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From Composition to Performance: innovations and interactions in contemporary string quartets

Michael Finnissy

Michael Finnissy was a Visiting Professor in Composition at the University of Wolverhampton from 2007-2010. His Second String Quartet was commissioned especially for this research project, by the University of Wolverhampton and the Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University. The premiere took place at St. John’s Church, Wolverhampton on 13 February 2007 by the Kreutzer Quartet.* This piece has provided the means for studying composer-performer interactions, the outputs of which are listed under publications.

The creative processes involved in the composition of Michael Finnissy’s Second String Quartet, composed between 2006 and 2007, were recorded and documented for the project. The variety of materials accumulated from this ethnographic research are summarised in the following table and are evaluated in various ways in the related publications.

Sources of information relating to Michael Finnissy’s Second String Quartet:

Information resourceMediumDate
Compositional sketchesWritten2006-2007

Interviews with the composer:

Pre-compositional

Pre-rehearsal

Post performances

Sketches

Sketches

Sketches

 

 

Audio

Audio

Audio

Audio

Audio

Audio

 

 

10 July 2006

4 Feb 2007

26 July 2007

8 May 2008

26 June 2008

26 September 2008

 

Rehearsal with the composerAudio4 February 2007
Performances

First public performance

Second public performance

Third public performance

 

Video

Audio

Video

 

13 February 2007

8 March 2007

23 March 2007

 

Reflection

Questionnaire responses from performers

Interactive discussion between composer and performers

 

Written

Video

 

March 2007

23 March 2007

 

*The Principal Investigator gratefully acknowledges support from Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation.