Aaron Cassidy

Aaron Cassidy conducts ELISION
Aaron Cassidy conducts ELISION in the 2013 UK premiere of Ymrehanne Kristos, composer Matthew Sergeant.

The thing I love most about ELISION — and there’s a lot to love — is that it’s an ensemble that’s not primarily about instruments, or even about projects, but instead about people. Everything the group does emerges from an effort to maximise the unique skills and talents of its members and its collaborators, and the relationships that are curated and cultivated through the group’s projects provide a platform of friendship, trust, and respect that allows for the kinds of daring, risky, ambitious work the group is known for.

My relationship with the players of ELISION goes back to 2002. Within the span of a year or so, I met Carl Rosman through a project with the pianist Ian Pace, worked with Graeme Jennings in a workshop with the Arditti Quartet, and with Peter Veale in a project with Ensemble Surplus, and then in 2004 I got to know Richard Haynes at Gaudeamus, who had just started to work with the group. And then in early 2005, I got an email from Daryl Buckley exploring the possibility of a new piece for electric guitar — which eventually became The Pleats of Matter — as well as a work for the ensemble “that works hard some of our newer members … thinking along the lines of something slightly weird like clarinet with doublings, trumpet, trombone, harp, violin and viola, possibly percussion’ which, after a long four-year composition process (and a transatlantic move), became And the scream, Bacon’s scream, is the operation through which the entire body escapes from the mouth, a piece that, along with its standalone solo and duo works, really cemented my relationship with the ensemble. Along the way, I’ve also produced a few recordings, done a bit of conducting, and, recently, have had a chance to contribute as a performer in some works involving improvisation and electronics.

It would be impossible to overstate the degree to which Daryl and ELISION have been crucial to my work as a composer. They are friends, instigators, partners in crime. They have, collectively and as individuals, provided some absolutely crucial opportunities to explore and experiment, to delve into unknown spaces and uncertain ideas, and they’ve always done it with enthusiasm and energy. It is a wonderfully permission-giving culture. Quite a few of my pieces would never have existed without that culture, and the utter skill and commitment they bring as performers has meant that the broader performance practice for those pieces has developed far quicker than I could have ever imagined.– Aaron Cassidy

Works by Aaron Cassidy

written for and premiered by ELISION and its musicians:

I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips (2004-06) for solo voice (with live, computer-generated pitch material)

songs only as sad as their listener (2006) solo trombone with wispa/practice/silent mute

What then renders these forces visible is a strange smile (or, First Study for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion) (2008) for solo trumpet

Because they mark the zone where the force is in the process of striking (or, Second Study for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion)(2008) for solo trombone

And the scream, Bacon’s scream, is the operation through which the entire body escapes through the mouth (or, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion) (2005-9) for oboe (+musette, english horn) / clarinet (+E-flat, bass) / trumpet / trombone / harp / percussion  / violin / viola / contrabass

Being itself a catastrophe, the diagram must not create a catastrophe (or, Third Study for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion) (2007-2009) for oboe (musette, english horn) / clarinet (+ E-flat, bass)

memento/memorial (2010) for solo oboe

The wreck of former boundaries (2014-16) for solo double bass

The wreck of former boundaries (2015-16) for electric lap steel guitar and 5.1 channel electronics

The wreck of former boundaries (2016) for solo B-flat clarinet

The wreck of former boundaries (2014-16) for two trumpet soloists, clarinet/bass clarinet, alto saxophone, trombone, electric lap steel guitar, double bass, and 5.1 channel electronics

Self-Portrait, Three Times, Standing (15.3.1991–20.3.1991) (2019) for saxophone, trombone, piano, and contrabass

Piano Concerto (2021-23) for solo piano and contrabass/E-flat clarinet, bassoon, tenor/sopranino saxophone, trombone, prepared harp, pedal steel guitar,  percussion, F-Paetzold contrabass/alto/sopranino recorder, cello and contrabass


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