Organisers of Holmfirth Arts Festival need more than 100 adventurous cyclists to get on their bikes and make sweet music while travelling around the town this summer.
Those who volunteer for an unusual mass cycling promenade, due to take place two weeks before The Tour de France passes through Holmfirth, are promised a day to remember as they stage two performances of the avant-garde musical piece Eine Brise, described as a ‘moving sonic installation for bicycles’.
Eine Brise (A Breeze) is a performance piece for cyclists, written by Argentine-German composer Mauricio Kagel in 1996. It requires a full complement of 111 cyclists, which is something that Kagel, who died in 2008, never achieved during his lifetime. The closest he came to it was 109, because, at the last minute, two participants got flat tyres.
The work involves cyclists making simple sounds, such as bell-ringing, whistling and singing, at signed stages of the route. It will be directed by local composer Barry Russell, who has a long-standing relationship with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra. He explained the background to the work: “Eine Brise has previously been performed in Glasgow, London, Los Angeles and Poland. But we are hoping that the Yorkshire premiere in Holmfirth will be the biggest yet, matching Kagel’s original vision.” No-one is entirely sure why 111 cyclists precisely are needed for the work but the theory is that is has something to do with Kagel’s interest in musical history and Beethoven’s last piano sonata, No 32, Opus 111.
Taking place on Sunday, June 15, the event will be preceded by a briefing workshop for participants on the afternoon of Sunday, June 8.
The route of the promenade will be around the centre of the town, avoiding any really steep hills.
Festival director Fiona Goh is also on the lookout for traditional bicycle bells that can be used on the day. She said: “They make a much better sound that more modern bells, so if anybody has a bell to donate please get in touch.”
Organisers want 10 key cyclists to attend the briefing and be available on the big day itself. They will be sited strategically among the 111. In addition, 15 volunteers are needed for traffic management and performance signage.
This year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival, from June 12 to 22, is taking ‘Journeys of the Imagination’ as its theme. Eine Brise is being funded by Kirklees Council (Arts in the Neighbourhood) as part of its support for The Tour de France.
Anyone interested in participating in the performance or volunteering should email the festival at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, June 2. All cyclists must have a bike of their own, a bell and a safety helmet.