1625 new music

“1625”: new music for small ensemble celebrating the work of 1625 Independent People

9th September 2020

“1625” is a suite of new compositions inspired by, and aiming to raise awareness of the charity ‘1625 Independent People’, (which supports young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness). The suite will be premiered in Bristol in 2021, in association with well-known music promoter/producer Ian Storror (Jazzata).

It has been commissioned by 1625IP’s chair of the board, Nick Hooper, and brings together two contrasting musician/composers for their first collaborative project.

Listen to the taster here!

1625 new music

Harriet Riley is a virtuoso percussionist in the early stages of what already looks set to be a highly promising career. After studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she has amassed a wealth of experience in high-profile contexts such as BBC NOW, the Paraorchestra, and a specially commissioned percussion concerto, “Heartbeat” by William Goodchild, which she performed with Bristol Symphony Orchestra to a sell-out audience at St George’s Bristol. She is also a key member of the Bristol-based Bloom Collective, from which have sprung chamber quartet Spindle Ensemble and Ethiopean-inspired jazz band Tezeta. She has composed extensively for dance and theatre projects but “1625” will be her first large-scale jazz composition.
Pete Judge has been described as “a Bristol music phenomenon” by BBC Radio 3. A graduate of Keith Tippett’s Seedbed Orchestra in the early 1990s, he has since followed an eclectic path encompassing a huge range of musical styles and situations. He is trumpeter with the internationally-acclaimed ‘post-jazz’ quartet Get The Blessing, and multi-instrumentalist with acoustic trio Three Cane Whale, and has composed music for film, theatre, dance, the spoken word, and multi-media installation, in contexts ranging from solo piano to poetry collective, and brass band to full orchestra.  

The music of the 1625 project – to be performed by a small ensemble – will respond to the issues, stories and journeys at the heart of this charity, tracing a possible route from isolation to confident independence. In addition to the music, the suite will also include creative input from some of the young people supported by 1625IP, who will be working with award-winning local poets and workshop leaders Shagufta Iqbal and Robert Walton – to transform their ideas and experiences into text and spoken word. These will be then woven into the fabric of the composition.

At the same time, the music takes more abstract inspiration from the charity’s name, using the digits 1 + 6 and  2 + 5 as a kind of numerological spell: the magic number seven, and its fractions, are applied to rhythms, melodies, harmonic progressions, structures, and instrumental combinations.  From these unexpected starting-points, Harriet Riley & Pete Judge aim to produce music of depth and atmosphere, struggle and resolution, lyricism and power, in tribute to 1625 IP‘s vital and undersung work.


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