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Joe Bates

Joe Bates’s intense engagement with a swathe of musical culture from Kaija Saariaho to Giacinto Scelsi, and from synth-heavy electronics to songwriters Fiona Apple and D’Angelo, complements a passion for the masterworks of the twentieth century, those of Bartók especially. A curator, teacher and solo electronic artist as well as a composer, he creates music from the dangerous edge of things, from the paradox of conflict where acoustic meets digital, and where tempered tunings meet the fine nuances of microtonality. Likewise harnessing the synergy of conflict in his collaborative work as an animateur, he is co-founder of the innovative group Filthy Lucre, hosting events moving from concert to gig to club night, transcending constraints of genre through the determining force of cohesive artistic vision. Other new boundaries to be explored emerged from Bates’s engagement with the dedicated singers of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain as one of the four featured composers for 2019–2020. His response to the challenge of writing for the NYCGB voices – reflecting the practical needs of vocal ensemble, with a harmony and polyphony more traditionally expressive, yet no less disciplined in terms of pitch, mode and structure – opened a fresh chapter in his development. As ever, clarity of purpose guided by a discerning ear and sensibility marked the results, co-ordinates likewise sure to influence whatever direction Bates next chooses for his creative journey.

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