Pictures from 1967

Here are some more items from the EMC archives. The two pictures are from a meeting of the Northwood New Music Society in 1967. The first picture shows Alan Cutts, viola, and Christopher Hobbs, piano. The second shows Hobbs (then 16) working on preparations inside the piano. What were Hobbs and Cutts playing? Was the duo picture of a different piece than the preparations picture? We’re not sure.

northwood new music507 hobbs preparations 1967508

From the past: a flyer from 1976

Here is a (rather battered) flyer advertising a series from 1976 sponsored by Music Now (an organisation created by Victor Shonfield to promote experimental music and jazz in Britain). The first two concerts advertised here present six British systems composers in the duo line-ups they had at the time. Christopher Hobbs and John White were more commonly known at this time as the Hobbs-White Duo. Arguably, John White was the originator of British systems techniques; at this point Hobbs and White had abandoned ‘strict’ systems for percussion (as the material says here — click to see it better), and were playing wind instruments and piano pieces of an increasingly through-composed, referential style. Hobbs and White have played together since, but this was one of the last concerts in an unbroken partnership that had been going since the late 1960s with the Promenade Theatre Orchestra. Michael Parsons and Howard Skempton have played together and toured as a duo since this concert. Parsons was, like Hobbs, White, and Gavin Bryars, closely associated with the Systems group of British artists. John Lewis and Dave Smith played American minimalism as well as their own work. Parsons wrote about these composers and this concert series in his article, ‘Systems in Art and Music’, The Musical Times, 117/1604 (1976), 815–818.

The other concert on this flyer advertises a concert promoted by the Progressive Cultural Association, featuring the Peoples’ Liberation Music group. Founded by John Tilbury, Laurie Baker and John Marciano, this folk-rock group is best known for the participation of Cornelius Cardew.

musicnow promolittle

Fizzle update

More fizzling from Mike Hurley:

Hello friends of improvised music.

There will unfortunately be no Fizzle gig on the 24th September.

The next Fizzle being 8th October: Tout Croche + Chris Mapp solo bass and electronics.
More info at:

But no fear. Fizzle heartily recommends the following:

20th September at Ort café.
Toby Delius is a British saxophonist who has spent most of his playing career abroad, initially in Germany and then Mexico before settling some years ago in Amsterdam.  There he is a key figure of the jazz and improvising scene playing most notably in the Instant Composers Pool that recently had a three-day residency at The Vortex in London.  Toby’s sound owes a lot to the great saxophonists from the 1930s onwards, notably Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, but his style is that of the 2000s.
Toby is touring UK with bass player, Olie Brice and in Birmingham Miles Levin on drums.  At the Birmingham gig, this Friday 20th September at Ort Cafe on the Moseley Road opposite Moseley Baths (500 – 506 Moseley Road, to be precise) at 9pm, they will be joined by Paul Dunmall, one of Europe’s finest improvisers on sax, clarinet and pipes.  This is exclusive to Birmingham and is a very exciting prospect, two great improvising saxophonists who respect the jazz tradition, but take it somewhere else.
For further information see an interview with the tour organiser Olie Brice at  

Happy 101st birthday, John Cage!

Here’s a delightful video for the event, if you haven’t seen it. It’s from Mondays with Merce, part of the materials produced for the centenary. This (Episode 15) is a cracker, with contributions from Christian Wolff and Gordon Mumma, Cage performing 4’33”, and some amazing insights into dancing to electronic music from Merce Cunningham (it’s in the nerve, not the muscle, apparently). Beautiful and fun.

The Prepared Mind, with John Cage and David Tudor:

On debate

In his useful PostClassic blog, Kyle Gann has taken up the question of whether today’s composers debate, or if they are too cool to do so. In the course of his blog entry, he talks about the fights of the 1980s between Uptown and Downtown, serial and minimal. It’s here: