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WildKat PR offers a training fund to all members of staff to help them learn new skills, develop their interests, and also to bring something new back to the team. James Hardie returned to his home city of Edinburgh last month to attend International Festival Encounters. Read about his experience below:

I used my WildKat training fund this year to attend International Festival Encounters.  It is a week-long course run by the Edinburgh International Festival in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  The aim is to bring together artistic entrepreneurs with leading industry members and academics from all over the world.

It was truly ‘international’.  Amongst the participants were producers, writers, actors, programmers, and performers from Australia, America, Russia, South Africa, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and the UK.  It was a wonderful melting pot of different perspectives and experiences from both young and old, all taking place under the watchful eye of Edinburgh Castle.

We were treated to five productions over the week, including dance, theatre, and opera.  My own highlight was seeing the Nederlands Dans Theater, who performed a show in three segments with scores by Max Richter and Philip Glass.  The middle segment—a haunting series of scenes as a dying man recalls his life’s regrets—was like watching a film; the way the dancers manipulated their bodies brought to mind ‘The Exorcist’.

After each performance, we were given the opportunity to reflect critically on what we had experienced.  After seeing Gianandrea Noseda conduct the Teatro Regio Torino in a somewhat confused production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Kate Molleson (music critic for the Guardian) guided us through our reactions, whilst also giving us a fascinating insight into the dual role of the music journalist as both critic and evangelist.

There were two ideas that have really stuck with me from the course.  Firstly, the idea that financial constraint inspires creativity.  This was most effectively expressed for me by a participant from Russia, who used the phrase, ‘the artist must be hungry’, encouraging enterprise from a position of deprivation.  The second idea concerned caring for and looking after an audience.  The creator of a particularly moving production called ‘Flight’ spoke about the audience leaving an incredibly intense and personal experience in the theatre, and re-joining the busy outside world, and the steps they took to ease this often difficult transition.

My fellow participants were a really inspiring bunch, and I learnt just as much from them as I did the experts.  I’m certain I will collaborate with them again in the future. The training fund is an amazing perk to have, available to us all here at WildKat once a year, and I’m very grateful to have been afforded this opportunity.

(Written on September 25, 2017 )

Brooklyn Rider, the dynamic New York quartet, will be showcasing their own brand of creative programming in their upcoming European tour, which kicks off in Copenhagen on Tuesday. The group’s combination of limitless innovation and passion for new music has transformed the 300-year-old form of the string quartet into a signature 21st century ensemble. Their love of new music also inspired the Brooklyn Rider Almanac, which began in 2012, and continues its on-going commissioning project. So far they’ve commissioned 15 new works from a diverse list of musicians in the worlds of jazz, rock, pop, and folk. Brooklyn Rider recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for an ambitious complementary body of work directly related to the commissioned music. This will include videos, animation, choreography, photo essays, articles, interviews, remixes, and much more. So far Brooklyn Rider have raised over $22,000 of their $40,000 goal.

The 8-date European tour will include a blend of classic quartet repertoire and new works that challenge genre boundaries. Clubs and concert halls across Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the UK can expect to hear works from the group’s 2013 Mercury Classics release A Walking Fire, including Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2, Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin’s Culai, and Three Miniatures by Brooklyn Rider’s Colin Jacobsen, with the addition of music by Philip Glass, Franz Schubert and the premiere of String Quartet No.1 by Swedish composer Tobias Broström on 23rd and 24th April. Brooklyn Rider will also perform at Yellow Lounge in Stockholm on 26th April collaborating with DJs and VJs at Fotografiska. The tour culminates in a late night performance at London’s Wigmore Hall on 2nd May.

Check out a video of Colin Jacobsen’s A Walking Fire here:

(Written on April 17, 2014 )