Steamsong

Kefala-Kerr, John (2014) Steamsong. [Composition]

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Official URL: http://www.steamsong.uk

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Abstract

Multimedia opera commissioned by the National Railway Museum and BRASS: Durham International Festival

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: Steamsong is a multimedia chamber opera commissioned by the National Railway Museum (NRM) with funding support (£92,000) from Arts Council England, Durham International Festival and the Science Museum Group. The work makes a contribution to debates about national identity via a musical score and public performances whose quotidian alignment arises out of a ‘timely’ engagement with national events in 2014: namely, the Scottish Independence Referendum debate; the national celebrations marking the 75th anniversaries of the breaking of the steam locomotive world speed record and the evacuation by train of children from Nazi Germany (the so-called kindertransport). Supplemented by a nine-month period spent working with members of the general public as composer-in-residence at NRM, the compositional research focused on critiquing icons of UK national nostalgia via an integrated instrumental and vocal score, soundtrack, video and libretto that draw extensively on historical and archive research, including privileged access to the British Transport Film archive. The investment and commitment on the part of the commissioning consortium testifies to the work’s cultural value, as does its recognition in being selected as a double finalist in the 2014 Journal Culture Awards (Arts Council Award and Best Event Awards). Public involvement in the creation of the work underpinned the research’s rigour in terms of its pursuit of a ‘composed quotidian’: a novel conception whereby musical composition is seen as irreducibly invested in, and informed by, the in-situ concerns and specificities of everyday social life. ‘Composing the Quotidian’ as methodology (CTQ) grows out of Kefala-Kerr’s enquiry into the everyday role of musical composition and its relevance to, and relationship with, ‘the ordinary’. Steamsong’s legacy endured beyond the July 2014 Durham Gala Theatre performances: an A/V version was installed at NRM—the only museum exhibit devoted to a contemporary opera in the UK.
Subjects: Performing Arts > Music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications
Depositing User: John Kefala-Kerr
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 08:08
Last Modified: 27 May 2021 12:53
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/6299

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