Silencio Ensemble Silencio

Silencio is a contemporary music group based in Christchurch.

Tell us about the origin and members of your group
Silencio was founded in 2004, its members have changed along the way. Current members: Sarah Hook - Flute, Tamara Smith - Flute, Reuben Derrick - Clarinet/ Saxophone, Neville Forsythe - Bassoon, Bruce Aitken - Trumpet, Nicole Reddington - Cello, Mike Kime - Bass, Chris Reddington - Piano, Tom Phillpotts - Electronics/Laundry Tub
How would you describe your music style?
We are a contemporary music ensemble made up of jazz and classical musicians. We work from project to project and develop a sound depending on what type of project it is. Our current project is live music for film. We have also worked with live sound sculpture, musical meditations, and programmes by NZ composers. We continue to look for interesting possibilities for sound. The performances for Music month featured four large tubular bells which formed the base for this particular sound world.
Tell us a bit about your background, your home, family, education and non musical influences.
I was born in Christchurch. Initially I studied and worked as a sculptor but began to focus on music too. I went to Jazz School briefly but am largely self taught. Eventually I took the direction of this ensemble which looks to focus on sound in a way which suits my particular creative energies. Ensemble members help to develop sound for various projects. Our overall ensemble voice is the sum of its parts in terms of formal solutions but also the personalities in the group.
What does New Zealand Music Month mean to you?
Music month is a chance to listen to others who work around us. Also to contribute, within this window of time that can enhance the overall feeling that there is a body of musicians working here.
Have you written any music influences by Christchurch or Canterbury?
Of course. Our music is made here so is partly defined by here. Particular projects have had a specific focus. For example, in 2009 we performed a series called Canterbury Sketches which was a programme of pieces composed in response to the local landscape. For me this was a very successful way to encounter problems of connecting our work in this way, and I am still fond of the recording we produced
Do you think this region makes its way into your music?
Yes, as explained above. One of the things about the recent earthquake is that all the destruction aside it makes one hell of a noise. This is basically impossible to avoid as a composer living here now. So I look forward to hearing developments around this.
What are your musical influences?
Too many to say. Everything. Currently I have been doing some welding jobs and noticing the sound possibilities within the steel parts I have been assembling. This has been really exciting. Amazing sounds are hidden here, and I look forward to finding more. Tom Phillpotts played a laundry tub with an old cello bow for our May concerts, and we found an entire sound universe in there. What a delight.
Have you made any recordings?
We have made recordings, but have not released them through any record companies. We sell them at concerts and use them for promotional opportunities.