Countertenor and performance artist
No Joy in the Brilliance of Sunshine
No Joy in the Brilliance of Sunshine is a multimedia performance piece, exploring the use of operatic early music in performance art. Inspired by the book ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1902) by Joseph Conrad it re-imagines music by G. F. Handel (1685-1759) through sound, text, movement and voice. By abandoning a traditional narrative, the elements and styles are invited to interplay. Light and darkness are now the main characters. Abstract combinations of sound and image encourage and allow the audience to experience their own story.
The piece seeks to realise different expressive possibilities by combining elements; audio and visual, movement and sound, operatic style and performative style, text and music. Through this I explore how different languages contrast, interfere and communicate with each other. The space wherein the action takes place is shaped and coloured by the sound, and the sound is accompanied by the movement and presence of the performing body.
In this way I search to combine the theatrical and stylised language of opera with a more abstract performative style and new technology. By exploring the old, stylised music of Handel and its historic background, I broaden the pallet for modern exploration and look both backwords in time and forward to new ways of interpreting and experiencing performance.
No Joy in the Brilliance of Sunshine was developed through my artistic research at The Royal Conservatoire The Hague, NL.
The John Dowland Project
The John Download project explores the music of the great British songwriter and lutenist John Dowland (1563-1626) through a contemporary art pop expression. The musical journey started with the question: What would a different stylistic wrapping and exploration do to the communication of the songs and lyrics of Dowland?
As I started the creative experimenting, several possible outcomes and versions presented themselves: Would the music “survive”, in the way it is traditionally performed and what it normally communicates within classical performance practice? Would it die, in the meaning of being degraded or reduced into something where it loses its original meaning and aesthetics, and only serves as a fragile frame for some wacky synth-pop arrangements? Or could it be reborn, through discovering new layers of meaning and different ways of communicating through alternative performance practices?
The project seeks to explore and discover all of these outcomes.
The John Download Project consists of a full-length DIY recorded album, and a live performance. The John Dowland Project: video
The album Dowland Downloaded can be found here: stream/download
Andreas Andersen (guitar, oud and other stringed instruments) and Sean Bell form the duo Andersen/Bell, which focus on acoustic and small format concerts. They cherish the simple and tasteful, and combine inspiration from classical, early music, folk and popular music. The duo questions the relationship between melody and accompaniment by experimenting with intriguing arrangements. In their latest project the duo explores the relationship between the old stringed instrument Oud and the countertenor voice with music by Henry Purcell, G. F. Handel and J. S. Bach. Through this early music repertoire they search for the ancient connection between the Arabic oud and the European lute and guitar.
Their previous project is a collection of songs by Norwegian composers, arranged for countertenor and electric guitar.
Ny Norsk Messingkvintett
Sean Bell has done several collaborations with the Norwegian brass quintet Ny Norsk Messingkvintett. Their first project together was instigated by the composers group from Ny Musikk (NMK) in 2017.
Since then, they have premiered several pieces for brass quintet and countertenor. Their most played work is the semi-staged concert for children 'Eg er ein frosk’ (2018) by Norwegian composer Kristin Bolstad.
The vocal quintet Early Voices focuses on performing Renaissance and early Baroque repertoire with a Nordic vocal sound, as well as Norwegian folk songs. It's members are all professional singers with experience in ensemble singing on a qualatively level.
Oslo 14 is a vocal ensemble pool of 15-20 singers based in Oslo, Norway. The ensemble works mainly with pure human voice sounds, most often acoustically, but occasionally even with live electronics, effects etc. as well.
Oslo 14 aim to develop and perform new, contemporary music as singers with jazz and improvisation backgrounds, and to push Norwegian choir/vocal ensemble music, as well as improvised music, in a new direction.