, please tell us about MOOT. How did you start the series and what are your aims with the programming in general? Norman
NJ: The idea came to me one New Year’s Eve after thinking that although so many good musicians live in
Brighton there was no one facilitating innovative contemporary music events on a regular basis.
Several musician friends I spoke to said that they had had enough of ‘background’ gigs and only wanted to play foreground music. After a few months of just playing records (starting with Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’!) and having a reasonable sized number of attendees our very first concert took place: Travels with my Theremin with Sarah Angliss We managed to get and audience AND pay the musicians. MOOT – music of our time had come of age.
JD: For this year’s series, themed around war, you've got a wonderful variety of events - how did you arrive at this? Point us towards a few highlights?
NJ: Music’s role during times of war is multifarious: a tool to lift morale at home and in the field, as a form of protest, witness, remembrance or documentary.
I hope that the series will provide audience with a view of music at the start of the First World War, specifically on the music and lives of soldier-composers, pacifists and women – three very important parts of British society of that time which continue to have resonance in our lives and thinking today.
For me the highlights are A Walk Through the End of Time (Messiaen and a play with the brilliant Harriet Walter and Guy Paul!) [thank you!! JD] , the Heath Quartet and Nigel Cliffe in A Letter from Private Joe with music by Roxanna Panufnik, and the Post War Orchestra (weapons transformed into musical instruments). I am also looking forward to hearing music across ten concerts by our featured composer
, the Brighton-born composer and pacifist. Frank Bridge
NJ: I seem to spend a third of my year completing funding forms. Thankfully, the effort was not wasted as we have been successful in receiving funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sussex Community Foundation, Brighton & Hove City Council and half a dozen other organisations. If only it were easier so I could spend more time on the creative side of concert planning, which is what I enjoy most in what I do.
JD: What are your plans and hopes for MOOT in the future?
NJ: In September, the legendary American pianist Ursula Oppens is visiting the
has agreed to play in UK and she Brighton a programme of Ravel and American modern masterpieces. Definitely one not to miss!
Next year marks Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday. As one of our patrons we will definitely include his music. I also want to include more music by women composers in next year’s series. Watch this space.