In addition to being a performing ensemble, Via Nova is a hub for various research projects.
MD Daniel Galbreath has involved the ensemble in his performance research at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This research interrogates how performers undertake and experience choral aleatorism, and how these processes suggest a practice that can inform the efforts of singers, conductors, and composers. It lays out the context surrounding choral aleatory works and vocal-improvisatory practice; combines inductive action-research with Constructivist thought, Complexity Theory, and embodiment philosophy to understand singers’ emergent practices; and analyses recorded musical outcomes of aleatory performance.
Via Nova has carried out several creative projects by Gavin Thatcher, theatre-maker and lecturer (Brunel University London). Gavin and Daniel have collaborated on a number of research projects:
Forthcoming article: Music Performance Research special issue, “Conducting Studies,” ed. Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, John Traill, & Fiona Palmer: “Rehearsing the Rehearsers: Choral Conducting Training through Movement Theatre Practice.”
Forthcoming article: Theatre, Dance and Performance Training special issue, “What is New in Voice Training?,” ed. Konstantinos Thomaidis: “Singing Bodies: Reconsidering and Retraining the Corporeal Voice.”
Conference paper: “Rehearsing the Rehearsers: Choral Conducting Training through Movement Theatre Practice,” Oxford Conducting Institute International Conducting Studies Conference, Oxford (UK), 22–24 June 2018.
Conference workshop (with Gavin Thatcher): “Encouraging the Singing Body: Vocal Physicality and Interactive Expression,” Together in Music Conference, National Centre for Early Music, York (UK), 12–14 April 2018.
Invited essai (with Gavin Thatcher): “The Singing Body: Towards a Unified Training of Voice, Body, and Mind,” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 8.3 (2017), 360–363, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19443927.201701370268>
Composition, as a form of practice-research, is obviously something else the group is frequently involved in developing. We have worked with composers Moss Freed (www.mossfreed.com) and Percy Pursglove (www.percypursglove.com), both of whom are exploring improvisatory ensemble music from very different perspectives.