After graduating from the Manchester University, Chris Roe studied on the RCM Masters course with Kenneth Hesketh, graduating with distinction and the Adrian Cruft prize. Chris has worked with groups including l’Arsenale, the Riot Ensemble, Tête à Tête and NonClassical, and his piece ‘Wired’ is published by Donemus. Recent successes include second prize in the International Lutoslawski competition, and the Prix Annelie de Man audience prize.
Chris is also founder/conductor of ANIMA, who perform contemporary music with abstract film.
Split into six continuous movements, this dramatic piece contrasts moments of tranquility with cacophony, freedom with oppression, and organisation with chaos! Taking inspiration from Sun Tzu’s ancient manual on strategy, ’The Art of War’, I started to imagine the orchestra as a sort of army trying to follow Sun Tzu’s sage advice, e.g. ‘Ultimate excellence lies…in defeating the enemy without ever fighting’, but falling into a maelstrom or chaos and mutiny at every turn.
Sun Tzu’s ’five fundamentals’ of ’The Way’, ’Heaven’, ’Earth’, ’Command’ and ‘Discipline’ became important musical characters in the piece and loosely form five of the six main sections. After battling not only within themselves, but also with the ’offstage’ orchestra, the piece reaches an ethereal, transcendent epilogue with the music rising ever higher and higher.
To add an extra dimension to this piece, I was able to work with the CCSO’s Artist in Residence, Lesley Fotherby, whose artwork is going to be projected above the orchestra during the performance. Lesley has been busy creating abstract watercolour sketches based on early rehearsals of the music, which in turn have been up on my wall as inspiration while completing the piece. Chris Roe
Commissioned by Sound and Music and Making Music as part of the ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme for Robert Hodge and the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.
In Search of Strategy was premiered by the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra on 29th November 2014 at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.
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