Perryman Plays the Field

If you’re in weekending distance of Somerset, take a trip this evening to Keinton Mandeville near Glastonbury, where Charles Hazlewood’s Play the Field Festival of music in the open air is featuring a very special guest artist. Literally ‘artist’: Norman Perryman plays not the violin but the canvas. While Alexander Sitkovetsky (who does play the violin) renders The Four Seasons, Norman will create his astonishing ‘live kinetic art’ on a projector that faces a screen 8 metres wide. It’s not easy to describe in plain old words, but it’s a bit like watching an abstract cartoon being created in real time, crossed with a ballet – a direct response in another art to the music you hear.

Norman has developed his technique over the last 30 years, inspired by a close friendship with Yehudi Menuhin with whom he interpreted The Four Seasons in 1979 on French TV. The BBC ran a documentary about him back in 1993. A Brummie by origin, he’s now based in Amsterdam. 

And if you frequent Symphony Hall, Birmingham, you’ll know his static paintings already: his gorgeous canvas interpreting Gerontius is in the foyer, and if you’ve been in the Green Room you’ll have seen his portraits of the world’s leading artists – among them Bartoli, Domingo and Gergiev – ranged around the walls. 

I can’t make it to Somerset tonight (small matter of reviewing a Prom) but Norman has promised me a tour of his studio when I’m in Amsterdam next week, and we’re trying to work out a way to collaborate on something, somewhere, sometime.

Have a dekko at his website, here. And here as a taster is a sample of his work with Circle Percussion (who are pretty astonishing in their own right) in ‘a synergy of rhythm and colour’…

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