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World Premiere At Christchurch Arts Festival


Universe’s Creation At Centre of World Premiere At Christchurch Arts Festival

Percussion, stunning audio-visual design and guest artists from around the world all come together for the world premiere of Between Zero and One at Christchurch Arts Festival this week.

The project has been a collaboration between acclaimed New Zealand composer John Psathas,  New Zealand’s leading percussion ensemble Strike Percussion, award-winning producer Philippa Campbell, audio-visual designer Tim Gruchy and a host of international guest artists.

Between Zero and One has its world premiere performance on Friday 6 September at Christchurch’s Rudolf Steiner School with a second performance on Saturday 7 September.

Christchurch Arts Festival director Philip Tremewan says he is “incredibly excited” about seeing the project finally on stage this week.

“It’s been a huge project and we’re very proud to have it premiere at the Festival. We believe it will be picked up by other festivals in New Zealand and internationally.”

Strike Percussion producer Angela Green says Strike’s mandate is to remove anything that resembles traditional orchestral playing and this work has taken that further with a range of electronic and custom-made instruments forming a big part of the show.

“Drums are used in curious ways to produce sound and visual effects and there is more vocal percussion than in our previous shows. John has used a huge number of percussion instruments ... and created some surprising new ones.”

Angela added that Between Zero and One features the full range of musical dynamics with pieces where Strike performers plays as loud as they can, and then as delicately as they can. “The music covers a whole range of subtlety, melody, pitch bending, vocal and body percussion, humour, interaction, explosiveness, mechanical and mathematical forms, chaos, celebration, and is bookended by epic and dynamic full scale drumming.”

Composer John Psathas said the idea behind Between Zero and One came from the thought that if the ‘big bang’ creates an expanding universe that eventually collapses under its own weight only to explode again and repeat the cycle endlessly; how does something become nothing?

“And how does nothing become something? How does zero become one? This show was inspired by the thought 'what if there was time between the universe not existing and then existing again’? What is there was a pause button – creating a sustained moment between zero and one?”

Musically John said he was inspired by the rhythmic music of the world we live in.”There is music inspired by very old traditions from Africa, Persia, Greece, and there is music inspired by dubstep, drum'n'bass, classical music (old and new), jazz, rock, and electronica. It's a very wide spectrum of sources and influences.”

This is the first time John has written work for Strike Percussion. “When I write music what I most want to do is celebrate positive energy, especially the beautiful connections that music can create between us during live performance. Strike is one of the most positively charged groups I've ever worked with and written for.

“As hard as they work, (and they do work hard!), there is always that underlying sense of fun and joy. I love this and it shaped the way I approached the music in Between Zero and One.

Between Zero and One is at the Rudolf Steiner School on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 September at 6.30pm as part of Christchurch Arts Festival 2013. Find out more and book tickets at


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