Pete Harden

Guiyu Guitars

work 2015 (14 min)

“Guiyu, China, is widely perceived as the largest electronic waste site in the world.” (Wikipedia) It is where our mobiles, laptops, TVs and computers go for ‘recycling’. It is one of the most polluted places on the planet. The two movements of Guiyu Guitars (Upstream and Downstream) are textures created with guitar pedals, with only minimal input from a guitar at its outset. Each guitar pedal, with their circuit boards, plastics and batteries will eventually end up in a place like Guiyu for the extraction and repurposing of their small quantity of useful metals. I imagined the pedals, and the music they’ve carried, arriving from upstream in Guiyu and emerging downstream, post-processing, with key elements stripped back and while hopefully ready for new purpose they still hold memory of music past.

Premiere
  • 21 Nov 2018

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Pete Harden

Pete Harden (UK, 1979) is a composer and musician whose work has been called “intriguing”, “fierce, exciting” as well as conjuring “a subtle three-dimensional landscape” (De Volkskrant). In 2003, having completed studies with Louis Andriessen and Richard Ayres at the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, he helped found Ensemble Klang, for whom he is electric guitarist and artistic director.

As a composer his work seeks out new forms and structures, marrying conceptually rigorous content with rich sonic environments. He has had works commissioned and performed by, among others, the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Bang on a Can All-stars (New York), Maud le Pladec Dance Company, Slagwerk Den Haag, NorrbottenNEO, Saskia Lankhoorn, Marco Blaauw, and Trio Scordatura. As a guitarist he has performed with Ensemble Klang, ASKO | Schönberg, Red Note Ensemble and i Solisti, and he has been a featured soloist at the Canberra International Music Festival. For the 2017-18 season he was artist-in-residence for the Red Sofa Series in De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam.

Recent years have seen a strong focus on interdisciplinary productions, particularly theatre and dance. In 2017-18 he performed in Ivo van Hove’s production ‘Network’, at the National Theatre, London – and in the same season he worked closely with the French choreographer Maud le Pladec, writing the music for the hour-long production ‘27 Perspectives’. He forms one half of the duo Avenue Azure with Saskia Lankhoorn.