Singing Strings (2017)
The Ligeti Quartet deliver a concert that poses existential questions of contemporary music: who is it by, and who is it for? Stef Conner’s Singing Strings is a stand-up comedy skit on string quartets, a piece that bites back at appropriate compositional norms in a musical shouting match. The piece is complemented by works by Christian Mason, focusing on Tuvan and Sardinian vocal traditions, and a performance of throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s Sivunittinni. A Canadian Inuk, Tagaq released the record Retribution in 2016, a galvanising year in the justice movement for the country’s indigenous people. The piece is stark and potent, and its place on festival programmes challenges the filters and purposes of contemporary art.