Artistic Direction

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Abigail is co-director of the Symphonova Project and Artistic Director of the Intimate Engagements chamber-music concert series at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.

The Symphonova is a panoply of existing and proprietary technologies synergistically combined to form a digital orchestra that is fully expressive in live performance. The Symphonova enables a conductor - using a newly developed baton - to control timing and dynamics in real-time, and to simultaneously communicate with both live musicians and virtual instruments using conventional conducting gestures. The sound is propagated through dedicated, task-specific loudspeakers, creating a truly superior quality of sound even in acoustically difficult environments, and also provides robust and highly effective virtual acoustics. Using the Symphonova, musicians are able to perform the symphonic repertoire in venues where a full orchestra cannot normally be accommodated. From a musician’s point of view, the project is artistically exciting because the Symphonova minimizes issues related to synchronization among orchestral musicians , and thereby enables unprecedented freedom of expression within and by large ensembles. Thus, musicians can engage the immediacy and dynamic relationships found in small chamber groups and celebrate it within the symphonic context. The Symphonova was inaugurated to audience acclaim at the Surrey University Alumni day on July 2012, and following that, the mobile system was used with great success in a University event in Shanghai. The Symphonova opened the International Guildford Festival on March 2013 with a programme by Mendelssohn and Strauss.

Founded in 2008, the Intimate Engagements chamber-music concert series at Clare Hall, Cambridge, provides a unique format in which prominent artists combine their performance with informally sharing their personal reflections on the musical themes. The series was inaugurated in 2008 by soprano Emma Kirkby, and since then featured distinguished artists, including pianist Ronan O’Hora, cellist Paul Watkins, violist Alina Ibragimova and the Ludwig String Trio, to name just a few. The series is known for the warm, intimate encounter created between musicians and their audiences, which provides for a distinctively enjoyable and stimulating musical experience. The series was founded, and is directed by Abigail, who was elected as Fellow Commoner for a conspicuous and exceptional contribution to the College life.

Abigail was recently appointed as coordinator of the Centre for Musical Performance Studies (CMPS) at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge.