SACRED TOUR 2005
Inspiring music in Inspiring buildings
Acoustic Triangle's 2005 summer UK tour was a major celebration of real
acoustic music in inspiring buildings - from small chapels to vast
Members of the group composed new music especially for these
extraordinary spaces. These were performed alongside the trio's unusual
arrangements of music by Maurice Ravel, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Stan
Tracey and others. As always, no amplification was used at the concerts,
so audiences were able to enjoy the beautiful ambience of the buildings
Acoustic Triangle performed 28 concerts in carefully selected sacred
venues in England and Wales. A broad mix of denominations was chosen -
Church of England, Methodist, United Reform, High Anglican as well as a
variety of Abbeys and chapels. Some were sacred buildings in which music
and arts programming already occurs, some were linked to festivals, but
a significant number were venues which don't usually promote such
events. We are extremely grateful to the following organisations for
their generous help with the 2005 tour:
Arts Council England
Jazz Services Ltd
AIMS OF THE PROJECT
1. PRESENTING REAL ACOUSTIC MUSIC
Because of their size, and the materials with which they are built,
sacred buildings very often possess extraordinarily beautiful 'live'
acoustics as well as awe-inspiring visual characteristics and ambience.
For audiences, they are wonderful places in which to gain a memorable
listening experience. Acoustic Triangle is probably the only genuinely
acoustic jazz-based ensemble in Britain. Performing entirely without any
amplification, the trio sounds at its best in these buildings.
2. CELEBRATING ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE
England and Wales contain the largest and finest collection of ancient
and architecturally important sacred buildings in the world. These
wonderful structures are situated in the very heart of every community
in the country, and yet many are under-used. Many are indeed threatened
with closure, conversion into flats and offices, or even demolition.
For centuries our great sacred buildings represented not only the
religious but also the cultural focus-point in each community. People
would go to the local church for numerous activities including teaching
and learning, performing, even eating and sheltering from the weather.
Now, sadly, many millions of people travel past them each day without
ever going inside.
The members of Acoustic Triangle share an interest in sacred buildings -
for their architectural as well as their acoustic qualities - and feel
that they have an important place in the architectural heritage and
cultural life of the country. This project was designed to help more
people to become aware of them, to appreciate them, and perhaps to have
a reason to go inside them - thereby contributing to their preservation.
3. FACILITATING MORE ART IN SACRED BUILDINGS
Sacred buildings are usually found right in the centre of communities -
in which, all too often, there is a dearth of creative art. There is
undoubtedly a shortage of established venues in which Britain's numerous
world-class musicians and artists can perform or display their work. The
potential for Britain's beautiful sacred buildings to be enjoyed as
'arts venues', in addition to their primary role as religious centres,
is enormous. And they are already there - built and waiting to be
In previous years, Acoustic Triangle had some notable successes playing
in sacred buildings which were already 'geared-up' for musical
performances, such as the Royal Naval Chapel in Greenwich, St. George's
Bristol (where the trio's first and second albums were recorded), St.
John's Church in Buxton and Pinner Parish Church. Audience response in
these venues had been overwhelmingly favourable.
So the trio decided to bring its work into a greater number of sacred
buildings - including ones which don't generally promote music - and to
encourage further artistic activity within them in the future. Hence the
2005 tour and the ongoing project.
4. FINDING NEW AUDIENCES
Acoustic Triangle is keen to introduce its music to new listeners -
outside of the established 'scene'. The trio is bringing its music to
parts of the country where performances of this kind are not generally
heard. There are many people who don't ever go to jazz clubs to hear
jazz or to concert halls to hear classical concerts. Bringing this music
to buildings on their own doorstep offers them an opportunity to hear
and enjoy something new without having to travel a long way. Those who
enjoy the experience will surely seek more in the future. As part of the
publicity for the 2005 tour, schools, community organisations and other
groups were contacted in each area in order to encourage local people to
attend the performances.
5. CREATING NEW MUSIC
The project was an exciting opportunity to create genuinely new music.
The sacred buildings themselves are hugely inspiring for composers as
well as for performers. Original music was created especially for these
spaces. The buildings themselves had a profoundly important role in the
creative process throughout.
"The building is the fourth member of our trio." Tim Garland
New works by Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock were commissioned especially
for performance in the chosen buildings. Additionally, all three members
of the group contributed arrangements of musical themes taken from
secular and sacred sources from a wide variety of places around the
world. The programme was a celebration of diverse and contrasting music
in beautiful spaces.
6. BREAKING MUSICAL 'BARRIERS'
Malcolm Creese, Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock are keen to contribute to
the breaking-down of some rather ingrained 'barriers' between jazz, folk
and classical disciplines. Their music reflects their diverse
backgrounds and influences from various different parts of the musical
7. BROADENING ARTS EDUCATION
Workshops, pre-concert talks or master-classes took place in a number of
sacred venues during the 2005 tour. Local schools, colleges and music
societies provided participants. People of all levels of ability were
welcomed. Advanced students experienced new and exciting ways of
blending extended 'classical' writing, jazz harmony, folk melodies and
improvisation. Those with little or no musical experience were able to
gain a fascinating insight into some rich and varied sounds from
different cultures, and Acoustic Triangle's unique treatment of them.
There was a particular focus on the sacred buildings, their history,
architecture and sonic qualities.
"Thank you all for ... the immensely stimulating workshops ...followed
by the inspirational lunchtime concert in the Cathedral. It was
fascinating to observe your handling of, and reaction to, the bolder
acoustics of that wonderful building. You have given us valuable food
for thought and some uplifting music-making into the bargain: thank you
all again." Graham Griggs - Director of Music at the King's School, Ely.
Acoustic Triangle's 2005 tour was designed to be the first stage in a
broader scheme, in which members of the public gain from more music and
art on their doorstep, musicians and artists gain new inspiration and
more places to perform and display their work, and Britain's sacred
buildings gain from a greater throughput of people, and the
consequential benefits to their preservation. Long-term aims include:
- creating a large nationwide network of sacred buildings which promote music and the arts
- building a comprehensive database of these buildings
- encouraging and enabling other musicians and artists to have access to religious buildings
- helping those who work in sacred buildings to gain the information and skills required for promoting arts events
- bringing art and culture to more communities
- encouraging arts education work in sacred places
- encouraging cross-cultural and cross-religious understanding and appreciation
- bringing together music and musicians from different genres to create new and exciting forms
- building audiences for new and creative music
- encouraging appreciation and preservation of our architectural heritage
2005 Tour of Sacred Places |
Concert Schedule |