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Psappha Ensemble, University of Salford, MediaCityUK new collaboration

  • Date: 30 September 2011
  • Area: North
Psappha Ensemble

Psappha Ensemble. Credit: Andrew Price

The contemporary music ensemble Psappha, an Arts Council regularly funded organisation and a member of our national portfolio from April next year, and the  University of Salford have announced a unique partnership which will use the latest in media and digital technology based at MediaCityUK to create exciting new ways of performing.

The partnership makes Psappha the official University of Salford / MediaCityUK ensemble, and creates a new and unique link between the very latest technology and the pioneering work of this leading contemporary music ensemble.

It opens up a huge range of possibilities for international and groundbreaking performances and will also offer students a fantastic opportunity to get involved and explore the potential of what can be achieved when creativity and cutting edge technology are combined. Psappha has always been committed to encouraging the breaking down of barriers between artistic and educational experiences, inspiring creativity and the exchange of ideas with students through interactive and collaborative projects.

Psappha is continually seeking to develop new audiences, breaking fresh ground in its innovative development of the digital dissemination of its work through free-to-view films of live performances on its website. Psappha welcomes people of all ages to try something new, and become involved with the ensemble and its composers through its online resources, in performances and projects and at its pre- and post-concert events. Now Psappha will have a fantastic new technological facility at its disposal, and the university will have its own contemporary orchestra.

Dr Alan Williams, Reader in Music at the University of Salford, said: 'MediaCityUK gives us a wonderful opportunity to mix the latest technology with a professional ensemble. It's not just about creating interesting performances, but also using highly complex music to push the limits of what technology can do. Psappha have been at the forefront of using new media to get their musical and educational message across, and this makes them an ideal partner to work with at MediaCityUK.'

Manchester based Psappha, which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, was formed by Tim Williams, Artistic Director, and specialises in the performance of music written by living composers. Tim Williams added: 'We're very excited to be part of The University of Salford's MediaCityUK developments. For the past five years Psappha has been pushing the boundaries of possibility through its webcasts and through its interactive composition resource, Composition Lab. This new partnership will enable the ensemble to collaboratively develop new projects with expertise available through the university.'

Sally Whittle, the Arts Council's Relationship Manger, Music added: 'We're delighted that Psappha and the University of Salford have developed this relationship, especially just ahead of Psappha joining our national portfolio next year. Psappha makes a strong contribution towards the national infrastructure for contemporary classical ensembles and it will be exciting to see what stimulating collaborations may come of this new partnership.'

The University of Salford is home to almost 20,000 students and over 2,500 employees on a green campus not far from Manchester city centre. It offers an exceptional learning environment for students, and has forged extremely strong links with local communities.

The university's new facility at MediaCityUK, on Salford Quays, will become home to more than 1,500 students and staff when it opens on 4 October. Initially it will offer a range of courses to undergraduates and postgraduates including Audio Technology, Journalism, Animation, Computer and Video Games, Digital Broadcast Technology, and Creative Technology. Facilities will include HD TV studios, radio broadcast studios, a living lab research facility, media suite, digital media and performance lab, post-production facilities, editing facilities, meeting pods and dubbing theatres.

Staff and students from all areas of the university will make use of this cutting-edge facility, located at the heart of six major BBC departments. The new link with Psappha adds the further dimension of bringing together the latest in technology with the latest in contemporary composition and performance, and furthermore creates immense opportunities for students now and into the future.