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Sennheiser sponsors new electronica at the University of Oxford

Sennheiser sponsors new electronica at the University of Oxford
Sennheiser sponsors new electronica at the University of Oxford

UK - Sennheiser UK is always keen to support new talent. Part of this commitment is a long relationship with the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford, which recently held the final of a unique new competition for original composition. Sennheiser supported the project with prizes for the winners, while a K-array audio system was used for the performances.

Sennheiser’s work with the University has included support for the Oxford Surround Composition and Research studio (OSCaR) - a bespoke, state-of-the-art electronic music studio, which opened last year.

This year, the company sponsored the Oxford/Sennheiser Electronic Music Prize (OSEMP), a competition set up by the University to highlight the increasing importance of electronic music in its teaching and research programmes. Also supported by Warp Records, the aim of the national competition was to find the most innovative new works in electronic music by composers aged 35 or under.

"Ever since the introduction of widely-available recording devices, composers have been manipulating sound to push the boundaries of music. As computers became the main workhorse in the studio, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for sonic exploration and invention. The idea of OSEMP is to encourage composers to be as innovative and communicative as possible and to give a platform to those who may not otherwise be heard," says Daniel Hulme, Electronic Music Studio Manager at the Faculty of Music.

The competition final was held in early November, with 10 finalists chosen from over 100 entrants to perform their compositions in front of a live audience and a distinguished panel of judges, comprising of noted Electroacoustic composers Natasha Barrett and Trevor Wishart and the Music Faculty’s own professor of composition, Martyn Harry.

The finalists performed a range of pieces which ranged from stereo to eight-channel surround sound. To ensure the audience experienced the compositions with the full surround experience, as the composers intended, an eight-position K-array loudspeaker system was used. Featuring KR202s on the corners and KR102s on the cross position, the lightweight, self-powered K-array units meant that the performers could be situated in the centre of the room, with the audience around them but fully within the sound field.

After all 10 had performed, the panel chose Samuel Barnes and his composition The Nature In Devices as the winner, with

Sam Kendall’s One Fast Move or I’m Gone and Daniel Cioccoloni’s Deep Time in second and third places respectively. Sennheiser provided prizes for all three, including headphones and microphones.

Samuel responded to his win by Tweeting "Delighted, shocked and honoured to have been awarded first place at OSEMP. A wonderful evening of inspiring new music! Thank you."

"It was a fantastic opportunity for us to team up with a company with the international reputation of Sennheiser to support our activities in sound recording and studio composition," adds Eric Clarke, Heather Professor of Music at the Faculty of Music. "We've already benefitted hugely from both the expertise of the people who work for this renowned company and from their outstanding audio equipment. We hope to continue to develop the relationship long into the future.

"OSEMP attracted a huge field of entries, ten outstanding finalists and three extremely talented winners. In many ways, though, it was the audience in the packed Jacqueline du Pré music building who were the real winners. They were fortunate to be present at a memorable evening of terrific music. We’re already looking forward to next year!"

13th January 2015

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