Artist Residency at Hawkwood: Daniel Inzani
"Spindle Ensemble have needed new material for over a year and having four new pieces as a result of this residency which gives us extra motivation to book a new string of performances and we have over half the material we need to record our third album."
My artist residency at Hawkwood was immensely enjoyable and extremely productive for the development of my practice of a composer who works with different live ensembles.
The opportunity was flexible enough for me to work on two different projects over the course week. During the first 2 ½ days I was joined by different members of the band I’d put together for my next solo album (which was recorded the following week). The residency was perfectly timed, we developed parts that hadn’t yet felt right, experimented with alternative directions, improvised and created some additional material.
We performed a few times in 2022 and the focus of our rehearsals was always preparing for an upcoming gig. Due to the limited availability of the in demand players, rehearsals were only 4 (very rushed) hours long taking place weeks, if not months, apart. The atmosphere and freedom that the Hawkwood residency enables is another world, relaxed and creativity inducing. We would loosely plan our day around the routine of the regular and delicious meals, but allowing flexibility in case we found ourselves in the mood to just improvise or if the sun came out and we felt like a walk around the beautiful grounds.
The recording session we did the next week went so smoothly and was weirdly unstressful. And I’m certain that the creative flow of the residency continued into the session, not just because we we’re more prepared, but we had also bonded further as a group and found a more balanced way to interact musically.
The final 2 ½ days of the residency were with my contemporary chamber quartet Spindle Ensemble. This group is way more established, we’re familiar with our strengths, the blends of our instruments and essentially what we want to achieve musically. We had some sketches and partly worked on pieces which we we’re (finally) able to focus on, develop and get to a performable standard.
There are big advantages to a prolonged period of time together. Sometimes you face a challenging section of a piece, which requires individual practice before it can be perfected by the whole ensemble. Knowing we can just work on something else, find time to practice individually and come back to anything whenever it suits the ensemble is so refreshing. The nature of our music requires a lot of preparation to get concert standard, even with our familiar pieces. So normally when we practice we can only briefly work on one new thing whilst simultaneously rehearsing the set for the next concert. Spindle Ensemble have needed new material for over a year and having 4 new pieces as a result of this residency which gives us extra motivation to book a new string of performances and we have over half the material we need to record our third album.
On the final day, Spindle Ensemble and the other artists in residence at the time ‘Howl’, a versatile vocal ensemble, shared what we’d both been working on. It was a beautiful end to the week and we are currently discussing the possibility of collaborating together.
Overall the residency was a great way to focus my energy into a period of development, rather than a project with a professional outcome and the pressures that come with that. It was a great way for both these projects to prepare for their next eras of work and a great bonding experience for the musicians.
Daniel Inzani is a composer, international touring pianist and producer based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Throughout his career he has played a wide variety of styles, his principal musical focus is now instrumental contemporary chamber music. He also records and produces the majority of his own works using a specialised location recording studio.