The Heart Variations for String Quartet Tour is the final outcome of a two years project by creative director Egle Mei. We will premiere two absolutely new, inspiring and high quality music works for string quartet by composers Meike Holzmann and Ian Stephens in six concerts across the North West in Liverpool, St. Helens, Burnley, Preston, Egremont and Fleetwood. Moreover! We will announce the winners of the YOUNG COMPOSER’S AWARDS. The music of Ian Stephens and Meike Holzmann and the winning compositions of students will be performed by the charismatic and sensational Liverpool String Quartet along with an entertaining and narrative programme, refreshments and after party with the participants.
The history of the project
An exciting cross-curricular science and music programme, linking psychology and neuroscience (biofeedback system) with music education, composition and chamber music, started in 2012. Over one month creative director and workshop leader Egle Mei
delivered music therapy-improvisation workshops in Aintree University Hospital, Mossley Hill Hospital, Rathbone Hospital and others for groups of people who suffer from health issues and experience severe social isolation. She listened and recorded people’s stories and their heart ECGs (electrocardiographs). After encoding the ECGs into notes and harmonizing the heart melodies, in collaboration with composer Meike Holzmann
the first classical music piece finally was delivered in Liverpool.
Where we are now
- collaborating with second composer Ian Stephens
who also works with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and his music has been performed by orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Orchestra of Scottish Opera, London Mozart Players and Malaysian Philharmonic. Ian Stephens will add another unique interpretation of previously recorded ECGs to the repertoire of HVT which aims to promote contemporary classical chamber music more widely;
- working with the Liverpool String Quartet
which consists of Rakhi Singh (violin), Sarah Hill (violin II), Daniel Sanxis (viola) and Nick Byrne (cello). The members of the quartet are also players of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra;
- delivering creative and educational cross-curricular science and music workshops in
schools around the North West with workshop leaders Egle Mei and Meike Holzmann and the Liverpool String Quartet. The structure of the workshops:
- Initial assembly presentation. It gives an insight into the mechanics and functions of brain and mind, and introduces neuroscience and biofeedback technology, showing how we can record and process brain activity information and turn it into musical notes;
- Demonstration by a string quartet and possibilities of compositions. The LSQ demonstrates the mechanics, ranges and possibilities of their instruments. The workshop leader shows the process of creating a short composition from a volunteer’s EEG which will then is performed by the LSQ;
- Take part in a competition and win the best young composer’s award. Pupils are invited to take part in a competition to compose a short piece for string quartet based on their own brain waves (with the help of workshop leaders and school teachers), with the finalists’ compositions being performed live by the LSQ or the schools ensemble as part of the 2014 concert tour, where the audience will also cast their vote. The best young composer will be awarded with a grand prize.
- performances the music by the two composers and the winning compositions of each
school in grand public concerts along with awards ceremonies, an entertaining and
narrative programme, refreshments and an after party with the participants.