Robert Mitchell is one-of-a-kind. I normally write a short introduction for these interviews but there is no need, just take in these incredible responses to my questions… [above, Robert’s album releases to date]
What is your earliest memory of the piano Robert?
There was an old one in the family home – which was already there when my folks moved in. The remnant of a time when they were in many houses (before record players, cassette decks etc). I would mess around on it before I was asked about taking lessons….
What was your learning environment like as a child?
I had a teacher locally (as in – one minute away from where we lived!). Milada Robertson. A fantastic teacher – who had tons of pupils and who taught into her 90s. My father used to sing – eventually professionally – and had lessons with her before I was born so – I was lucky to have music in the family and a route to learning that was physically closer than either my primary or junior schools!!
Yesterday I had great fun hearing Onyx Brass record my piece ‘The Mighty Pencil’ for their new album due out next year on NMC Recordings. The album will also feature music by Kenny Wheeler, Gwilym Simcock, Jason Rebello and Liam Noble amongst others…
‘The Mighty Pencil’ is dedicated to the victims of the 2015 shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
There are now four new videos of MY IRIS performing at Emulsion V (back in January) up on the website! Very excited to share these with you all 🙂 Take a look here. Massive thanks to Trapeze film (camera work), Alex Fiennes (sound) and Chris Kelly (video editing).
Freddie Gavita is a fabulous trumpeter and we go back quite a few years now… he appeared on my first record Tangent and at Emulsion III & IV. He’s just about to bring out his debut record Transient so I thought I’d get him to answer a few questions for my blog…
This year it has been a pleasure to work with composer-vocalist-harper Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian. I commissioned her, with support from the PRSF, to write a piece for My Iris & the Emulsion Sinfonietta, to which I wrote a response piece. Both works – Cevanne’s Muted Lines & my Tap Dance (for Baby Dodds) – both appear on my latest album and received their large-scale premieres at Emulsion V in January, broadcast by BBC Radio 3’s Hear & Now and available to listen to on iplayer until early April.
The whole process has been extremely rewarding and so I have invited Cevanne to do an interview for my blog…
Very exciting goings-on tonight… at 10pm you can hear nearly the full set from the Emulsion Sinfonietta at Emulsion V (mac birmingham, January 27th 2017) on the Hear & Now programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08hmqbv
So, so, happy and proud to have this music being presented on this platform, as usual the BBC R3 team have done a fabulous job. On the programme you can hear interviews with some of the composers, and myself and Sara Mohr-Pietsch having a chat about all things Emulsion. Massive thank you to everyone who helped me make this dream a reality, in particular Tom Harrison, Fiona Talkington, my own band (Ross, Chris & James), Joe Cutler & Felix Carey.
Set list Hans Koller Happy Mountain premiere Chris Montague Beamish Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian Muted Lines premiere Trish Clowes Tap Dance (for Baby Dodds) premiere Percy Pursglove He, whose dreams will never unfold (for DP) premiere Bobbie Jane Gardner Tapeworm Joe Cutler Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder Iain Ballamy Chantries
(photos Michelle Martin/Birmingham Review)
Line-Up (changes throughout)
Trish Clowes – saxes (& voice on ‘Muted Lines’); Percy Pursglove – trumpet; Chris Montague – guitar; James Maddren – drums; Calum Gourlay – bass; Ross Stanley – piano & Hammond organ; Melinda Maxwell – oboe & cor anglais; Max Welford – clarinets; Rachel Lander – cello; Anna Olsson – violin; Iain Ballamy – sax; Joe Cutler – keyboard (on Karembeu); Hans Koller – euphonium & piano; Joe Wright – sax
Anna Olsson’s “The Woodcarver”, which was premiered in the same set at Emulsion V, was broadcast last night. It’s performed by Anna with Rachel Lander, Ross Stanley & James Maddren. You can hear it at 2hours26mins with her own intro too: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08h0l2k
Special thanks go to Fiona Talkington who hosted the festival, and Alex Fiennes who provided the sound in the theatre space at the mac birmingham on the night.
Last year I commissioned Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian to write for My Iris (my band) and the Emulsion Sinfonietta. The new work ‘Muted Lines’ appears on my latest album ‘My Iris’, was toured during January and received its full-scale premiere at Emulsion V on January 27th 2017.
When we were fundraising for this project I recorded an interview with Cevanne:
For some time now I have been meaning to put up my latest album’s liner notes that relate to ‘Muted Lines’ and my response/sister piece ‘Tap Dance (for Baby Dodds)’ and so here they are:
You may remember my ‘Under Your Wing’ project with Mike from 2014 (which I hope we will revisit very soon…) and the interview I did with him when he was raising funds for his ‘Ropes’ project: http://trishclowes.com/mike-walker/