October 28, 2019 – Huddersfield, United Kingdom
This first week in Huddersfield has been an exciting start to this research trip about Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet. After arriving last Monday, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Cassidy in person (after being a fan of his music for so many years!), begun interviewing him, and getting to know the people and spaces at the University of Huddersfield. (Here I am outside of the Richard Steinitz Building, where the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) is located.)
The music culture here feels lively and interdisciplinary. As I have interacted with Cassidy, I also have had the opportunity to discuss the rich, divergent interests of the student body and see the collaborative camaraderie between faculty. These kinds of creative openness already feel like they connect well with my research, about Cassidy’s approaches to experimentalism and collaboration with performers, especially within his Second String Quartet. When Line Upon Line Percussion performs in Liverpool and comes to Huddersfield, it seems like I will have a substantial amount of time to observe interactions between Cassidy and them.
Despite getting a head cold just about the minute I walked out of Huddersfield Railway Station into St. George Square, it’s been so rewarding to be on-site, plan for the upcoming visit from Line Upon Line, and have access to Cassidy’s sketches and drafts. While I am sure a Skype call or two would have led me to some of the aspects of Cassidy’s work I am investigating now, being on-site, interacting with Cassidy, his colleagues, and one of a kind materials has already led to so much more clarity about his music. (As part of this, I appreciate being given access to research space at the university. There is nothing like knowing where you can sit down and focus when you care about a project).