Michael Nyman


Images Were Introduced

“Images Were Introduced”: this is the title of the lecture that Michael Nyman will hold at Fabrica on February 19. Nyman is for sure one of the most innovative and celebrated composers, pianist of contemporary times and best known for his collaborations with British independent filmmaker Peter Greenaway and Jane Campion.

Theorist of the minimalist music, who first looks for simplicity and eventually longs for complexity, Michael Nyman in the past decades has focused his activities and studies on original video exercises. At Fabrica he will presents a selection of these video-documents, which have been edited specifically for an exhibition in Turin in June 2017 titled “Images Were Introduced” (title of one of the songs part of the 1990 album Kiss and Other Movements).

Fabrica audience will not listen to the musician, librettist and musicologist speaking or playing his famous melodies. Since 1990, Michael Nyman’s works is all about short and medium documentaries where he freely experiments with filming. In fact, he has created a new film genre  “film with music” which is a kind of installation where music, film and performance merge into one setting. According to him, his films are “a kaleidoscope of heterogeneous photograms. A dissonance diary, whose pages are full of visual notes, autobiographical moments and chronical scraps”.

Nyman says of himself: “As a director I am the equivalent of a street photographer: as Vertov, I document what I see around myself. I film what I believe is made for me. No plans, no script. I exit with a camera, a brain and curious eye!”

February 19 at 6.30 pm
Fabrica Auditorium
Lecture in English open to the public until availability

Michael Nyman is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most innovative and celebrated composers. His reputation is built upon a substantial body of work written for a wide variety of ensembles, not only for his own band, but also for symphony orchestra, choir and string quartet. In addition to his prolific output as a composer, Nyman is also a conductor, pianist, writer, musicologist, photographer and film-maker. His restless creativity and multi-faceted career make him one of the most dynamic and influential figures in contemporary culture.

Nyman has also enjoyed a highly successful career as a film composer, a role in which, somewhat to his regret, he is best known to the general public. His reputation was established through a series of highly successful scores for films directed by Peter Greenaway, including The Draughtsman’s Contract, Prospero’s Books, A Zed and Two Naughts and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Other scores include Neil Jordan’s The End Of The Affair; Michael Winterbottom’s Wonderland, A Cock And Bull Story, and The Trip; Andrew Niccol’s Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster Gattaca (1997), and his enchanting music for Jane Campion’s 1993 film, The Piano, the soundtrack album of which has sold more than three million copies. His music was used in the BAFTA award winning and Oscar nominated film, Man on Wire whilst his score for Erasing David (2009) was awarded Best Original Soundtrack at The London East End Film Festival.

More recently, Michael has focused on composing soundtracks for silent films from the late 1920’s: Jean Vigo’s A Propos de Nice, Sergi Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and new soundtracks for three Dziga Vertov films, Man with a Movie Camera, The Eleventh Year and A Sixth Part of the World.

Over the past few years Nyman has produced and exhibited a series of multi-screen moving image installations, enhancing his international reputation as a composer with his work as a film-maker. Working in collaboration with film editor Max Pugh, Nyman has developed an impressive body of filmic works, drawing on his extensive collection of moving images and stills made over many years. These beautiful and striking films, recorded during Michael’s travels in many countries and locations, are blended with his musical compositions to create unique and extraordinarily evocative works. Nyman’s innate eye for detail, timing, colour, form, pattern and movement, are combined with his sense of humor and acute understanding and appreciation of visual and conceptual art.

In addition to his composing and film-making activities, Nyman has a full international touring schedule with the Michael Nyman Band, as well as a series of unique one-off performances with a variety of collaborators, including musicians from outside the western/classical/experimental traditions such as the Orqestra Andalusi de Tetouan, Rajan and Sajan Misra, U. Shrinivas, Estrella Morente, Seijin Noborakawa, Ute Lemper, Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Paolo Fresu, Mike Giles, the Flying Lizards, Dagmar Krause, Sting, Damon Albarn, David McAlmont and Alva Noto.

Michael was awarded the CBE for services to British music in 2008. His music has been released by Virgin, EMI, Decca, Warner Classics and Sony and is now represented exclusively by his own record label, MN Records and published by Chester Music Limited.