David Hockings on Matthew Bourne, improvisation and percussion-related injuries …

London Sinfonietta’s Principal percissionist David Hockings is taking part in Written/Unwritten, our genre-busting festival where composed and improvised music collide. Together with a handful of players, he is working with Matthew Bourne in a new collaboration which will be premiered at Kings Place on Friday 3 June 2011. Read on to find out how things got started

David Hockings, London Sinfonietta's Principal Percussionist

David Hockings, London Sinfonietta's Principal Percussionist. Image © Briony Campbell

Working with Matthew last week was a very interesting experience, mainly because he’s a really interesting guy. It’s often difficult to begin a collaboration when musicians from quite different backgrounds come together, five of us (LS) versus one of him, so far the odds are good!  However as almost always happens, as soon as we begin to make music a sixth sense cuts in and the creative process begins, no barriers exist.

Matthew has a background largely based around improvisation, and guess what… we don’t. In order to “get going”, we used material selected from Berio’s Sequenza for Oboe that after several attempts we organised into a short repeatable section of music. During the rest of the sessions this process continued based on original material roughly sketched out by Matthew. Virtually everything we tried was recorded so that between now and our final sessions later in May, Matthew will have an opportunity to formulate some of the musical building blocks into one or more pieces.

As well as all this quite challenging work we did find time to exchange stories on how performing various works over the years we had all managed to injure ourselves, my own involving a football ratchet to the head, totally self-inflicted of course and drawing blood. Matthew’s involved staining various pianos with blood as a result of over enthusiastic plucking.

It would be wrong of me not to mention Matthew’s incredible technique on the piano, but perhaps the most surprising area that I think any of us have come across was his method of reaching the highest or lowest notes on the piano whilst both hands were busy in the “central area”: he uses his feet. Another injury story waiting to add to the list perhaps?

Matthew Bourne with the London Sinfonietta

Matthew Bourne demonstrates his signature technique ... Image © Briony Campbell.

Whether this will be present in the final work/s who knows, you’ll just have to come and see for yourselves.

David Hockings

Keep an eye on the London Sinfonietta blog over the next few weeks, as Written/Unwritten gets ever closer.

Click here to find out more about London Sinfonietta’s Written/Unwritten festival at Kings Place, book your tickets and view for more photos from this collaborative workshop.

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One thought on “David Hockings on Matthew Bourne, improvisation and percussion-related injuries …

  1. […] Hear the world premiere of Matthew’s collaboration with the London Sinfonietta at Written/Unwritten on Friday 3 June,  and click here to read Principal percussionist David Hockings’ blog about how the collaboration go…. […]

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