Speechmik And Nucleus: Live Music Animation

(Video thumbnail photos by Monika S. Jakubowska)

For me, this project was the opportunity of a lifetime in that it has allowed me to cross into the world of people who can claim, “Yes, I also do animation.” I have to thank Nikki and the team at National Youth Jazz Orchestra for trusting me with the responsibility of creating 45-minutes of visual movement to be projected during the live jazz orchestral performance of this piece. To accomplish this, I made 125 separate video animations that I switch between during the performance to ensure that everything stays in rhythm with the music. To top it off, one of Nikki’s two compositions for this touring show is based on her personal relationship with Ian Carr of Nucleus, an artist and band that I already was a huge fan of going into this. So of course, I based a portion of the show on artistic reinterpretations of classic Nucleus album covers. The project in its entirety is explained below.

NYJO joins forces with the keyboardist and creative free spirit Nikki Yeoh for a special audio-visual performance of new and reworked music.

Yeoh’s seminal multimedia work ‘Speechmik X-Ploration’ promotes a message of unity and plurality, which remains poignant today. Over a quarter of a century after it was first commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Bath Festival in 1997, a new reorchestration of the piece will see Yeoh joined on stage by a 19-piece NYJO ensemble.

Complementing this re-interpretation of ‘Speechmik’ is a brand-new companion piece, ‘Nucleus’, especially commissioned by NYJO and dedicated to legendary UK trumpet player and educator, Ian Carr, who was a major influence in Yeoh’s musical upbringing, as well as a driving force in progressive UK jazz, fronting the jazz-rock band of the same name.

The expanded line-up for this performance, including strings and woodwind, shows Yeoh and NYJO re-examining the textural and stylistic boundaries of large ensemble jazz in contemporary UK society.

Guest Artist - Nikki Yeoh
Musical Director - Mark Armstrong
Visuals – Bret Syfert
Alto 1 - Lydia Cochrane
Alto 2 – James Harms
Tenor 1/Sop – Benjy Sandler
Tenor 2/Sop - Ruben Ross
Bari – Jared Meade
Flute/Alto Flute - Rianna Henriques
Bass Clarinet – John Kelly
Trumpet 1 – Mejedi Owusu
Trumpet 2 – Olivia Cuttill
Tenor Trombone – Jess Bull Anderson
Bass Trombone – Jai Patel
Guitar – Dhiraj Kainth
Piano – Max Rosen
Bass – Hani Elias
Drums – Miles Pillinger
Percussion – Sophie Warner
Violin 1 – Sophia Kannathasan
Violin 2 – Eve Abiodun
Viola – Laura Moisey-Gray
Cello – Emily Henderson
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