On 20 November Lisa Illean’s Tiding II (silentium) for piano, percussion, soprano saxophone and electronics received its first UK performance at the 2023 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival from the GBSR Duo and David Zucchi, with Illean at the mixing desk and Michael Acker of the SWR Experimental Studio operating the electronics.  

The 17-minute piece, premiered in 2021 by Trio Accanto and the SWR Experimental Studio at the Donaueschinger Musiktage, is part of a series of works by Illean exploring elemental patterns. Like its predecessor Tiding (2021) for solo electric guitar, recently recorded by Yaron Deutsch – it is also inspired by the work of artist Christiane Baumgartner – in particular her 2013 woodcut Deep Water. It was commissioned by the SWR for Donaueschinger Musiktage.

“To my mind” Illean writes, “sheets of electronic sound and sustained tones resemble the revolving light from a lighthouse raking the ocean’s surface…Interwoven layers surface and recede in a delicate balance. Transience – in both the production and perception of sound – has always moved me. Growing up, I spent countless evenings and early mornings lying on the beach listening to the ocean. And nearly as many hypnotic hours listening to the world sounding through water, my head half-submerged, patterns of distant chattering mingling with the periodic rubbing of the sea. This environmental mormorando…is never too far from any work I do with sound.”

Upcoming premieres from Illean include a 20-minute work for orchestra and pre-recorded sounds, premiering with the Ryan Wigglesworth and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on 1 February 2024. arcing, stilling, bending, gathering will receive its UK premiere from Britten Sinfonia on 11 May 2024. The 19-minute piece is scored for piano, strings, and pre-recorded sounds and premiered with pianist Aura Go and musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music on 21 April at the Melbourne Recital Centre – it is now available to watch online. Britten Sinfonia perform the work alongside the world premiere of two arrangements for strings of chansons by Gilles Binchois from Illean.