Reading Music is a platform for collaborations within the field of experimental music initiated in 2021 by Lisa Ullén, Johan Arrias och Henrik Olsson. Our ambition is to gather and create synergies between composers and improvising musicians with an interest in semi- composed music and performing arts. With the project we wish to boost the interest and understanding of contemporary music in general and we aim to provoke new approaches and cross-aesthetic collaborations.
As the name Reading Music suggests the project is dealing with interpretation and the reading of text- based and/or graphic scores, everything from commissioning new pieces to elaborating methods for improvisation. Reading Music was initiated in 2017 as a collaboration with the composers Hanna Hartman (SE/DE), Nomi Epstein (USA) and Michael Pisaro (USA), all three active and leading figures within the scene of experimental, contemporary music. In 2018 each one of the three composers gave their personal reply to the question that was asked in our project:
Composition is one thing, performance another, hearing a third, what do the three have to do with one another?
The music, in one reading out of many possible readings, was first presented in 2019 as a work-in- progress and then finally had its official premier at the GAS-festival in Göteborg, Sweden, in November 2020.
The trio Ullén-Olsson-Arrias is today both performing the music connected to the project as well as running the plattform Reading Music.
Lisa Ullén, Johan Arrias and Henrik Olsson have within the framework of our project formed an electro-acoustic trio where we musically investigate the relationship between improvisation and composition more closely. As a band we polyphonically explore an expanded field of composition – from more ordinary notation to graphic and/or text instructions. Our approach when reading new music is always based on our own experiences and musical backgrounds.
Through these exercises new musical structures appear which questions the concepts of interpretation and the reading of musical scores in contemporary music. The idea is to pay attention to time and space in a different way, building a platform for new music, new scores, new collaborations, exchanges, tours and workshops.