violins. In 2005 he finished a major commission, Pannikin, for The Melbourne Festival, and was awarded a two year fellowship from The Australia Council to research and develop The Ball Project. In 2009 The Kronos String Quartet and The Sydney Opera House commissioned Music from 4 Fences.

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Ten Thousand Hours 4: Jon Rose

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