Michelle Hirschhorn on Tue, 10 Feb 2009 13:58:29 +0100 (CET)

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AVISON LIVE: Audio-visual artwork commission

Avison Ensemble and AV Festival, in partnership with culture10, seek to commission a major new audio visual artwork by a leading contemporary artist that celebrates 18th Century North East composer Charles Avison and his musical heritage by reinterpreting his traditional music for 21st Century audiences.

The commission forms a central part of the Avison tercentenary celebrations in 2009 and will be featured as part of a large scale public event in Newcastle City Centre, including live music by the renowned Avison Ensemble in September 2009 and a potential tour beyond.

Experienced and established artists or artist groups are invited to submit proposals to develop a new audio visual work that responds to the music of Charles Avison, the unique environment of Newcastle City Centre and attracts new audiences for classical music and contemporary electronic art.

- Deliver a large scale audio visual event of outstanding artistic quality which will attract significant numbers in terms of audiences and profile regionally, nationally and internationally.
- Raise public awareness of both electronic arts and classical music.
- Bring the music of Charles Avison to a new, younger audience in a way that is vital to the current times and in keeping with Avison’s own attitude to culture and participation.
- Provide a major new commission opportunity for a leading contemporary artist, showing how contemporary audio visual artists can work with historical music.

- The proposal deadline is 12pm on 9 March 2009. No late submissions will be accepted.
- Shortlisted candidates will be notified on 20 March 2009.
- Interviews will be held on 27 March 2009.
- The commission will be awarded on 3 April 2009.
- The work is to be completed by 24 August 2009.

The artist fee is GBP 12,000 and there is a production budget of approximately GBP 20,000 to stage the work.


Avison Live will be a major public event, taking place in Newcastle City Centre in September 2009. At the heart of the event will be the premiere of a new audio visual commission by a leading contemporary artist and a series of live concerts by the world famous Avison Ensemble. The design of the event is open to interpretation, however key venues for the event may include historic sites related to Avison's performances, including churches, The Old Assembly Rooms and the Bigg Market in Newcastle, an area that is still known for its many pubs, clubs and raucous revellers.  The event must have the potential to engage large numbers.

The new commission will respond to Avison’s music, his groundbreaking music criticism and the rich historical context in which his music was performed three hundred years ago. In the 1700’s Charles Avison started the Bigg Market’s reputation as a centre of entertainment. His fortnightly concerts held in the Groat Market Assembly Rooms were the peaks of Newcastle’s social calendar; raucous affairs held in rooms above drinking dens, which started at 6pm and finished at 2am. At the peak of the Industrial Revolution, with entrepreneurs, factory owners and engineers in the city hungry for culture and entertainment, Avison made Newcastle into England’s greatest provincial music centre of the day outside of London.

THE AVISON ENSEMBLE  www.avisonensemble.com
The Avison Ensemble is Newcastle’s outstanding period instrument orchestra, which plays and popularises the works of Charles Avison and other classical composers. Despite having written over eighty string concertos and being hailed by the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians as, “the most important English concerto composer of the 18th century”, Charles Avison’s music has been rarely performed on either modern or period instruments.

AV FESTIVAL www.avfestival.co.uk
The AV Festival is an international festival of electronic arts featuring visual art, music and moving image. A biennial event, the festival takes place in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the North East of England. The festival consists of public commissions, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, workshops and debate at many of the region’s outstanding cultural venues and sites. This is the first major public event that AV Festival has developed outside of a festival year. The next AV Festival will take place in March 2010 and will be based around the central theme of Energy. It will explore energy as a force through which all of life is connected, transformed, renewed and destroyed.

CULTURE 10   www.newcastlegateshead.com
culture10 is an annual curated programme of exceptional cultural events and festivals across NewcastleGateshead and North East England.
Established in 2004, it is managed by the culture10 team, working in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and is funded by Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, One North East, Northern Rock Foundation and Arts Council England, North East. The culture10 team actively engage in the events programmed, adding their expertise to those involved in the programme as creative partners.

Michelle Hirschhorn, Avison Live Project Manager: michelle@avfestival.co.uk