Alwynne PritchardPerformance artist, composer
Embrace the chaos: Alwynne Pritchard is spellbinding in her own Rockaby with a duo of Foley artists and the BBC SSO under Ilan Volkov
Alwynne Pritchard is a British performer, composer, artist and curator based in Bergen on the West coast of Norway. As a composer, her music has been performed by many of Europe's leading musicians and ensembles. Her vocal and physical performances encompass improvised as well as composed music and movement and she been described as having 'a delivery between that of a rock-music diva and a verbal and physical contortionist' (All About Jazz - New York). Alwynne recently commissioned a series of music-theatre pieces from composers including Vinko Globokar, Helmut Oehring, Trond Reinholdtsen, François Sarhan, Gerhard Stäbler and Øyvind Torvund, for her ongoing series DOG/GOD. In 2015, she formed the music-theatre company Neither Nor with her partner Thorolf Thuestad.
From 2008 and until March 2014, Alwynne was Artistic Director of the Borealis festival in Bergen and in January 2016, took up the position of Artistic Director of the BIT20 Ensemble.
Created after reading psychologist Daniel N. Stern’s Forms of Vitality, these performances explore how relationships between the performer's voice and body can be reconfigured to express a vast and rapidly changing spectrum of emotions and psychological states.
As a child growing up in the UK, one of Alwynne's favourite television programmes was a Japanese series called Monkey. It was based on the Chinese novel, Journey to the West, by Wu Cheng'en and told the story of Monkey, a bold, impudent creature born of a stone egg, who had acquired supernatural powers, but suffered the indignity of expulsion from heaven for his unruly behaviour. Twenty-five years or so later, she read the novel Timbuktu, by American writer Paul Auster. It tells the story of Mr. Bones, a dog travelling with his dying, down-and-out master, Willy. Dogs, it seems are like mirrors that reflect parts of ourselves we don't, or choose not to see. They are insuppressible. So she decided to release her inner dog and find out where it led her? But the story remains unwritten. Instead, DOG/GOD came into being.
Alwynne commissioned a series of short music-theatre pieces from some of the many the composers she has collaborated with at the Borealis festival. The theme would be DOG. To date, the DOG/GOD project includes works by Vinko Globokar, Helmut Oehring, Gerhard Stäbler, François Sarhan, Øyvind Torvund, Trond Reinholdtsen, Gwyn Pritchard, Felix Kubin, Adam de la Cour and Hollie Harding. Learning these pieces has been not unlike a religious experience in itself for Alwynne, an act of ingestion, immersion, repetition and transformation. Each work is an elliptical rite, with the performance as an extended ceremony. Her roles as madman, shaman, alchemist, vocalist, diva and dog are ritualistic enactments in subjugation to the many deities and demons that man has created in his own image.
Created for soprano and tape machines by Langham Research Centre, OBAMIX sets extracts from three defining Barack Obama speeches. The performance explores the rhetorical flourishes of the speech-maker, inviting us to question how our physical bodies serve our words. The sole sound source is the live and processed voice of soprano Alwynne Pritchard. The piece was created soon after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, composed music was set on reel-to-reel tape alongside composed and improvised vocal lines.
OBAMIX with Langham Research Centre, 2016
Filmed at the Supreme Court of the UK, OBAMIX is created by Langham Research Centre; Iain Chambers, Philip Tagney and Robert Worby, with Alwynne Pritchard. The texts of OBAMIX are drawn from the speeches of Barack Obama.