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All About And To A Female Artist

Friday March 6th, 2020 at 7 p.m.

Recital Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Ticket Info

Previously premiered in November 2015, All About And To A Female Artist debuts in Birmingham in a collaborative project between the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Thallein Ensemble and Thumb, to remember Stuart Stevens and introduce a new generation of contemporary music specialists to Stevens’ concept and imagination.

The melodrama by Stuart Stevens is based on a text by Shelagh Delaney.

All About and to a Female Artist is a highly engaging music-theatre work that combines the personal stories of a working-class heroine with some of the most virtuosic music that is being written today. It is Stuart Stevens’ masterpiece, which he realised a few months before his untimely and sudden death in February 2016. He was researching composition using microtonal languages (specifically the 31-tone equal temperament system). He passed away a few months before submitting his doctoral thesis. As his legacy he left a substantial amount of invaluable research, and the extraordinary All About and to a Female Artist.

This melodrama celebrates ordinary people's lives, which is also an enduring legacy of Shelagh Delaney's “Kitchen Sink Realism” writing style.

Reviving the archaic form of the melodrama presented a unique opportunity to the composer for a different approach to collaboration between contemporary music and theatre, as he explored new ways of working as a co-creator. The work was written entirely using 31-tone equal temperament to create new harmony, melody and texture, immersive soundscapes mixed with dramatic speech producing a music-theatre-opera mix, in a provocative yet accessible presentation.

The piece celebrates Stuart Stevens’ research produced at Birmingham Conservatoire and is one of those rarest of examples when cutting edge research finds a format that speaks to everybody.

The first performances at Salford Arts Theatre on 25th and 26th November (performed by Thumb contemporary music ensemble) left contemporary music specialists, theatre goers and people who don’t usually go to contemporary events alike, astonished. After Stuart’s death BCU’s Dean of ADM, David Roberts, agreed to posthumously award Stuart his PhD and to support the staging of All About and to a Female Artist in Birmingham. All About and to a Female Artist will be performed on at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in due course.

The work is scored for a 10-person mixed ensemble, four singers and four actors. Additionally, brand new 31-ET instruments have been especially commissioned by Stuart and are included in the scoring of the piece.

Artistic Team

Dan Watson - Artistic Director/Conductor

Mark Croasdale - Director

Rebekah Daven Watson - Production by Made By Imps