Who are the New Music Ensemble?
Original article published on the Smiths Magazine, 2015, Autumn printed issue, 40-41.
The infamous New Music Ensemble (NME) has started the new academic year with a fresh and impacting refinement.
The NME celebrated its first anniversary just last month, and with it came a reimagining of the ensemble’s future. Along with an increase in productivity and a fine-tuning of the organisational body, there has been a large reworking of the ensemble’s overall concept and purpose. By evaluating previous endeavours, the NME is continuing to exert its contemporaneous message to a growing artistic following.
The NME are a student led ensemble, officially founded in 2014 by Rodrigo Camacho and Milena Mateus. By focusing mainly on the new music created by student composers and performers, the NME quickly created a name for itself around Goldsmiths, whilst simultaneously beginning to permeate into the rest of London as well as overseas. Last year the collective put on three in-house concerts at Goldsmiths, alongside events at various other venues in London such as the St. Lawrence Church in Catford and Old Foyles Bookstore.
The NME quickly gained success, but this didn’t come without its bumps in the road. Certain programmed works seemed out of place, not quite resonating with the general ethos of the ensemble, and interjecting their concert’s abstract wholeness. This in turn initiated the desire for a stabilised, efficient committee and a compact philosophy that is conveyed via the quasi-manifesto recently published online.
Sara Rodrigues, the new director of the ensemble, and Roxanna Albayati, the new manager, opened up the first meeting with a welcoming introduction. The NME brings together all types of creators, such as musicians, artists and dancers, to put together works of performance art stemming from, but not limited to, contemporary music. The mission behind this is to develop relationships between a community of creators, both internal and external, culminating in the growth and dissemination of new performance art. That might sound all well and good, but what’s actually changed for those not involved? What can an audience member expect?
The organisational forces behind the scenes have upped their game. By creating raw administrative roles, as well as prompting regularly scheduled rehearsal times for those taking part, this makes concert preparation and communication between participants more effective and streamlined. Upcoming concerts will be, by and large, coherently presented at professional level quality. The NME are again holding three concerts this year at Goldsmiths, with one at the end of each term. The summer concert will be a themed event; a curatorial device that was experimented with last year that gives composers and performers a stimulus to work with.
You can expect to see the NME gracing the Richard Hoggart Building’s Great Hall this December, but if you’re further intrigued you can also check out their website for further information (www.nmensemble.com). It seems like whatever this ensemble has in store next is constantly building upon everything they’ve previously done, so remain on the edge of your seats.
By Lewis H. Wolstanholme