Stephen Altoft finds harmony in trumpeting the possibilities of trumpet playing at Late Music concert tomorrow afternoon

Stephen Altoft: Exploring microtonal possibilities on the trumpet

STEPHEN Altoft is dedicated to the creation of new repertoire for the trumpet.

Hear the results tomorrow afternoon in Late Music’s 1pm concert by the Microtonal Projects co-director at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York.

For more than 20 years, Altoft researched the microtonal possibilities of the trumpet with composer Donald Bousted, developing a fourth (rotary) valve mechanism to enable the conversion of his existing trumpets into microtonal instruments: a 19-division B flat trumpet and quarter-tone C trumpet

Latterly, too, he has been developing programmes for flugelhorn in 12-, 19- and 24-divisions of the octave.

As a solo artist, and with percussionist Lee Ferguson in the duo Contour, Altoft has given concerts throughout Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada.

Initially he played in brass bands, most notably the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, before studying at the University of Huddersfield (1991-1995), where he was awarded a B.Mus Honours in performance and composition, a Master’s degree in performance and the Ricordi Prize for Contemporary Performance.

This was followed by periods of private study with Markus Stockhausen in Cologne and, with assistance from the Music Sound Foundation, with the Ensemble Modern trumpeter William Forman in Berlin.

He is now co-director of Microtonal Projects, manages the EUROMicroFest and teaches trumpet and improvisation at the music school in Waldkirch, Germany.

“In the last few years, the Microtonal Trumpet project has concentrated on developing new repertoire in 19-division (19 equal divisions of the octave) tuning on trumpet and flugelhorn, but with a special focus on harmony,” says Altoft. “We have been lucky enough to present this project internationally to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

“The current programme of pieces by myself and international composers brings together microtonal trumpet with electronics, interpretation of compositions and improvisation. Most of the pieces are multitrack pieces, addressing harmony in 19 equal divisions of the octave.”

Tomorrow afternoon’s programme comprises:

Time Dreaming (2018): Donald Bousted (UK) for three 19-div trumpets;

Gnossienne (2014): Eleri Angharad Pound (UK) for solo 19-division trumpet;

Lud’s Church (2020): Richard Whalley (UK) for solo 19-division trumpet and multitracks;

New Work: James Williamson;

Dialogue: Chris Bryan (US/ UK) for 19-div trumpet and computer;

Hidden Jewels (2018): Stephen Altoft (UK/Germany) for multi-tracked 19-div Trumpets;

RASP (2013), Stephen Altoft (UK/Germany ) for 19-div trumpet. 

Tickets for tomorrow’s concert cost £5 at or on the door.

Ivana Peranic & Rachel Fryer and pianist Ian Pace to play Late Music concerts on April 1

Cellist Ivana Peranic

LATE Music’s brace of concerts on April 1 at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York, presents cellist  Ivana Peranic and pianist Rachel Fryer at 1pm and pianist Ian Pace’s Xenakis Centenary Concert at 7.30pm.

Peranic and Fryer will be performing Hayley Jenkins’ Partition, Nadia Boulanger’s Three Pieces, Rebecca Clarke’s Impetuoso (from Cello Sonata) and Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata, plus student compositions from York St John University

Late Music regular Pace’s Xenakis Centenary Concert programme carries the subtitle Composers With A Side Hustle in a celebration of Xenakis and other composers with regular jobs.

Step forward Iannis Xenakis, architect; Philip Glass, taxi driver and plumber; Morton Feldman, clothes factory worker; Charles Ives, insurance clerk; James Williamson, insurance claims handler and John Cage, graphic designer and mycologist (fungus collector).

Pace’s programme comprises Xenakis: Mists; Glass: Knee Play 4 (from Einstein On The Beach); Feldman: Extension 3; Ives: Selection of short piano works (Anthem – Processional, Study No. 21 – Some Southpaw Pitching, The Seen And Unseen, Baseball Take-Off, Allegretto, Bad And Good Resolutions); Williamson:  New Work (world premiere); Xenakis: Chansons I-VI, Cage: In A Landscape and Xenakis: A.r. (Homage Ravel).

Composer James Williamson gives a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm, accompanied by a complimentary glass of wine or juice.

Afternoon tickets cost £5; evening tickets £12, concessions £10, at or on the door.