Walled City Music: NonZeroSum at Rich Mix

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In a nutshell

Crumb's iconic Black Angels, alongside new piece NonZeroSum, combining string quartet with a group of disabled musicians using new technology.

Go on...

In this richly immersive music event the renowned Benyounes string quartet join Acoustronic, a group of disabled musicians using tablets and other new music technology.

They'll perform NonZeroSum, a new piece by Frank Lyons deriving from game theory concepts in which the amplified string quartet and five digital instruments come together and compete with no winner or loser. The piece has five distinct sections including improvisations whereby the players respond to graphic symbols drawn in real time using colour and shape coding.

Acoustronic will perform their own ambient soundworld combining samples, loops and some free improvisation in two new pieces - Music for 5 and Voices for 6.

In the second half, Benyounes perform George Crumb's iconic Black Angels piece. Inspired by the horror of the Vietnam war the work draws upon an arsenal of sounds including shouting, chanting, whistling, whispering, gongs, maracas and crystal glasses. Crumb said, 'Black Angels was conceived as a kind of parable on our troubled contemporary world. The work portrays a voyage of the soul through three stages...Departure (fall from grace), Absence (spiritual annihilation) and Return (redemption).'

This project was funded through the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and the PRS for Music Foundation.

What to Expect

You'll see a unique blend of conventional string instruments and players with digital instruments. You'll hear a range of soundworlds - from ambient loops and digital samples to George Crumb's astonishing use of conventional and unconventional instruments, including diabolical chants and angelic, transcendent expression.

Who's Involved


In 2015 this group of disabled and non-disabled young musicians came together to explore new, accessible ways of creating music as part of the Inclusive Creativity project. The name 'Acoustronic' reflects the mix of conventional instruments and music technology they use. Frank Lyons' new piece NonZeroSum is directly inspired by the group.


Winners of the 2012 International Sandor Vegh String Quartet Competition in Budapest the Benyounes Quartet is gaining a reputation as one of the UK's most engaging and dynamic young quartets. Formed in 2007 at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Quartet went on to win the prestigious Julius Isserlis Scholarship.

Venue Details & Map

Rich Mix

35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
E1 6LA
+44 (0)20 7613 7498
Public transport:
Shoreditch High Street Station - Exit the station, turn out on to Bethnal Green Road. Turn right and cross over the road. Rich Mix is located a short distance along the road.

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