The British Council and PRS for Music Foundation have selected four UK musicians to spend six weeks in China writing new music and building new international relationships.
Imogen Heap, Gareth Bonello, Jamie Woon and Matthew Bourne have been chosen from around 40 applicants to take part in a residency programme organised by the British Council and PRS for Music Foundation. The residencies are designed to enable innovative British musicians to explore new musical territory, reach new audiences and write new material in the context of a changing international market.
Between October 2011 and March 2012, the musicians will travel to four cities across China: Hangzhou (East China), Xi'an (North China), Chengdu (South West China) and Xiamen (South China). They will immerse themselves in and respond to their environment, meet local people and share their experiences via local and international media. The new music that the artists create during their residencies will then be performed publicly in China and the UK in 2012.
BRIT school graduate and dubstep-influenced singer and producer Jamie Woon is currently in Xi'an, home to the First Emperor's tomb and his terracotta warriors. Jamie is exploring the local rock scene in Xi’an and sharing his musical ideas via a regular radio programme, performances and recording sessions.
Pianist and composer Matthew Bourne has travelled to China and is currently staying in Xiamen and the nearby Gu Lang Yu Island - known as ‘piano island’ since the 19th century. Bourne is being hosted by the Art College of Xiamen University where he will give lectures and create new musical pieces, building on his impressive body of experimental work for piano.
Follow Matthew Bourne's experiences in Xiamen on his blog
Grammy Award-winning singer, composer and songwriter Imogen Heap has now returned from Hangzhou where she spent time working with local artists and communities to create a new track 'Xizi She Knows' for her forthcoming album. The song is made up of field recordings from 24 different locations around Hangzhou captured over a 24 hour period in the city.
Watch the offical video for Imogen Heap - 'Xizi She Knows'
Read about the creative process behind the song 'Xizi She Knows' on Imogen's blog
Welsh folk multi-instrumentalist Gareth Bonello travelled to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province. Bonello, who was nominated for the residency by BBC DJ Huw Stephens, collaborated with local folk instrumentalists on material for a new album.
Watch a short video of Gareth talking to us before his residency
You can also follow Gareth's residency in Chengdu on his blog
Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRSF on the artists' potential creative output during their time in China:
We’re delighted that our partnership with the British Council has led to this pioneering residency programme for UK music creators. To explore new musical ideas and collaborations in a country where the infrastructure for music is still developing is a great opportunity for the creators who’ve been selected. I look forward to following their stories and listening to the music that comes out of this adventure.