Musician in Residence: Lina Andonovska

Australian flautist Lina Andonovska joined Crash for two months September - November 2015. Here she tells us all about her adventures in Crashland.

Life in Crash motion

I’ve been working with Ireland’s Crash Ensemble for the past six weeks and it has been hard, fast, exhilarating, exhausting and limitlessly rewarding. The first leg of the journey onboard the starship Crash was a collaboration with the mighty Adrian Crowley and BBC radio composer Nina Perry in a concert curated by Julien Clancy in the Spiegeltent. Never having worked with a radio composer before, it was wonderful to stop for a brief moment into the mind of Ms Perry - who creates sonic soundscapes out of interviews and found sounds integrated with melody and harmony. This collaboration also brought the musicians of Crash Ensemble in a musical solidarity through Terry Riley’s In C being echoed around words by Mr Crowley. Back onboard starship Crash, the next stop saw me hurtling down the M8 towards Lismore Castle, to undertake a residency that acted as a prelude to the Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival in Cork. It was here that we closely collaborated with Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire) on his pieces for Heart and Breath, where musicians are invited to play along to the internal rhythms of their heartbeat and respiration. We workshopped his composition against the stunning backdrop of the Lismore Castle residence that dates back to the 12th century. For the evening that I was the guest of the Earl of Burlington, I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with some of my musical heroes and jam out in the very much lavish yet post-minimal stylings.

The following weekend we journeyed to the delightful city of Cork where Crash Ensemble performed alongside Sam Amidon and showcased works by Icelandic man of many talents Valgeir Sigurðsson. This particular concert will top the list of my most memorable musical moments, as I have been a long-time Sam Amidon fan. Trying hard to keep my cool, we performed some of his better-known songs as well as a special work penned by Nico Muhly. The next evening, we performed a great new work, ‘Murder Ballads’ by Bryce Dessner on which I was able to let rip some growling alto flute riffs. Shara Warden and So Percussion bookended this particular showcase concert – and again I was thrilled to be surrounded by some of my all-time greatest musical heroes as well as sharing the stage with the almighty Crash Ensemble. The after party in the helm of a navy ship docked in Cork Harbour was the only way to celebrate the events of the weekend.

A couple of days off to recover then straight into the Dublin leg of the new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh, ‘The Last Hotel’. Working on the piece was like being reunited with an old friend, as this was the work that led me to first performing with Crash Ensemble back in August at the Edinburgh International Festival. It’s a pretty demanding flute part, requiring me to double on piccolo and tenor recorder – sometimes allowing only a few seconds to put one instrument down and pick the other up. Again, playing this work is up there on the list of my most memorable m. m…. and I relished the opportunity to get stuck into all those semiquavers once again. It’s quite an intense and sweaty hour and twenty minutes, leaving me frazzled and impossible to string sentences together night after night following performances. What a work!

Having a few days off in between taking the opera to London’s Royal Opera House, I met with local legend/ celebrated composer Linda Buckley and her composition class at the Trinity College, Dublin where I gave a workshop on the 21st Century flute….and their first assignment for the year (set by Linda) is to compose new works for flute and electronics! Looking forward to what the lads have been coming up with in the next session then airing the final version early next month.

London’s run of ‘The Last Hotel’ was a whirlwind of notes, emotions, energy, craic and buffets. London’s electric atmosphere provided the most appropriate backdrop to the capacity audiences of the Lindbury Theatre. The majority of Crashers resided in the ‘party gaff’, where at any hour of the day you could hear accordionist Dermot Dunne twinkling the ivories and clarinetist Deirdre O’Leary’s soft lilting voice being echoed through the hallways. We even had our own mascot, Hunter the cat, who made sure to jump on the unsuspecting reveler’s bed without warning. Before the final kabuki dropped, we made sure that Crash had infiltrated all aspects of London’s music scene, gate crashing local singer/songwriter Jay Frazer’s gig at the shabby yet chic Spiritual Bar in Camden.

A couple more days of respite before the final leg of this lass’s musical journey begins and ends – concerts in Vilnius, Leitrim and Belfast, a musical house party in Dun Laoghaire and performing the compositions of the students at Trinity College. All in all, a once–in–a–lifetime rollercoaster ride and I am so so so glad to have gotten onboard.

Lina Andonovska