NAC in Halifax

Project leaders were composer Ian McQueen and Tubalaté – a brass group consisting of two euphoniums and two tubas.

The project took place in the Calderdale Industrial Museum. In January 1999, the participating young composers were given a tour of the museum, and attended a "nuts and bolts" composition workshop with Ian McQueen. They were invited to use the machinery in the museum as a basis for new works for the brass quartet.

All participants were given a Composition Kit, including:

Notes on composing by Ian McQueen

How to write for brass instruments by Ian McQueen and the quartet, including a listening list of works to inspire the composers

About the Calderdale Industrial Museum by Ian McQueen, including Ian's notes on his own commissioned work "The Heights of Halifax", and how this was inspired by the machinery.

About the players – information to help the composers

Preparation of scores and parts – guidelines from spnm

During February 1999 the composers worked on their pieces, with ongoing support from Ian, the quartet, and the spnm team.

In March 1999 the works were performed and recorded by Tubalaté.

Extract from the Composition Kit:

"My piece The Heights of Halifax takes three of the machines in the Industrial Museum as its starting point… There are two kinds of sound-world here: the gentle, ruminative world of grinding cogs and hissing steam, and the pounding, smashing sounds of the crank shafts and diesel engine. I have tried to exploit these to contrast the different sections. The diesel engine sounds like one pounding quaver rhythm, but when we listen more carefully, we notice other things happening within the total sound complex. Try and 'dig deep' into your listening and hear beneath the surface!"

Ian McQueen

NAC summary

NAC in Belfast

NAC in Scotland


Tubalaté and Ian McQueen
photo: Jim Four

The Calderdale Industrial Museum