Graphic Scores: Jo Ganter & Raymond MacDonald

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Graphic scores represent music using visual images outside the realm of traditional music notation, and have been an effective way for experimental musicians to convey musical ideas since the 1950s. However, while many graphic scores are visually interesting, few claim to be works of art in their own right. The collaboration between musician and composer, Raymond MacDonald, and visual artist/printmaker, Jo Ganter, co-authors a series of original prints and musical compositions that test the possibilities of images as conductors of sound, and sound as a compositional tool for images. The reproduction of the images, as archival inkjet prints, allows the works to be used as graphic scores for groups of musicians to perform them, while they are simultaneously exhibited artworks.

Hand drawn ‘grids’ and photographs provide the starting point for intricate images that are collaboratively developed in numerous ways. Sometimes both Raymond and Jo work on the images simultaneously, sometimes through a remote collaboration (scanning and digital editing etc), and sometimes the images are edited while rehearsing with groups of musicians.

Ganter and MacDonald take equal responsibility for the making of the images and the direction of the music; immersing themselves in each other’s practice to produce truly co-authored work: Ganter/MacDonald compositions and MacDonald/Ganter prints; in this way, blurring the boundaries between visual artist and musician/composer. The resulting work is as important visually as it is musically – these two elements in complete equality.

Please click on any of the images below to start a slideshow.

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Notating Beauty That Moves

Artistree_Yi Yi Lily Chan

Notating Beauty that Moves is an exhibition and a series of concerts presented by Hong Kong Sinfonietta and co-curated by Samson Young and Yang Yeung,  at Artistree, Cambridge House, Hong Kong. Two of our graphic scores, Caissons 1 and Slant, are part of this exhibition and performed by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta according to our directions.

The theme of the exhibition is musical notation. It includes work by historic and contemporary artists and composers. Slant and Caissons 1 were played at the concert Gesturing Motion, March 10, 2018. The pieces were introduced by Samson Young and the animation, Running Under Bridges was shown to enhance the audience’s understanding  of our working practice.

An extract from the exhibition website:
“Notating Beauty that Moves presents musical scores in the classical and contemporary hands of composers from the past and present. They are placed among works-on-paper, drawings, moving images, texts, photography, paintings, by artists who may or may not have been trained in music. In juxtaposing them alongside each other, we propose that in each work there are many moves to follow and follow through. One might even say, we owe art and life to motion.

A series of concerts, featuring members of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the acclaimed Australian group Ensemble Offspring, will put a spotlight on the process through which musical signs are translated into physical motions.”

click here for more images from Gesturing Motion

 

Under Bridge Gate

 

Poster for Briggait to print

A new graphic score, 4.5 metres tall, is the centrepiece for an exhibition at The Briggait in Glasgow. It features imagery from the roof of this historic space, the old fish market that traded under the bridge near the River Clyde. Other works include Running Under Bridges and two fugues, Yellow Fugue and Blue Fugue shown in Britain for the first time.

Performance Manuscript

Musicians, Stuart Brown (drums), George Burt (guitar), Raymond MacDonald (saxophone) and Una McClone (double bass) performed Manuscript 2, Blue, Blue Fugue and Under Bridge Gate to an enthusiastic audience on March 16.

 

Yellow Fugue

Yellow Fugue, archival inkjet print, 120 x 74cm

Drawing Sound: installation and performance

The exhibition opened August 25th at the Kleinert James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, NY. Curated by Kerrie and Oscar Buitago and Melinda Stickney-Gibson, it was also supported by amazing staff at the gallery; special thanks to Derin Tanyol who with the help of volunteers, including Gabriel, made sure the show was elegantly presented. The gallery

The exhibition is advertised outside the gallery and on Woodstock’s billboard!

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Rehearsals for the musical performance happened during the install, with Douglas James (drums) and David Rothenberg (clarinet and laptop electronics), joining Marilyn Crispell (piano), Raymond MacDonald(saxophone) and George Burt(guitar) for the first time.

 

The opening performance attracted more than 150 people.

 

And the next day many of them came to our workshop – creating graphic scores that we played for them as they instructed us: workshop 1

Thanks to the generosity of Kerrie and Oscar Buitago, and The Byrdcliffe Guild, there were 250 catalogues printed with full illustrations of the works exhibited and a CD of selected musical recordings of the scores. Free downloads of the catalogue are available now at:  http://www.woodstockguild.org/PDFs/DrawingSoundCatalog.pdf

 

Drawing Sound

An exhibition and performance in Woodstock, NY at the Kleinert James Center for the Arts: August 25 – October 15, 2017.

http://www.woodstockguild.org

Graphic scores made by Jo Ganter and Raymond MacDonald, Running Under Bridges, and Jo Ganter and Marilyn Crispell, Gradations of Light,  will be exhibited and performed. Recordings of performances are available to the audience, and animations of the scores, created by Jo Ganter will be projected in the space. A live performance will take place during the opening on August 25th.

The American pianist Marilyn Crispell has been a composer and performer of contemporary improvised music since 1978 and is an important part of the American and international jazz scene as well as working with poets, film-makers and visual artists. She has been the recipient of three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She collaborated with Raymond MacDonald to produce the CD, Parallel Moments in 2014 and made Gradations of Light with Jo Ganter in 2016.

Gradations of Light is a suite of seven graphic scores. Ganter provided the grid-like structures while Crispell created gestural marks and blocks of tone that score the music. This suite of prints rejects colour in favour of tonal values, moving from darkest black through shadowy greys and silvery, subtle, changes of tone, to harsh contrasts of black and white, Each one is named for a time of day, Morning, Midday, Twilight, Night, which provides a thematic thread that links the works.

Ganter’s grid-like matrices inform all of her work with MacDonald and Crispell, but each musician has a strong creative influence and input into the images. MacDonald introducing bright colour to the pieces: clear blues, oranges, yellows and pinks make for brilliant and exuberant abstraction. Each piece by Ganter/MacDonald is a new adventure with different expressive intent. The two series of works complementing each other to produce a varied and original exhibition of sound and vision.

Yellow Fugue

The performance will also feature musician David Rothenberg who plays clarinet and laptop electronics, and is Professor of Philosophy and Music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Doug James, Marilyn’s drummer of choice. And George Burt, Scottish guitarist and composer, half of Burt MacDonald and part of Glasgow Improvisors’ Orchestra (GIO). He has played with Marilyn in Scotland as well as with Keith Tippett and Lol Coxhill.

 

Lineout: performance in Hangzhou, China

Raymond and George Burt, performed the graphic score, Manuscript, as part of two sets of free jazz at Lineout music venue in Hangzhou, with local musicians Laofu , Yu Chen and Li Ping.

Impact 9: International Print Conference at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou

Impact 9Impact 9, an international print conference, was hosted by the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, 22-25 September 2015.

Hundreds of artists, academics and traders were given an incredibly warm welcome by the CAA’s printmaking students and staff. This was the venue for the second exhibition of graphic scores, composed by Raymond MacDonald and Jo Ganter. The scores were performed by Raymond, on saxophone, George Burt, guitarist, from Scotland, and, Laofu (guitar), Yu Chen (saxophone) and Li Ping (drum) from Hangzhou. It was a wonderful meeting of musical talents, with the scores being interpreted, and translated, by the Chinese and Scottish musicians.

The first rehearsal with all the musicians present was in the exhibition space, on the afternoon of September 24th. People listened to the musicians practice and asked questions throughout the afternoon. There was a final performance at 3pm, followed by more discussion.