Jem Finer wins first New Music Award

Publication: The Guardian

Author: Imogen Tilden

Date: July 13, 2005

Original Location: Link

Musician, artist and founder member of The Pogues Jem Finer last night won the first New Music Award.

The L50,000 prize was open to anyone working in any genre and artistic context, and set a challenge to the UK's creative music community to extend the boundaries of its work. Finer was awarded the prize for his Score for a Hole in the Ground. He now has until September 2006 to create the work and present it to the public.

Score for a Hole in the Ground is a "post-digital" work - it uses sounds created only by nature. Finer was inspired by the water chimes of Kyoto, Japan. His score uses bowls and pivots as the instruments, and water as the performer.

"It's amazing and I'm thrilled!" said Finer last night. "This award gave me the oppotunity to think of an ambitious project and it's great to have such investment in an idea. I'm hugely looking forward to making it happen."

The performance is sited in a deep shaft in the countryside into which the instruments are placed; bowls of different sizes at different heights and tunings pivoted about their centre of gravity. Drips of water will strike the bowls, ringing them like bells. As the bowls fill, their timbres change and the equilibrium of their pivots cause them to sway, modulating the tones. Overflowing bowls will drip into those beneath. Using simple acoustic tubes, the sound will be pushed through a brass horn, rising 20 feet above ground level.

Finer describes his project as, "both music and an integrated part of the landscape and the forces that operate on it and in it."

Judge Anne Dudley, herself an Oscar-winning film composer, described the work as "visionary - it takes music back to its fundamentals".

Also on this year's judging panel was broadcaster Verity Sharp, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, Aniruddha Das of Asian Dub Foundation, and Jerry Springer the Opera librettist and comedian Stewart Lee.

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