Ellen Arkbro hails from Sweden and studied Just Intonation with La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi in New York before returning to Stockholm, where she is currently studying for her Master’s in music composition. When the Subtext label released her For Organ And Brass 12” in 2017, we were immediately lulled into blissful submission. The piece was written for an organ with a very particular kind of tuning known as meantone temperament.
“Hidden within the harmonic framework of the Renaissance organ are intervals and chords that bare a close resemblance to those found in the modalities of traditional blues music,” explains Arkbro. “The work can be thought of as a very slow and reduced blues music.”
Luckily for us, Newcastle University’s Kings Hall has just the right kind of organ for Ellen to bring her music to TUSK and to open the weekend in a way that we hope induces a state of benign delirium that will sustain you through the whole festival.
The microtonal brass parts on For Organ And Brass were played by Zinc & Copper, a group featuring Hilary Jeffery, who you’ll also see at TUSK with Mir8, on trombone. For this opening performance though, you’ll be purely subject to the full force of the recently revamped Kings Hall organ subjected to Ellen’s huge sustained tones.
Also, this opening performance is open to all-comers whether they have a TUSK ticket or not, so why not take the chance to open your friends’ ears to something new.
“The music might be simple, but underneath the surface, lies not just mountains of air, but oceans full of magisterial depth.” – Fluid Radio
This performance takes place at Kings Hall, Newcastle University at 3pm on Friday 11th October. Free entry.